Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Feature Spotlight, On The Radar

Inside Shang-Chi’s evolution from forgotten comic book character to big-screen superhero*

~Scottie Andrew, CNN Entertainment

Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings First Reactions

So a couple a weeks ago I had the opportunity to offer a few of my thoughts about Asian representation in comic books and its relationship with the latest Marvel film, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings for CNN Entertainment!! To view the complete article see here.

Check out some of the snippets below:

Shang-Chi’s early issues relied on some problematic stereotypes

Every iteration of Shang-Chi has a similar throughline: He’s always a spectacular martial artist, always playing tug-of-war with his former life as a fighter and always, always tormented by daddy issues. That blueprint was created by Englehart and Jim Starlin, the two-man team who brought the character to life (Englehart, perhaps best known for his dark, noir take on Batman, has also created characters like Star-Lord of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and Starlin is responsible for MCU icons like its biggest villain, Thanos.)

In the early 1970s, Englehart and Starlin approached Detective Comics (DC) with an idea: a comic book take on the David Carradine series “Kung Fu.” (The series has been criticized for its use of “yellowface,” or casting White actors as Asian characters. Carradine is White but starred as a part-Chinese martial artist.)Starlin, an artist, loved the martial arts element of the story, while writer Englehart said he was interested in delving into Taoism and other philosophies to flesh out his protagonist. The two thought they’d found a match with “Kung Fu” — but DC thought the “kung fu craze was going to disappear,” Starlin said, and passed on the idea.

So the pair took it next to Marvel, whose executives agreed only after insisting that the pair inject some pre-existing intellectual property into their comic, both men told CNN.

In this case, the company had the rights to the character Fu Manchu, a racist caricature of a Chinese man created by British author Sax Rohmer in the early 20th century. The villain was then “grafted onto the series” as Shang-Chi’s father, Starlin told CNN in an August interview. (Racist depictions of Asian characters had appeared in comics before this, like the egg-shaped villain “Egg Fu” in a 1965 Wonder Woman issue and the 1940 character “Ebony White” in the early comic, “The Spirit,” said Grace Gipson, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies race and gender within comics.)

Gipson, a pop culture scholar who studies race and gender within comics, said hiring writers of color like Yang to helm series about characters of color is an improvement, but it “is really not a hard task.” She said while comics creators have made great strides in deconstructing norms of who a comic book reader is and what storylines they want to see, the hiring of creators of color needs to happen consistently.”It’s about making sure the voices of those being represented always have a seat at the table as well as a microphone to speak,” she told CNN.

Still, she said, as a fan of comics herself, she’s enjoyed seeing more representative stories being told in mainstream comics. 

*Repost from CNN

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!, On The Radar

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Getting you ready for the Fall Season with some new television shows and films!! Don’t forget to mark your calendars!! Check them out below:

Only Murders in the Building (Streaming on Hulu August 31st)

Worth (Streaming on Netflix September 3rd)

Season 6: Queen Sugar (Series Premiere September 7th on OWN)

Cry Macho (In theaters September 17th)

Season 3: Doom Patrol (Streaming on HBO Max September 23rd)

Posted in On the Desk..., On The Radar

Marvel Studios Television and Film Line-up 2021-203

Who is still on a high from that Loki season finale and the Black Widow movie?!! I know I am and definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next!!

Well I got a little info on what is coming up next out of Marvel Studios (film and television), check it out below:

TV Series

  • What If…? [Disney+] (August 11, 2021)
  • Hawkeye [Disney+] (Late 2021)
  • Ms. Marvel [Disney+] (Late 2021)
  • Moon Knight [Disney+] (2022)
  • She-Hulk [Disney+] (2022)
  • Secret Invasion [Disney+] (2022)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special [Disney+] (Holiday 2022)
  • I Am Groot [Disney+]
  • Ironheart [Disney+]
  • Armor Wars [Disney+]
  • Untitled Wakanda Series [Disney+]
  • Okoye Spinoff [Disney+]
  • Echo Spinoff [Disney+]

Movies

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (In theaters September 3rd, 2021)
  • Eternals (In theaters November 5th, 2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (In theaters December 17th, 2021)
  • Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (In theaters March 25th, 2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (In theaters May 6th, 2022)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (In theaters July 8th, 2022)
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (In theaters November 11th, 2022)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (In theaters February 17th, 2023)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (In theaters May 5th, 2023)

Looks like there is going to be a lot of interweaving of the MCU films and television shows, which should make things very interesting!! Definitely no shortage of engaging content for the next couple of years!!

