The Museum of Chinese in America is pleased to announce the launch of two new exhibitions exploring the relationship between Asian Americans and comic books – Marvels and Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 and Alt.Comics: Asian American Artists Reinvent the Comic Book, on view from September 27, 2012 through February 24, 2013. The opening reception will be on Thursday September 27, 2012 from 6:00 – 8:00pm.
Recently donated to the NYU Fales Library & Special Collection, Marvels and Monsters is drawn from what is widely considered the world’s largest archive of comic books featuring images of Asian and Americans, painstakingly collected over four turbulent decades (1940s to 1980s) by science fiction author and cultural studies scholar William F. Wu. The compilation offers a unique glimpse into America’s evolving racial and cultural sensibilities, as depicted by wartime images of racist propaganda and xenophobic anxiety over Chinese immigration to lasting archetypes which continue to define America’s perception of Asians today.
According to curator Jeff Yang, “All of the key elements that have shaped who we are as a people have occurred during this time: Pearl Harbor, Japanese internment camps, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, ethnic enclaves, the Asian American rights movement, and the economic rise of Japan and China. What Wu has done is to collect images shaped by political forces to tell a narrative of how America views Asians.”
Marvels and Monsters is a selection of the most indelible images from Wu’s collection, placed within a historical context and juxtaposed with insights from contemporary Asian American writers and artists Ken Chen, Larry Hama, David Henry Hwang, Vijay Prashad, and Gene Luen Yang. The exhibition also incorporates elements meant to encourage direct engagement with the archetypes, such as life-size cutouts allowing visitors to put themselves “inside the image” and an installation called “Shades of Yellow” which matches the shades used for Asian skin tones in the comics with their garish Pantone TM color equivalents.
Alt.Comics extends the conversation of Marvels & Monsters into the present, showcasing the efforts of Asian American artists to establish a new and authentic identity by subverting stereotypes and juxtaposing disparate images. The exhibition focuses on alternative and independent comic spaces, particularly in the hubs of San Francisco and New York, which produced many of the most prominent artists in the independent scene. The exhibition features work by: Larry Hama, Alex Joon Kim, Derek Kirk Kim, Jerry Ma, Christine Norrie, Thien Pham, Lark Pien, Jason Shiga, GB Tran, and Gene Luen Yang.
This exhibition includes excerpts from Secret Identities Volume 2: Shattered, a follow-up to the groundbreaking compilation using the comic format “to upend, re-envision, re-imagine – to shatter – the distorted and negative images that have shadowed Asian Americans since the earliest days of our arrival in this country.” The Secret Identities component includes the work of: Jeremy Arambulo, Jef Castro, Louie Chin, Johann Choi, Ming Doyle, Robin Ha, Kripa Joshi, Eric Kim, Alice Meichi Li, Jerry Ma, Jamie Noguchi, Saumin Patel, Tak Toyoshima, GB Tran, Glenn Urieta, and DaFu Yu.
Marvels & Monsters is curated by Jeff Yang and organized by the A/P/A Institute at NYU. It was originally exhibited at NYU Fales Library, and was recently shown at the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia. Alt.Comics is curated by Jeff Yang for the Museum of Chinese in America.
These exhibitions are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts (Museums Program), celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State’s 62 counties, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support is provided by Museum members.
About William F. Wu, Collector
Nominated five times for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, William F. Wu has published over a dozen novels, including the best-selling 1996 STAR WARS: Tales from Jabba’s Palace and Avon’s young adult SF series Isaac Asimov’s Robots in Time. His most acclaimed book, Hong on the Range, was chosen for the Wilson Library Bulletin’s list of science fiction “Books Too Good To Miss,” a selection for the American Library Association list of Best Books for Young People, the New York Public Library’s Recommended Books for the Teen Age, and was also a Young Adult Editor’s Choice by Booklist. A prolific short story writer, Wu’s works have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies; his short story “Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium” was a multiple award nominee that was adapted into an episode of the television series The Twilight Zone. He has a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation, published in book form as The Yellow Peril: Chinese Americans in American Fiction, 1850-1940 (Archon Books, 1982).
