I grew up reading comic books and as a huge geek I mostly remember on the rare occasion seeing non-white characters they were usually broadly drawn. Usually the bad guys or a pretty sexy chick for eye candy to entertain the fans. So I’m very curious to see this exhibit to see how the images changed over the years. Growing up watching old WWII animated images where they made ‘asian eyes’, where they mocked accents and treated Asians as exotic aliens I can only imagine what Asians think about pop culture use of their images. Even today usually Asians are considered ‘good foreigners’ hard working, smart, professional or owners of dry cleaners/nail shops/corner stores as if an entire group of people can be so easily pigeonholed. Of course their racial sterotype is the ‘good’ kind where the women are considered desirable for their meek nature, petite bodies and projected sexual whims and the men well they aren’t held to the same standard of desire by all women. This isn’t from me but a dating study of what ethnic groups got the most responses online ‘Asian’ women are desired by all ethnic groups and the men didn’t fare as well. I’m very interested in seeing this and maybe meet some other intellectually curious people at the exhibit as well.
This is a great opportunity to see the collection that was donated to New York University’s Fales Library by science fiction writer William F. Wu. The tour was organized by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute and will be in Los Angeles until February 9, 2014.
Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986
October 12, 2013 – February 9, 2014
Through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades, Marvels & Monstersillustrates how evolving racial and cultural archetypes defined America’s perceptions of Asians. This exhibition draws from noted science fiction author and cultural studies scholar William F. Wu’s comic book collection—the largest archive of comic books featuring Asians and Asian Americans—that was donated to the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections through the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.
Curated by Asian Pop columnist, Jeff Yang, this exhibition is a unique and fascinating look at how the images and characters of Asians and Asian Americans featured in comic books during times of war and unrest coalesced into archetypes that still remain today.
The exhibition places a selection of noted archetypes—Guru, Brain, Temptress, Manipulator, Alien,Kamikaze, Brute, and Lotus Blossom—within both a historical context and a comparative discourse with contemporary Asian American writers and creators including Ken Chen, V.V. Ganeshananthan, Larry Hama, David Henry Hwang, Naomi Hirahara, Genny Lim, Greg Pak, Vijay Prashad, and Gene Luen Yang.
The exhibition also contains elements designed to encourage direct engagement with the archetypes, such as life-size cutouts of the eight archetypes that allow visitors to put themselves “inside the image” and an installation called “Shades of Yellow” that matches the shades used for Asian skin tones in the comics with their garish yellow Pantone™.
Marvels & Monsters ends with a library of present-day graphic novels by Asian American creators and an area where visitors can color original heroes designed byBernard Chang (Supergirl) and Jef Castro and Jerry Ma(Secret Identities).
This exhibition is a collaboration between the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections.
The Los Angeles presentation is sponsored by:
Public Programs Sponsors:
Additional support provided by Ruben & Maria Pompeya Gomez.