A little over two weeks ago, I had the honor of leading a comics workshop with my SIUniverse partner Jerry Ma at the world renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Part of their annual Lunar New Year festival, Jerry and I helped small children and their families use inspiration from the museum’s rooms of Asian art to create their own superhero characters.
It has not been a great couple of weeks (years?) on the DC Films front.
After Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad failed to live up to most people’s expectations last summer, Warner Brothers looked like it was starting to right the DCEU ship. Triumphant teasers for Wonder Woman and Justice League made DC the talk of San Diego, and fans were stoked for directors like James Wan, Rick Famuyiwa, and Ben Affleck to lend their visions to DC supeheroes. Well, less than a year later, 60% of those directors have been dropped and now, Ben (maybe?) doesn’t even want to be Batman anymore. And in the most WTF move yet, Warner has approached an actual misogynst, anti-semitic racist to helm a movie with the initials S.S.!
But, taking a page from Vulture’s always awesome
In another live edition of Hard NOC Life recorded exclusively from the NOC Reading Lounge at CTRL+ALT — the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo — writer Amy Chu stops by to talk about angry Asians, adding diversity to the world of Poison Ivy, and being a woman of color in the comics industry.
Last year Supergirl hit CBS with a splash raking in a whopping 13 million viewers in its pilot episode and while the shows viewership dropped after its premiere, and eventually moved to smaller network The CW to join other DCTV shows, it is still a show that’s proving to be a positive investment for the network.
Two on-going criticisms of the show, however, was the overall lack of women of color in what was supposedly a feminist superhero show, and the usage of coming out metaphors within the show’s narrative. Both criticisms were addressed during the season two promotional tour. The showrunners revealed that there would be an introduction — or rather a coming out — of a major LGBTIQA character on the show, along with the inclusion of Maggie Sawyer (a known lesbian in the DCU) and Sharon Leal as Miss Martian.
We continue our special editions of Hard NOC Life recorded exclusively from the NOC Reading Lounge at CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo. Today’s one-on-one conversation features Sikh Captain America himself, cartoonist Vishavjit Singh.
In the summer of 2008, there I was: A fresh-faced, 19-year-old pharmacy school dropout, a few months removed from stepping off the plane from humble Oregon and on to hopeful California soil. I had no direction of where I was going or knowledge of how to accomplish my lofty goals, but I knew I wanted one thing and one thing only: I wanted to be a part of cinema.
One of my first — and one of my favorite — jobs was when I worked as a film projectionist at a local movie theater. It was one of those summer jobs that lasted well beyond the summer. Even though the pay was trash and I hated some of my managers, I had access to free movies that were actually projected on 35mm film (which is on the verge of becoming an extinct format). I made sure to watch everything I could get my hands on from big budget action blockbusters to independently produced prestige dramas. Since I didn’t have the money to go to a traditional film school like USC or UCLA, the movie theater became my film school.
Everything that I have absorbed about appreciating and deconstructing cinema up to that point came to a climatic crescendo in the form of a tiny little art house flick called The Dark Knight, and it altered my perception of sights and sounds, forever.
Earlier this month, we were part of CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo. Along with Clark University’s Betsy Huang, our fearless leader Keith Chow co-hosted a reading lounge in which they held workshops, panels, and salon discussions with other artists. We’ll be bringing you these sessions over the next few weeks, starting with this one-on-one conversation between Keith and renowned comic artist Jamal Igle.
When my oldest daughter was 3, we would sit together in her bean bag chair, turn off the lights, and watch the Justice League animated series. Here she learned about superheros and when she started becoming interested in comics, I wanted to make sure she read something that represented and looked like her so I handed her a copy of Araña. That was five years ago, and now she is 12 and is immersed in finding representation in what she reads.
It’s small stories like this that amplify the importance of diversity in literature and, in this case, comics. It is for that reason that the launching of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s La Borinqueña comes at a much needed time.
Color Commentary returns and this time we’re taking on the first season of Marvel’s Luke Cage.
In the spirit of MST3K and Honest Trailers, Color Commentary is done in complete satire, is intended for a mature audience and is meant for entertainment purposes only. In other words, if you take any of this seriously, you are a fracking idiot.
So in desperate need of attention and relevance, Rob Liefeld has decided to weigh in on the #AAIronFist controversy.
For those of you just joining us, this summary here breaks it down.
Created at the height of the 1970s kung-fu movie craze, Iron Fist is an American who learns martial arts from masters at the hidden city of K’un-Lun. He becomes their best student and earns the power of Iron Fist, the ability to channel superhuman energy into his fists. Basically it’s a story about a white guy being better at martial arts than everyone else, steeped in tropes that critics regard as examples of cultural appropriation.
According to Liefeld, Iron Fist “has never ever been considered racist,” (never ever never ever) and casting an Asian American actor would be “reverse white-washing.”