The superhero genre is slowly expanding its insular universe with Wonder Woman and the highly anticipated Black Panther. Though just a drop in the bucket compared to white male superheroes, such images can significantly impact audiences who have never seen themselves portrayed as (s)heroes. Recently at Comic-Con in San Diego, one Asian American girl, Ashley Keller, teared up when she met Gal Gadot (aka Wonder Woman) in a video that went viral, demonstrating the real-life impact of on-screen role models:
To get to my failure, I should start with a childhood that took place in Los Angeles. Hawthorne, California is a small community situated in Southwest Los Angeles. With Inglewood to the north, Gardena to the east, Torrance to the south, and the glamorous beach communities to the west, it was basically the edge of working class/POC Los Angeles butting up against the elite.
What this meant is that I’d had some familiarity with celebrity. Not with myself, mind, but, like most Angelenos, I’d run into famous people while out and about. My most hilarious sighting being Los Angeles Laker Luke Walton at a local Target, while I was shopping for a few things with my mother. My mom was incredibly upset that I did not tell her that the tall and maddeningly handsome Walton had just waltzed right by her with the grace of a ballerina (Walton did have decent footwork) and the obviousness of a panzer tank.
Needless to say, my life here should have prepared me for meeting Lewis Tan. It, however, did not.
In 2009, the Asian American ComiCon was held in New York City, bringing together Asian indie and mainstream comics creators for a historic gathering to celebrate the unique and flourishing graphic storytelling of our community. Now, eight years later, AACC is hosting its second event: a Summit on Art, Action and the Future. In a time where diversity and creativity are both under attack, the Summit will feature diverse creators talking about where we’re going next.
This past weekend, Netflix finally dropped all 13 episodes of Iron Fist. For the most part, the internet was not pleased. While a smattering of Fist Stans tried their damnedest to pretend what they watched was, you know, good, the consensus among critics (and fans too) was this was Marvel’s first big miss. There was one awesome outcome of the Iron Fist debacle, however: a slew of awesome comics artists began sharing their takes on a redesigned Asian American Danny (or Dani) Rand! And it all started when Jen Bartel shared her riff on Kris Anka’s original:
Doctor Strange. Iron Fist. Ghost in the Shell. It’s hard out there to be an Asian American actor. Or an Asian American consumer of media. Or someone who would prefer to see more Asian Americans on screen (and behind the scenes). That’s why guest host Valerie Complex (whose #IAmMajor clapback recently went viral) gathered an all-star panel to talk about being Asian in Hollywood: feminist pop culture writer Clara Mae, Geeks of Color Creative Director (and Finn Jones’ favorite person on Twitter) Asyiqin Haron, Man in the High Castle actor Lee Shorten, and (the man who should’ve been) Iron Fist’s Lewis Tan.
Yesterday, Finn Jones, the actor playing Danny Rand on the Netflix debut of Marvel’s live action version of Iron Fist abruptly quit twitter. He wasn’t being harrassed, he wasn’t threatened, there was no controversy. In fact, to most observers, he simply seemed to be having a conversation. This raised more than a few eyebrows, especially since the show is set to debut in less than two weeks on March 17.
On Sunday night, Jones appears to have gotten into a discussion on twitter with Asyiqin Haron, a 21 year old artist from Singapore who also happens to be the creative director for Geeks of Color, (Heron’s comments are from her own personal twitter account and she was not representing GOC or tweeting from their account when she made them).