The editors of Secret Identities, which came out last month and is in the middle of a cross-country publicity tour, set out to do more than just tell interesting comics stories with Asian American protagonists and to rectify the dearth of Asian American characters on the page. Remembering both their childhood love for the form and what it would have meant to them, as children, to have seen themselves reflected back in four-color panels, they set out to leave a legacy to their children, and to all our children, so that they don't feel the same lack of fictional role models, of possibilities, of their own places and faces in the potentialities of the fantastic.
In short, they did it because they were dads now. Jeff Yang, our own InstantYang, is the father of two. Keith Chow, our own RakuMon, is the father of one. And Parry Shen, best known for turning the model minority myth on its head in Better Luck Tomorrow, is the father of two (and if we ask nice enough, maybe he'll join us here too!). One of Parry's own stories in the book, Sixteen Miles, was inspired by the superhuman strength displayed by the late James Kim in trying to save his family.
I am honored and proud to play a small part in the book, as author of the one-page introduction to the section that features full-color character treatments of characters created by Asian American celebrities, called "Many Masks." (Which you can find on page 128, in case you were wondering, heh.) And I am happy to be joining the editors and many of my co-contributors at events in Los Angeles this weekend.
The big LA launch party is on Saturday, May 30, at 6:30 p.m., at the Japanese American National Museum, but there are a bunch of readings/signings throughout the weekend and throughout the Southland. (I'll be at the JANM event tomorrow and at Skylight Books in Los Feliz tonight, Friday, May 29, at 7:30.) You can check out the full schedule here and revisit the book blog for updates on upcoming events, including an Asian American comics convention in July at the new Museum of the Chinese in America in New York City. So come pick up a copy for your bookshelf, and for your children's bookshelf, and get it signed and drawn on by some awesome artists!