First Asian American Comicon Is a Cool Success

Greg Pak & Jeff Arambulo
Greg Pak & Jeremy Arambulo

[Photo by Jody Culkin]

Asian American ComiCon Announces Final Guests/Schedule

Press Release:

The organizers of the First Annual Asian American ComiCon (AACC) have announced the complete Featured Guest list and final Schedule of Events for this celebration of the unique contemporary role and historical legacy of Asians and Asian Americans in the world of graphic fiction, which will take place Saturday, July 11, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre Street in New York).

Confirmed Special Guests Include:
• Larry Hama (writer, G.I. Joe)
• Bernard Chang (artist, Wonder Woman)
• Cliff Chiang (artist, Green Arrow)
• Derek Kirk Kim (artist, The Eternal Smile)
• Greg Pak (writer, Incredible Hulk)
• Khoi Pham (artist, Mighty Avengers)
• Sean Chen (artist, Iron Man)
• Christina Strain (colorist, Runaways)
• Fred Chao (writer/artist, Johnny Hiro)
• Christine Norrie (artist, Breaking Up)
• Tak Toyoshima (writer/artist, Secret Asian Man)
• Misako Rocks! (writer/artist, Biker Girl)
• Kuo-Yu Liang (VP Sales & Marketing, Diamond Book Distributors)
• Sharad Devarajan (CEO, Liquid Comics)
• William F. Wu (writer, Hong on the Range)
• The Editors of Secret Identities (www.secretidentities.org)

Other special guests of the con will include: Ben Nugent, author, American Nerd; Hua Hsu, professor, Vassar College; Ed Lin, author of Waylaid and This Is a Bust; Monica Ferrell, author, The Answer Is Always Yes; Monica Youn, author, Ignatz (forthcoming); Vyshali Manivannan, author, Invictus; Paolo Javier, author, 60 lv Bo(e)mbs; Jennifer Lee, former editor, Marvel Comics and DC Comics; Kai-Ming Cha, comics and manga reporter, Publishers Weekly; Aimee Bahng, assistant professor, English, Dartmouth College; Ken Okabayashi, founder of Piggy Back Studios; Tyler Chin-Tanner, artist/writer, American Terrorist; Daniel Ketchum, editor, Marvel Comics; Karl Taro Greenfield, author, Speed Tribes; and Arune Singh, sales coordinator, Marvel Comics.

In addition, the following creators will be participating in the AACC’s Artists Alley, and will conduct signing and sketch sessions throughout the day. Each artist will also donate an original sketch for AACC’s silent auction, proceeds to benefit the nonprofit Museum of Chinese in America.

• Jimmy J. Aquino (writer, “Sampler,” SECRET IDENTITIES)

• Jeremy Arambulo (writer/artist, ROGUE SOUP & BUG)

• Bernard Chang (artist, WONDER WOMAN)

• Sean Chen (artist, IRON MAN)

• Tyler Chin-Tanner (writer/artist, AMERICAN TERRORIST)

• Robin Ha (writer/artist, THE MAGIC 8-BALL)

• Dongyun Lee (writer/artist, ZOOM)

• Yali Lin (writer/artist, SHAKESPEARE’S ROMEO & JULIET)

• Jerry Ma (art director, SECRET IDENTITIES)

• Allan Norico (writer/artist, THINGS I’VE SEEN AT SHOWS)

• Khoi Pham (artist, MIGHTY AVENGERS)

• Misako Rocks! (writer/artist, BIKER GIRL)

• Sarah Sapang (artist, “16 Miles,” SECRET IDENTITIES)

• Christina Strain (colorist, RUNAWAYS)

• Alex Tarampi (artist, “Gaman,” SECRET IDENTITIES)

• Tak Toyoshima (writer/artist, SECRET ASIAN MAN)

• Paul Wei (writer/artist, THE ADVENTURES OF MAXWELL & GRANDMA)

• Ken Wong (writer/artist, SCHRODINGER’S CAT)

COMPLETE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

The event will be divided into three tracks: Reading Comics, Making Comics, and Creator Spotlight. Each track includes a diverse range of interactive and immersive panels and workshops, featuring leading Asian and Asian American figures from comics, literature and academia.

