Avid comic collector & fan for nearly twenty years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.
Asian comic book super heroes in American mainstream comics? Asian representation in Hollywood is pretty slim at the moment, but what does it look like in the world of comics?
Once again, key words here are "superheroes" or in that genre. I suppose I should've made clear that most of these characters are of East Asian or of East Asian descent.
When you get anywhere near the subject of who is considered "Asian", things get blurry, especially in the U.S. or most western countries. I hear that most Indians and Pakistanis do consider themselves "Asians". However, many outside of the two do not for some odd reason.
Alright, so "East Asian" it is and I may make some exceptions here and there and include a few South Asians as well. Most of these are Marvel and DC characters.
If you know of more that you think deserve to be on this list then voice your opinion in the comments section below. Let's get to it and hope you enjoy.
The Green Turtle
Created in 1944 by Chu F. Hing, this character has long been forgotten about. Not until recently did The Green Turtle make a very small splash when Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew created a six-issue miniseries The Shadow Hero to revive the character and finally confirm his Asian identity.
The Green Turtle does not have any super-powers, but, then again, nether does Batman. He first appeared in Blazing Comics.
In creating the character, the story goes that Chu F. Hing most likely wanted to make his creation a Chinese American also since he was one. After all, this character would go around and aid the Chinese against the Japanese in World War II. However, it is highly likely that publisher, Blazing Comics, did not allow the character to be overtly Asian.
In keeping with super-hero tradition, Chu F. Hing decided that his character would be covertly Asian then. He was never drawn without his mask, and it's apparent that Hing made a lot of effort to obscure the character's face with objects, people, or various angles.
Armed with his Turtle Plane and sidekick named Burma Boy, Hank Chu ran around and kicked some Imperial Japanese butt in the 2nd World War. For me, that alone is the reason why Green Turtle tops this list and makes comic book history.
My only question: Why a turtle? A dragon I see but anyway.
Speaking of the Japanese, up next is the mutant Sunfire. As an X-Men fan, this guy is definitely on my radar, and I think he should be on yours too.
Like his super name suggests, Sunfire can and does emit...well...fire.
Created by Roy Thomas and Don Heck, Sunfire's real name is Shiro Yoshida, and he is one of the few Asian male super-heroes in American mainstream comics. Not even joking about that.
He is often depicted as arrogant and hot headed. Well, he does absorb solar radiation and convert it into blazing flames better known as "solar fire". With that kind of power, it only seems fitting to be hot tempered, no?
Sunfire had a very short tenure as an X-Man, but did not become a member in his initial debut in X-Men #64. In that issue, we learn that Shiro Yoshida's mother had died of radiation poisoning due to the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II.
She died giving birth to Shiro, and because of this, Shiro hated the United States. Therefore, Sunfire was actually a foil or baddie when first introduced in X-Men #64.
Not surprising when it comes to that, and Sunfire was cast again as a baddie in his second appearance in Sub-Mariner #52. It wasn't until Giant-Size X-Men #1 when Sunfire was actually on the super-hero side of things and joined the "new" and revived X-Men team along with Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, and Banshee.
His tenure in the famous group was short-lived and he left in X-Men #94, which was only the new team's 2nd appearnance. After that the character didn't appear too much until the later 70s, but he was seen helping the good guys out when he did show up in the pages of Marvel Comics.
Sunfire would later join the Avengers Unity Squad in the pages of the Uncanny Avengers.
The Ancient One
In the comics, the Ancient One is from a fictional and hidden land in the Himalayas called Kamar-Taj. Not really sure of what descent or race the Ancient One is in the actual comics. He may very well be South Asian, or he may lean more towards the Tibetan side.
Anyway, he goes on here and we all know he is the Sorcerer Supreme who trained Dr. Strange. We all know what happened to the character in the actual movie, and there are all sorts of arguments pertaining to why the Ancient One was whitewashed.
Make the character Tibetan and you'll piss off the Chinese or vice versa and you'll alienate a whole bunch of people. Make her a Celtic character because the Ancient One in the comics is an old American stereotype of Asians and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Yeah, I'm saying blah for a reason, because the argument is pure crap. Rebuttal for both the excuses above: Why don't you make the Ancient One black or Latino then? Why Celtic = white?
Also, the argument is extremely weak, because we should all know by now that racist Hollyweird takes liberties with their comic properties, and the movies are usually different from the comics. Casting an Asian actor has no bearing on updating the role or character so it isn't quite so offensive or stereotypical.
To smash any rebuttal for any other lousy excuse: Wong. They updated that character big time from the comics, and in the comics, Wong was Dr. Strange's manservant. In the movie, he's what? A master of the mystical arts. So, yeah, racist Hollyweird, I call bull crap on the whitewash of the Ancient One.
Anyway, the Ancient One is originally from Kamar-Taj, a secret and hidden land concealed in the Himalayas. Aside from training Dr. Strange, the Ancient One also trained Doctor Druid too.
A very important supporting character in the Doctor Strange mythos and first appeared in Strange Tales #110 and it is cover-dated July, 1963. Ancient One was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and may just be the first of Marvel Asian superheroes to have been published for the publisher.
