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Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with Comics!

Mary Ann Bonet
January 11, 2017

Image of child drawing

Try your hand at comics at this year's Lunar New Year Festival. Illustration by Jerry Ma of SIUniverse Media

«Are you ready to celebrate the Year of the Rooster, one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac? We sure are! My friends and I at The Met are busy gearing up for the annual Lunar New Year Festival

One of our favorite parts of planning the festival is collaborating with people in and out of the Museum, including artists. This year, we're excited to explore stories in art with SIUniverse Media, a group that creates Asian American comics.

I recently sat down with two of members of the group, illustrators Keith Chow and Jerry Ma, to learn more about their love of comics and discover what activities kids like you can look forward to taking part in at the festival!

Four Figures

Members of SIUniverse Media. Illustration by Jerry Ma

Mary Ann Bonet: When did you become interested in comics?

Keith Chow: I grew up on comics. As a toddler, my father used to read Chinese Lo Fu Ji comics to me, and I grew up on Batman, Superman, and G.I. Joe.

Jerry Ma: Growing up, my family didn't have too much. So my two brothers and I would pool our one-dollar-a-week allowance together to buy comic books. Each time I opened one, it was like unlocking my imagination. And my parents still tell me how annoying it was because I used to draw on the walls all the time with permanent markers.

Mary Ann Bonet: What's it like to make art as a team?

Keith Chow: Collaboration is a key component of making comics. In many cases, the writer, editor, penciler, inker, colorist, and letterer are all different people. The members of SIUniverse are no different. Each of us brings a different strength to the proceedings. Though the team's artistic vision is all Jerry!

Mary Ann Bonet: One of the things you've made together is Secret Identities, an Asian American comic anthology. What's an anthology? Why did you decide to call it Secret Identities?

A depiction of the multi-layered Asian American experience

A few characters from Secret Identities! Illustration by Jerry Ma

Keith Chow: An anthology is a collection of different types of stories. We wanted the stories within Secret Identities to be as varied and multi-layered as the Asian American experience. We called this collection Secret Identities because many Asian Americans possess a dual identity not unlike those of superheroes like Peter Parker or Clark Kent. Often times, our true natures are masked by what others perceive about us.

Mary Ann Bonet: We're excited to visit you at the Lunar New Year Festival! What are some of the things we can do at your station?

Keith Chow: People can come and engage with the creators of Secret Identities and Shattered, and also have the opportunity to build their own Asian American hero.


Explore more SIUniverse comics at this year's Lunar New Year Festival! Illustration by Jerry Ma

Join us on Sunday, February 5, from 11 am to 5 pm for Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Rooster to create your own story and connect with Keith, Jerry, and the other members of SIUniverse Media.

Can't wait until then? Watch #MetKids—How Many Hands Does It Take to Make a Work of Art? to see our collaboration with Beijing-based artist Wu Jian'an at last year's festival!

Related Event
Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Rooster
Sunday, February 5, 11 am–5 pm
The Met Fifth Avenue - Museum-wide
Free with Museum admission; admission is free for children under 12 with an adult

Mary Bonet

Mary Ann Bonet is a program coordinator of for teen and family programs in the Education Department.