Male Asian characters are hard to come by on television. While there are a few that have done us proud in recent years, like Masi Oka and James Kyson Lee from NBC’s Heroes or Daniel Dae Kim from ABC’s Lost, both of these shows closed up shop earlier this year.
With the recent trend of importing comic books to the screen (interestingly, Heroes and Lost both had prominent comic book writers on their teams) coupled with the increasing popularity of the zombie genre, it was only a matter of time before Robert Kirkman’s widely-acclaimed The Walking Dead would be picked up for TV adaptation.
And this is good news for those of us who want to see more strong Asian male roles in the media as one of the main characters in the comic is Glenn (to be played by newcomer Steven Yeun), an Asian American twenty-something who managed to survive the zombie apocalypse. While its hard to say how close the show will stick to the comic, with Kirkman on writing duties it’s fair to assume that it will remain moderately true to the source material.
So what can we expect? In the comic Glenn is introduced when he saves main character Rick from being mauled by zombies. Following their encounter he works with Rick to hunt for supplies to support a motley crew group of survivors. He has no accent, no kung-fu antics, and no pocket calculator. In fact, prior to the zombies he was a pizza delivery boy in massive debt. It’s refreshing that Kirkman almost actively made sure that Glenn didn’t have any trace of the stereotypical Asian male, and better yet that he is given such a prominent role with a lot of speaking parts. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of the book, what are you waiting for?
The Walking Dead premiers on AMC October 31st, 2010.