VAFF Industry presents—AIM³ Summit – Session 1
Panel 1 — Asians in Comics – Genesis for Future Screenplays
With the explosion of Comic-Con and all things geek being super cool and widely loved, VAFF has brought together a group of established and emerging comic book and graphic novel writers and illustrators to share their experiences on bringing an authentic Asian Canadian/American voice to their Asian characters. Major Hollywood studios seem to be turning increasingly more to the comic universe for their stories and bringing them the big screen. But with the casting of Scarlet Johansson as the lead in “Ghost in the Shell” and Tilda Swinton in “The Ancient One”, the existing few leading Asian characters in these popular comics have been whitewashed and opportunities for Asian actors have been taken away. This is a trend that VAFF would like to see reversed and we aim to provide actionable recommendations to promote diversity in storytelling through this discussion.
Jennifer de Guzman has a Master of Fine Arts degree and was the recipient of the Marjorie McLaughlin Folendorf Award. In her fiction, from her early work in Strange Horizons to her comics in anthologies such as Womanthology: Space, to her novel Half a Person, she infuses a sense of magic in the mundane. From January 2003 until January 2012, she was Editor-in-Chief at the comics and graphic novel publisher SLG Publishing and she worked in sales, public relations, and marketing at Image Comics from January 2012 until April 2015. In 2006, Jennifer received the Friends of Lulu “Woman of Distinction” award for her work in the comics industry. She writes about the industry for Comics Alliance.
Jon Tsuei is a writer and co-creator of the comic book RUNLOVEKILL. He is also known for his contributions to the anthologies COMIC BOOK TATTOO and SECRET IDENTITIES: THE ASIAN AMERICAN SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY. He was born and raised in San Francisco, CA and currently resides in Long Beach, CA writing stories and spending too much time on Twitter.
Sarah Kuhn is the author of Heroine Complex—the first in a series starring Asian American superheroines—for DAW Books. She also wrote The Ruby Equation for the Eisner-nominated comics anthology Fresh Romance, a series of Barbie comics for Papercutz, and the romantic comedy novella One Con Glory, which is in development as a feature film. Her essays on such topics as geek girl culture, Asian American representation, and Sailor Moon cosplay have appeared in The Toast, The Mary Sue, Uncanny Magazine, AngryAsianMan.com, IGN.com, and the anthology Chicks Dig Comics. You can visit her at heroinecomplex.com or on Twitter: @sarahkuhn.
Christine Norrie is an artist and writer of graphic novels, novel graphics, and other such visual story things. Since her first short story and cover for Action Girl Comics in 1998, Norrie has contributed to the Hopeless Savages series, Disney’s first three Spy Kids films, moving with the growing relationship between comics and film. She authored Cheat, her first graphic novel in 2003, penciled and inked various books for DC Comics and released Breaking Up in 2008 from Scholastic Books, adding book, fashion, and magazine illustration as well as additional film work in concept art development and storyboards.
Bernard Chang is an Asian American artist/designer, best known for his work in the comic book industry and entertainment design, Some of his most popular works include WONDER WOMAN, SUPERMAN, SUPERGIRL, GREEN LANTERN CORPS, and THE GAME (by Neil Strauss). He currently draws BATMAN BEYOND for DC Comics. Bernard graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY with a bachelors in architecture and was captain of the men’s basketball team. He was born in Montreal. www.bernardchang.com
Leonard S Wong learned how to read from comic books. He is the organizer of the long-running bi-monthly Vancouver Comicon shows at Heritage Hall, and a member of the board of directors for the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund. In his secret identity, he is the head of the English department at Templeton Secondary (a.k.a. Smallville High).