Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SDCC 2013

UPDATED (panel info has been added as well)
All week, the city of San Diego has been battening down the hatches in preparation for the flood of fanboys and fangirls inundating the streets tomorrow in time for Comic-Con.

While the SIUniverse team had hopes to be there this year (we're still listed in the program at booth #1221), schedules and circumstances have prevented us from taking part in this year's festivities (plus side? More room for Bernard Chang and his BLVD boys!).  Also, this year marks the first time in over a decade that Epic Proportions will miss the party in San Diego.

But just because we won't be there doesn't mean the SIUniverse won't be well represented at the biggest con of the year. Check out below to find where in the exhibit hall members of the extended SIUniverse family can be found. And use this link to find a searchable map of the hall.

  • Bernard Chang: #1223
  • Giant Robot: #1729 & 1731
  • Erwin Haya: #D06
  • Martin Hsu: #4531
  • Benton Jew: #DD-23
  • Dustin Nguyen: #FF-04
Moreover, several SIUniverse alums can be found on panels throughout the week.
Thursday, July 18
Friday, July 19 
    • 10:00am - 11:00am: DC Comics: My Secret Origin, or How I Broke into Comics: Bernard Chang (Green Lantern Corps) give you an inside look at how some of DC Entertainment's top talent made their careers crafting the tales of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and others.[Room 6DE]
    • 12:00pm - 1:00pm: CBLDF: Raising a Reader: An all-star panel of kids comics creators (including Flight's Kazu Kibuishi) and educators discuss ways to get children excited about reading, encourage creativity, and cultivate a love of literature using great graphic novels and comics. [Room 30CDE]
    • 4:15pm - 5:15pm: DC Comics Superman Unchained: From Concept to Page: Meet the entire all-star creative team of the highly acclaimed Superman: Unchained, including pencilers Jim Lee and Dustin Nguyen. [Room 6DE]
Saturday, July 20
    • 11:00am - 12:00pm: Avatar the Last Airbender: Beginning and Beyond: Gene Luen Yang and others will be on hand to share their experiences and answer questions about Avatar: The Last Airbender. [Room 29A]
    • 12:45pm - 1:45pm: DC Comics Green Lantern: Recharged!: Bernard Chang and others offer an exclusive look at what's in store during this new and exciting time for the Green Lantern Corps. [Room 6DE]
    • 7:30pm - 8:30pm: Angry Asian Media Makers: Lela Lee (creator of Angry Little Asian Girl, Angry Little Girls), Phil Yu (blogger, Angry Asian Man), and Wesley Chan and Ted Fu (Wong Fu productions) discuss the ways that each of them create content and how they grow an engaged fan following. Join them for this Q&A session moderated by fan and dedicated follower Victor Lee.[Room 8]
Sunday, July 21
    • 10:00am - 11:00am: Kids: Comics in Action!: Kazu Kibuishi will compete in an action-packed, high-stakes, no-holds-barred drawing championship for your approval![Room 7AB]
    • 1:30pm - 2:30pm: Shattering Convention in Comic Book Storytelling: Moderated by Racebending.com, this panel of comic book authors discuss their experiences writing diverse and innovative work for big franchises, indie, small press, and web comics. Gene Yang (Avatar: The Last Airbender) joins Brandon Thomas (Miranda Mercury) and Gail Simone (The Movement) to discuss diversity without stereotyping, creating compelling heroes and villains, and reader advocacy. [Room 23ABC
    • 3:30pm - 4:30pm: First Second: Gene Yang and Paul Pope In Conversation: First Second authors Paul Pope (Battling Boy) and Gene Luen Yang (Boxers & Saints) discuss their creative process, their magical-realist storytelling techniques, and their exciting upcoming books -- projects that each author has been working on for the past five years.[Room 26AB]

Hope everyone has fun in sunny southern Cali, and we'll see you all at New York Comic-Con this fall!
The Crew (with Kelly Hu and Cliff Chiang) at SDCC in 2009.

Friday, November 9, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Twelve: Yellow Peril

Walking With Master Hare — Behind the Scenes With Shattered 
Originally posted at Yellow Peril
by Jamie Noguchi
Master Hare
I inherited my love of comics from my dad. He was a huge Marvel fan and when my brother and I found his old collection of Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Thor comics, we were hooked. It never really occurred to me as I was growing up, but as I was about college age, I noticed that my favorite comics lacked heroes that looked like me. Though many of my favorite titles were drawn by Asian artists, there were hardly any Asian heroes in the pages. I was pretty disappointed, but the revelation didn’t put me off comics. In fact, I expanded the types of comics I collected because the super hero genre just wasn’t holding up.

