REMINDER: We’re in L.A.! And those of you living in Ventura County, you already know we’re here in the Southland because our very own Parry Shen the front cover of the Ventura County Star’s weekend magazine, Time Out, as part of a gloriously full-color four-page feature on Secret Identities! Linky here, but we’ll put up pics of the dead wood edition when we can—it’s amazing.
Meanwhile, the full SI editorial crew is in town for a series (and we mean series) of back to back to back events, including our official West Coast launch party, generously hosted by the Japanese American National Museum, and sponsored by Kirin Beer (which means free beer, folks) and Hakutsuru Sake (which means free sake, for heaven’s sake). All events are free and open to the public—so come on out! Also, while the Kogi Taco Truck was detoured on its way to our event by heinous forces of villainy, Marked 5 will be bringing their truck to the event, selling their delicious Torakku Burgers (featuring handmade rice buns)! Check out their menu here: http://www.marked5.com/menu.html
Yesterday’s events included a signing at Barnes & Noble in Thousand Oaks, and an awesome reading/signing/presentation at the awesome Skylight Books in Los Feliz—our fave lit hang in the L.A. region. Pics from the latter will be up soon—watch this space.
Today’s events, meanwhile, are:
Saturday, May 30 11 to 1 pm: Barnes & Noble, Encino 16461 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436 (818) 380-1636
2:30 to 4:30 pm:Torrance Public Library 3301 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA
6:30 to 11 pm: OFFICIAL WEST COAST LAUNCH PARTY at the Japanese American National Museum 369 East First Street Los Angeles , CA 90012 (213) 625-0414
These guides don’t just provide a tool for educators to open up discussion around issues raised within the book—they’re also a great way to explore some of the real-world historical context that inspired the book’s stories, and to learn about aspects of the Asian American experience we weren’t able to include within the book’s 200 pages. Check ’em out now!
So call it a logroll if you want, but having just discovered the new virtual digs of former Vertical Inc. publicitrix-slash-blogger Anne Ishii, I feel compelled to reveal them to the world—not least because a.) She was gracious enough to moderate our standing-room-only panel at this year’s New York Comic Con, b.) She is ridiculously cool, and with the world headed for global-warming-induced meltdown, one needs all the cool one can get, and c.) Her latest blogpost at “Status Quoted,” the Asian American culture ‘n’ stuff blog of L.A.-based ad agency InterTrend, is about Secret Identities. And hell, isn’t crypto-incestuous connectivity what the internetworkz are all about anyway? Oh yes: She also has a must-read personal blog, though it’s likely to be updated with less regularity (though, we’re sure, no less wit and sass) given her new InterTrending gig.
…So if you’ve read Secret Identities, you know that Jung the delivery guy from Koji Sakai and John Franzese’s “Meet Joe” is gangsta. But you won’t know just how gangsta until you’ve seen this all-new pinup John sketched for our traveling gallery, illustrating an off-panel sequence from the story: Jung chopping a ginormous mechanical agent of death in half with a single bad-a$$ open-hand blow.
How gangsta is Jung?
Flat. Out. Gangsta.
Next volume, we gotta do “Meet Joe: Origins – Jung.”
So, we’re collecting original artwork from the book (as well as brand new, never before seen pieces created by Secret Identities‘ mega-talented artistical crew) to bring with us to the various museums and galleries we’re going to be visiting over the next few months—and the pieces have started to roll in! Herewith, as displayed on my living room sofa, are the first six submissions:
Alex Joon Kim‘s original pages from Tanuj Chopra’s hilarious “S.O.S.”!
Two takes by Martin Hsu on Dragon Boy, star of his sweetly elliptical fantasy “Long”!
An all-new, beautifully rendered and inked sketch by Vince Sunico of Captain Matthew Kim, from Daniel Jai Lee’s “Heroes Without a Country“—here seen fighting the good fight against the Nazi super-creeps known as the Ubermenschen!
