Talk about supercool bragging rights. How many kids get to tell their classmates their dad is off chasing pirates on his warship?
It’s certainly one of the highlights of U.S. Navy Commander Steven Lee’s young son and daughter. In February, the 18-year veteran of the Navy took command of the USS Gonzalez, one of this nation’s armed-to-the-teeth warships. Though two other Korean Americans have commanded at sea, he is the first Korean American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to do so.
“It’s an amazing ship. It can do amazing things. I call it my toy,” said Lee, with a chuckle, speaking by phone while his $1.8 billion “toy” was in port at Norfolk, Va. The most recent deployment for him and his 280-member crew involved conducting counter-piracy and counter-terrorism operations in the Somali Basin and Indian Ocean.
“We can strike a target from the sea with our long-range missiles,” Lee said, noting that the ship plays a supporting role to U.S. Special Forces looking for terrorists on the ground. Continue Reading »
The Top 5 Angriest Stories of 2011
by Phil Yu
From behind my laptop screen at Angry Asian Man headquarters, I sit at a relatively unique vantage point for what’s going on in the Asian Pacific American community. Having written this blog for over 10 years, a lot of information comes my way, and I try to interpret and share it as best as I can. Sometimes it feels like progress, other times it’s like 10 steps back. And, sometimes I just feel like throwing my computer out the window.
This year had its interesting share of ups and downs. Thus, I give you my blog’s top five “angriest” stories of 2011. Not necessarily the most controversial or even the most viewed posts of the year, but five noteworthy topics that struck a nerve with the APA community and got people talking. Continue Reading »
Renowned comic book artist Jim Lee channels his dual identities as an illustrator and publisher.
by Jimmy Lee
photographs by Mark Edward Harris
New York City. October 2010.
Within the mundane conference rooms of these halls were assembled superb beings in the world of comic book creation—names like Brian Azzarello, Jeph Loeb and Grant Morrison. At the forefront of this league of extraordinary talents were Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, the two men anointed co-publishers of DC Entertainment earlier in the year. This dynamic duo had brought these figures together to combat the forces diminishing their industry: the Internet, digital piracy and slumping sales. What they would end up proposing at this conference would have universe-shattering consequences.
There is no argument that Jim Lee is one of the most revered comic book artists of the last 25 years. The hour-long lines he generates at comic book conventions are testaments to his artwork’s magnetic hold on fans, while the 2010- published tome, Icons: The DC Comics & WildStorm Art of Jim Lee, is a beautifully packaged ode to Lee’s penciling skills, all in coffee table book-sized glory. He has the distinction of illustrating the best-selling single issue of all time—X-Men No. 1, published by Marvel in 1991. Continue Reading »
Through her cookbooks, Cecilia Lee has been tirelessly spreading her love of Korean food for more than a decade.
by Eugene Yi
“Have you ever seen this much chili powder in your life?” asked the fortuitously named Jennie Cook, host of a kimchi-making workshop on an overcast Los Angeles Sunday at her catering kitchen.
“And we’re using the small jars!” said Cecilia Lee, cookbook author, Korean food evangelist and the after- noon’s teacher. Each student would leave the class with as many 32-ounce jars of kimchi they could make. The nine students (seven women, two men) smiled politely and readied their kitchenware.
“We’re going to start with mincing garlic. That’s basically how I grew up. Mincemincemince,” she said, laughing.
Lee, 41, graduated from the University of California, San Diego, studying art and biochemistry (she had been on the pre-med path). She ultimately chose aprons over scrubs, and looked for writing gigs to allow a flexible schedule. She noticed the Los Angeles Times’ food section hadn’t covered kimchi, and before long, she was the paper’s go-to writer for Korean food.
Lee also writes Frommer’s South Korea guidebook. Her editor recommended that she try writing cookbooks. She’s since published three, the most recent one about Mexican cuisine.
“[People] look at me and say, ‘You’re not Latina,” she said. “I never claimed I was Latina. I just said I could make salsa.” Her parents bought a Mexican grocery store when she was a teenager, and Lee often asked customers about ingredients unfamiliar to her, like nopales (prickly pear cactus). Continue Reading »
An exploration of why there seems to be a glut of Asian American graphic novel superstars.
by Oliver Saria
For those interested in seeing a window into the arcane world of Asian American graphic novelists, but who are too lazy to actually read their books even with all the pictures, it’d be worth your time to check out Mythomania, the live-action Web series written and directed by award-winning graphic novelist and budding filmmaker Derek Kirk Kim. (Full disclosure: I know a thing or two about Mythomania because Kim is one of my housemates and he shot it in our condo.)
In the second episode, a group of cartoonists gathers for a dose of actual human contact in what is otherwise a very lonely, arduous endeavor—writing, drawing, lettering, stapling and selling a self-published mini-comic. The Web series is based partly on Kim’s real-life experiences from about a decade ago when he was a fledgling cartoonist living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he would regularly meet with other fledgling cartoonists for Art Night. Gatherings of visual artists are not uncommon in cities like Chicago, New York and Portland, Ore.—places generally in close proximity to an art school or anywhere artists happen to coalesce. Other Art Nights across the country may go by less generic names, but few have reached the kind of semi-legendary status associated with Kim and his cohorts, who have produced some of the most acclaimed graphic novels of the past decade.
Kim went on to achieve the rare feat of winning the comic industry’s “triple crown” of awards—the Ignatz, the Harvey, as well as the “Oscar” of comics, the Eisner—for his groundbreaking graphic novel Same Difference and Other Stories (First Second Books).
Gene Yang, who actually proposed the first Art Night, was a finalist for a National Book Award in 2006 for American Born Chinese (First Second Books), the first graphic novel to ever be considered for the prestigious prize. In 2007, the book won the Eisner Award for best new graphic album and the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature. Lark Pien, another Art Night alum, won the Harvey Award for her color work on American Born Chinese. Kim and Yang both won their second Eisners in 2010 for their collaboration, The Eternal Smile, a collection of short stories. Other notable alums include: Jason Shiga, another Eisner winner for his mind-boggling work of genius, Meanwhile, a choose-your-own-adventure story on steroids; and Korean American Hellen Jo’s coming of age mini-comic Jin and Jam #1 (Sparkplug) was nominated for an Ignatz in 2009.
Jo, an art school dropout who now works as an assistant story board revisionist for The Regular Show on Cartoon Network, states unequivocally, “I definitely learned more at Art Night than art school. I kind of developed my stylistic choices there.” Continue Reading »