Okay, I am stretching it here with this one. Hear me out.
Okay, the Karate Kid really doesn't have super-powers per say. As stated before, I don't consider a "master" of martial arts a super-power, even if it is pretty bad ass.
Nor, do I consider a master of every assortment of melee weapon known to man. Extremely impressive for sure, but not really a super-power.
However, being a Legion of Super-Heroes member and having a Flight Ring does make him a bit super. With it he can fly and survive in space.
Kinda like how Hal Jordan's ring makes him a super-hero, I'm stretching it for this Silver Age character. Yes, I know, he has some crazy abilities in which he can find weak spots in any object or person and has these super strength blows because of his mastery of the martial arts.
Yes, I know these blows are so strong that they can damage metals and stone and other various hard objects. Sounds pretty superhuman.
So, like I mentioned before, I'm letting this DC character slide on in this list. He was created by Jim Shooter and debuted in Adventure Comics #346. It was cover dated July, 1966 which makes him a Silver Age character.
Could this be the first Asian super hero from DC Comics? Maybe.
Karate Kid is Val Armorr. He is half Japanese and half white.
His father is the most powerful crime lord in Japan. His mother was an American secret agent spying on the Black Dragon.
Somehow they did the hippity dippity and she conceived Val. She tried to conceal the lad from his baddie pops but ended up being killed by the cold blooded villain.
In the end, White Crane or Sensei Toshiak ended up raising and training Val.
We've already seen a weird version of this character in the MCU played by Pom Klementieff in Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. Not a huge fan of this version and really just seems like she's just there.
Mantis in the comics is half Asian and half white (German), so I suppose she is an "Asian enough" character to be considered one of Marvel's earliest Asian female superheroes from the publisher. Pom Klementieff is also half Asian and half white.
Mantis is a pretty confusing character. According to co-creator Steve Englehart, the character moved through 3 different publishers other than Marvel. 3 other iterations of Mantis was Willow at DC and then called Lorelei at Eclipse and then Image Comics before going back to Marvel.
She first appeared as Willow in Justice League of America #142 and then as Lorelei in Eclipse Comics' Scorpio Rose #2. These iterations are actually recognized by Marvel, and it seems she was carried over around 1977 when Englehart left Marvel.
Some really neat stuff to know about if you're a comic fan. So, she is the niece of criminal warlord Monsieur Khruul. Her mother's brother did not approve of her mother marrying the German mercenary Gustav Brandt.
He had them hunted and killed his daughter. Gustav became blinded but him and his daughter somehow found sanctuary with the temple of the Priests of Pama. The members of the Priests of Pama ended up being revealed as renegade Kree aliens.
Believing her to be the Celestial Madonna, they trained her in martial arts. These priests were also guardians of a sentient race of telepathic plants called the Cotati.
Therefore, these Kree priests also taught Mantis how to telepathically communicate with the Cotati. This would give her empathetic abilities.
She is a former Avenger. Like in the MCU, Mantis is also a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy too. However, I do not think this happened until more recent comics in the 2000s.
Steve Englehart has expressed his disapproval of how Mantis is portrayed in the MCU. Don't blame him, but her aliases of Willow and Lorelei are listed in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Avengers 2005.
Shang Chi Master of Kung Fu
No, I do not think being a "Master" of martial arts is a superpower. It may be cool, but it's not a superpower. However, it seems that Shang Chi recently acquired the power to make unlimited duplicates of his Kung Fu kickin' self.
I think that counts, so here he is - Shang Chi. Shang-Chi's 1st appearance is in Marvel Special Edition #15. It also contains his origin, despite what the marvelwiki says about Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 holding that honor.
After all, the issue reveals how Shang-Chi finds out that his father, Fu Manchu, had lied to him and is really a very bad guy. That bit is told in flashback as well.
It's his wake up issue and in the end he abandons his father and clearly states that the next they meet will be as enemies. Legendary Jim Starlin created this character during the Kung Fu phase.
Stories goes is that they wanted the rights to do a comic about the TV series Kung Fu starring David Carradine. They told Marvel nope, so Marvel had legends Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin create Shang-Chi.
They also decided to entrench this new martial artist hero into the world of Fu Manchu, who was a god awful Yellow Peril stereotype of Asians, and the main villain of a series of novels by British author Sax Rohmer.
The character of Fu Manchu first appeared in the novel The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu in 1913. Marvel would gain the license to use the villainous Fu Manchu, Dr. Petrie and Sir Denis Nayland Smith, but they would lose the rights during the 80s.
Because of this, it was written that Fu Manchu was just an alias or code name and Shang-Chi's father is really Zheng Zu, a mystical and ancient Chinese sorcerer.
Lin Sun - Sons of the Tiger
Yeah, everyone was Kung-Fu fighting when this magazine hit the American populace, and most didn't even know what the hell Kung-Fu was about. Martial Arts flicks from Asia started to infiltrate America during the time.
Being comics, and as Stan Lee once admitted to, they jumped on the Kung-Fu craze. Martial Arts driven characters like Iron Fist and Shang Chi became part of Marvel's arsenal of new stories to profit off of.
