• Wiz Kids, nuclear bombs, and Marvel’s Hazmat

    Author(s):
    Philip Smith (see profile)
    Date:
    2014
    Group(s):
    GS Comics and Graphic Narratives, LLC Asian American
    Subject(s):
    Asian history, War literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    trauma, World War II, postmemory, asian american
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6QG74
    Abstract:
    In my paper ‘Postmodern Chinoiserie in Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese’ (2014, Literature Compass 11 (1): 1–14), I propose that existing scholarship on the portrayal of Asians and Asian Americans in American comics has largely focused upon racist newspaper cartoons from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and modern Asian-American alternative comics. There exists a small but growing body of academic literature on the depiction of Asian Americans in modern mainstream comics. In this essay I seek to develop the scholarship by analysing Marvel’’s character Hazmat (Jennifer Takeda) in the context of modern depictions of Asians and Asian Americans in American comic books and the postmemory of Nagasaki Hiroshima, and the Japanese internment camps. This paper is organised in two parts. The first focuses upon the ways in which Asians and Asian Americans have historically been depicted (or, in many cases, not depicted) in American comics. The argument includes an examination of the ways in which the Marvel character Hazmat has been written in relation to those stereotypes. The second half of the essay considers the ways in which Hazmat embodies (quite literally) the violence towards Japanese civilians during World War II, and the ethics of exploring the history of genocide through the superhero genre.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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