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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Shweta Taneja

Shweta Taneja is a bestselling speculative fiction author from India. With seven published novels and graphic novels, she is a leading voice in feminist science fiction and fantasy, most known for her series, Anantya Tantrist Mysteries. She’s a Charles Wallace Writing Fellow. Her short story, The Daughter That Bleeds (translated in French as ‘La Fille qui saigne’ by Mikael Cabon) has been shortlisted for the prestigious Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire 2020 in France. The story was also awarded Editor’s Choice Award in 2018. 

Other than novels and short stories, she also writes comics. Her graphic novel Krishna Defender of Dharma (Campfire, 2012) in a Must-Read for government schools. The Skull Rosary (2013), an indie black-and-white graphic novel scripted by her was shortlisted for the  Best Writer Award in ComicCon India. Her work has been translated to Romanian, French and Dutch. (Read More about her fiction)

Shweta Taneja

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Kabi Nagata

Kabi Nagata is a manga artist best known for her autobiographical comic, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, an honest and heartfelt look at one young woman’s exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age. Told using expressive artwork that invokes both laughter and tears, this moving and highly entertaining single volume depicts not only the artist’s burgeoning sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life that will resonate with readers. The manga is the winner of the 2018 Harvey Award for Best Manga, and acclaimed in Vox’s top books of the decade, The Advocate’s Best LGBT Graphics Novels of 2017, the NPR Guide to 2017’s Great Reads, and the Publishers Weekly Best Books 2017.

Kabi Nagata

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Whilce Portacio

One of the seven co-founders of Image comics, Whilce Portacio is a Filipino-American Comic book writer and artist. His work includes The Punisher, X-Factor, Uncanny X-Men, Iron Man, Wetworks and Spawn.

Spawn #196

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Mars Ravelo and Nestor Redondo

Mars Ravelo and Nestor Redondo are best known for Darna, a Filipino comics superheroine. In her more popular incarnations, she is a deceased warrior from another planet manifesting herself through a girl from Earth, named Narda. She first appeared in Pilipino Komiks (Ace Publications, Inc.) #77 (May 13, 1950). After Narda swallows a magic white stone and shouts “Darna,” she transforms into the mighty warrior Darna (Mango comics). As Darna, she stands up for those who cannot fend for themselves. She fights against both common criminals as well as greater forces of evil, most famously the snake-haired woman Valentina. She is often accompanied by her younger brother, Ding. Darna has appeared in 14 films, TV series, a webcomic, songs, TV commercials and dance.

Since we're going all superhero-ish this April, let's go local and ...

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Larry Hama

Larry Hama (born 7 June 1949) is a writer, artist, actor and musician who has worked in the fields of entertainment and publishing since the 1960s.

He is best known as a writer and editor for Marvel Comics, where he wrote the licensed comic book series G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero, based on the Hasbro action figures. He has also written for the series WolverineNth Man: the Ultimate Ninja, and Elektra, and he created the character Bucky O’Hare, which was developed into a comic book, a toyline, two videogames, and a television cartoon. During the 1970s, he was seen in minor roles on the TV shows M*A*S*H and Saturday Night Live, and he appeared on Broadway in two different roles in the original 1976 production of Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures.

True Believers: Star Wars - Vader vs. Leia (2019) #1
True Believers: Star Wars – Vader vs. Leia #1 – written by Larry Hama

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The Great McDuffie

1176325_10151847646271612_1397689469_nI think that we are most touched by a culture or a civilization or even a person by what they contribute to the arts. While there is a rapidly shrinking number of people that don’t consider comic books and cartoons to be “art,” I do. So, today’s entry is kind of personal for me, because the man pictured here is Dwayne McDuffie and he was a hero of mine. Dwayne passed away in 2011 at the age of 49 and all the stories he could have written passed with him. In an industry where African Americans were the smallest of minorities, McDuffie was a giant.

Right now I am speaking to the nerds and geeks. You may not know the name Dwayne McDuffie, but trust me, you know him. While Dwayne made huge contributions to comics, he will always be remembered for a little TV series he wrote and produced — it was called “Justice League” (and later “Justice League Unlimited.”) JLU changed cartoons. It had continuity, story arcs, and told human stories. It made you laugh and cry and cheer. It was acclaimed by critics and fans alike and it was the stepping stone that took us from the defunct “Batman the Animated Series” to a never ending stream of quality animation starring the heroes of the DC Universe. It made superheroes cool. This is where it started. Thank you Dwayne.

Prior to that, in 1993, Dwayne and some friends created Milestone Media and (in cooperation with DC Comics) created the world of Dakota City and populated it heroes and villains that looked like America. They were Black, White, Asian, Latino, and Native American. One character from this world he created got a TV series — his name was Static. Yeah, THAT Static (from “Static Shock.”)

During his career Dwayne wrote and edited and created for every big company in the business. His name was a byword for quality and brilliance. He gained a nickname among fans and creators — they called him “The Great McDuffie” — because he damned sure was.

We miss you Dwayne.

Read more about him here: