Jason Tseng

Groundbreaking Anthology on Asian-Americans in Comic Books Needs Our Help!

Filed By Jason Tseng | April 15, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: Asian, Asian-American, comic books, Keiko Agana, Lane Kim, Parry Shan, racism, Secret Identities

I was introduced to Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology at New York ComicCon, where editor-in-chief Jeff Yang led a spirited discussion on diversity in comic books. As a self-professed comic book geek and an Asian American, Secret Identities really excited me as a dynamic group of Asian American actors, writers, and artists SI.jpgsought to bring the stories of our community into a world with a pronounced lack of diversity. I stopped over at the Secret Identities Blog and was really distressed to hear that the anthology is receiving a lot of push back, nationally, from bookstores and booksellers who refuse to offer them shelf space:

Dear Friends,

During the first leg of our college book tour last week for "Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology", the editors and I made a very disturbing discovery when we made impromptu stops at major bookstores in between appearances:

Bookstores were NOT carrying "Secret Identities" nor had any plans to do so.

We were told customers could place orders at the stores but as far as physical self space? Nada. The situation was the same in the stores around us in Baltimore, D.C., Southern California, and New York. The reason? Well, we've been given several of them: "Stores are confused whether the book fits under Asian American Studies or Graphic Novels", "It's an accounting error", "You've got too small of a print run", and of course the popular "E" word these days... "The Economy".

So I'm finding myself having to appeal to the Asian American Community once again in an open letter as I did 6 years ago for "Better Luck Tomorrow" - asking that readers request the book at their local bookstores and/or order copies online through: Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Borders.com.

The friendly folk at Slant Eye for the Round Eye note that if this anthology was packed with as many non-Asian stars from stage and screen partnering towards this graphic novel anthology... the publicity would be booming around not only the world of comic books, but beyond. The Secret Identities staff has put together a fantastic documentary on what their book is, who is working on it (Keiko Agana aka Lane Kim from Gilmore Girls! and Aussie Hottie Leonardo Nam of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and He's Just Not Into You "myspace is the boot-y call" fame), and why it's so important that this book not only is published, but does well, critically and economically. I want to encourage everyone to heed managing editor Parry Shan's call and pitch in and support this fledgling publication! Check out the awesome video below:

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Rick Elliott | April 16, 2009 3:31 AM

Growing up, my superhero was BRAVE EAGLE, an Ojibwa Indian. I couldn't wait until a new monthly issue came out. Then, all of a sudden, my superhero disappeeared from print. I was so sad I stopped reading comic books.

Is it available directly from the publisher?

I believe it is. Although, I have a friend who works at The New Press, which is publishing the book, and he assures me that the book will get into stores. It literally JUST hit retail like... yesterday. You can get it here: http://www.thenewpress.com/index.php?option=com_title&task=view_title&metaproductid=1738

I hope to be getting a copy of my own and I'll try and review it!