The Shadow Hero Fan Art

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It’s just some Asian dude beating up some gangsters in his underwear, cape, and a cowl. OH WAIT. That’s the Green Turtle, from Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew’s The Shadow Hero! He’s the first Asian American superhero!

I was honored to be part of the amazing lineup of artists asked to participate in creating fan art for The Shadow Hero. If you get the chance, you really should look at the work the other artists did. There are some really amazing pieces. 

I would have loved to have had The Shadow Hero around to read as a kid in the 80s. As an Asian-American [despite my totally white name, I'm half Vietnamese], there weren’t a whole lot of Asian characters that weren’t stuck being sidekicks to look up to when I was young. Outside of Bruce Lee and his movies [who was still stuck being a sidekick at one point in his career] and Dennis Dun’s Wang Chi in Big Trouble in Little China, who was there? I can’t even think of an lead Asian character in a comic book or cartoon from then.

Anyhow, what are you waiting for?! The book is out! Go pick it up at Powell’s or your local bookstore or comic shop! Or if you’re lucky enough to be in San Diego, go straight to the source and buy it from Gene Luen Yang at the First Second table at #1323!

Summer 2014 Classes at OCAC

ocac-comics-bannerIt’s summertime! That means that I’m teaching all sorts of comics classes at OCAC for the Art Adventures program for middle schoolers and high schoolers.

Keep reading to see a rundown of the classes I’m involved in. Please spread the word if you know anyone that might be interested!

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Linework NW recap

Image from the Linework NW website.

Image from the Linework NW website.

So this last Saturday was the maiden voyage of a new illustration and comics event in Portland, Linework NW. Organized by Zack Soto and François Vigneault, here’s the description from Linework NW’s own website:

“Linework NW is a new illustration and comics festival taking place in Portland, Oregon. Linework NW’s goal is to focus attention on the creators who continue to inject new energy and vitality into these venerable mediums that share so much in common, whether their work is to be found in comic books, original art, graphic novels, prints, or other forms. Drawing upon a wealth of talent from the Pacific Northwest and beyond, Linework NW seeks to cultivate a vibrant cultural experience for creators, readers, art lovers, and collectors alike.”

It delivered on all of this. And speaking for myself, and from what I could gather from some other folks I talked to, it was exactly what so many of us needed.

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Upcoming Events!

Hey! I’ve had my nose down getting work done for these events, I forgot to tell you guys that I am in them! There are two events that I’ll be at over the next two weeks. If you live in Portland, you should come check them out!

What: Linework NW

When: Saturday April 12th, 2-9pm. FREE

Where: Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th, Portland, Oregon 97232. Here’s a map link.

First off is Linework NW. It’s a new comic show that focuses more on the creator, art-aspect of making illustration and comics. It’ll be at Norse Hall on this Friday April 12th, from 2-9pm. AND IT’S FREE. I’ll be debuting a preview chapter of the big book I’m working. Here’s a couple of teaser pages:

the-searchers-06the-searchers-12I’ll also have original art, and my backlog of mini-comics, including a new print version of the Titular Hero, a short comic MK and I did for Tor.com, and my other new mini-comic, The Littlest Littles.

Next up:

What: Comics for Change! Reading

When: Monday, April 14th, 7-9pm

Where: Powell’s City of Books, Basil Hallward Gallery, 3rd Floor, Pearl Room

The following Monday, April 14th is a reading at Powell’s for the Know Your City Comics for Change! project. If you’re not familiar with it, Know Your City is a non-profit organization in town that connects people to the place they live. For Comics for Change!, they collected a group of local artists and writers to create biographical comics on social activists in the Portland area. I worked with the ever fantastic and amazing Douglas Wolk on a biography of Darcelle XV.

Hope to see some friendly faces there!

Wizard World Portland This Weekend!

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I’m going to be tabling at Wizard World Portland this weekend!

Portland Comic Con 2014
Wizard World Convention

JANUARY 24-25-26, 2014
FRI-SAT-SUN

Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232

Show Hours:
Friday, January 24, 2014 – 3pm – 8pm
Saturday, January 25, 2014 – 10am – 7pm
Sunday, January 26, 2014 – 10am – 5pm

I’ll be at table B71 in the artists’ area. I’ll also be on the Titans of Independent Comics panel with the likes of such actual titans as Shannon Wheeler, Mike Allred, and David Chelsea. I’m a little intimidated to be on a panel with those guys, but maybe I can give some perspective of someone who is only really starting their career and trying to keep it rolling.

The other big news for the convention is that I finished another mini-comic of brand new material!

The Littlest Littles #1, 40 pages, black & white with color cover, all ages!

Here are some pictures:

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LL-inside-photo

LL-back-cover-photo

The content is actually a sample chapter from one of the books that I’m getting ready to pitch. The convention was a good excuse for me to have a deadline to finish up the drawing. I’m super excited to have a new comic to show off!

