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Resources for a symposium on Asian images in comics and graphic narratives

About the Symposium

Marvels & Monsters: A Symposium on Asian Images in Comics and Graphic Narratives

April 23, 2014

Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University


For more information visit the Symposium Website.

About the Exhibit

MARVELS & MONSTERS: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986

A traveling exhibit highlighting The William F. Wu Collection at the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections.

Where: Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University
When: March 12 through July 27, 2014

Gallery Hours:
Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Weekends, 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Free and Open to the Public.

Opening Reception: March 12, 2014, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Free and Open to the Public; RSVP Required.

The exhibition is sponsored by University Libraries and made possible by the generous support of the Presidential Mini-Grant for Diversity Initiatives, SBU, and the Charles B. Wang Center.

Symposium Details

Opening reception of exhibition hosted by Charles B. Wang Center on March 12, 2014.

Stony Brook– Stony Brook University Libraries is pleased to present Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 from March 12 to July 27, 2014.  The exhibit will be on view in the Theatre Lobby Gallery at the Charles B. Wang Center.  Through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades, Marvels & Monsters illustrates how evolving racial and cultural archetypes defined America’s perceptions of Asians.  This exhibition draws from noted science fiction author and cultural studies scholar William F. Wu’s comic book collection–the largest archive of comic books featuring Asians and Asian Americans–that was donated to the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections through the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.

Curated by Asian Pop columnist Jeff Yang, this exhibition is a unique and fascinating look at how the images and characters of Asians and Asian Americans featured in comic books during times of war and unrest coalesced into archetypes that still remain today.

The exhibition places a selection of noted archetypes–Guru, Brain, Temptress, Manipulator, Alien, Kamikaze, Brute, and Lotus Blossom–within both a historical context and a comparative discourse with contemporary Asian American writers and creators including Ken Chen, V.V. Ganeshananthan, Larry Hama, David Henry Hwang, Naomi Hirahara, Genny Lim, Greg Pak, Vijay Prashad, and Gene Luen Yang.

The exhibition also contains elements designed to encourage direct engagement with the archetypes, such as life-size cutouts of the eight archetypes that allow visitors to put themselves “inside the image” and an installation called “Shades of Yellow” that matches the shades used for Asian skin tones in the comics with their garish yellow Pantone™.

The exhibit will also frame a one-day symposium on Asian images in comics and graphic narratives on April 23, 2014.  Marvels & Monsters: A Symposium on Asian Images in Comics and Graphic Narratives will examine images of Asians in a variety of cultural forms (manga, film, video, social media, graphic novels).  The keynote address will be presented by Min Hyoung Song, Associate Professor of English at Boston College, and author of The Children of 1965: On Writing, and Not Writing, as an Asian American (Duke University Press, 2013).  Other speakers include exhibit curator and author of books on Asian American comics and graphic narratives, Jeff Yang, and graphic novelist and filmmaker, Derek Kirk Kim.  More information is available at <https://you.stonybrook.edu/marvelsandmonsters/>.

The opening reception of the exhibit is hosted by Charles B. Wang Center on March 12, 2014, 5:00 to 7:00 PM.  It is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required.

The symposium and exhibit are presented by the University Libraries and made possible by a grant from the Presidential Mini-Grant for Diversity Initiatives at Stony Brook University.  Generous support is provided by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, ​​Cultural Analysis & Theory, Center for Korean Studies, Asian American Center, Confucius Institute and the Charles B. Wang Center.

Call for Papers

Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images
in Comics and Graphic Novels Symposium

April 23, 2014
Stony Brook University

We invite papers from Stony Brook PhD students for 15 – 20 minute presentations for a panel on Asian American comics art and graphic narratives.
Even in the age of ethnic studies and diversity programs across academia, invidious comparisons between racial and ethnic groups and fear-mongering
of people of color are thriving in popular culture. All eyes are on China as its rise in the world economic and technology markets predict an undeniable shift in global powers; news reports that minority students are now the new majority in American colleges and universities are cast in ominous undertones; tens of thousands of people downloaded Google’s app, “Make Me an Asian,” that perpetuates long-held stereotypes of Asians; and the Pew Research Center’s recent publication of its demographic study of Asians in the US, titled “The Rise of Asian America,” fuels “yellow peril” notions yet again.  Popular culture forms, such as comic books, offer a compelling perspective on America’s evolving
racial and cultural perceptions of Asians.

The symposium is connected to an exhibit on representations of Asians in American comic books, called “Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in US Comics, 1942 - 1986.”  This traveling exhibit highlights the William F. Wu Collection at the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections, the largest archive of its kind <http://www.nyu.edu/about/newspublications/news/2011/05/24/thewilliamfwucollectionatnyufaleslibrarymarvelsandmonstersmay26.html>.  The exhibit juxtaposes historical images with insights from contemporary Asian American writers and artists, including Ken Chen, Larry Hama, David Henry Hwang, Vijay Prashad, and Gene Luen Yang, among others, creating a dialogue between past and present popular culture.

The symposium program will examine graphic images of Asians in a variety of cultural forms (manga, film, video, social media).

Topics may include:
● Graphic narratives on globalization, empire, war, colonialism, immigration, diaspora, racialization.
● Pedagogical issues: teaching graphic novels, student responses and experiences in the classroom.
● Creating graphic narratives: working in the genre as an artist, publishing graphic novels, readership.

Submissions should be made electronically to Janet Clarke, janet.clarke@stonybrook.edu, Associate Director for Research & Instruction, University Libraries. (631) 632-1217.

Deadline: February 14, 2014.

The symposium and exhibit are presented by the University Libraries and made possible by a grant from the Presidential Mini-Grant for Diversity Initiatives.  Generous support is provided by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, ​​Cultural Analysis & Theory, Center for Korean Studies, Asian American Center, and the Charles B. Wang Center.