Tag Archives: comics

Hunting BET’s Black Panther

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by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

Awhile back, Ghetto Manga reported that the Black Panther animated series, long in development for BET, had finally aired … but in Australia.

Awesome, I thought. And sure enough, ABC3, the Australian Broadcast Company’s kiddie channel, has Black Panther listed on its’ website. Surely BET would be happy to follow up on this, right?

Not quite. Instead, over the past two weeks, calls to both the media affairs and programming offices in both D.C. and Los Angeles either were not returned, or passed around to various names in both departments. In one instance, someone in the D.C. media relations dept. said the initial report was incorrect because BET didn’t air in Australia. In the meantime, if any of our Aussie readers have caught the show – Hexy, are you there? – please feel free to send us a review.

Race & Comics Roundup: Archie’s Romance, Milestone’s Return & The Great Ten

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By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

Chris Sims at The Comic Alliance highlighted the cover to Archie #608, which points in the direction of a decidedly different type of crossover between Archie and his gang and Josie & The Pussycats – specifically, the eponymous Mr. Andrews and Valerie, so uh, memorably played by Rosario Dawson in the 2001 Josie live-action film.

As Sims points out via a column by former Milestone Comics editor-in-chief Dwayne McDuffie, this isn’t the first time a member of the Archie creative team has tried to introduce an inter-racial romance to the staid Riverdale scene, only the first successful attempt. In 1992, McDuffie says, Betty & Me writer Matt Wayne wanted to give Betty Cooper a beau of her own to give Archie some competition for her affection (a twist on Betty and Veronica’s never-ending battle for Archie’s heart).

Wayne’s candidate was to be college freshman Dexter Howard, a young black co-worker of Betty’s. As another twist, Dexter wasn’t going to be a “bad guy,” but would instead befriend Archie despite their competing interest in Betty. Unfortunately, McDuffie says, the idea never got off the ground, as Wayne’s editor, Daryl Edelman, had the story soundly rejected by one of Edelman’s superiors:

[Edelman's superior] hated the stuff, wanting to know why Dexter was so much more accomplished than Archie, “What is he, super-Negro?” (at least, “Negro” is what everyone who told me this story reported him as saying. I have a sneaking suspicion that they were trying to save my feelings). Darryl was very upset and told off his boss, but to no avail. He was ordered to change the story in the cheapest way possible: Dexter was to be re-colored white. Unfortunately, this fooled approximately no one. Archie’s offices were flooded with four or five letters congratulating them on their progressive move of adding that “cool, black guy” to Betty’s cast. Uh oh.

Wayne was subsequently fired after only two issues. Continue reading

Campus Ghost Story [Comic Review]

by Guest Contributor Jenn, originally published at Reappropriate

Campus Ghost Story Trailer from People Pictures on Vimeo.

When I was in college, there sure as heck weren’t zombies, ghosts, and incredibly beautiful people having a bunch of sex with each other. Okay, at least there weren’t a lot of zombies and ghosts.

Filmmaker Quentin Lee has teamed up with artist John Hahn to write and illustrate an online graphic novel entitled Campus Ghost Story. Both Asian American, Lee and Hahn have set out to create a “fun and sexy horror story” that “[at] the heart of it is about how young adults construct their identity and fear against issues of race, gender and sexuality”.

Since I’m y’know me, I pretty much jumped at the idea of a couple of Asian American creators making a comic book about race and gender. And who doesn’t love a good comic with sexuality, right?

So, since I’m sitting here at my desk waiting for tissue to digest (I won’t bore you with the science-y details), I decided to check out the 13-page preview of Campus Ghost Story (which, it seems, represents the first of eight chapters in the book). Continue reading

NOCs (Nerds of Color)[Essay]

By Guest Contributor Bao Phi, originally posted at the Star Tribune Your Voices Blog

I’ve told this story a million times: when I was young, my father kept me off the streets and saved much needed money buying me the toys I wanted by getting me a library card and teaching me to walk to the Franklin Avenue library, and there began my love of books and stories.