Reading Comics

How do we read comic books today? This track answers this question by putting comic book artists at the same table with novelists, professors and industry professionals. A mash-up of fan convention, Asian American studies conference and literary festival, this one-of-a-kind series of panels and readings confronts pressing issues, such as the globalization of pop culture, the representation of Asian Americans in comics, and, of course, the nature of nerdiness.

Sessions Include:

· Nerdpop: The Rise of the Nerds!: Asian Americans have long been stereotyped as “nerds,” but nerdiness has become something to celebrate. With the rise of digital culture and the mainstreaming of comic books and other once nerdy genres, nerds have gone from persecuted minority to masters of the universe. This panel examines the historical development of nerd identity, particularly among Asian Americans, and the aesthetics of nerd pride. Moderated by Hua Hsu, professor, English, Vassar College, featuring panelists Ben Nugent, author, American Nerd; Derek Kirk Kim, artist/writer, Same Difference & Other Stories; and Keith Chow, senior editor, Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology

· Every Comic Is Asian American: The most prominent Asian American comic characters have typically been slanty-eyed sidekicks and supervillains, speaking in broken English and colored the shade of school buses. This panel starts with an all-star line-up of novelists and poets re-imagining their favorite comic book characters as Asian American and continues with a panel of professors, artists, and journalists discussing how Asian Americans have been represented in graphic novels. Moderated by Ken Chen, executive director of The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, featuring panelists like Ed Lin, author, Waylaid and This Is a Bust; Monica Ferrell, author, The Answer Is Always Yes; Monica Youn, author, Ignatz (forthcoming); Vyshali Manivannan, author, Invictus; Paolo Javier, author, 60 lv Bo(e)mbs; and Karl Taro Greenfeld, author, Speed Tribes

· The Asianization of Pop Culture: The rise of the graphic novel could really be described as the Asianization of American pop culture. In fact, the graphic novel renaissance has in many ways been powered by the popularity of manga, Japanese comics that still account for half of the new comics released in the America today. Panelists discuss the influence of manga, manhwa, and anime on American comics and American pop culture more generally. Moderated by Kai-Ming Cha, comics and manga reporter, Publishers Weekly, featuring panelists Aimee Bahng, assistant professor, English, Dartmouth College; Kuo-Yu Liang, VP, Sales & Marketing, Diamond Book Distributors; Ken Okabayashi, founder of Piggy Back Studios; and Misako Rocks!, artist/writer, Biker Girl

· The New Villains: Muslim insurgents. Chinese spies. North Korean dictators. Is it just us, or are Asians increasingly being cast in the role of the global evildoer? What’s the history of the portrayal of villainous Asians in comics and cartoon art, how does that history shape what we’re seeing in those fields today, and what does this mean for Asians and Asian Americans in the real world? Moderated by Jeff Yang, editor-in-chief, Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, featuring panelists Larry Hama, creator, G.I. Joe mythology; William F. Wu, author, Hong on the Range and The Yellow Peril; Tyler Chin-Tanner, artist/writer, American Terrorist; and Sharad Devarajan, CEO, Liquid Comics

Track Two: Making Comics
This track focuses on the art and business of making comics- from alt-comics and literary graphic fiction to mainstream superhero books and syndicated strips. Featured workshops will include a hands-on demonstration by leading creators; explorations of the business side of comics; and other sessions highlighting comics as a profession, a discipline, an art form and a commercial landscape.

