What You Missed at WonderCon 2016

Asia Pacific Arts: What You Missed at WonderCon 2016

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August 10, 2018

What You Missed at WonderCon 2016

After two years in Anaheim, comic convention Wondercon temporarily moves to Los Angeles for 2016.

by Kalai Chik

Date Published: 04/09/2016

WonderCon 2016

Last weekend, comic book fans from near and far came for a glimpse to learn news about their favorite and upcoming series. Due to construction at the Anaheim Convention Center, WonderCon relocated to Los Angeles only for this year and will return back to Anaheim next year in 2017. Over the Easter weekend, WonderCon 2016 shared many new announcements such as DC Rebirth, the premiere of Justice League vs. Teen Titans, and much more!

DC Rebirth

DC Comics unveiled its 2016 relaunch of its long running superhero franchises with DC Rebirth. Rebirth is set after The New 52, which will be ending in May, and will be a mix of the New 52 and the DC Universe back before the “Flashpoint” plotline. Out of all of the stories that were announced, the New Superman will feature a 17 year old Chinese Superman named Kenji Kong. Asian American cartoonist, Gene Luen Yang will pen the story along with Viktor Bogdanovic as the artist. The story takes place in Shanghai and will be available on July 13, 2016.

Agents of Shield

Actors Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Clark Gregg, Elizabeth Henstridge, Brett Dalton, Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell, and executive producer Jeph Loeb reminisced with fans on the series upcoming season finale. To the delight of fans, the actors engaged in playful banter and discussed juicy details on the show’s romantic relationships. Recently, Henry Simmon’s character Mack is recovering from the emotional backlash due to the departures of characters Bobbi and Hunter. On the other hand, Elizabeth Henstridge discussed the roadblocks Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz have overcome in their relationship. In relation to Fitz and Simmons, during a press interview prior to the panel, Jeph Loeb grimly reminded fans, “When something good generally happens in the Marvel Universe it’s followed by something that could be less good. But we don’t know that to be with these young star crossed lovers. Be careful what you wish for.”

CW3PR’S “Streaming Success” Panel

During a time where cord cutters are leaving traditional broadcast TV, streaming programs such as HBO Go, Netflix, and Hulu are flourishing. The superhero genre has changed from ridiculous bright colors and tight leotards to a more gritty, modern, and realistic feel. Asia Pacific Arts had the opportunity to sit down with costume designer Stephanie Maslansky (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage).

APA: When you were creating these clothing pieces, what was your inspiration?

Maslansky: “These shows are grounded in a gritty, New York reality where we’re trying to create this authentic world. Plot points are justified and there are reasons behind things that people do and things that people wear. Possibly one of the reasons why you like the Daredevil costume so much is because it makes sense. It’s not like he ripped off his shirt and there was a costume underneath. Instead he was a vigilante and trying to go around saving his neighborhood and kept getting hurt because he doesn’t have unbreakable skin. He was terribly hurt in one of the last fights that we saw him in where he jumped out the window. He had to figure out a way to protect himself. And he learned that Fisk was having his suits made with a protective layer of bullet-proof, knife-proof material….[Daredevil] tracks down Fisk’s tailor Melvin whose background is in costume design…Daredevil was able to promise him that he’d protect his loved ones if Melvin was able to create a suit to help Daredevil protect himself. That’s probably why psychologically you might be responding to the costume in a stronger way because there was a reason why it came into existence.

For Jessica Jones, after that accident she became an incredibly strong person. But she isn’t unbreakable. She doesn’t have unbreakable skin like Luke Cage. I think her costume had to provide her with psychological protection. And therefore it was important that what she wore made her feel stronger and tougher than she was. Leather motorcycle jacket and boots, she had a tough look about her and that look needed to evolve from what it was in the comics. We care a lot about paying homage to the origin stories and thing that would resonate with the fans but we also have to bring these stories into the 21st century.”

Racebending Presents: The Asian American Superhero

A full house packed the Racebending.com’s Saturday panel. Panelists Jim Lee (DC Entertainment), actor Yoshi Sudarso (Power Rangers Dino Charge), graphic novelists Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex) and Amy Chu (Poison Ivy), and Christine Dinh (brand manager of BOOM! Studios) came together for a discussion about Asian Americans in front of the camera and behind the scenes in pop culture. Moderated by Racebending.com’s Dariane Nabor, the panelists discussed their own personal anecdotes and reflections from working in the industry.

Dariane Nabor: As an Asian American, is there a responsibility that you should have in your fields?

Sarah Kuhn: I do feel a lot of pressure as a writer. The genre that my books are in are urban fantasy which has a lot of female leads but does not have a lot of non-White female leads. And whenever I talk about this book to Asian people, there’s a lot of excitement. It makes me excited but also I get this sick feeling. Something called “Rep Sweats” which was coined by my friend Jenny Yang and some other people when Fresh Off the Boat came out. You’re excited but you’re worried if it’s going to be good representation, long lasting representation, is it going to be where it’s going to be cancelled and Asians aren’t allowed to be on TV for another 15 years? There’s a lot of pressure when there’s are so few, there’s a lot of pressure on that one show and character.

Yoshi Sudarso: It’s not on us to be the everyman. For me it’s a little bit weird because as an actor and a stunt performer, I have to go for the roles that are there for me. I’ll play whatever roles that are there for me to get to a certain point where I can create myself.

Jim Lee: I’m copublisher of DC comics and it’s definitely something we have in mind but not a sole goal that we have. We’re trying to balance entertainment and a line of books that represents the diversity of the community that buys and reads comics books. It’s not just about just one particular race. There are lots of different groups of people who don’t look like Adonis. We have a lot of different discussions that we have. So it’s not centered around race or Asian characters although I believe that we are a little underrepresented in that. On the creative front, it definitely is the easiest way to make change because comics are fairly low budget business for the most part. As long as you just don’t want to mess with Batman or Superman or Wonderwoman, you can do whatever you want. We had an Asian character named Grunge whose real name is Percival who was a slacker and was not the brightest character and we did it on purpose to show “Hey we can be stupid too.” The first examples that you’re going to have, you’ll have that filter that you’re only portraying this way or this way. It gets very dangerous when it gets prescriptive in a sense when you can’t have this type of person being portrayed as villains because they’re always portrayed as villains. Making those kinds of hard fast rules that take a lot of the options out of the people who are creating these stories. I believe you’ll have true diversity when there’s interchangeability.


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Kalai Chik

Pop culture writer focusing on animation, music, and games. Los Angeles native, USC alumni, and contributor for Asia Pacific Arts since 2015. Follow me on Twitter, @kalai_chik.

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