An Asian Look at… Surge (Noriko Ashida)

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.

Continue reading “An Asian Look at… Surge (Noriko Ashida)”

Gateway Comics — X-Men

This is a new recommendation thing I’m going to do where I list works in a franchise that are good for new readers, that hopefully make them want to check out more of the franchise or character. It will be sporadically updated (like everything here) and mostly feature franchises/characters that I am personally familiar with, although I will be using others’ opinions at times. For the first entry, I’m going to tackle the mother of all beasts, the X-Men.

The X-Men are the poster child for convoluted comic book continuity. There is a character who is the son of someone younger than him, who was sent to the future to save him him from a disease, and then came back to the present and has a history of time-travelling and dying… and this character has almost always had at least one series where he is a main character since he was created. But this type of superhero drama is also what’s great about the X-Men; they can so easily blend drama of all types with superhero and sci-fi plots. Not only that, but as a minority stand-in, it’s incredibly easy to relate to mutant characters.

However, none of that changes that the X-Men franchise has a reputation for being impenetrable. Yet, they were my gateway drug into comics (along with Batman) and I have a good knowledge of their various series. It’s only appropriate that I start with the X-Men, so here we go, my recommendations for how to get into the franchise of the Merry Mutants! Continue reading “Gateway Comics — X-Men”