Sessions include:

· Writers’ Bloc: Writers of indie and superhero comics and a syndicated comic strip discuss the craft of scripting sequential art and their strategies for tackling everyday creative challenges. Moderated by Greg Pak, writer, The Incredible Hulk and War Machine, featuring panelists Fred Chao, artist/writer, Johnny Hiro; Larry Hama, creator, G.I. Joe mythology; Christine Norrie, artist/writer, Cheat; and Tak Toyoshima, artist/writer, Secret Asian Man

· Visual Storytelling-The Art of Collaboration: Top graphical storytellers share their experiences and tips for making the most of the challenges and opportunities of collaboration between pencillers, inkers, colorists, and writers. Moderated by Greg Pak, writer, The Incredible Hulk and War Machine, featuring panelists Sean Chen, artist, Iron Man; Daniel Ketchum, editor, Marvel Comics; Derek Kirk Kim, artist/writer, Same Difference & Other Stories; Khoi Pham, artist, Mighty Avengers; and Christina Strain, colorist, Runaways

· Visual Storytelling-Hands On: A diverse group of acclaimed artists sketch in real time as they discuss their different approaches in making creative choices. Moderated by Greg Pak, writer, The Incredible Hulk and War Machine, featuring panelists Bernard Chang, artist, Wonder Woman; Fred Chao, artist/writer, Johnny Hiro; Cliff Chiang, artist, Green Arrow/Black Canary; and Misako Rocks!, artist/writer, Biker Girl

· The Business of Comics: For anyone who’s ever dreamed of joining the comics world, here’s your chance to get an insider’s look at the commercial side of graphical storytelling. Comic book pros from every corner of the biz introduce their fields and discuss breaking in, maintaining a career, and keeping up with what the future has in store. Moderated by Jennifer Lee, former editor, Marvel and DC Comics, featuring panelists Bernard Chang, artist, Wonder Woman; Fletcher Chu-Fong, manager, Events & Retail, DC Comics; Kuo-Yu Liang, VP, Sales & Marketing, Diamond Book Distributors; Arune Singh, sales coordinator, Marvel Comics; Tak Toyoshima, artist/writer, Secret Asian Man; and Sharad Devarajan, CEO, Liquid Comics

Track Three: CREATOR SPOTLIGHT Sessions
In this track top comics creators paired with interesting counterparts (outside of comics) for one-on-one discussions covering craft, inspirations and influences, shared themes and future collaborations.

Sessions Include:

· Similar Differences-SPOTLIGHT on Derek Kirk Kim: A candid discussion with the brilliant author and artist of Same Difference and Other Stories and co-creator, with Gene Yang, of the new graphic novel The Eternal Smile. Moderated by Jeff Yang, editor-in-chief, Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology

· From Chop-Chop to Silver Samurai-SPOTLIGHT ON: William F. Wu: A guided tour with science fiction legend William F. Wu, as he shares samples from his collection of thousands of comics depicting Asian images…good, bad, and definitely ugly. Moderated by Jeff Yang, editor-in-chief, Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology

· Hama Time!-SPOTLIGHT on Larry Hama: Catching up with comics pioneer Larry Hama, creator of the G.I. Joe universe and winner of this year’s KIYAMA AWARD! Moderated by Keith Chow, senior editor, Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology

All tracks are open to all AACC registrants; however, to manage traffic flow and seating, we will ask registrants to tentatively identify which sessions they intend to join upon receiving confirmation of their attendance. Space for some sessions is limited, and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, with VIP Pass holders receiving priority.

Tickets for the nonprofit Asian American ComiCon are $15 for students, $25 for adults (18 and older), and $75 for a special VIP Pass, entitling the bearer to priority reserved seating at all panels and workshops, a complimentary Asian American graphic novel, signed by its creators, and an original sketch from one of the artists participating in the event’s Artists Alley. Registration will be limited to 250 attendees, and is available in advance through the following link: https://www.nycharities.org/event/event.asp?CE_ID=4187

In addition, DISCOUNTED ADMISSIONS are available through the following sponsoring organizations. TO REGISTER AT DISCOUNTED RATES, CALL BEATRICE CHEN at the Museum of Chinese in America, 212.619.4785 x104 and provide an authorized discount code. Note: All passes may sell out before the day of the event.

Asian American ComiCon (July 2009)

Convention Website: http://www.secretidentities.org/aacc/

Date(s):: July 11, 2009

Location: Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street, New York, NY

Number of Dealers/Exhibitors Tables:: NA

Projected Attendance:: NA

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Larry Hama to Receive Kiyama Award at AACC

Larry Hama receives the Kiyama Award at AACC.