Mark your calendars!!

Posted in On The Radar

Calling All Comic Book Creatives and Fans!! “2021 WinC Creative Conference”

Check out this great professional networking opportunity, put on by the Women in Comics Collective International (WinC), to connect with like-minded folks in the comic book community.

The event will take place Thursday July 22nd, 2021 at 12:00 PM/ET!! See more about the event below:

“WinC Creative”, aka WCC, is our new virtual professional event experience! The conference serves to support the professional comic book community with programming directly addressing their needs via professional, educational & wellness workshops!

This one day conference will serve to support the professional comic book community with programming directly addressing their needs via:
  • Professional development panel(s)
  • An industry symposium
  • Wellness workshops

WCC will also have vendors, courtesy of our new “Artist Alley 365” (Debuting in July!) Admission will be Free for WinC members and $3-$6 for non-members.

For more information on Women in Comics Collective International (WinC) and to purchase tickets* see here!!

*All Attendees will receive a Virtual Swag Bag to download Books, Discount Services and More!

Posted in On The Radar

Re-Opening of Broadway with a Fresh New Line-up!!

The curtains will rise again, this Fall, as Broadway theaters will be opening its doors after being shutdown for a year and half due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A select new group of plays have been scheduled to premiere through the rest of this year!! But there is more….all seven plays on the fall line-up are by Black playwriters!! Theaters biggest stage will highlight a wide variety of stories including family comedy, drama, hope, survival, and much more! Check out the full line-up below:

  • Pass Over: Setting the tone and beginning the season is playwright Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s three-person play Pass Over directed by Danya Taymor.

A riff on Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ following two black men killing time on a street corner when a white man enters their space.

  • Chicken & Biscuits: Hitting the Broadway stage for the time, Douglas Lyons new play will also feature the youngest Black director in Broadway’s 250+ year history, 27-year-old Zhailon Levingston

The Jenkins family is coming together to celebrate the life of their father — hopefully without killing each other. But any hopes for a peaceful reunion unravel when a family secret shows up at the funeral.

  • Lackawanna Blues: Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson writes, directs, and performs his solo play in which he “embodies more than 20 vibrant characters, creating a richly textured reminiscence that’s inspiring, uplifting and right at home on Broadway.”

Time: 1956. Place: Lackawanna, NY. Would-be philosophers, petty hustlers, lost souls, and abandoned lovers all find refuge, comfort and nourishment at 32 Wasson Avenue, a boarding house where the landlady, Miss Rachel – “Nanny” – rules with the embracing spirit of both earth mother and drill sergeant.

  • Thoughts of a Colored Man: With an ALL-STAR cast ensemble (Dyllón Burnside, Bryan Terrell Clark, Da’vinchi, Luke James, Forrest Mcclendon, Tristan “Mack” Wilds and Keith David), playwright Keenan Scott II and director Steve H. Broadnax III brings to the stage “a mosaic of the inner lives of Black men and heralds the arrival of an essential new voice to the American theater.”

Over the course of a single day in the pulsing heart of Brooklyn, the hopes, sorrows, fears, and joys of seven men reverberate far beyond the barbershops and basketball courts of their community. Vulnerable and vibrant, raw and alive — these are the Thoughts of a Color Man.

  • Trouble in Mind: Originally produced off-Broadway in 1955, a Broadway transfer of the play was announced in 1957, but the production never happened. The acclaimed play from Alice Childress makes its Broadway debut with director Charles Wright-Randolph at the helm.

Wiletta Mayer, an African American actress of a certain age, has spent her career playing stereotypes, trapped on a merry-go-round of mammies, maids, and other menials. The curtain rises on the first day of rehearsal for Chaos in Belleville, a Broadway-bound play that tackles the harsh truths of racism in America. But when those truths spill out of the play and into the rehearsal hall, will Wiletta’s insistence on her dignity cost her the work she desperately needs?

  • Clyde’s: A new play from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and director Kate Whoriskey that explores second-chances, reclamation, and what it means to dream.

