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제목 [문화소통 포럼 CCF] Chinese-American author committed to fixing images of Asians, women in key comic stories [연합뉴스 2018-08-29]
글쓴이 webmaster 조회 967 등록일 2018.09.10
Chinese-American author committed to fixing images of Asians,
women in key comic stories 

By Park Boram

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) -- Amy Chu, who wrote the latest issues of such famous decades-old American comic book series as "Wonder Girl" and "The Green Hornet," is committed to modernizing biased images of Asian and female characters from old issues of the series.

"I am very well aware that there's a deficit of Asians in comics. So I think as an Asian-American it's important to represent (Asians in comic books)," Chu said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. She was in Seoul to attend the 2018 Culture Communication Forum hosted by the nonprofit Corea Image Communication Institute.

She's a third-generation immigrant from Hong Kong and wrote the storylines for the latest issues of the two famous comic books as well as for Poison Ivy, another decades-old character in comic books by DC Comics.

"Almost all these characters are legacy characters invented in the 60s and before. So they, by default, are not that diverse. So I feel it's important for me as a writer to try to reflect a more contemporary story to get more readers, and to get more readers, you have to feel a little bit of yourself in the story," she said.

As part of those efforts, she wove more Asian characters into her version of Poison Ivy while inserting an episode in Hong Kong in her "The Green Hornet" series.

"The Green Hornet, invented in the 30s, had his psychic who is an Asian man, Kato, played by Bruce Lee (in its TV series version). It's such a racist story where he's a faithful valet, and you could never get his ethnicity straight," she said.

"It became very famous in Hong Kong, so I really wanted to write the series because I felt like I could fix a lot of that," she said, adding that she focused on a new portrayal of Kato's daughter, previously presented as "an exotic Asian female with martial arts."

   "She's been basically (a) hot, sexy love interest ... so obviously I had to change things up. (As a result) I made part of the storyline of her going to Hong Kong, which has never been done before," according to Chu.

"It's not that hard for the most part. (But) traditional writers don't necessarily ... understand the importance of that and the richness I can add in terms of diversity to the story."

   Such commitment also extends to her effort to do justice to female characters in mainstream American comic books, like "Wonder Woman."

   "Not just women, but male characters tend to be two dimensional if you read old comics ... in order for them to stay relevant, they have to evolve. It's happening much more quickly now (because of) the realization that women do read comics," she said. "If we make them attractive to women readers, we make the storylines actually not hostile to women."

   The biggest obstacle to such efforts, Chu said, is the traditional way artists have been trained to depict women characters in comics.

"It is catering to a certain perception of women, and the only way you sell the comics is you show cleavage. So this is still true for a lot of publishers," she noted.

"So we are still dealing with that problem. But if you actually look at the sales of what's selling and what's been growing, it's all the comics that don't do that," Chu highlighted.

This photo provided by Corea Image Communication Institute, the organizer of the 2018 Culture Communication Forum, shows Amy Chu during a media interview on Aug. 20, 2018. (Yonhap)


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