Enter this magazine and the feature once known as The Sons of The Tiger. Lin Sun was the main character of the Sons of the Tiger, and he just may have been of the 1st Asian American superheroes in American comics. His team also consisted of African American bad ass, Abe Brown and Bob Brown.
Fun fact: Abe Brown is the brother of Hobie Brown, the Prowler, in the Spidey comics. Pretty cool, right? Aren't you glad you stopped by.
Okay, so here's the deal concerning the Sons of the Tiger. Well, Lin Sun comes into possession of what is known as the Jade Amulets of Power. They are three amulets consisting of a tiger's head and two claws.
When he obtained these mystical amulets from a dying Master Kee, the inscription on the box they came in read "When three are called and stand as one, as one they'll fight, their will be done...For each is born anew, The Tiger's Son."
Yep, having the amulets gave them the ability to be mystically connected. This meant that their martial arts abilities were combined into one and thus tripled each of their martial arts skills.
Yeah, now that's pretty cool. While Sons of the Tiger ran briefly, they shared adventures with Iron Fist and Shang Chi. The end of their team and feature also directly connected to the Latino superhero White Tiger.
Yeah, I think that's really cool. First appearance and origin of the Sons of the Tiger is right in this here magazine of Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu #1.
For Bruce Lee fans, I think this is his debut appearance in anything Marvel. More of Shang Chi's past is revealed in this issue.
CGC only notes this as "Origin of Sons of Tiger", which is true. It's their 1st appearance as well though. Neal Adams cover too. Can't go wrong.
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 has the cover date of April, 1974
Silver Samurai definitely started off as a villain, often pairing up with the likes of Viper
For those non-comic fans, you might of seen him in the 2nd Wolverine movie. Yeah, the one where he goes to Japan.
Anyway, the first and original Silver Samurai is Kenuichio Harada, and he first appeared in Daredevil #111 back in the Bronze Age of comics. The character is created by Steve Gerber and Bob Brown.
Kenuichio is a mutant that can generate a tachyon field, which is basically a field of particles that move faster than light. That is hypothetically, of course.
Kenuichio can surround this tachyon field pretty much around anything he chooses, and he often chooses his samurai sword. Oh, that sounded dirty, indeed.
He is the half-brother of Mariko Yashida, Wolverine's ex-wife and some say his "true love". After the death of his sister, he took over the clan Yashida.
Daredevil #111 and the first appearance of Silver Samurai has the cover date of July, 1974.
Bear with me here. Yes, it's true that Colleen Wing started off as an ordinary, non-powered gal who just happened to be highly trained and skilled in martial arts.
Okay, that martial arts happens to be the combative skills of the Japanese samurai and mastery of Kenjutsu swordmanship. She also walloped baddies with a 1,000 year-old blade that her grand-father gave her.
Her mother's ancestry were samurai. Colleen Wing was created by comic legend Larry Hama and Doug Moench. Originally a supporting character for Iron Fist, Colleen would later break out with Misty Knight as the Daughters of the Dragon.
Okay, as for the super-power deal, she would later get some chi powers like Danny Rand in later comics. Apparently, Danny did a mind meld with Colleen in order to break her free from a villain named Master Khan.
Because melding minds with Iron Fist, Colleen gains some 411 about K'un L'un martial arts and learns how to tap into and control her chi. This ability would enhance both her strength and healing acceleration.
Pretty nifty, eh? Not that known either.
That whole story starts with Iron Fist #5 through #7. Danny mind melds with Colleen in issue #6. So Colleen Wing makes this list.
Marvel Premiere #17 has the cover date of November, 1974.
Liang Xih-k'ai is Thunderlord in the world of DC Comics. He is a member of the Global Guardians.
He has a sonic scream and is a Chinese superhero from Taiwan. Actually he can manipulate his voice to produce destructive sound waves or to mimic various sounds for kid's parties.
E. Nelson Bridwell and Ramona Fradon created this highly unknown East Asian comic superhero, and actually debuted in the Super Friends non-continuity comic series. Issue #8 marks this character's first appearance in "comics".
His in-continuity appearance isn't in DC Comics Presents #46. The Global Guardian's first in-continuity appearance is in that issue, but Thunderlord does not show up in that issue. In an actual story and in-continuity, his debut might be in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12, but I definitely think that is a cameo. It's probably in one of those "Where's Dildo" kind of panels that's so obscure you probably don't know whether it's the character or not.
Actually, I just reread it and he's in there but in only one really measly panel. Thunderlord is mentioned in that issue though.
Such an obscure character, I'm just gonna go with Super Friends #8, and that issue has the cover date of November, 1977.
The Suicide Squad movie was a debacle. It started off pretty okay and then just went downhill from after the team formed.
Regardless, Katana is one of the few DC Comic Asian superheroes. She's not a happa but a full Japanese, or whatever is as close to full Japanese as one can get.
Okay, so ninja like martial arts skills is not a super power really. However, she does have a mystical samurai sword. Plus, it has the cool name of Soultaker!
I know, right? Badass!
Even cooler is that this sword is supposedly cursed, or just amplifies evil people to do evil things? Say what?
Yeah, it makes evil people do more evil, and sometimes after taking their life, it also takes their soul. Stored in the sword, a certain ritual can unleash these souls to do the bidding of the one who summoned it.