Another all-new sketch, inked and watercolored by A.L. Baroza—this one a crossover piece featuring a selection of the book’s female heroes: Karin from “Meet Joe“; Candace “Tin Candy” Koh (in mecha outfit) and Val “Pretty Super Schoolgirl Valentine” Chang from “A Day at CostumeCo“; Hellen Jo’s Brazen Raisin (in background); June Park from “Sampler“; and Ting “Scarf Girl” Lee from “You Are What You Eat“! And robots!
Yet another all-new sketch, rendered and inked by Benton Jew, of Jimson Fo and the young John Henry, from “Driving Steel“…hammerlicious!
And finally, the original color artwork of Yul Kwon’s Cataclysm, as gorgeously painted by Deodato Pangandoyon…which Deo sent to us already framed. Wow…you really didn’t have to, Deo! (But it looks fantastic…)
Many more pieces are on their way. Pieces from the “Secret Identities” Traveling Gallery will be on display at Wing Luke Museum in Seattle, WA on May 14; the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, CA on May 30 (and possibly longer); the Museum of Chinese in the Americas in New York, NY from July 11; and in the New York headquarters of Time Warner from May 11 through the end of May.
Superheroes speak to the part of us—and we all have it—that hopes, deep down, that we’re special. — Entertainment Weekly
What if we told you a tale about a quiet, unassuming guy with black hair and thick glasses? He’s an immigrant, who’s done his best to fit in to a world that isn’t his—one very different from the land of his birth. He’s got a hidden side to himself that he can’t quite bring himself to show, not even to the popular girl he’s got a huge crush on. If only she knew who he really was—what he could really do—she’d be amazed, he thinks. If only she knew. If only everyone knew…
For many Asian Americans, this chronicle is a familiar one, because many of us lived it. But this also happens to be the story of a mild-mannered reporter named Clark Kent, better known to the world by his alter ego: Superman. And it’s just one example of the parallels between the cultural narrative of Asian America and the mythic foundation of the comic book superhero.
These parallels, along with the burgeoning array of Asian American creative talent in the mainstream and alternative comics industries, are what have led New York Times best-selling author Jeff Yang; independent comics creator Jerry Ma; comics education specialist Keith Chow, and actor Parry Shen to team up to edit Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, the first-ever graphic novel collection of original stories exploring the universe of masked marvels and caped crusaders from the perspective of the nation’s fastest-growing and most dynamic emerging community. The book was published in trade paperback by The New Press, one of the nation’s leading independent publishers, hitting bookshelves in Spring 2009.
Secret Identities E.I.C. Jeff Yang here. I guess I’m the last SI Guy to post on this thing, so I might as well kick in here with this video, an edited-down “highlights version” of one of our two New York Comic-Con panels—the one focusing on the book itself, and featuring myself, E.A.L. Keith Chow, contributor Greg Pak, with an assist from his partner on “The Citizen” Bernard Chang, and Senior Artist Jef Castro. Providing insightful moderation of our little circus was Giant Robot‘s Anne Ishii, who’d just come off of moderating a previous panel on the manga version of Bat-Man that was published, well ahead of its time, in Japan in the late 1960s. Ningin.com did a nice writeup of the panel here.
And now, on to the video! (Parry’s not the only guy with editin’ chops around this here ranch, kids…okay, I suck compared to him, but still…represent!)
Big thanks to Keith’s bro Raymond for manning the Canon HG10 for us on this one. Sadly, he wasn’t around the following day, so I don’t have any footage of the equally terrific panel I moderated called “The Multicultural Mask,” featuring Stuart Moore (Iron Man; Firestorm), Perry Moore (Hero), Robert J. Walker (Delete), and Jann Jones (Coordinating Editor, DC Comics)—not to mention Greg Pak again, who pulled double duty for us at NYCC, all power to the Pak. However, a nice writeup on that panel is right here. And I’ll see if I can find any still photos around somewhere.
Coming up next: A highlights version of our most excellent ECAASU workshop, which was videotaped in whole by our bodyguard/host representativeDave From Toronto. Very cool guy. Really helped keep the paparazzi at bay. Not that I, Jerry or Keith had to worry—the kidz all made a beeline for the man who put the bacon in BLT, our M.E. Parry…