Creative Piece: Asian Superheroes

ImageSample Abstract: Asian Superheroes (Creative Piece)

            Though there has been an increase in the number of Asian American actors in American entertainment, the industry’s subtle racism has been left unnoticed or ignored by its majoritarian audience. American viewers have become accustomed to seeing white dominant figures in mainstream culture, a normalcy with origins dating back to Western imperialism. Most, if not all, of the leading protagonist roles are casted to Caucasian males and Asian American actors remain in the shadows as the sidekick or villain. Where are the Asian Superheroes?

My final project will be a creative piece accompanied by a written analysis. First, I will be designing three posters with famous male superheroes as Asian characters. One poster will be designed to fit the stereotypical characteristics of Asians—slanted eyes, yellow, bucktoothed, and “kawaii”. The second will be drawn in a realistic style that is familiar to American-produced comics. Lastly, I will be recreating the Asian Superheroes as ghosts. The purpose of the three pieces is to visually comment on the stereotypes and invisibility that Asian American actors face in the American entertainment industry. The written supplement will aim to explain the posters and include an in-depth analysis on Asian American males as the counter-hegemonic forces of White masculinity. I will be using supplemental information from Edward Said, Mike Donaldson, and media commentary sites such as Racebending to analyze historical and social elements that have contributed to the marginalization. Overall, the audience’s reaction to the Asianized superheroes is expected to be surprised or unfamiliar to as it is still a deviant concept to the Caucasian majority.

Works Cited

Aoki, Guy, and Jeffrey Scott Mio. “Stereotypes and Media Images.” Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives. New York: Psychology, 2009. 421-39. Print.

Cheng, Cliff. “Marginalized Masculinities and Hegemonic Masculinity: An Introduction.” The Journal of Men’s Studies 7.3 (2008): 295-315. Print.

Donaldson, Mike. “What Is Hegemonic Masculinity?” Theory and Society, Special Issue:Masculinities (1993): 1-8. Print.

1 thought on “Creative Piece: Asian Superheroes

  1. This sounds like it could be a really powerful project.

    How does the negative stereotypical imagery of Asians correspond to “kawaii”? Those seem rather contradictory, no? I’d be really interested in seeing how you connect the two. Are you trying to subvert racist imagery through kawaii?

    Are you racebending particular heroes? If so, which ones and why? Many comic book heroes hold important symbolic value in the US, especially patriotic ones like Captain America, Wonder Woman, or Superman, etc.

    The final installment, as ghosts, is especially interesting. Is the ghost how you imagine the invisible? How about the politics of spectrality and haunting?

    Also, will you post these to the course blog when done? Would love to share these with the wider public.

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