Larry Hama receives the Kiyama Award at AACC.

The organizers of the First Annual Asian American ComiCon (AACC), a celebration of the unique contemporary role and historical legacy of Asians and Asian Americans in the world of graphic fiction, have announced the presentation of the Henry Y. Kiyama Award to comics pioneer Larry Hama at the event, to be held on Saturday, July 11, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre Street in New York).

“We want this annual award to recognize the contribution of Asian and Asian Americans to U.S. comic book culture,” says Jeff Yang, co-chair of the event and editor-in-chief of the graphic novel collection Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology. “No one better exemplifies that contribution than Henry Kiyama, whose career represented the convergence of two worlds and industries, and whose work pointed the way to the future of graphic storytelling.”

Kiyama published his breakthrough book The Four Immigrants in 1931. A poignant collection of cartoon stories about life as a Japanese student expatriate in early 20th century San Francisco, it explores the issues these early immigrants faced in a world whose language, culture and traditions were new, strange and confusing. Originally intended for newspaper serialization, Kiyama’s stories were never published in that form; instead, they were ultimately released as a single book-length collection. This publication format, along with the fact that the stories in Four Immigrants featured a group of semiautobiographical characters (based on Kiyama and his friends) who grew, evolved and contended with real historical issues and events, has led some to advocate that it be recognized as the first original graphic novel published in America (arriving a decade before Virginia Lee Burton’s Calico the Wonder Horse in 1941 and nearly two decades before Arnold Drake and Leslie Waller’s It Rhymes with Lust in 1950). Since 1999, Kiyama’s landmark book has been made available by Berkeley, CA–based Stone Bridge Press.

Tickets for the nonprofit Asian American ComiCon are $15 for students, $25 for adults (18 and older), and $75 for a special VIP Pass, entitling the bearer to priority reserved seating at all panels and workshops, a complimentary Asian American graphic novel, signed by its creators, and an original sketch from one of the artists participating in the event’s Artists Alley. Registration will be limited, and is available in advance through the following link: https://www.nycharities.org/event/event.asp?CE_ID=4187  Note: All passes may sell out before the day of the event.

First Asian American ComiCon Set for July

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Anime, Comic Books, Convention News, New York

The First Asian American ComiCon (AACC)

Saturday, July 11, 2009 from 10am – 5pm

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), in collaboration with Secret Identities Universe Media, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Asian CineVision, AsianAmericanComics.com. NYU Asian/Pacific/American Institute and Diamond Comics Distributors, presents a day-long event that explores the unique contemporary role and historical legacy of Asians and Asian Americans in the world of comics and graphic fiction.

Unlike most comic cons, AACC is designed as a full-day experience, giving you the chance to listen to, learn from and engage with top creators in both casual and structured settings. In fact, you might want to think of the “Con” in Asian American ComiCon as representing not “convention,” but “conference”—or even “conversation.”

The event will bring together leading Asian and Asian American creators, fans and readers of mainstream and alternative graphic fiction, and the larger Asian American community for a one-of-a-kind gathering, incorporating education, dialogue, spontaneous creativity, intergenerational outreach and the chance for established and emerging talent to show off their work.

The day’s program includes both free-form opportunities to interact with artists, writers and fans (the Artists Alley, signing sessions and “meet & greets”), dynamic panels, workshops and one-on-one interviews, and a special keynote and award presentation honoring comics superstar and G.I. Joe mythology creator Larry Hama.

Featured Guests:
• Fred Chao (writer/artist, JOHNNY HIRO)
• Bernard Chang (artist, WONDER WOMAN)
• Cliff Chiang (artist, GREEN ARROW)
• Sean Chen (artist, IRON MAN)
• Larry Hama (writer, GI JOE)
• Derek Kirk Kim (creator, SAME DIFFERENCE)
• Greg Pak (writer, INCREDIBLE HULK)
• Khoi Pham (artist, MIGHTY AVENGERS)
• Christine Norrie (artist, BREAKING UP)
• Christine Strain (colorist, Marvel Comics)
• Tak Toyoshima (writer/artist, SECRET ASIAN MAN)

AND MORE!!

