April 11th, 2009

crouching tiger

I really, really like comic books

First, a PSA: Yes. I'm going to be joining Dreamwidth eventually. Just thought I'd put that out there.

Next! I picked up Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, because wheeeee, Asian American superheroes! I'm enjoying reading it, for the most part, but hmmm, I do have lots of thoughts:

- It's very much an anthology of a shared world, with a lot of different creators, which is very cool, but the stories are very short and not all of them are good at working with that little space. Some of the time, the characters/situations are just way too frustratingly short. Individually, the art styles are lovely, but I do love the patchwork, mishmash feel of the different styles next to one another (all in black and white except for one section). I love the way it shows how varied and different we are, how many different voices we speak with.

- I like the way it deals with history, Chinese railroad workers and Japanese internment camps, but see above as to why I feel like it's frustrating when they touch on these ideas and can't spend a lot of time following through on these ideas.

- I am less pleased with how they deal with Asian-American historical figures like Vincent Chen and Wen Ho Lee, because I don't know, they feel uncomfortably like RPF without the disclaimers.

- It really should be called "The East Asian American Comic Book Anthology". South Asian creators/characters are not very present, though there are a few.

- I am also displeased that there's a "Girl Power" section, because it seems to mean that female superheroes are frustratingly absent from the other sections (and the number of female creators overall is also frustratingly small). I realize this reflects the rest of the superhero comics industry FAILING ALL THE TIME in this regard, but I do have to say I found it disappointing. Though if I'm comparing it to the superhero comics, maybe I should be glad that there have yet to be any women stuffed in refrigerators or have rape as part of their origin stories?

- I think I like the stories best when they act as a criticism of race issues within superhero comics themselves. Most of them play on superhero tropes, and all of them touch on racism, but the fanfic nerd in me really likes to see that reclamation of problematic stories.

- I also lol every time an overbearing parent is referenced/shows up. (And it happens A LOT.)

Overall, a very fun (though somewhat uneven) read.