Superheroes are all the rage these days. With the emergence of superheroes back into the mainstream, there has been an increasing push for diversity in superhero comics. While there have been non-white superheroes in the past, the quality of them tends to… vary. Asian characters especially are usually largely defined by their ethnicity; in particular their powers and visuals are heavily focused on how Asian they can be.
As an Asian-Australian reader of Chinese and Vietnamese heritage, and an avid consumer of superhero media, I have long felt that Asian representation in superhero media needs improvement. For this reason, I’m going to take a look at different Asian superheroes and judge if they are good representation for Asian people. These characters can be born anywhere and can be of any sex, gender or sexual orientation, but the key point is that they have some Asian heritage. What I discuss can range from the visibility of their heritage to how stereotypical they are, but it will all be through the lens of an Asian reader’s perception of characters meant to make me feel represented to some degree.
To kick things off, I thought I’d look at one of the first Asian characters I encountered when getting into reading comics. That is, the electric blue-haired Japanese mutant known as Surge AKA Noriko Ashida.