On that note and speaking of a sword taking souls and containing them, her husband's soul is trapped in the blade after he was murdered. For real, yo!
Katana is really Tatsu Yamashiro and she was created by Mike Barr and Jim Aparo.
Katana first appeared in Brave and the Bold #200 and that issue has the cover date of July, 1983. Katana is a known member of the original Outsiders, but she has also been a member of the Justice League and the Birds of Prey.
Well, hey, if Marvel has a Japanese Sunfire, DC needs to have a Japanese superhero who basically has the same power and almost the same name - Sunburst. Yeah, no kiddin' here.
So, the original Sunburst was created was created by Paul Kupperberg and Alex Saviuk. He is Takeo Sato and turns solar energy into intense light or blazing heat>
How did he get these powers? Well, he ate or inhaled volcanic stuff in the air. Of course, because everyone who inhales volcanic whatever in the air develops heat powers.
Damn, straight. Well not a huge or well-known superhero in the DC world of comics, but he does exist nonetheless.
Sunburst or Takeo Sato first appeared in The New Adventures of Superboy #45 and it is cover-dated September 1983.
Created by Steve Engelhart and Joe Staton, Xiang Po was one of the 10 individuals that was chosen by one Guardians of the Universe and a Zamaron to be taught the secrets of the cosmos. The Guardian and Zamaron also gave them metahuman powers.
Gloss was able to draw energy from the Dragon lines or better known as ley lines. She became part of a team known as the New Guardians.
This character has more appearances than I thought she'd have. However, she still doesn't show up all that much in the actual DC Comics. Gloss debuted in Millennium #2 and the comic has the cover date of January, 1988.
Jubilation Lee - Jubilee
I grew up with this character and I didn't even understand what the purpose this character held. She was a walking fireworks show, and a sidekick to Wolverine?
Don't get me wrong. I didn't mind Jubilee, but even for an Asian American that was considered a banana (Yellow on the outside. White on the inside), I didn't feel that Jubilation Lee represented me all that much even if she is one of the few well-known Asian American superheroes in comics.
Still, she was a sidekick to Wolverine and one of the few Asian female superheroes that had Chinese ancestry. Character was created by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri.
She was a talented gymnast and was to compete in the Olympic games. However, her parents were murdered and Jubilee found herself escaping an orphanage and hiding in a Hollywood mall.
There she stole food in order to survive. Yes, she is basically a walking fireworks show. Yes, lame power, but this eventually evolved into something more powerful and deadly.
She could control these plasmoids and not just direct them to anywhere she wished, but also detonate them at will and at varying intensities. No joke, and Emma Frost told her that her powers may have the potential power of a nuclear fusion bomb.
Jubilee first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #244, and the comic has the cover date of May, 1989.
Auric and Silver
Not exactly the most well-known mutants in the Marvel world of comics, but Auric and Silver are definitely East Asian superheroes as they are originally from China. They are fraternal twins, and, hey, Auric is actually an East Asian male.
Whoaa, yeah! Not that many appearances of the dude in comics either. Not surprising, is it?
So Auric and Silver are the fraternal twins, Zhao and Jhimon Tang from China. They were recruited by the Communist Chinese government into their super team called China Force. Defected to Hong Kong, they tried to overthrow the government there in order to stop Hong Kong from reverting back to Chinese rule.
They failed and had to seek asylum in Canada. Since Alpha Flight had stopped being the nation's sponsored superhero team, the Canadian government sought new operative to form a new super group. Enter the twins Auric and Silver, and they would become members of Gamma Flight.
However, their careers would not last long as sponsored operatives of the Canadian Government. They would eventually quit their service, and before returning back to China to fight for freedom and democraxy, they would meet their demise.
Both Auric and Silver debuted in Alpha Flight #76 and that issue has the cover date of November, 1989.
Who likes Legion of Superheroes? Well, good, because we're gonna yap about Dragonmage.
Who is this Dragonmage? Well, he is or was a member of the Legion of Superheroes. He's also a Chinese superhero named Xao Jin.
Xao is supposedly a powerful sorcerer, but does not have that many appearances in the actual comics. His spells are often accompanied by dragon images.
Created by Tom and Mary Bierbaum, Dragonmage debuted in Legion of Super-Heroes #33 volume 4. The cover date for that issue is September, 1992.
Doctor Mirage (Hwen Mirage)
If you're a Valiant Comics fan from back in the 90s, you'd definitely know that the original Doctor Mirage is of East Asian descent. Him and his wife, Carmen Ruiz, are stars of the Valiant Comic's The 2nd Life of Doctor Mirage.
Hwen was a parapsychologist, but after an encounter with Master Darque, Hwen finds out he has become a necromantic being. As a result of this transformation, Hwen cannot become solid or have physical contact with others.
He is able to tap into the mysterious Darque Power and has the ability of flight, telekinesis, and intangibility. In the new series by valiant, the roles would be switched and a female version of the character would take center stage as Doctor Mirage.
The original Mirage's 1st appearance is in Shadowman #16 of the first series and has the cover date of August, 1993.