I figured that this was going to the be the state of things. Then a few years ago, I heard about an anthology that would feature Asian American super heroes, Secret Identities: The Asian American Super Hero Anthology.

Be Careful What You Wish For

I ordered a copy of Secret Identities and waited with great anticipation. Would this be the Asian American equivalent of the Milestone Universe, a super hero universe featuring Black super heroes created in the early 90s. Would this anthology encourage the big two to feature more Asian American heroes? I conjured all sorts of hopeful maybes.

It arrived at my doorstep and I tore into the packaging like a mad wolverine to get to its contents. I couldn’t wait to read about super heroes that looked like me. But as I turned the pages, I felt my brow furrow. These weren’t hopeful stories of heroes doing super human deeds. These were angry stories that sought to punish the White Man for years of oppression.

To be fair, not every story came from a place of anger. But the overall vibe of the collection was so angry and bitter that I hid the thing in a dark place on my shelf. I couldn’t recommend this to my non-Asian friends for fear that they’d feel like they were being attacked. I mean, I’m a pretty angry and bitter person in general, but even I felt put off by the overall tone.

These weren’t the heroes I was looking for. These weren’t the stories I had been waiting for.

A Second Glance

Needless to say, I was a bit hesitant when the Secret Identities crew contacted me earlier this year to contribute to their second anthology, Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology. I nearly declined, but I felt that maybe I’d have an opportunity to be part of the solution, to tell a story that featured Asian characters that wasn’t bitter or angry. After some soul searching, I agreed.
I was sent a few scripts to consider and already, my fears were put to rest. These were the kind of stories that I had been looking for. The one that spoke to me the most was Howard Wong’s Master Tortoise and Master Hare. As you might guess, it’s a retelling of the classic Tortoise and Hare fable set in ancient China.

One of my biggest concerns was creating a unique look for Master Hare. To me, the definitive long-eared action hero is Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo. I was afraid that my love for Stan and Usagi would creep into my Master Hare. I hid all my Usagi books and my Stan Sakai sketchbooks and collected screen shots of Kung Fu villains and photos of hares.

With Master Hare somewhat settled, I went on to design Master Tortoise. Again, I had to push out childhood favorites out of my mind. I drew a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when it first hit the airwaves in the late 80′s. Their head shapes, body contours, hands are all second nature to my drawing hand. I can TMNT with the best of them. So I made a concerted effort to lean on my reference photos of actual tortoises. Even so, you can see the TMNT influence in Master Tortoise’s limbs.

I had an absolute blast drawing the story and playing with these characters. I was pretty pleased with the work and couldn’t wait to see how it fit into the rest of the anthology.

Shattered, A Triumph

I was absolutely elated when I read through the preview copy of Shattered that we creators were sent. This anthology is exactly what I had been looking for. Rather than spending time trying to shame the White Man for years of oppression, this collection concentrates on telling good stories that feature Asian leads. This is a comic I would be proud to share with absolutely everyone I know.
It’s a much more subtle statement than the first collection. It’s not trying to shame you for ignoring the plight of Asians in America. It’s telling good stories that are universal in relate-ability and proving that you can do so while featuring minority leads. It’s a powerful statement and one of the reasons I think this is such an important work.

Shattered is on shelves now. If you’re in the DC area and haven’t yet picked up a copy, you can come on down to Busboys and Poets on Monday from 6:30pm to 8:00pm for a signing. I suggest grabbing food at Chinatown Express before to stuff your face full of dumpling and noodle goodness.
And if you’d like to hear from some of the other contributors, here’s a list of us who have blogged about our experiences:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Eleven: Kai Ma

Tempest, the Child Assassin Featured in Shattered, The Asian American Comics Anthology, Out Now
by Kai Ma
Her name is Tempest—and no, the moniker has nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy. The name, rather, is a nod to the storm that occurred the night she was kidnapped from her bedroom as a child. She’s a 13-year-old assassin, trained and raised by a covert organization that shaped her into a merciless killer. She’s also the character I created, with artist Eric Kim, for Shattered, the Secret Identities comics anthology that dropped November 6. 
What goes into creating a comics character? This was new for me. My comics background didn’t go far beyond thumbing through Archie and Ranma ½, devouring Joe Sacco’s Safe Area GoraĹžde and Palestine, or watching My Neighbor Totoro as a teen on acid. But I had to start somewhere. I re-read some Ranma, the beloved gender-swapping martial arts Japanese manga series, and Love and Rockets, by alt-comics pioneers Los Bros Hernandez, as well as Shortcomings and the Optic Nerve series by Adrian Tomine—who illustrated this week’s excellent Sandy and prez election-related cover art for The New Yorker.
The story began to unfold, along with Eric’s artwork. On the eve of her 13th birthday, Tempest is nearly the perfect assassin: a killer without ties to others, without even a sense of self. During a crucial battle, she kills her masked opponent. Once she discovers the face behind the mask, she realizes she has made a horrifying mistake and vows to never kill again. She escapes—as depicted in Eric’s early sketches. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Ten: Natalie Kim

