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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Angry Asian Girl and Angry Asian Man

Haven't posted here in quite a while but thought this seemed like an appropriate time to chime in. And for people not familiar with Secret Asian Man, he is NOT a hidden love child between the two.

First off please note the title of this post is not Angry Asian Girl VS. Angry Asian Man. If you ask each of these people separately they will only speak positively of the work that the other does. And why wouldn't they? Both have similar goals in standing up for communities that they involve themselves with and have done a lot to support the Asian American community specifically. So for that I say, "Thank you."

At this point I know what most of you know. I've read Lela's blog posts, the language in the proposal to change the Angry Asian Man's name along with alternates. I've read Phil Yu's reaction to Lela Lee's actions. I've even read some of the responses as they've come in from other notable AA bloggers, artists, and fans. In the end I can only offer how this effects me personally.

Is Secret Asian Man Next?
After the initial shock of reading about this the very first question I asked myself was, "Am I next?" After all, SAM is a comic that focuses on equality/justice/Asian stuff. SAM falls under the Adjective+Asian+Sex pattern. SAM first appeared between when AAG and AAM first appeared. I have t-shirts, a book, stickers, hats, ...etc.

But what I don't share is the history between these two. And that's only something that those two have the full picture of. So while my initial fear was that Lela Lee was now going to come after everyone with anything to do with Angry or Asian or comics, it's completely besides the point and, from what I can tell, not her goal at all.

So for now the only way this will effect me personally is that I will back burner my plans to launch my new Angry Asian Man-Girl comic blog.

But won't this cause a rift in the Asian American community?
It shouldn't, but I can see why people might think it would. It's natural to hold close to the chest things that reflect communities to which we belong. And when we see those things conflict of course we perceive it as a rift. I see it as acknowledgement of our differences. There's a whole bunch of us out there and to expect that every one of us will get along for the greater good falls under the same obedient trap of model minority behavior. If you want to take sides, more power to you. But don't feel like you have to. Like a kid whose parents are getting divorced, it's possible to have a relationship with both parents after the split. And it's not your fault. Unless it is, in which case you're an asshole.

And if a dispute among two (albeit prominent) AA figures is enough to divide this community we have much bigger problems we need to face.

So what do you do now?
I don't know. Make a sandwich? If you feel strongly enough write them. Post a blog. Draw a comic. But whatever happens, trust that they will work it out like the grown ups that they are.


  1. Hi Tak,

    Thanks for the time to chime in. I admire your work and was never planning to come after you. What the issue is is if you were to trademark Secret Asian Man and a blogger went by Secret Chinese Man. They are similar enough that over time, people would ask and wonder if it was related to you. I tried to co-exist with Phil since I re-met him in 2012. And during that time, we got along, but things I noticed bothered me. Elements were lifted as well as the name being so close to mine. I'm sure as an artist you would get upset if someone was using an image you made along with other things. I have always respected his purpose and all I've ever wanted was for him to move away from "man" so that we are not thought to be the same company.

  2. Hey Lela, I remember working with my IP lawyer to trademark SAM when I was getting ready to go into daily syndication. It was one of the most dry and excruciating things to go through. But I guess that's law for you. I had to argue that Secret Asian Man was different than Victoria's Secret for fuck's sake. And fight with a radio DJ because he played a song called "Secret Asian Man" on the air.

    That being said legal matters are always cut and dry. And while what ultimately happens between you two is up to you guys (and perhaps eventually a judge) the fact that you are in the public eye will unfortunately attract public scrutiny, cause people to take sides, and bring out the trolls. I have faith that both of you will be fine in the long run and that my vast Secret Asian Man empire will outshine the both of you. MWAHAAAHHAHAAHA!