Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Secret Identities Universe Illustration…

This illustration took me a really long time. But it was important to me to do, as my fellow editors (Jeff Yang, Parry Shen and Keith Chow) have been talking for awhile about a drawing by one of our contributing artists of all the characters from the book.

So I thought to myself….well….why don’t I do it?

This illustration has atleast 1 character from each story. I wanted to put every single character in, but there simply wasn’t enough room on the page. The original drawing is done on a 2 ply smooth 14×17″ bristol page.

Anyway, I’ve gone ahead and posted the 3 different stages it took to complete this piece. The first being pencils, then inks, and finally the finished grey tone version. Just for the record, I used a 3H lead pencil. Which is a hard lead that helps create a sharp clean line. I then used micron felt tip pens to ink it. And I used a much looser “hand” to ink it with to help create a more organic sketch feel to it. And finally I used some prismacolor markers to add grey tones to it.

This original piece will be displayed at the Time Warner Building in New York May 21 (thurs) as part of the Asian Heritage Month art exhibit. There will also be other pieces from contributing artists from the book as well as another piece from me.

Anyway, hope that I was able to do "right" by all the other great artist's on the book with this drawing.

Secret Identities Across The Country

Since May is officially Asian American Heritage Month, we at Secret Identities are going coast to coast to kick off the festivities. First up, SI Editor Keith Chow and legendary writer/artist Greg LaRocque ("Trinity") will be celebrating Free Comic Book Day at Super Villains, Inc. in Nottingham, Maryland beginning at 11am.

Then, on the other side of the country, SI Editors Jeff Yang and Parry Shen, with writer Jason Sperber ("Many Masks") will be facilitating a workshop at the Japanese American National Museum as part of the one-day "Imagined Futures" conference. The workshop will last from 2pm to 4pm.

Later that day at 5pm, Jeff, Parry, and Jason will be joined by artists Benton Jew ("Driving Steel"), Martin Hsu ("Long"), Bernard Chang ("The Citizen"), and A.L. Baroza ("A Day at CostumeCo") for a booksigning at the Kinokuniya on 123 Astronaut E. Onizuka Street in Los Angeles.

Finally, on May 3, visit the SIUniverse Media booth at the 30th annual Asian/Pacific American Heritage Festival in NYC at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza onEast 47th Street & 2nd Avenue. SI Editors Keith Chow and Jerry Ma will be on hand at Booth #21 signing copies of Secret Identities and hawking t-shirts.

If you're in Maryland, Los Angeles, or New York this weekend, come check us out!

For more info:

Super Villains, Inc.
4361 Ebenezer Road
Baltimore, MD 21236

Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Kinokuniya Los Angeles
123 Astronaut E. Onizuka St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans
c/o Asian/Pacific American Heritage Festival
12 West 18th Street, Suite 3E
New York, NY 10011

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Secret Identities" on The Brian Lehrer Show



Today "SI" EIC, Jeff Yang was on the NY-Based radio talk show.

It was a great segment for the book but in particular, there was a lot of great discourse and input from the listeners, here's a sampling:

"As '70's kids desperately hungry for Asian faces in U.S. media, we always suspected/hoped that Marcie, Peppermint Patty's more cautious friend from "Peanuts", was actually Asian.

Check the classically Chinese bobbed/banged haircut, the glasses, and the stereotypical academic overachievement and ineptitude at sports. Also, she's curiously familiar with classical music (probably not by choice, if you met her mother.) Plus, like us, she showed un-American elder respect, with the constant "Sir" bit." - EVA

"I've always been surprised at the paucity of Asian superheroes in comics. There's lots of Asian comic book fans, and many of the most popular artists (such as Jae Lee, Jim Lee) are Asian. And there's a lot of influence of Asian arts and culture.