Chinese female pirate story I wrote is OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED!
Originally published at NatalieKim.com 
by Natalie Kim

Big thanks to Secret Identities (Follow them on Twitter:  @SIUniverse) for letting me write a story for their recently published anthology.

Click the image below to buy the book:



A few years ago, I was in a play called Songs of The Dragons Flying To Heaven (by the most amazing playwright, Young Jean Lee) and while on tour (Portland, Oregon & Rotterdam), I came across this story by Maggie Koerth of CNN.
(@MaggieKoerth  (She was also kind enough to give us a shout out in BoingBoing, here.)

A prostitute from Canton from the 19th century married a pirate.  Later on, after her husband died, she took her husband's position as head pirate and lead her fleet to rule the oceans of Asia.  The British could not defeat her and they finally offered her amnesty if she stopped her pirating ways.  She lived till the ripe old age of 69 and died a wealthy lady who owned a gambling hall.

This short report resonated with me so strongly and it spoke to my soul.

I quickly forwarded it to Young Jean and she agreed that it was an amazing story.

I folded the paper I had printed it out and put it on a my messy bookshelf and forgot about it.

Fast Forward to 2010

I met cartoonist Robin Ha while I was doing a reading of Dean Haspiel's comic at at a Brooklyn arts festival.  We said mumbled hello to each other but that was about it.  

A few months later, I found myself sitting at Robin's desk at her studio while she wasn't there.  The kind guys and gals of then cartoonist studio Deep 6 let me do whatever it is I do (a combination of writing, drawing and fretting over minutiae). 

I saw Robin's artwork at her desk and was blown away.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Nine: Secret Asian Man

Shattered: Behind the Scenes
Originally posted at Secret Asian Man
by Tak Toyoshima

When I was contacted by the Secret Identities crew to contribute a story to their second graphic anthology, Shattered,  I jumped at the chance. Then when they sent out a call to help with some inking chores I again jumped at the chance and got to ink a 10 page Shaolin monk vs. zombies story called Qi Lai!, pencilled by Dheeraj Verma and written by Roger Ma (Zombie Combat Manual). Then when the SI guys reached out to see if someone could help with the tail end production of the book to assist prepping files, paginating, tracking edits and sending it off to The New Press for final proofing I was all in.

Now, I don't write this to make you think, "Boy, those guys sure needed a lot of help! What a bunch of lazy drunks!" No, I wrote it to point out what a massive and coordinated undertaking it was to put this book together. To make a point that ALL the people who took part in this book did so on top of their already busy schedules and found the time to contribute because they understood the importance of this project and have a passion for not only sequential art but of the overall mission of Secret Identities. All this despite the fact that they actually are a bunch of drunks. Just not lazy ones.

Monday, November 5, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Eight: Bao Phi

Asian American comic book anthology “Shattered”, in stores this week!
Originally posted at baophi.com
by Bao Phi and G.B. Tran

GBTran1_sketchesThe Asian American comic book anthology “Shattered” is in stores this week, and widely available for order. Added to my bucket list: a character concept of mine is included in it, illustrated by acclaimed graphic novelist G.B. Tran, author of Vietnamerica.
A bunch of us are doing special posts about Shattered. Here are some notes regarding the genesis of this project, from me and G.B., as well as an exclusive look at some sketches and early process that G.B. was gracious enough to send to me.

I was asked by my friend Walidah Imarisha, a fellow geek writer of color, to submit work to a radical sci fi anthology she was putting together. The opportunity lit a fire under me, to write out a concept I had stewing in my brain for quite a while: an apocalyptic tale where Asia and the Middle East are blamed for a mysterious zombie outbreak that devastates middle America, causing the East and West coasts, and Canada and Mexico, to wall off Middle America.

