KAPOW!: Asian American Comics Take Off
What’s Asian American about the Hulk? How about the X-Men? Well, the comic about the not-so-jolly green giant is now in the hands of Asian American indie-director-turned-comics-auteur Greg Pak, while the big-screen Hulk was directed by Asian American Ang Lee. Meanwhile, the latest iteration of the X-Men movies featured three Asian supercharacters. The protagonist of the new Pak-helmed comic Warlock is art student Janie Chin—an ordinary Asian American girl swept up in a tide of weird cosmic events. Asians are all over the comics world today, both as creators and characters, creating what culture critic JEFF YANG calls “a kind of Asian American super-renaissance”. We’ll talk to Yang about how this happened, what it all means, and why it’s worth caring about.
JEFF YANG forecasts new Asian and Asian American consumer trends for the market-research company Iconoculture (www.iconoculture.com) and writes the Asian Pop Culture column for SFGate.com. He is the author of Once Upon a Time in China: A Guide to the Cinemas of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China (Atria Books) and co-author of I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action (Ballantine) and Eastern Standard Time (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin). Go to www.ouatic.com/mojomail/mojo.pl to join Jeff 's biweekly mailing list offering updates on his column and alerts about other breaking Asian and Asian American pop-culture news.
American Born Chinese author Gene Yang
Asian American artists are also at the center of the resurgent indie comics scene, which received an unprecedented nod of acceptance this summer when GENE YANG’s graphic novel American Born Chinese became the first comic book ever to be nominated for a National Book Award. We’ll talk to Yang about his novel, the coming-of-age story of an Asian American kid running the adolescent gauntlet in the subtly racist suburbs—with a little help from the Monkey King, the raucous antihero of Chinese classical literature.
GENE YANG began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work as an adult. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan’s Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim) and The Rosary Comic Book. American Born Chinese was published by First Second Books.
Ellen Young--The New State Assembly Member Talks to APF
Plus, we’ll talk to the newly elected state assembly member ELLEN YOUNG, who will take her seat tomorrow as New York’s state government reconvenes under a new governor, Eliot Spitzer. Young is the first Asian American woman ever to be elected to state office in New York. She represents Flushing, and previously worked for City Council member John Liu, the first Asian American elected official in New York history.
ELLEN YOUNG is a Democrat representing the 22nd District in New York’s state assembly (http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=022&sh=bio). An immigrant from Taiwan, she co-founded the Chinese-American Women’s Association, was named the first female Asian Auxiliary Police Officer in Queens, and served as president of the Chinese American Voters Association. For the last four years, she was District Administrator for Councilman John Liu.
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