There seem to be far fewer African-American and Latino creators, but more of a demand for that representation." - CBrown

"It's not just comic books here. Asians to the best of my knowledge are not represented in any major way in the American media spectrum. " - Betty Anne from UES

"I'm not sure there is a need to force more Asian superheroes because they already permeate American culture. The best selling graphic novels at any given Barnes & Noble store are Japanese Mangas which all feature Asian heroes. Maybe your complaint is is that DC/Marvel need more asian heroes, but it doesn't matter because children and teenagers overwhelming prefer reading Japanese mangas that feature Asian heroes." - Favian from NJ

"Favian, you're mixing up two very different things between Asian comics and characters versus Asian American ones. There is a huge difference of life experiences between the two."
- Jason from Midtown

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Hey everyone.
So I thought I'd post another sketch that I drew on the inside cover of another copy of Secret Identities. This copy I believe is for ningin.com.

Anyway, this sketch is of one of my favorite characters from the Marvel Universe....Sunfire!!! I always thought he was one of the most underrated characters in comics.

I do hope everyone will enjoy this sketch as much as I did drawing it.

And remember, please ask your local book and comic book stores to pick up Secret Identities if they don't have it already!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Charlie Gibson From ABC NEWS Agrees....

... with what Keith said below -- that SECRET IDENTITIES is now available! Check out the broadcast below!

Secret Identities In Stores NOW!

If you're reading this blog post... then what are you doing?!

Go to your local bookstore, comic shop, and library right now and ask for Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology!

Monday, April 13, 2009

"What is SECRET IDENTITIES?" Documentary/SI Editor's Letter

Dear Friends,


During the first leg of our college book tour last week for "Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology", the editors and I made a very disturbing discovery when we made impromptu stops at major bookstores in between appearances:


Bookstores were NOT carrying "Secret Identities" nor had any plans to do so.


We were told customers could place orders at the stores but as far as physical self space?  Nada.  The situation was the same in the stores around us in Baltimore, D.C., Southern California, and New York.


The reason?  Well, we’ve been given several of them: “Stores are confused whether the book fits under Asian American Studies or Graphic Novels”, “It’s an accounting error”, “You’ve got too small of a print run”, and of course the popular “E” word these days… “The Economy”.


So I’m finding myself having to appeal to the Asian American Community once again in an open letter as I did 6 years ago for “Better Luck Tomorrow” – asking that readers request the book at their local bookstores and/or order copies online through: Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Borders.com.


Looking back at that letter, I chuckle at the dramatic statements I wrote like: “changing society” and “this is your vote” -- but in hindsight, the film did set off a chain of events in motion… changing our society just a tiny bit for the better and it was all due to the AA Community.

Back then “BLT”, directed by Justin Lin, was initially screening on 13 screens and we needed to make $10,000/screen in order to be put into wider release.  The community came out in roves and the film made $27,750/screen that first weekend and “BLT” was the #1 film per/screen, besting “Anger Management”. 


This resulted in an immediate green light for “Harold & Kumar Goes to White Castle” starring John Cho and Kal Penn. 

Fast forward 6 years, and John can next be seen on May 9th as “Sulu” in Paramount’s “Star Trek” and Kal in the White House as the Office of Public Liaison’s new Associate Director!


Justin’s outing last week as the director of “Fast & Furious” (along with “BLT” alums Roger fan & Sung Kang) broke the record for the biggest April opening ever – set 6 years ago ironically by “Anger Management”. 


And on the acting front, over the years I’ve personally seen an outstanding bumper crop of young, talented AA actors who have gotten into the business as a direct result of “BLT” – all of whom have been giving me a run for my money at auditions – not so hot for my bank account but regardless, awesome for Asian Americans in the media.


So the request is out once again. 

Author, Maxine Hong Kingston once wrote: ‘If you see a person [in the movies] 40 feet tall on screen that is a 3 Dimensional character, you can’t help but fall in love with him/her – and once that’s accompanied with an Asian face, it changes perceptions.’  


And superheroes can be 100 feet tall, soar the skies

and run faster than a speeding bullet. They are America’s

pop culture myths and icons.


If you flip 3 pages into our book, you’ll come across the Acknowledgments page and the list of SI Babies who were born during this 2-year labor (no pun intended) of love – making it abundantly clear as to why we made this book.