Though no one knows or claims credit for the outrbreak, Asian Americans and Arab Americans are put into hard labor camps in the middle of the country, to both incarcerate them on suspicion of being traitors, and also to draw the zombie hordes away from the surviving populations on the coasts.
I had been meaning to explore these themes for some time. As a lifelong fan of sci fi, cyberpunk, and fictions involving utopia/dystopia, I often encountered work written by Western writers that envisioned China or Japan as a dominant global superpower, or the ones responsible for causing some type of apocalypse. However, race was often unexplored in those fictions, and while there was no shortage of Asian cultural appropriations, there was always a lack of actual Asian and Asian American characters.

If history has taught us anything, it’s this: if Asia becomes a superpower, or causes some catastrophe, the ones who will suffer the most from it especially in America, is Asian Americans. We would receive none of the benefits, and all of the blame.

The good news: Walidah accepted my submission. The bad: the publisher fell through. The good news: fine fellows Keith Chow and Jerry Ma contacted me and asked me to submit a character concept for their new Asian American comic book superhero anthology, Shattered. Even better: they paired me up with G.B. Tran, the artist and author of a book I deeply love and respect, Vietnamerica. Imagine you’re me: a spoken word poet raised in the hood who grew up addicted to Chris Claremont’s run of X-men, grew up wanting to see more substantial Asian American characters in comics, then I get to be included in an anthology – *and* my concept is illustrated by G.B. Tran? It’s a dream come true.

Here are some concept sketches and thoughts from the man himself: G.B.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Seven: Nerdy Gal

SHATTERED: Working with Larry Hama on ‘The Date’
Originally posted at NerdyGal.com
by Amy Chu

I’ve been asked how a newcomer such as myself ended up collaborating with the legendary creator Larry Hama, a respected veteran of the industry for the new Asian American comics anthology SHATTERED. Here’s the actual story:

It was exactly two years ago from today, funnily enough. My very first encounter with the writer/artist and former DC and Marvel editor wasn’t at a convention or store signing. It was at a very crowded cocktail fundraiser at a Manhattan art gallery for the Asian American Arts Alliance, a nonprofit community organization. I happened to be invited at the last minute by Ken Chen, the Executive Director of the Asian American Writers Workshop and a lifelong comics nut ( I believe he did his masters thesis on Chris Ware). Larry was good naturedly circulating anonymously in the crowd until Ken spotted him and introduced us. It came out in the conversation that in the ’70s young Larry had been part of the Basement Workshop, an arts activist and social justice group which spawned many of the New York City Asian American arts nonprofit organizations you see today. As someone who worked in the Asian American non profit sector for years, I was tickled to death to find we had several friends in common because of this.

Larry, who is known for his work on GI Joe, Bucky O’Hare, Elektra, Wolverine, is a pioneer for fighting racial and gender stereotyping in comics characters. He has a long history of creating unapologetically strong female characters like G.I. Joe’s Scarlett and pushing characters like the ninja Storm Shadow beyond the typical villainous Asian caricatures of the time. A genial and charismatic guy, he had a neverending stockpile of amazing and entertaining stories of those days. We had a terrific conversation.

Fast forward several months. My original pitch in collaboration with the very talented Toronto based artist Craig Yeung had been accepted by the folks at SHATTERED but I was told there was another story with some similar themes. Could I change the setting somehow? I didn’t really have any good ideas.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Six: A. L. Baroza

Originally posted at ALBaroza.com
by A.L. Baroza

Volume Two in the Secret Identities comics anthology series has finally dropped and is now available.  I contribute a few pages, illustrating writer Jamie Ford’s EC Comics pastiches.  Here’s one of my mock covers that appear in the book, done in classic Tales From The Crypt style, or as close to it as I can get, at least.

I get a kick out of the idea of “Chuckie Chan”.  Created with Sketchbook Pro and Photoshop.

Friday, November 2, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Five: Angry Asian Man

my very own superhero in shattered: the asian american comics anthology
Originally published at Angry Asian Man
by Phil Yu

My fellow comic book geeks! Next week marks the official launch of Shattered, follow-up to the groundbreaking Asian American comics anthology Secret Identities, from editors Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma.

While the first collection focused on the conventions of traditional superhero comics, this new volume explores some darker and edgier genres to subvert and shatter Asian stereotypes.

The book features an impressive lineup of contributors, including leading comics creators Bernard Chang, Sean Chen, Cliff Chiang, Larry Hama, Sonny Liew, Takeshi Miyazawa, Christine Norrie, Greg Pak, G.B. Tran, Gene Yang and more, as well as folks from the film and literary world like Tanuj Chopra, Michael Kang, Jamie Ford, Gary Jackson and Bao Phi.