What I’ve written less about is the books I gravitated towards: books about mythological monsters, Greek gods and heroes, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Lord of the Rings, my older sister’s Elfquest collection and X-men comic books.  And the secret of many a nerd of color from the ‘hood: my lifelong devotion with role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, and Vampire: the Masquerade (making vampire fixations embarrassing long before Stephanie Meyer).

Although I had friends in and out of the neighborhood who were also nerds, it definitely wasn’t typical.  I remember one of my fellow nerds of color inviting me to a Rifts game in a tough tone of voice as if he was initiating me into a gang, all the while looking around nervously as if his street cred would be in serious jeopardy if anyone overheard him talking about how much SDC a Glitterboy had.

Nowadays of course, being a nerd can mean big money.  Everything from Tolkien to comic books to video games is finding its way into mainstream America’s fast food blood stream.  Along with it seems to be the rebellious streak that goes along with being the kid who gets picked on for knowing how to write in Tolkien’s Dwarven – a certain righteousness about being the odd person out, the strange smug martyrdom that comes from knowing that painting miniatures and possessing a dice bag marked you as being a freak and an outsider.

But then how do nerds of color like me fit in, and how do we deal with fellow nerds who don’t want to talk about things like race and class in comic books, video games, role playing games, and movies?   I’ll be the first to admit, I got into all of that stuff for the escapism it allowed.  It was invaluable to me, as a refugee from a war growing up in an economically poor urban area, to fantasize that I was someone else, somewhere else.  I’d rather be a paladin with a war horse riding to battle a chimera than be the Vietnamese ghetto refugee nerd running from the dudes on my block who tried to jump me on my way to and from CUHCC clinic to get my teeth cleaned.

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Picture This: Chromatic Comics Remixes Your Fandoms

by special correspondent Arturo R. García

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My friends at Fantastic Fangirls turned me on to the Chromatic Comics meme that went around LiveJournal, Dreamwidth and similar blog sites. Simply put: a number of bloggers re-cast various fandoms with all-POC casts. Below are a few notable examples with links attached.

From Bossymarmalade’s Chromatic Marvel, you saw Vanessa Williams as Emma Frost up top. Add to that:

Diego Luna as Gambit
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John Cho as Multiple Man
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From Entwasian’s Chromatic Buffy:

Percy Daggs III as Xander Harris
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Secret Identities Superhero Contest Winner: Hush

By Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

I apologize that this took so long… At long last, here’s the final winner from our Secret Identities Superhero Contest, where readers were asked to submit their own original idea for an Asian American superhero. We would have posted this sooner, but understandably, superstar comic book artist Bernard Chang is a busy man. So without further ado, here is Hush by Juli Martin, as rendered above by Bernard Chang.

EDITORS’ NOTES

We apologize for the long delay, but we were set on having Bernard Chang, the superstar artist behind Greg Pak’s THE CITIZEN in SECRET IDENTITIES, bring this last winning hero to life–in part because he also happens to be the artist for DC’s WONDER WOMAN, making him the perfect guy to visualize this powerful female hero. Unfortunately, as you might guess, Bernard’s a busy guy!

As for why we picked Hush as a winner in our contest: We loved the uniqueness of Hush’s background–how many other lesbian, transracially adopted superheroines are there in comics? Not enough!–and the rich emotions at play in her characterization. We did end up editing aspects of her power and origin, however, both to make her code name make sense and to bring her power away from that of other characters.

We also liked the notion of turning a vulnerability into a power: In this edit, Jane goes from self-imposed isolation and emotional repression to becoming superhumanly empathic; we thought that it was really interesting that such an ability would turn her into a formidable opponent. Think about it: If you could instantly read a person’s emotions and responses, and react with exactly the right physical or verbal cue, you’d be both a killer hand-to-hand combat artist and a devastating manipulator, wouldn’t you?

All in all, a great character, like the other three we discovered through this contest. With any luck, this won’t be the last we’ve heard of any of them!

