Fightin' The Holidays...

Its that time of the year again: Pilgrims, Santa Clause, Menorahs, and Mass Suicides. This year I'm thankful for the unseasonable warm Chicago weather, the Chicken Noodle Soup song, and Emmitt Smith winning Dancing with the Stars... which are all possible signs that the Apocalypse is well at hand!

Be sure to stalk up on Spam and Bottled Water... worst New Years ever!

Sorry for no post last week, I was too busy filling the food bag with alcohol and various meats! Here's a picture of young Ava dominating a worth adversary:

You have to train them young or they'll never manage to live up to your expectations! Good job Avz soon your gullet will be as big as mine.

Asian Heroes

Before Hiro Nakamura and Mohinder Suresh were sperm and egg, there existed a legendary man... his name was Chang Apana!

Chang didn't have super powers or wear an elaborate costume; to vanquish his foes all he needed was his police badge, a bull whip, and a cigar. An amalgam of Indiana Jones and Nick Fury, Chang battled crime on the mean streets of Honolulu...

http://www.elementary-group.com/panoramas/three-hula-dancers-with-plumeria-leis.htmlOkay, okay I know its not as terrible as Brooklyn, Cabrini Green, or Compton. Probably drive by shootings there were the locals getting into banana fights or something... but in 1916 Chang was bitch slappin' opium-smuggling and illegal gambling!

With his gaggle of informants and forward detective style, Chang was a one man S.H.I.E.L.D. And like Batman under the suit, he had has own collection of scars from his numerous battles with rouges! Chang's reputation made him famous. It would also give birth to a fictional Asian Hero, Charlie Chan.

American novelist Earl Derr Biggers was inspired by Chang, so inspired that he created six novels featuring this Chinese-Hawaiian detective, Charlie Chan.

Much like the popularity of Fu Manchu Charlie Chan would transcend onto the Silver Screen. And like Manchu, Charlie was not portrayed by Asian or Asian American actors. However, the movies did feature Japanese and Chinese American actors co-starring as Charlie's family.

It would not be until the 1970s when Hanna-Barbera created the show The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan that an Asian American would be able to play as Chan.

Charlie Chan also had his share of clones...

Above Peter Lorre gives his best impression of what Japanese gumshoe should look like. And what's this... check out good ol' Boris Karloff try to redeem himself by playing a Chinese American crime fighter!

Again, folks the harsh realities of the Chan, Moto, and Wong movies were the stereotypical portrayal of Asian and Asian Americans. Again, if you don't believe me go ahead and rent these classics and count how many times you can hear a bad accent or see some big ol' ugly buckteeth.

Till We Meet Again

So today we got to meet Chang Apana and his fictional counterpart Carlie Chan and your probably wondering to yourself how do comic books mix into this? Well ladies and gentlemen prepare yourself for next week, because I will be introducing to you one of my favorite Asian American comic book heroes...

Jimmy Woo

*Side Notes
For more information on Charlie Chan, check out Giant Robot magazine issue 36: Iconoclash

Please give a moment of silence for comic book artist Dave Cockrum. His imagination gave birth to the X-Men characters Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler.

Got a moment to spare, then please place a comment if you dare... gotta stop with the rhyming


Mark said...

You know what I love.. Opium references! I find it oh so amusing about what a prominent role Opium played way back when...its just such an old fashioned drug. It belongs with Big Wheel and small wheel bikes, and handle bar moustaches. It reminds me of when Mr. Burns was at the opium den in the story of the mutton chopped murderer... which reminds me of the spruce moose. Oh yeah and Moonspell have a song called Opium. So next post about the Opium Wars right? Damn brits

Benhur said...

I too like opium references. Did any one read that issue of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen where they find Allen Quatermain hanging out an Opium den... good times!

Hmmm going to have to look into that Opium wars deal... looks interesting. Although I won't say I haven't tried opium. KUDOS!

Amol said...

opium was actually first banned in San Francisco as a way to control Asian Immigration and to imprison 'undesirables'... hang on... war overseas, opium smuggling, wrongful imprisonment and trampling of human rights... this all sounds so familiar...