Back to DC Comics, and it's another pretty obscure East Asian superhero called Claw. This character is John Chan and was a member of Primal Force.
Seems he bought a mystical suit of armor, and the gauntlets were possessed by a demonic spirit named The Claw of Pytharia. This demon cut off John's hand and grafted the gauntlet to his arm.
Of course, the gauntlet increased John's fighting skills, turning him into bad ass. One side effect was it gave him anger issues that was hard to control.
Them are the breaks in the superhero world of comics. John is from Hong Kong. He first appeared in Primal Force #0 with the cover date of October, 1994.
Cassandra Cain Batgirl
Another halfie or hapa - half Asian and half white - character. Created by Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott, Cassandra Cain first appeared in Batman #567. She is the daughter of assassin David Cain and Lady Shiva.
Cassandra Cain would take the mantle of Batgirl in Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #120, but she only appears suited up in two panels. She makes a more fuller appearance as Batgirl in The Batman Chronicles #18.
Part of the Bat Family, Cassie partnered up with Oracle and became her ward. David Cain trained her to be the ultimate assassin. Instead of learning to communicate via speech or writing, Cain taught her how to communicate through violence or fighting.
Because of this, she has an astute and uncanny ability to read people through their movements, anticipating their next moves with unbelievable accuracy. Her father emotionally scarred her, however, by taking her on hits since she was five years old.
The worst was when he also had her unknowingly kill a mark when she was 8 years old. Thinking this was a game, she watched the fear in Faizul's eyes as he died from the death blow she gave him.
Cassie would run away from her father and live a homeless and nomadic life on the streets until she met Oracle or Barbara Gordon. Cassie's life would change forever after saving Commissioner Gordon's life from her father.
I absolutely love this character of Cassandra Cain. One of the best characters to come out of the Batman Family during the 90s in my humble opinion.
With the cover date of July, 1999, Cassandra Cain appeared as herself in Batman #567. She would appear as Batgirl for the first time in Legends of the Dark Knight #120 (August, 1999).
The character of Cassandra Cain is slated to be in a Warner Bros./DC flick. Word is Birds of Prey movie.
Okay, last that I remember, peeps from India were considered Asian or considered themselves Asian? Yeah, it's all really that confusing.
So, Karima Shapandar is an Omega Prime Sentinel, and she is part of the X-Men mutant world of Marvel Comics. She is not a mutant, but a former police officer in India who was turned into an Omega Prime Sentinel by the Operation: Zero Tolerance program run by Bastion and Henry Gyrich.
An Omega Prime Sentinel is obviously an advanced Sentinel that is a half human and half machine hybrid that uses nanotechnology. Once activated, they turn into kick ass armored mutant hunters with a wide array of advanced weaponry.
Starting off as a baddie mutant killer, Karima would figure out how to shut off her mutant extermination programing and joining the X-Men. Created by Chris Claremont and Brett Booth, Karima first appeared in X-Men Unlimited #27 and that comic has the cover date of June, 2000.
Push - MC2
Push reminds me of the Asian version of Jean Grey, and she is a mutant in the MC2 world of comics. This character is Nancy Lu, and she is a supporting character May Parker as Spider-Girl.
Nancy has telekinesis powers, and although she started off as rival of sorts, she would become friends with May Parker. Super cool comic series that is highly over-looked, Push first appeared in Spider-Girl #23. The comic has the cover date of August, 2000.
Okay, who this Xorn fellow? Well, created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, Xorn is or was originally a Chinese mutie that had a star for a brain. However, and this is SPOILER so stop reading if you don't want to know, Xorn ended up being Magneto in disguise.
Boo! Magneto so bad he doing yellow face. Morrison did reveal that he always intended for Xorn to be Magneto in disguise.
After Morrison departed, it seems that a retconned happened and Xorn became a separate character again. Oh, my, word!
So, if you notice that I put two covers and issues for this debut. In X-Men #157, Austen debuted a new Xorn. This Xorn goes by the name of Shen Xorn and is the twin brother of Kuan-Yin Xorn or the original Xorn.
Sublime apparently influenced the original Xorn to pretend to be Magneto. So much confusion, hot damn! I almost didn't put this character because I didn't want to explain the absurdity.
So Xorn first debuted in New X-Men Annual 2001 and that has the cover date of September, 2001. His brother Shen Xorn debuted in X-Men #157 of the volume 2 series.
Striker-Z 1st appeared in JLA #61, and that issue has the cover date of 2002.
I like the show on Hulu, and it is one that I watch religiously.
Must admit that it's a bit slow and deviates quite a bit from the comics, but it's still alright. I am a fan of the actual comic series and thought it was brilliant. I still think it's a hugely under-rated comic series.
In the series, my favorite was Molly Hayes, and I still think the show made a huge mistake in aging the character up. They lost out on a lot of comedic moments that could've happened in the show but was great in the actual comics.
For the show, my favorite is now Gertie and Old Lace. I mean, c'mon, who isn't still fascinated with dinosaurs?
Oh, wait, we are talking about Nico Minoru here. Well, who doesn't love magic and a bit of sorcery, and that's just what this character is.
So Nico is the daughter of Dark Wizards who are super villains in a group called The Pride. This group controlled crime in the Los Angelos area.
