‘Marvels & Monsters’ exhibit explores comics’ portrayal of Asians

Hero Complex - movies, comics, pop culture - Los Angeles Times

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With his slit-like eyes, spiky nails and Fu Manchu mustache, this Chinese mastermind’s appearance was about as subtle as his name — the Yellow Claw. Evil, exotic and bent on ruling the world, he made his debut in 1956, looming ominously on an Atlas Comics cover as a headline gasped, “Who … or what … is he??!”

The Claw belongs to a “rogues’ gallery” of characters featured in an exhibition looking at Asians and Asian Americans in almost half a century of American comic books. The show, drawn from the collection of sci-fi writer William F. Wu, is visiting the Japanese American National Museum through Feb. 9.

Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986” examines eight main archetypes: the Alien, the Brain, the Brute, the Guru, the Kamikaze, the Lotus Blossom, the Manipulator and the Temptress.

“The images were largely negative,” says…

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