This article by Jeff Yang kinda gets it half-way. We don’t need Asian Superheroes for EVERYONE, just for those who consume superhero culture.
It turns out, America did have a superhero called The Green Turtle back in 1940s, but because of anti-Chinese stuff in the day, was never allowed to reveal his identity.
Unfortunately, it just seems like they’re digging through the dumpster to validate themselves here. The Green Turtle might as well be played by Dana Carvey in yellowface. It’s such an old characterization. No modern Asian American can relate to it. As a piece of history, maybe it’s worth noting, but it definitely isn’t relevant anymore.
My own Asian superhero, Agent S, which debut in my alma mater student newspaper UW-Green Bay The Fourth Estate, is set in the present. I combined all the popular American superheroes to date into the archetype. And I also infused it with highly political charged imagery to leave the door open for interpretation and growth. And I’d also set my character in the real world, where Superman, Batman, and James Bond are indeed fictional, and wannabes are lunging off rooftops thinking those characters are real. That’s how I would do my hero justice.
In summary, only those who feel they need Asian superheroes should get them. And if no one gives them that validation, do what I did, come up with your own. That’s the only way they can truly be bulletproof.
I suppose, if I don’t do a mockup, I won’t see what it could possibly look like. Back when I first created the Agent S character, I was basing it on Trigun among other popular anime at the time, and they were all wearing leather. Now it’s all metallic armor, or like the live-action CG Iron Man. The goal is to come up with the newest gimmick that everyone, yes even Jim Lee can’t resist but to knock off.
It was strange that the talk was done through American Intercultural Center (if I’m not mistaken). Overall, it seems as though the audience wasn’t too sophisticated about comic book or mass media culture. They seemed uninterested or a little distant. That might be a genuine problem because it implies the audience members are truly marginalized and not consuming mainstream media. You can pick that up during the Q&A session where they ask questions about racial progress in the depictions in the media as if they didn’t have any control over it. It’s as simple as sitting down and drawing yourself into a superhero and publishing it, but it doesn’t seem they know that.
Anyway, as I’ve joked before, it looks like my run at UW-Green Bay via my Pen Tonic comic strip featuring Agent S as its first Asian superhero made an impact. And anyone who has those actual printed issues of The Fourth Estate are going to have somekind of keepsake increase in value.
Don’t worry, dear fans (not that many), Agent S will return.
Might use GIMP exclusively to draw comics now. Tried to use some existing brushes off the Internet but Photoshop just can’t get the comic book ink look down. Pen Tonic Comics might return. Heck, I might as well finally sit down and finish Agent S.