Nico Minoru wields the Staff of One, a magical item that has been described as making its wielder "unstoppable". Only she can summon it and the staff appears when she bleeds.
Highly under-rated comic character, and she is one of the few Asian-American team leaders in comics. She did become the de facto leader after Alex Wilder. Major shout out to actor Lyrica Okano, who plays the character in the Hulu television series Runaways. Runaways #1 has the cover date of July, 2003.
Grace Choi - The Outsiders
If you are watching the Black Lightning TV show, you have already seen the character of Grace Choi played by Chantal Thuy. Her character has not yet gotten her meta on just yet, but it's already been established that her and Anissa Pierce, known as Thunder and played by the beautiful Nafessa Williams, are in a relationship together.
It is the same in the comics, and Grace Choi and Thunder are actually in the superhero group called the Outsiders. Grace was created b Judd Winick and Tom Raney, and she is the daughter of an Amazon of Bana-Mighdall.
Apparently these Amazons broke off from the Amazons of Themyscira and settled somewhere in the deserts of Egypt. Yep, Grace has the Divine Empowerment of super-human strength, durability, healing factor and senses.
I have a feeling if Grace does get powers in the show, it won't be because of her Amazon roots. Her first appearance, a long with Thunder, is in Outsiders #1 volume 3 and the issue has the cover date of August, 2003.
Benny Lo as Night-Dragon debuted in Batman: Hong Kong. Comic has the cover date of August, 2003.
She is a mutant that constantly absorbs electricity uncontrollably. She has to wear special gauntlets to regulate her mutant power. Of course, she can also emit the electricity she absorbs into powerful blasts.
She is a member of the New Mutants, New X-Men, and X-Men. She debuted in New Mutants #8 volume 2 with the cover date of that issue is January, 2004.
And again, another female Asian superhero in the mutant world of the X-Men. This time, she is Japanese and her real name is Hisako Ichiki.
Okay, I actually like her character, because her power is super cool. Armor has the mutant ability to generate a super power psionic body armor around her. This armor is virtually impenetrable but also augments her strength and agility. It's usually depicted as dark red.
Oh, yes, this character would be visually awesome to see on the big screen or small screen. She first appeared in Astonishing X-Men vol. 3 #4 and is created by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.
Love this character and seriously hope she is introduced live action sooner rather than later. Astonishing X-Men #4 volume 3 has the cover date of October, 2004.
I have mixed feelings about this character. For one, he did not start off as a super-powered being necessarily. He is gifted with super-genius intelligence if you want to count that.
I do mean super, super smart on a level that's more human than human. Sorry, had to say it. In fact, I was looking for any opportunity to use that song title in a line somewhere.
So creators American writer Greg Pak and Canadian artist Takeshi Miyazawa both thought that it was time for a Korean American comic character, and I do applaud them for creating this character. For awhile he was a supporting character for the Hulk and then in the Hercules comics.
He would end up taking the Prince of Power mantle very briefly before returning the power back to Hercules. As most comic fans know, he would later become one of the many to become a Hulk in the Marvel Comics.
With the help of special nanites, Cho ended up absorbing the Hulk's powers and became the new Hulk for a few years. However, with the recent return of Banner as Hulk, Amadeus Cho has still retained a portion of his Hulk powers but goes by the name of Brawn.
He would first appear as Hulk in Totally Awesome Hulk #1 and as Brawn in Champions #22 (2016 series). The character of Amadeus Cho first appeared in the 2nd series of Amazing Fantasy #15, which has the cover date of January, 2006.
Alright, what's with Asian women in the world of mutants and X-Men comics, but Asian males are pretty much nil. Yeah, I went there and it's pretty much true.
Quite a bit of Asian females. Sunfire is who I can think of at the top of my head when it comes to Asian males. Anyway, here we have a mutant named Sway, and she was created by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Pete Woods.
Her parents are originally from Hong Kong and moved to California. Alright, a fellow Californian and her name is Suzanne Chan.
Well, it seems this character has a Bruce Wayne moment in which she saw her parents brutally gunned down. Well, that's when her mutant powers manifested.
She shockingly remembered that the bullets had stopped in midair and this is how she was able to avoid them. She has the mutant power of slowing down time around her body.
Maybe even stopping time, but basically she is a time manipulating mutant. Pretty cool, eh.
Well, except for the fact that she is constantly haunted by her parent's death. Okay, so Sway is actually part of the first team of X-Men from when Wolverine first joined the team.
The original story was called Deadly Genesis and was first told in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Yes, that comic that has the first appearance of the New X-Men team and also contained the debuts of Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird.
Well, Sway's debut is in X-Men: Deadly Genesis #3, a six issue limited series that retconns and expands the story line. This comic series came out in late 2005, so it is very much a retcon.
Okay, so this retconned story takes place before the events of Giant-Size X-Men #1 and the international team of X-Men that introduced new characters Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird was actually the 2nd attempt to rescue the original X-Men from the island of Krakoa.
The first attempt was by a team of young mutants that consisted of Sway, Vulcan, Darwin and Petra. This first team was not successful and seemingly everyone on the team died. Thus, the new X-Men team and the adventure in Giant-Size X-Men #1 happened.
