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William F. Wu Is The Featured Guest At The First Annual Asian American ComiCon (AACC)

Official Press Release

The organizers of the First Annual Asian American ComiCon (AACC), a celebration of the unique contemporary role and historical legacy of Asians and Asian Americans in the world of graphic fiction, have announced a new featured guest for the event, to be held on Saturday, July 11, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre Street in New York).

Science fiction author William F. Wu has been nominated five times for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, has published over a dozen novels as well as over 50 short stories that have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, including George R.R. Martin's best-selling Wild Cards books. His most acclaimed book, Hong on the Range, was chosen for the Wilson Library Bulletin's list of science fiction "Books Too Good to Miss" and was a selection for the American Library Association list of Best Books for Young People, the New York Public Library's Recommended Books for the Teen Age, and a Young Adult Editor's Choice by Booklist Magazine. Wu's success as a writer has caused his academic work to be overlooked; the recipient of a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan, Wu has extensively researched the evolution of the image of Asians in Western popular fiction, and is the author of the historical study The Yellow Peril: Chinese Americans in American Fiction, 1850-1940 (Archon Books, 1982).

Recently, New York University revealed that Wu has donated his extensive collection of comic books depicting the history of Asian and Asian American cartoon images to the NYU Fales Library and Special Collections, the college's primary collection of rare books and other special collections materials. The collection is currently being catalogued and will be the subject of a major exhibition and academic event this Fall. As part of AACC's partnership with NYU's Asian/Pacific/American Institute, Wu will share notable images from the collection and discuss the legacy of the Asian image in pulp and popular culture in a unique Spotlight discussion at the con.

"We're tremendously excited to have Bill join us at this groundbreaking event-both as a literary role model and in his role as an academic archivist who's captured and preserved a staggering collection of historical images depicting half a century in the depiction of Asians in popular culture," says Jeff Yang, co-chair of the event, and editor-in-chief of the graphic novel collection Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology.

"I grew up reading comics and always loved them, but the Asian characters when I was young ranged mainly from stupid to evil to banal -- with just a very few exceptions," says Wu. "To my regular collection, I added an adjunct collection, of comics with Asian characters. I was concerned, outraged, and amused because popular culture reaches virtually everyone. The role models-good and bad-can have real world effects on people's perception of themselves and those around them."

"When Bill told us about his incredible comic book collection of Asian and Asian American characters, we knew it was not only important to save it in an archive, but also to make it available for the public to be able to access and use, whether it be for research or personal interest," says Laura Chen-Schultz, Deputy Director of A/P/A Institute at NYU. "What a great way of showing that research archives aren't just history books and yellowing documents, but also include other forms that demonstrate how Asians and Asian Americans have and can be depicted in pop culture and mainstream media."

Tickets for the nonprofit Asian American ComiCon are $15 for students, $25 for adults (18 and older), and $75 for a special VIP Pass, entitling the bearer to priority reserved seating at all panels and workshops, a complimentary Asian American graphic novel, signed by its creators, and an original sketch from one of the artists participating in the event's Artists Alley. Registration will be limited, and is available in advance through the following link: https://www.nycharities.org/event/event.asp?CE_ID=4187 Note: All passes may sell out before the day of the event.

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