About Jeff Yang, Curator
Jeff Yang began reading and collecting comics at the age of eight, and hasn’t allowed distractions like adulthood, marriage and fatherhood to deter him since. He has written the column “Asian Pop” for the San Francisco Chronicle for the past six years, and penned a series of acclaimed and bestselling books — Eastern Standard Time; I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action (the action icon’s official autobiography); Once Upon a Time in China; and, most recently, the seminal graphic novel collection Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology. He began his career as founding editor and publisher of the pioneering Asian American periodical A. Magazine and as a cultural critic for New York’s alternative weekly the Village Voice. He can frequently be heard as a contributor on NPR’s Tell Me More, PRI’s The Takeaway, and other public radio programs. He, his wife Heather and his sons Hudson and Skyler live in Brooklyn, New York. He writes a column for the Wall Street Journal online called Tao Jones.
About Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)
MOCA’s mission is to celebrate the living history of the Chinese experience in America, to inspire our diverse communities to contribute to America’s evolving cultural narrative and civil society, and to empower and bridge our communities across generations, ethnicities and geography through our dynamic stories.
MOCA is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution that presents the living history, heritage, culture and diverse experiences of Chinese Americans through exhibitions, educational services and public programs. It began in 1980 as the community-based New York Chinatown History Project founded by community and student activists led by historian John Kuo Wei Tchen and Charles Lai. It has since grown to encompass the stories and journeys of the many communities of Chinese America, both in the New York Metro area and across the U.S., including new immigrants and established multi-generation families.
Since late 2009, when MOCA moved into its new space, designed by Maya Lin and located at the crossroads of Soho and Chinatown, its exhibitions, programs and audiences have grown in size and scope. This was made possible by a unique public/private partnership between collaborative government efforts to rebuild Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11 and MOCA’s growing community of donors led by its Board of Trustees. Currently, MOCA’s family consists of its many visitors, members, scholars, artists, activists, and families with young children as well as a growing base of young professionals, business leaders and entrepreneurs. For more info and upcoming events, please visit www.mocanyc.org.
The Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street New York, NY 10013
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:
â€¢ Larry Hama (writer, G.I. Joe)
â€¢ Bernard Chang (artist, Wonder Woman)
â€¢ Cliff Chiang (artist, Green Arrow)
â€¢ Derek Kirk Kim (artist, The Eternal Smile)
â€¢ Greg Pak (writer, Incredible Hulk)
â€¢ Khoi Pham (artist, Mighty Avengers)
â€¢ Sean Chen (artist, Iron Man)
â€¢ Christina Strain (colorist, Runaways)
â€¢ Fred Chao (writer/artist, Johnny Hiro)
â€¢ Christine Norrie (artist, Breaking Up)
â€¢ Tak Toyoshima (writer/artist, Secret Asian Man)
â€¢ Misako Rocks! (writer/artist, Biker Girl)
â€¢ Kuo-Yu Liang (VP Sales & Marketing, Diamond Book Distributors)
â€¢ Sharad Devarajan (CEO, Liquid Comics)
â€¢ William F. Wu (writer, Hong on the Range)
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Jimmy J. Aquino (writer, “Sampler,” SECRET IDENTITIES)
â€¢ Jeremy Arambulo (writer/artist, ROGUE SOUP & BUG)
â€¢ Bernard Chang (artist, WONDER WOMAN)
â€¢ Sean Chen (artist, IRON MAN)
â€¢ Tyler Chin-Tanner (writer/artist, AMERICAN TERRORIST)
â€¢ Robin Ha (writer/artist, THE MAGIC 8-BALL)
â€¢ Dongyun Lee (writer/artist, ZOOM)
â€¢ Yali Lin (writer/artist, SHAKESPEARE’S ROMEO & JULIET)
â€¢ Jerry Ma (art director, SECRET IDENTITIES)
â€¢ Allan Norico (writer/artist, THINGS I’VE SEEN AT SHOWS)
â€¢ Khoi Pham (artist, MIGHTY AVENGERS)
â€¢ Misako Rocks! (writer/artist, BIKER GIRL)
â€¢ Sarah Sapang (artist, “16 Miles,” SECRET IDENTITIES)
â€¢ Christina Strain (colorist, RUNAWAYS)
â€¢ Alex Tarampi (artist, “Gaman,” SECRET IDENTITIES)
â€¢ Tak Toyoshima (writer/artist, SECRET ASIAN MAN)
â€¢ Paul Wei (writer/artist, THE ADVENTURES OF MAXWELL & GRANDMA)
â€¢ 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.
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.
· 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.
· 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.
· 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.