Thursday, February 08, 2007

INSTANT YANG v.33: SURIVOR INTEGRATES; MIDDLE-AGED BLUES; ANNOUNCING "SECRET IDENTITIES": THE ASIAN AMERICAN SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY

Hi all,

So, after all the shock, awe, debate, and declamation, Survivor: Cook Island's "grand experiment" with segregation has ended, with a whimper, not a bang. In three episodes of racially divided tribal competition, what did we learn? Mostly that the ability to bore and annoy knows no color. Now that the tribes have been integrated by court order, it's become startlingly apparent how uninteresting the actual players and game are relative to the hoopla of its season premiere. Really, the only question left is whether Korean American ubermensch Yul Kwon is simply going to win the game, or actually wrest control of the Cook Islands from its natives and use it as a staging ground to conquer New Zealand.

On to this week's Asian Pop, a digression and consideration of middle age, which I've apparently unknowingly collided with. Those of you who read the profusion of articles marveling at the longevity of Asian American women in Bergen County, NJ (with an average lifespan of 91!) may also have noted that the normal life expectancy of the average American is 77.5, which means those of us in 38-year-old-land are on the wrong side of the mountain and sliding.

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ASIAN POP: THE MIDDLE (AGED) KINGDOM
By Jeff Yang, Special to SF Gate
Friday, September 29, 2006
What do action icon Jet Li and indie filmmaker Georgia Lee have in common? No, not their last names. They've both just released compelling films about Chinese men of a certain age...and the challenges (and opportunities) offered by the passage of time.

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Watching Red Doors (now playing SF and LA, peeps!) and Fearless, and talking to their creators, actually helped to bail out my psychic rowboat. Though the films seem an unlikely pairing, they confront some surprisingly similar themes--at least in the larger context of trying to make sense of existence when one has forsaken the comfortable certainty of youth.

Of course, youth is all in the mind--and my mind still has plenty of youthiness in it, even if my body's not as cooperative these days. To that end, I wanted to share word that a project I spoke about quite a while ago seems to be moving towards reality.

The dream project in question is the creation of an Asian American superhero comics anthology--a gathering of stories about costumed crimefighters, caped crusaders, masked mystery men and femmes fatale of the Asian American persuasion. Since my column "Look! Up in the Sky, It's Asian Man!", I've been talking about the idea with comics-in-education specialist Keith Chow and artist Jerry Ma (Burn; The 8th Dragon), and we've finally decided on a plan to make it happen.

The official name of the project? Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology. Though we hope that most of it will be superhero stories in the traditional sense, we also intend to include satires and parodies, essays and reflections, and interviews with notable Asian American
.personalities (both within and outside the comics industry)--sharing the common topic of Asian Americans with superhuman abilities, but all-too-human lives.

Our goal is to put together a self-published "preview" comic in time for May 2007 (APA Heritage Month, natch) and use that to find a publisher for a full-length trade paperback anthology to be published by May 2008.

If you're interested in this project, email me and let us know. It's a labor of love, but we think it might turn into something really cool.

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