My origin story begins in a small town in Texas called Irving. My parents immigrated from Korea about a year before I was born. Growing up in a suburb of Texas was certainly interesting to say the least. Throughout elementary school and most of Junior High, I was not only the first Asian but also one of very few minorities in my school. Like any young insecure kid, the last thing I wanted to do was stand out. However, my classmates made sure to remind me that I was different and didn’t belong to in their mono-ethnic social circles. The stress of being different led to a lot of identity struggles at a young age. I realized that I was different from the others- in short, a misfit. I coped with the pain in life by turning to the one thing I could always depend on, my imagination.
During these difficult years, my imagination was my escape. Ignited by the sci-fi and comics, I found a deeper meaning beyond just the capes and masks. The story of many superheroes was not so different than my own. For instance, Superman is from a foreign land. He knows he’s different and doesn’t belong…he’s a misfit. However, Superman must embrace his heritage in order to be a force for good in this world. He is the ultimate immigrant. In many ways, Superman and Wonder Woman because my fictitious parents. Comics informed me of values like truth, justice, and the American way. Many years later, my first year to San Diego Comic-Con felt like the mother ship was calling me home. Not only was Comic-Con a place to experience all my favorite nerd hobbies but it was also a place to connect with people just like me. After spending many hours on the showroom floor, in panels, or standing in lines, I got to hear stories from my fellow geeks. I was among over 100,000 fans composed of many different cultures, ethnicities, social economics, sexual orientations, and beliefs, yet I never felt a stronger sense of belonging. At Comic-Con I wasn’t a misfit. Since that time, I have devoted my time and energy to help others connect and find their home among the myriad of fans- hopefully my site has helped with that.
This is also one of the main reasons I am so passionate about my Battle for Multicultural Heroes Panel (Sun 4p, 28DE) at Comic-Con. It’s a panel that I have been able to host at about a dozen different cons through out the county and I’m so grateful for all the voices that have contributed to the conversation thus far. We are so fortunate to live in an age where justice and equality are considered worth while pursuits. However, we have so far to go when it comes to ethnic representation in TV, comics, and film. Like for me growing up, ethnic characters or heroes are still largely misunderstood and marginalized. Burdened by generations of horrific stereotypes, It’s still confusing how we create cultural change without offending, misplacing, or frustrating others. Even the most recent news of a female Thor and black Captain America has sparked controversy in the comics community. So I challenge you to be there at this panel- regardless of your ethnicity, experience, or personal opinions. I’ll spoil the punch line a little; it takes us all, black, brown, yellow, white, and green, to move the needle of change. It’s not up to some vocal minority group, but it will take a community, perhaps a Comic-Con community, to be the catalyst for change. I don’t just want you to be there, I need you to be there. Our culture depends on it.
Joined by Youtube comedian Andre Meadows (@BlackNerd), professional cosplayer Linda Le (@VampyBitMe), and Dr Andrea Letamendi (@ArkhamAsylumDoc), this panel will be one of the most entertaining and enlightening ones you will experience this week. According to the Programming Schedule, 2/3rd amount of people have already indicated interest in the panel which means it will probably fill out- so come a little early. Hope you join us on Sunday at 4p in room 28DE.
Special thanks to fan @Breaulta for her winning design for our panel!