I managed to slip something in the book too.

I had the great privilege of contributing a short piece for Shattered's character gallery, with the visuals supplied by the artist/editor Jerry Ma. My character: Angry Asian Man, of course. I actually have to thank Jerry, who had been bugging me since the first anthology to contribute a character.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Four: Reappropriate

Secret Identities, Shattered: My Relationship with Comic Books, and the Genesis of PUSH

Originally published at Reappropriate.co
by Jenn Fang

For me, comic books aren’t mere entertainment.

As a kid (and still today), I was fascinated by superheroes and their stories. I was a fan of Superman, Batman, and the X-men. Although some of it was basic glee at following the tales of men and women fighting crime in brightly-coloured tights, I think part of my fascination with comic books was my identification with the superheroes in their pages. To me, that is the strength of the comic book medium: they aren’t just childish fantasy. Comic books tell stories of characters that serve as archetypes of human emotion and experience, and when comic books are considered in that context, one can find them capable of highly nuanced, fascinating, and overwhelmingly mature commentary on humanity and human nature.

Thus, I think the best comic book characters are those that speak to universal experiences. Superman isn’t just a Man of Steel; he is an immigrant whom I find most compelling as Clark Kent, an adopted alien trying to fit in among men. Batman isn’t merely a man dressed in a giant Bat-suit; his story speaks to the fragility of life, the relationship between grief and madness, and how the human mind can (or cannot) walk the tightrope between sanity and sociopathy. The X-men are, and were conceived as, a commentary on the civil rights movement. While most comic book characters maintain their popularity because of some ill-defined “cool factor” that render them little more than “good guys in tights”, the most enduring characters are those who have transcended to become a symbol that speaks to particular facets of the human experience.

… although I struggle to explain Aquaman. Who’s neither cool, nor archetypal. He’s a fish-man in green tights.
The one weakness of comic books is that, for so long, they have been written by White men for predominantly White male readers, and thus there is a lack a diversity in characters that speak to the experiences of non-White, non-male readers. Many female characters suffer from what feminist writer Laura Mulvey coined as “to-be-looked-at-ness”; that is, they are primarily written in a voyeuristic, rather than a narrative or humanized, light. Female characters are rarely written in a manner that encourages the reader to identify with them, or to perceive the story through their eyes; instead female superheroes (particularly those in the Golden and Silver Age of comics) are typically mere props to satisfy the male gaze — and often stereotypical ones, at that.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

SIUniverse Blog Parade Day Three: Angry Girl Comics

Originally posted at Angry Girl Comics
 by Wendy Xu

hi friends! I hope all my fellow NYCers survived the hurricane safe and sound. my area of BK was thankfully untouched; I am so freaking grateful to have had power through this whole ordeal.
so the official launch date of Secret Identities is rapidly coming upon us (remember, remember, the 5th of November, woooo!) although you can still pick up an early copy if you’re in the NYC area and get to visit the Museum of Chinese in America, which I highly suggest doing. Right now through February they have an amazing API comics exhibit up featuring work by fine folks like my dear friend Alice Meichi Li and people I have had the great pleasure and privilege of paneling with, like Larry Hama and GB Tran, all of whom also contributed to SI!

I was approached by Keith at the beginning of the summer and asked to contribute to the book. I almost could not believe that I was going to be in a real published anthology and consequently sat on the news for months, although I was dying to tell everyone (and now all of you have to get flooded with news about this, muwahaha). but I cannot even begin to describe how huge of an honor this is for me.

I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. actually, when I started at NYU I’d started out in the psychology program with the goal of becoming a therapist (L O L HOW MINDS CHANGE) and then realized it was really not for me. but by then it was too late to change majors since I’d dived right in, so I just rode out the program, which I finished early, and turned my goal elsewhere, and in my sophomore year of college really got into drawing comics. I started Angry Girl in a very transitional and turbulent summer between my junior year and the start of my last semester and it has taken me further than I ever could have imagined.

for the anthology I drew a two-page thank-you comic for Dr. Jan and Marica Vilcek, founders of the Vilcek Foundation, an organization that gives grants to immigrants working in the arts and sciences. The Vilceks themselves are immigrants, having left Czechoslovakia for the States in the sixties and becoming superstars in their respective fields of medical research and art history. The comic was written by Jeff Yang, one of our editors for the anthology.