Yeah, it's a prequel story, and Sway's first appearance is in X-Men Deadly Genesis #3, which has the cover date of March, 2006.
The Great Ten
Created by Grant Morrison, J. G. Jones, and Joe Bennett, The Great Ten are a group of Chinese superheroes sponsored by the Chinese government. Some of the characters are rooted in Chinese mythology. Actually, they are called super-functionaries, because heroes isn't humble enough.
Their command is located in the Great Wall and every action they take in battle must be approved by a group called the bureaucracy. Sounds a lot like here, too.
Their names are literal translations, and as a Chinese-American, I can only roll my eyes while I read them. I'm not going to do a full length detailed expose on them. If you want that, you can check out their wikipedia page.
With names like Accomplished Perfect Physician, Shaolin Robot, Socialist Red Guardsman, Seven Deadly Brothers, Mother of Champions, Immortal Man-in-Darkness, Ghost Fox Killer, Celestial Archer, and August General in Iron, how can you go wrong, right?
August General in Iron? Oh, boy, it keeps getting better. Oops, I forgot Thundermind also.
The Great Ten also starred in their own titled series for a minute. The team was expanded into the The Great Twenty later on with members like China's Flash, Bat-Man, Super-Man and Wonder-Woman. Ai-ya! We will get to those in a bit.
The Great Ten first appeared in 52 Week #6, and the cover date for that comic is June, 2006. The team is right on the cover and the cover announces "Chinese heroes". I do have this comic, so I figure I'll give it a read. After all, I did grow up on Kung-Fu movies from Hong Kong, and this has actually piqued my curiosity.
I bet the series had a very small print run.
Can Damian Wayne really be considered Asian? I mean, Talia's mother was mixed Chinese and Arab descent. Ras al Ghul is Arab, so Damien Wayne's got a speck of East Asian in him from his mother's mom.
I don't think Damian Wayne has enough far east Asian for it to even matter, but for the sake of a good laugh, I'll humor some of you who are that desperate for Asian male representation.
So, Damian is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul. He first appears in an tale called Batman: Son of the Demon which was not considered part of cannon at the time. Also, Damian appeared as an unnamed baby in that tale, and Mike W. Barr wrote that story.
There are several other variations of the character over the years, all having different names. However, much later, Grant Morrison and Andy Kupert would create the character that would be introduced in actual continuity by the name of Damian Wayne.
He debuted in Batman #655 and would appear as Robin for the first time in Batman #657. Cover date is September, 2006.
I definitely gravitate towards characters who are isolated or lonely due to having certain powers or physical deformities that make them quite unnattactive. When I first read Hazmat's origin or when her powers first manifested, I immediately thought this character was like Rogue.
Just like her name, Jennifer Takeda emits various poisonous or harmful substances from her body, including harmful radiation. She can harness this radiation into blasts.
Because prolonged exposure to others is deadly, she wore a nifty containment suit and suffers from anger issues due to her powers. I definitely have a soft spot for characters with anger issues as well. Hulk smash!
She first appeared in Avengers Academy #1 and that issue is cover-dated August, 2010. That issue has quite a bit of first appearances also.
Another not so well known Asian comic book superhero. This one is Ri and she is Chinese.
Ri is a member of the Chinese superhero group called Zhuguan, and this character is a healer. Not that many appearances of Ri nor the Zhuguan.
The first appearance of Ri is in Batman Confidential #50. That issue has the cover date of January, 2011, and the character was created by Marc Guggenheim and Jerry Bingham.
Also created by Marc Guggenheim and Jerry Bingham, Guanxi is the leader of the Zhuguan. He has super strength and some other powers derived from an opium based elixir. Apparently, all of the Zhuguan used this elixir and was dependent on it.
If they stopped taking it, they would not just lose their powers but also go through withdraws. Err...yeah.
Apparently, the Zhuguan would train a young Bruce Wayne while he traveled the world to learn all the methods that would ultimately use in becoming Gotham's Dark Knight.
Guanxi debuted in Batman Confidential #52 and the comic book's cover date is March, 2011. Only his voice was in the prior issue of #50 for Batman Confidential.
And here we are with the Asian, Spider-Man spin-off that probably pissed off a bunch of comic fans who hate diversity in comics. I do have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of comic creatives doing this a lot.
I think it should be done sparingly, but this character has garnered a fan base. Not as big as Spider-Gwen, but whatever! I have grown to like this character, and she is Korean American.
Apparently, that radioactive spider didn't just bite Peter Parker and it also bit a classmate by the name of Cindy Moon. The character first appeared as herself in Amazing Spider-Man #1 (2014 series) and then appeared as Silk in Amazing Spider-Man #4 of the same comic series.
Silk would later join several other Asian superheroes such as Amadeus Cho as the Hulk, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, Agent Jake Oh, Jimmy Woo, and Shang-Chi in a group called The Protectors. I believe her first appearance in her iconic duds is in Amazing Spider-Man #8 of the 2014 series.
Wonder-Woman Peng Deilan
Uh, yeah. Okay, I'm not one of the comicsgate people.