In addition to an exhibition room and an Artists’ Alley, the Asian American ComiCon will feature three concurrent programming tracks:

• The SPOTLIGHT features high-profile comic creators in one-on-one settings discussing some of the ways in which the comics and non-comics worlds are overlapping and interleaving. Scheduled to participate in these sessions are Derek Kirk Kim (The Eternal Smile, Same Difference & Other Stories) and Larry Hama (G.I. Joe: Origins, Barack the Barbarian).

• READING COMICS, curated by AAWW Executive Director Ken Chen, explores comics as literature, as texts, and as cultural artifacts, with speakers including non-comics creators and critics as well as comics artists and writers.

• Finally, MAKING COMICS, programmed by Marvel writer Greg Pak, allows creators to share their insights on the industry and profession with those wanting a behind-the-scenes look at comics or advice on how to pursue a career in the field.

Ticket Information:
VIP Pass: $75*
Adult: $25
MOCA or AAWW Member: $15
Student (with a valid ID) and Senior (65 and over): $15
Child (age 10 and under): Free with Adult

*The tax-deductible VIP Pass not only helps to support MOCA, it also guarantees the richest possible experience at this event! Including:

• Priority reserved seating at all panels and workshops

• One Original Sketch drawn by an artist from the AACC Artists Alley–artist availability based on first-come, first-serve basis

• One classic Asian American graphic novel, signed by its creators–choose from:
Secret Identities: The Asian American Anthology (The New Press),
Good As Lily (DC Comics), or
Johnny Hiro Volume 1 (AdHouse Books)

• Admission to the invitation-only, post-Con VIP Reception

Click here for more information and registration. Purchase your tickets before they sell out!

The First Annual Asian American ComiCon is presented by:

The Museum of Chinese in America (www.mocanyc.org): Founded in 1980, Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage, culture and diverse experiences of people of Chinese descent in the United States. Through innovative exhibitions as well as educational and public programs, MOCA promotes dialogue and understanding among people of all cultural backgrounds.

SIUniverse Media (www.secretidentities.org): SIUniverse Media is the editorial and production team behind the pioneering Asian American superhero anthology Secret Identities, as well as its affiliated video, online and educational resources. Committed to raising up new voices from the Asian American community and creating original, authentic and engaging stories with an organically multicultural perspective, we strive to create work that pops eyes, drops jaws and opens minds, all at the same time.

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (www.aaww.org): Founded in 1991, the Workshop is the largest non-profit devoted to the creating, publishing, developing and disseminating of creative writing by Asian Americans. A community of readers and writers and the country’s preeminent authority on Asian American writing, the Workshop dedicates itself to empowering emerging writers of great promise to make the transition to a career in the literary arts.

Asian CineVision (www.asiancinevision.org): Asian CineVision is a nonprofit media arts organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Asian and Asian American media expressions by helping to develop and support both emerging and experienced Asian American film and video makers and other media artists working in a range of genres and styles; and helping to ensure that the full spectrum of Asian and Asian American media works reach diverse audiences in Asian American communities and beyond.

Asian American Comics (www.asianamericancomics.com): Edited by Greg Pak, writer of Incredible Hulk and creator of the Marvel superhero Amadeus Cho, AsianAmericanComics.com is devoted to spreading the word about Asian American comic books, comic book characters and comic book creators. We hope AsianAmericanComics.com will help neophytes find interesting reading material, point existing readers towards new creators and books and provide fans and pros a place to read all the latest news. For more about Pak’s work, visit Pakbuzz.com.

Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. (www.diamondcomics.com): The world’s largest distributor of English-language comic books and related merchandise, Diamond Comic Distributors is based in Timonium, MD, with strategically located Distribution Centers servicing more than 4,000 specialty retailers worldwide.