As Am 560
Through racism and stereotypes, we examine how Asian-American superheroes are often relegated to a secondary or “side-kick” status in modern comic books. In “Blue Scorpion and Chung,” we take a look at Chung, an Asian-American chauffeur whose advanced combat skills and athleticism are dwarfed by his eccentric partner and boss, Blue Scorpion. We also take a look at James, an Asian superhero with a vast amount of powers, who becomes relegated to side-kick status to a much lesser superhero, Hank, due to marketability issues. Both of the Asian superheroes in these stories should be revered for their amazing powers and heroic attributes but instead they are pushed off as secondary. By examining the different narration styles, visual aspects, stereotypical instances, and racist comments we can show why Asian superheroes are often appointed to a lower superhero ranking.
The very first thing that the reader notices when reading either Blue Scorpion and Chung or James, is how the narrative is based through the Asian character in each story. In Blue Scorpion and Chung, the story begins as Chung is shown listening to Blue Scorpion on a drunken rant about their upcoming drug bust. Chung simply sits and listens to Blue Scorpion, all the while assessing the situation. By not saying anything for the first scene, it gives the story the feeling that Chung is quiet yet intrinsically thinking about the situation. As the story moves along, we are given more information about Chung’s past with the Blue Scorpion and why he continues to serve under him. By way of flashbacks, we see that Chung has made a challenging decision to leave his significant other for the greater good. Chung realizes that even if he doesn’t get the glory for protecting the innocent, he should still do it to protect the innocent. Blue Scorpion is nothing without Chung and it is for justice, not glory.
In James, we see a similar situation of narration through another duo of superhero friends, “Human Light” and “Twinkle”. This time the narration is done through a complete flashback of the origins of the superheroes through the Asian character known as James. James recalls how he had met his friend, Hank, and they had teamed up to become a superhero duo. Despite James having real powers such as super speed and strength, Hank becomes the star of the duo while only having the ability to emit light. James continues through the flashback highlighting different times where they’re relationship as a duo became strained through public popularity. Hank is given the moniker, “Human Light”, and James is called “Twinkle”. James takes this in stride as being popular is not a main concern of his. However, when the marketing team pushes it too far and forces James to be a “man-servant” to the Human Light, James quits. Eventually James closes the story by showing he did not need the admiration or approval of the public to make the world a better place. He didn’t need to be called Twinkle, man-servant, or even super-hero; he was okay with simply being called James.
James says “Success changes everything” and highlights how Hank, as a white male, dominated in the public relations department. This created a divide between the two and James is pushed off to the side as a second tier superhero. We can clearly see through various visual cues how James is portrayed as a lesser character and superhero to the Human Light. Human Light is your very typical, white, male superhero with a broad jaw and flashy smile. In addition, Human Light’s costume is much more extravagant than James’. Human Light has a large HL emblem emblazoned on his chest that attracts the eye. He also has a large, collared cape to show more flashiness and consumer appeal. While on the other side, James simply has a tight suit with a simple breast patch that has the letter T, for Twinkle. Hank also gets to drive the superhero car which typically shows he is the more...
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