So that the next generation wouldn’t have to grow up without seeing heroes that look like them and yes, perhaps maybe even changing the world just a little bit.


But at the end of the day, it’s a great book filled with tales from over 60 of the finest Asian American artists and writers:

"SECRET IDENTITIES is ambitious because of the inherent contradiction it confronts in its stated goals: to challenge racial bias and stereotype without pigeon-holing the single largest and diverse race on Earth; to show the Asian diaspora in all its girth and all its local unity. Its ambition is to be incredulous ("How dare you say that about us?") without sounding indignant ("How dare you ignore us?"). And most importantly, enough's enough for these guys." --  PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

"Uniformly energetic, the art ranges from mainstream-comics bravura to manga-influenced sassiness to alt-comics mannerism... The satire... amuses and sometimes strikes deeper to the heart." -- BOOKLIST

The 10-minute documentary above fully answers the question: “What is SECRET IDENTITIES? – so if it sounds like something you or someone you know might enjoy, please pass the link along and visit an online distributor to get your copies (Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Borders.com) so that we might have the numbers to continue towards a Volume 2… which is most definitely being talked about amongst us.  Teachers and Professors may contact Rachel Guidera (rguidera@thenewpress.com) for classroom bulk sales.


On behalf of my co-editors/brothers in arms: Jeff Yang, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma, we leave our work on the table and fate to the powers that be.  There's a certain point when you've done all that you can and we're extremely proud of what we've put together.  Thank you for your support and enjoy the book!





Parry Shen

Managing Editor


Monday, April 6, 2009

Preview: "Peril" - Video 8 of 8

"Peril" can be found on page 183 of "Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology" which is now available in bookstores and comic shops everywhere. This is the eighth and final motion comic preview.

In the story By the Time I Get to Arizona, a young man named Mason Wong learns that his father has been incarcerated and accused of spying on the United States. His father, Dr. Benjamin Wong, was a research scientist that helped develop a series of nanotechnology prototypes that gave people superhuman abilities. Mason is sent on a quest by his fathers partner, Dr. Malcolm Eady, to retrieve a weapon before it gets into the wrong hands.

Peril was partially inspired by the real life case against Dr. Wen Ho Lee. In 1999, Lee, a Chinese American scientist who worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory was indicted on 59 counts of espionage, jailed in solitary confinement for several months, and released on time served after the government failed to prove its case against him. He was ultimately charged with one count of mishandling sensitive documents, while the other 58 counts were dropped. In the months leading up to Lees indictment and release, several media organizations, and top federal officials, had made Lees name public, which exacerbated perceptions that the foreign-born Lee was a threat to national security.

Written by Keith Chow, with art by Jef Castro, "Peril" is one of the 52 originally conceived superheroes of the S.I.Universe. Find it on YouTube here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Secret Identities Interviews from Around the Web

With the book less than two weeks away, several prominent Secret Identities contributors have been making the rounds and talking about their participation in the book. First up is a video interview with actress Lynn Chen (Saving Face) by the fine folks at channelAPA talking about her story "You Are What You Eat".

Next is another channelAPA interview, this time with Secret Asian Man creator Tak Toyoshima. Tak talks about how he got involved in the project and what it was like talking to Larry Hama, the subject of Tak's S.I. piece, "S.A.M. Meets Larry Hama".

Finally, our friends at GilmoreGirlsNews got a hold of Gilmore alum Keiko Agena and artist Ming Doyle to talk about the story "Learn to Share". Keiko and Ming discuss how they came together on Secret Identities and what it was like to collaborate.

Read their interview here.

Also, keep a look out for more posts describing the kickoff of the Secret Identities Book Tour! Our first jaunt through the Midwest was a rousing success thanks to the great organizers, faculty, and students at Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University. In addition, we want to thank the fine folks at Von's Comics in West Lafayette and Challengers Comics + Conversations in Chicago for letting us hang out at their stores!