A truck stop sandwich shop offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at redemption. Even as the shop’s callous owner tries to keep them under her thumb, the staff members are given purpose and permission to dream by their shared quest to create the perfect sandwich.

  • Skeleton Crew: Written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Skeleton Crew navigates power dynamics and the power of decision-making.

A makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure. Power dynamics shift and they are pushed to the limits of survival. The final play of Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit trilogy.

Nothing like seeing Black voices and stories take center stage. As noted by Broadway Black founder Drew Shade,

Seven Black shows coming to Broadway — it’s unprecedented. It’s what we would like to see, especially after the racial reckoning we’ve had in this society over the past year, and more specifically in the theater industry. But we also have to be realistic about the placement of the shows. We have to be realistic about what this may mean for Black artists going forward.

This fall theater season is going to be FIRE!! And I look forward to catching a few of these shows in the coming months!!

Posted in Conversations with Beloved & Kindred, On The Radar

New Summer Series!!

Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me, ooh
And I’m feeling good

‘Feelin’ Good’ ~Nina Simone

Hello!! Hello!! How are you feeling my friends?! Like Nina Simone, I’m feelin’ good and can’t wait for summer to get here!!

Summertime is definitely one of my favorite seasons, partly due to my Birthday [Leo in the House!!], the weather is amazing, and the fact that there is so much happening on a day-to-day basis! Well I got something for you to add to your summertime fun! Dr. Kaniqua Robinson and I are linking back up for some summertime conversations. If you have tuned into our video podcast, Conversations with Beloved and Kindred then you already have a sneak peek into what is to come!!

For the month of June, Auburn Avenue Research Library will host the limited series Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good”: Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Joy!! Inspired by Nina Simone’s 1965 classic song “Feelin’ Good”, Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good” is a freeform dialogue that foregrounds how people of African descent create communal agency and collective resilience via the cultivation of joy. Check out what is in store below:

  • June 16th-Juneteenth Why Our Day of Jubilation Matters: In recognition of Juneteenth (2021), this discussion will examine the history and contemporary relevance of the Juneteenth holiday as a curated expression of Black joy and agency. Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, which has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s.
  • June 23rd-Sonic Curation of Happiness via Black Music: In recognition of Black Music Month (June), this discussion will explore the songs and singers/musicians that contribute to the communal expression of collective Black joy and happiness soundtrack.

Both episodes will take place at 5 pm via Auburn Avenue Research Library Facebook Live and YouTube Channel (for Live and later viewing).

Look forward to you all tuning in!!

Posted in On The Radar

On The Radar-Upcoming Event

As I close out the Spring semester, I wanted to make sure I shared this upcoming event:

May 20th, 2021 (8pm/ET)Art Design Chicago Now Program/Terra Foundation for American Art presents, “The Past and Future of Comics”

Art by Bianca Xunise

The future of comic books belongs to Black women. In many cases drawing on Afrofuturism to tell their own stories, Black women comic book artists and writers are redefining the genre and innovating new ways to think about identity, race, and gender. Join Black future feminist and pop culture scholar Dr. Grace D. Gipson and Chicago cartoonist Bianca Xunise (Say Her Name) for a conversation about the history and future of comic books in Chicago and the real superheroes of the genre: Black women authors and illustrators, and their protagonists.

This program is free to all with registration. Registered guests will receive the link to watch via email in advance of the premiere. The event will premiere on YouTube on May 20th at 7pm/CT (8 pm/ET).

To register click here!!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!, On The Radar

New Trailer Alerts!!

Family and Friends!! I got another weekly dose of television and film trailers ready for you to hit play!! So get your calendars ready, and check them out below:

Black Love (Season Premiere on OWN May 14th)

Master of None: Moments in Love [Season 3] (Streaming on Netflix May 23rd)

In the Heights (Streaming on HBO Max and in theaters June 11th)

Vivo (Streaming on Netflix TBD)

And #MayTheFourthBeWithYou !!

Posted in On The Radar

New Trailer Alerts!!

Got some new show and film trailers for you, see what’s set to hit screens and theaters below:

The Upshaws (Season 1 streaming May 12th on Netflix)

Spiral: From the Book of Saw (In theaters May 14th)

Army of The Dead (Streaming May 21st on Netflix)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings (In theaters September 3rd)

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (In theaters November 11th)