Air War Stories Cover

Past Exhibition

Marvels & Monsters

Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986

Programs are free for museum members and included with admission for visitors, unless otherwise noted.

To see a complete listing of JANM’s upcoming programs, check out our Events Calendar.

October 12, 2013 - February 09, 2014

Japanese American National Museum

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™.

Marvels & Monsters ends with a library of present-day graphic novels by Asian American creators and an area where visitors can color original heroes designed by Bernard Chang (Supergirl) and Jef Castro and Jerry Ma (Secret Identities).

 

This exhibition is a collaboration between the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections.

 

The Los Angeles presentation is sponsored by:

Los Angeles presentation sponsor logos

Public Programs Sponsors: Monsters and Marvels public programs sponsor logos

Media Sponsors:  La18 and Rafu Shimpo sponsor logos

Additional support provided by Ruben & Maria Pompeya Gomez.

Past Events

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Lectures & Discussions Workshops & Classes

February 08, 2014

The Adventures of Sikh Captain America
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Lectures & Discussions Lectures & Discussions

October 19, 2013

A Conversation with Lela Lee
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Members Only Special Events

October 19, 2013

Meet and Greet with Author & Artist Lela Lee
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Special Events

October 12, 2013

Target Free Family Saturdays: Zap, Pow, Bam!
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Members Only Tours

October 10, 2013

Members Gallery Talk: Marvels & Monsters

October 12, 2013 - February 09, 2014

Japanese American National Museum

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™.

Marvels & Monsters ends with a library of present-day graphic novels by Asian American creators and an area where visitors can color original heroes designed by Bernard Chang (Supergirl) and Jef Castro and Jerry Ma (Secret Identities).

 

This exhibition is a collaboration between the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections.

 

The Los Angeles presentation is sponsored by:

Los Angeles presentation sponsor logos

Public Programs Sponsors: Monsters and Marvels public programs sponsor logos

Media Sponsors:  La18 and Rafu Shimpo sponsor logos

Additional support provided by Ruben & Maria Pompeya Gomez.

Support the understanding and appreciation of the Japanese American experience.

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