HERO DESCRIPTION

Abandoned as a newborn, Jane was adopted from Korea by a wealthy white couple at four months. After unexpectedly having two biological children, Jane’s adoptive parents feel they have no use for her, and when she comes out as bisexual at age 13, they kick her out. She is shuffled through the foster care system until aging out, at which point she moves to The Center, a cooperative home for homeless LGBTQ youth. Abandoned so many times, she now calls herself “Jane Doe.”

Jane is a queer femme woman, slim build, 20. Her black hair is cut choppy and asymmetrical, streaked with electric blue. Her style is edgy and futuristic, in black, gray and blue. Continue reading

Trinity: The Black Reality

by Guest Contributor Cheryl Lynn, originally published at Digital Femme

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*

“Baby, you can fall down in the mud, but you don’t have to wallow in it.”

“I’m tellin’ you. It ain’t easy.”

Two sayings. Two grandmothers. Both mine. Both true.

One more saying. This one’s true too.

“This won’t kill me. I won’t die here.”

Martha Washington. The Black Reality.

Like my grandmothers, Martha Washington grew up in a hostile environment–America. More specifically for Martha, she was raised in an alternate version of the Cabrini Green Housing Development, which existed as a cordoned off area of Chicago intended to house those that the government deemed to be undesirable. The Green was relegated to those who were black and those who were poor. As a child, Martha received substandard housing and substandard healthcare. She attended school in a decrepit building outfitted with exposed pipes and outdated school supplies.

But what did Martha need with a decent education? To her country and to her government, she was simply fuel for a brick and mortar Ouroboros. Like her father before her, she was raised to live and die in the Green. Nothing more than a lump of coal to keep society’s dirty engine running.

Funny things happen to lumps of coal when you apply enough pressure. They get hard, durable and sharp enough to cut anything.

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Secret Identities: Parry Shen Unmasked

by Guest Contributor Jenn, originally published at Reappropriate

parryThe Backstory: This interview is the first in a series of interviews with the editors of Secret Identities, an anthology of comic short stories about Asian American superheroes from Asian American writers and artists. Secret Identities hit bookshelves last week, and in case you haven’t heard, it’s awesome.

In This Issue: I spoke with each of the editors one-on-one for about an hour, chatting about a variety of topics from the making of Secret Identities to their favourite comic books when they were a kid. These interviews are based on those conversations.

I thank each of the editors for taking time out of their busy schedules (and their jam-packed book tour) to chat with me.

I first met Parry Shen back in the spring of 2004, when he visited my undergraduate alma mater for a workshop on his experiences as lead actor in Justin Lin’s debut film, Better Luck Tomorrow. At his workshop, I learned a lot about Shen’s experiences as an Asian American actor in a predominantly non-Asian Hollywood. I learned about the difficulties for minority actors in the casting process and the sense of futility, cynicism, and defeat that many Asian American actors ultimately succumb to before leaving the industry altogether. And, I learned about the breath of fresh air that an independent film like Better Luck Tomorrow represented for a large community of struggling Asian American actors, directors and producers. Better Luck Tomorrow was a shot of pure adrenaline; it established to a disillusioned community of Asian American entertainers that a socially-conscious, Asian American-focused project could be made in a profit-driven mainstream Hollywood, and that our community would come out in full force to support it.

Six years later, Shen is hoping to do it again.

Although Shen is the first editor I interviewed for this series, he was the last editor to join the board of Secret Identities. A daily reader of Phil Yu’s Angry Asian Man blog, Shen was thrilled when Yu posted a call for submissions for a collected anthology of Asian American superhero comic stories written by Asian American comic book legends and fanboys alike. A long-time comic book fan, Shen immediately responded to the call for submissions (two of his pieces appear in the book: Hibakusha, a story about a group of young Hiroshima survivors who develop awesome powers, and 16 Miles, a story based on the death of real-life Asian American hero, James Kim). The anthology’s editors were so impressed with Shen’s creativity and enthusiasm, that they invited him to join the board as Managing Editor.

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