I’ll also have copies of Americus, older mini-comics, some art prints and original pages and art! Please come by, say hi and buy some stuff!

Summer 2013 Classes at OCAC

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So I just finished up my Writers in the Schools residency at Roosevelt High School. I’ll recap the experience here later this week, but right now I wanted to mention that the comics teaching train is only temporarily stopped, and will be firing up again on all cylinders come July at the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

The exciting thing about this year is that I’m teaching three comics classes! There’s the intro class, Creating Comics, but we’ve also added two advanced classes – Digital Tools for Comics and Advanced Topics in Comics and Independent Projects. W’ve also bundled the classes together as a three-week Comics Intensive, where by signing up for all the classes, you get a discount. All of these classes are for pre-college high school students.

I’m also teaching two classes of Digital Illustration for Young Adult [Middle School] students. One of the classes has already filled up, and the class later in the summer only has three spots left as of this post, so if you’re interested, sign up fast!

The Many Deaths of Polonius

So my residency at Roosevelt High School for Writers in the Schools is almost over. I have next week, and then I have to put the zine of the final comics together the following week. I’ll do a recap of the experience when I’m all done, but for now, I thought I’d share the cover image I made for the zine:

hamlet-zine-coverIn case you’re wondering about the title, it’s kind of an inside joke. In the project, students were asked to pick a scene, a theme, or an idea from Hamlet and then adapt it into comics. I would say that 80% of the students chose to portray the scene where Hamlet kills Polonius. I think it’s probably because until the end of the play, it’s the most dramatic action. Most of them were just adapting it straight up, but some of them changed the setting and time period and everything, so that’s where the other images come from. Anyhow, I was talking with Jason one night and telling him about it and he threw this title idea out and I thought it was pretty great and ran with it.

I know the colors aren’t mind blowing, but it would still be nice if we were able to print up the covers in color.

Columbia River Barge

So I did a one page comic for the Willamette Week this week about another solution to the much disputed Columbia River Crossing, which is basically the renovation of the bridge from Oregon to Washington.

wweek-crb-comic

I originally planned, as an experiment, to attempt to do it completely digitally since I’ve been spending my time the last week or so playing around and experimenting in Photoshop with different techniques. If you’re interested in seeing some of the results of my futzing around, you can check out my Tumblr where I’ve been posting them.

Anyhow, it didn’t last very long – I lettered the comic digitally because there was so much copy that I needed things to be a little cleaner and take up less space so I could have more room to draw. Outside of that, I only got the panel borders done before I realized I just wanted to shift over to my drafting table. I know it’s something that might take some time, and I also don’t really know if it’s something I really want to do. Really, I’m just trying to find a way for me to utilize the digital drawing as a tool, but I don’t know that I want to use it as a crutch.

Oh, and one more announcement: I will be tabling at the Stumptown Comics Fest this weekend, sharing a table with the always awesome, Breena Bard, né Weiderhoeft, at J-07! Come by and say Hi if you’re around this weekend!

The Titular Hero!

titular-hero-00

I know it’s been a little quiet around here the last month, but that’s because I’ve been busy teaching and making comics! In fact, do you ever check out Tor.com and all their awesome content? If not, now would be a great time because they have a short original comic by MK Reed and myself that we’re both pretty proud about that I just wrapped up.

I’m also wrapping up my second week at my residency at Roosevelt High School where I’m teaching comics through Literary ArtsWriters in the Schools program. I’ll probably be posting a progress update on that sometime next week.

But seriously, make sure you head on over to Tor.com and read The Titular Hero. Make sure to comment on it to let them know what you think!

Memories of ‘Miah

miahIt was almost four months ago that my brother Jeremiah passed away. My relationship with Jeremiah changed a lot over the years. When we were kids, we fought all the time and as we got older, we sort of just didn’t really talk to each other. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that we really forged a relationship and realized that despite spending all of our lives thinking we were so different, we actually had so much in common.

Looking back at some of my older work, I noticed that I drew him frequently into the comics I made before I started working on Americus. I didn’t realize the importance of this until looking back through my portfolio now after his passing. Even though we weren’t really close and didn’t really talk during those years, our silence or distance didn’t mean we didn’t love each other.

Here’s the pieces he starred in or had cameos:

choking-hazardwitty01witty02

He’s also in the story I did for the Popgun anthology, Sucky, Sucky. Here’s a sample page, and you can read the whole thing over at my portfolio page.

sucky-sucky-sample

And lastly, here’s a piece of the three of us that I did for our Mom a couple of years ago:

3-Js-team

I’m hoping at some point I’ll be able to take all the love and memories of him and turn it into something that I can put creative energy into to honor him. Until then, I thought I’d just share these comics where I was thinking about him those years we didn’t speak, even if he never knew.

Love you, ‘Miah. xoxo.