I like diversity. I call for diversity in comics. I love the Black Lightning TV show and Black Panther. Love White Tiger, especially Angel Del Toro.
However, I'm not so sure about China's Wonder-Woman. I mean, I see the point behind it, but I'm still more about creating some cool, original characters that are Asian, East Asian, or Chinese.
Don't get me wrong. I love the fact that this is a Chinese superhero in comics, but Wonder Woman is Diana Prince.
However, in an attempt to capture the Asian or Chinese market, this character was created. So, Peng Deilan is China's Wonder-Woman, and she is based on Chinese Legend called the "Legend of the White Snake". The tale also known as Madame White Snake.
Gene Luen Yang and Viktor Bogdanovic created this character, and after reading a bit of the Legend of the White Snake, I'm actually interested in reading their take on how the Green Snake in that Chinese legend becomes the Wonder-Woman of China in DC Comics.
If you're interested, here's the wikipedia link to the Legend of the White Snake and the Comic Vine page to Wonder-Woman or Peng Deilan.
Bat-Man - Wang Baixi
And here we are. It was bound to happen. Hollywood was getting major funding from Chinese entertainment companies for a while, and they definitely pandered to Chinese audiences for a while there.
Don't think comic publishers would be stupid enough to ignore that market either, so enter Wang Baixi as the Chinese Bat-Man. I find it pretty comical but also kinda neat as well. I'm sure the comicsgate peeps are puking at the thought of this, and there's a part of me that doesn't blame them.
Race swapping an already iconic character is something I'm not totally down with. I think it's lazy creativity and going for a super easy and low brow money grab to just pander to a certain market or demographic.
Anyway, so Wang Baixi was selected by the Chinese Ministry of Self-Reliance to become China's equivalent to America's Batman for their Justice League of China initiative. So, for those ignorant to Chinese names and surnames, Baixi is actually the character's first name. Last name is always before the first name when it comes to Chinese names, and that's because your family name is more important.
With that out of the way, Baixi is a tech wiz (no stereotype there) but he's also a skilled fighter as well. The character was created by Gene Luen Yang and Viktor Bogdanovic, and I should add that he models himself off of American Bruce Wayne Batman that he created a robot version of Robin for his sidekick. No joke, the robot's name is even Robinbot.
Well, at least it's cool that the Chinese Bat-Man debuts in the same issue as the Chinese Super-Man. New Super-Man #1 has the cover date of September, 2016.
Honorable Mention: Jimmy Woo
Now, if this said "Asian Comic Heroes", Jimmy Woo would be right behind The Green Turtle. However, Jimmy Woo is not a super-powered being, but despite most comic fans and even my fellow Asian ones, this character is actually important.
If you know the history of comics...okay let's just say Asian American history...we have not been favorably viewed. Don't know why I said that in the past tense, because we still aren't favorably viewed. We are often still seen as foreign threats than one of the team.
Anyway, this view did cross over into comic books, and even though The Yellow Claw played upon the whole "Yellow Peril" concept, Jimmy Woo was actually an exception to the stereotype. He was one of the good guys instead of...well...like the villain The Yellow Claw in the comic series Jimmy Woo starred in.
Yes, I know, ironic, isn't it?
Alright, so that's it for now. I will be adding to this as time goes.
If I missed some East Asian comic book superheroes you think should be on this list, just give me a holler in the comments section below. Remember, East Asian superheroes not villains.
I did not put Psylocke in this list. Even though she was turned Asian or her mind was put in a Japanese woman's body named Kwannon. Betsy Braddock is originally a White English woman.
Both characters end up returning to their original bodies in comics, so I'm not counting that. If you think that should count, once again feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section below.
Share this post on your social networks...would really appreciate it. Thanks for reading and see ya soon.
More Comic Book Related Hubs You'll Enjoy!
- Marvel Carol Danvers From Warbird to Captain Marvel
Part 3 of Marvel Carol Danvers and a brief journey of how this superhero ultimately becomes Captain Marvel. Just a brief look at the comic character of Carol Danvers and her evolution over the years. Hope you enjoy.
- Key Young Avengers Comics & Other Issues!
With the MCU confirming that they're planting the seeds for the Young Avengers in their cinematic world, this article will take a look at some key Young Avengers comics, as well as some of their other comics worth knowing about. Always best to start
- Reeva Payge The Black Queen
The Gifted TV show has introduced the Inner Circle member of Reeva Payge. Learn a bit more about Reeva Payge from the actual X-Men comics and a bit more about the Hellfire Club.
- A Bit About The Stepford Cuckoos or Frost Sisters in Comics!
Like the Frost Sisters on The Gifted TV show? I am a fan of the characters that Skyler Samuels plays, as well as Stepford Cuckoos in the comics. Here's a bit about the characters in the actual comics. Learn about their 1st appearance in comics and wh
© 2018 Vic
Vic (author) on February 02, 2019:
Heya @Cecil Kenmill. Thanks, it was a pretty big undertaking. Tried my best. Thanks for reading!
Cecil Kenmill from Osaka, Japan on January 23, 2019:
There's a lot going on here. Strong effort in your research, especially finding all these covers/art. Keep up the great work!