Supernatural Asian-American Sexuality

Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology is written for mass audience consumption as a form of entertainment, which also encapsulates challenging visions of Asian-American gender perspectives within fantasy themed narratives.  The text is focussed to an audience of avid manga fans, but incorporates a wide range of visual styles; the art is not singular to one specific fan base of concept.  Likewise, the themes within the comics are more universal in some strips, being able to reach beyond expect Asian audiences through themes which are seen as being connected across humanity as opposed to intersectional discourses tied to restriction.  These themes can be understood by many subjects which can vary entirely in performing agency, but can all collectively understand and relate to the meaning behind these strips, for instance, romance, friendship and the hardships of bullying/ victimizing.  Although there are these themes that are ingrained within mainstream society that are used to capture a wider range of audience understanding, there is equally links that aim to illustrate issues with gender and sexuality of Asian-Americans which are then exposed and disclosed within the strips, which use concepts of the supernatural to do so.


Showtime on page 27 permeates a vision of Asian- American male masculinity in regards to a sport considered applicable to mainly African American dominance. As seen through the image above, what initially is proposed as a form of weakness in comparison to the other male, flourishes into encouragement and forthcoming skill. Not only this, but the comic reinstates popular anime visions of the supernatural, present in evolution and mutation to gain in strength and victory. This concept of the supernatural in relation to Asian-Americans is evident throughout the book of comics with a further example seen above; there is quite a connection between fantasy creations of humanity in context with manga, of Asian origin. This engages stereotypical Asian American interest made popular by mass media consumption in contemporary American society, such as anime shows that use such gimmicks as a central theme of the show, and, in this instance, utilises it to visualise the overcoming of Asian male stereotypes.

Tokyo rose depicts an acceptance of transgender and intertwines sexual acceptance with desire and the perception of beauty. This complex schematic of seeing what is desired, displays the stereotype of the prostitute, but by disguising it as a man, it challenges the perception of totality in this stereotype by altering the gender, giving some agency to what has been a fixed stereotype in Asian-American female identity. Not only this, but with Tokyo Rose, an attempt at a somewhat typical seductive name to further promote connotations of a prostitute, being the one to kill Hitler, the comic captures fiction to empower the image of Asian-American women; Tokyo Rose overthrows what can be considered one of the most controversially detested male figures in history. Yet, this bizarre comic strip equally breaks apart strict gender roles, in that it ‘hetero-fies’ transgender relations with the end having both Rosita and Filipe together. In order to escape they use a portal, which is the interdimensional fuser of gender and sexuality that allows this image of a typical male and female romance to become as such and their expression of this would not have been possible without the use of fiction.


The first page of the comic introduces the audience to five key themes that each of the strips are split into, essentially five discordant stereotypes of Asian-Americans and while it is possible to develop into analysing each that critique different aspects, my focus is on ‘lust’. Intending to represent imagery of a prostitute or seductress, also with the potential to reflect the dragon lady, this image iterates an Asian outlook with the hairstyle and name, but removes all aspects of facial appearance besides that; the image intends to apply this stereotype to any Asian-American woman, as there is no clear distinction to what inscribes a woman to possess this image as it is not usually by their agency to reflect this. This image is also introduced as presenting the ‘true enemies’ by looking into a mirror, which reiterates this collection of intertwining the supernatural with Asian-American stereotypes in context to gender or sexuality.


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