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AICN COMICS @$$Holes Abroad: Kid Marvel sidles up to cosplay queen Yaya Han and talks about Lion Forge's WONDROUS II!

Kid Marvel here. Closing in on the last couple interviews I did during NYCC, I got the awesome opportunity to talk to one of the “Faces of Cosplay”, Yaya Han, on her new comic with Lion Forge Comics titled WONDEROUS II. For those who do not know who Ms. Han is, besides the obvious google search, she is a professional model and coplayer, who’s featured multiple times on TBS’s “King of the Nerds” and SYFY’s “Heroes of Cosplay”. So, without further ado, let’s get to the interview.

KID MARVEL (KM): First question, tell me alittle bit about the comic and the inspiration behind it, who’s idea was it, basically stuff like that?

YAYA HAN (YAYA): Ok, well the WONDEROUS II comic is made by Lion Forge, it was something that they approached me for. They had done a series already with Claire Sinclaire, so I think it made me feel good, knowing that it’s something that worked. But, I thought it was great that they approached me and wanted to have me included in every step of the way. So the comic truly is a collaboration. Joelle Sellner, the writer and Dave Steward, one of the owners of Lion Forge, they’ve been just really incredible at getting to know me as a person and building the comic around who Yaya is. And I think it’s awesome they used my name and the character is basically me. I got to design the costume, I got to make the costume. I feel very, very good being a part of this and I’m glad that I waited several years, before really doing a comic book. Because over the years, I’ve gotten other offers and people just randomly talking to me or friends of friends, hey wouldn’t it be cool if you did a cosplay comic book? But, it was either never the right time or wasn’t the right content or wasn’t something that grabbed me. It was always something like, yeah were just going to have you be an Asian assassin girl and stuff! So I thought it was great, in some ways I sort of held out until the right project came along and I feel with all my heart, that working with Lion Forge was the right decision.

KM: Well that covered a lot of my questions, so you were obviously involved pretty heavily with your comic then, once they approached you?

YAYA: Yeah absolutely! They literally had me send anecdotes about me, where I’m from, my past, growing up, childhood, what I like, what I don’t like, to really get to know who I am as a person. They wanted the comics to include conventions as well as cosplay, because that’s what I do. I told them I don’t want the comic to be about Yaya, the veteran cosplayer, who’s been doing it for a long time and knows her shit. I wanted it to be about, who I was when I first go into it. I thought it be more interesting for it to reflect on, the Yaya that was starting out and didn’t know what she was doing and had to learn to sew, had to learn how to make her mark. So in the comic, that’s what Yaya is trying to do! Trying to get a table, trying to get her art out there and she’s encountering some difficulties, she encountering some elitism and such. And those are all things that I’ve been through myself, so it was really great to bring that and be like hey, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Like my life is not all glamorous, there’s a lot of difficulties or there used to be, that I had to really had to push through. The big difference of course, is that Yaya has super powers and we actually talked about what super powers I would like to have, what kind of super powers I don’t want to have. I didn’t want physical strength or like super speed or something that’s so on the nose. I’d rather it be something that had to do with like, people. Something psychological or mind control.

KM: That was going to be my next question. What are the powers of Yaya in the comic?

YAYA: Well, the WONDEROUS world is basically like the X-Men world or something where, they have the opportunity to expand on different characters . So it’s the same world where Claire Sinclair got her powers, but my WONDEROUS story is my own. The power that we ended up deciding on and they wrote in for me is electricity. I can charge your iPhone if I just touch it but, because there’s electric currents running through the human body, I can also control people by touching them. It is a very dangerous and very powerful power, because I can touch somebody and put thoughts in their head. So if I want you to go jump off a cliff, somebody could do that. It’s a very powerful power! In the comic we’re also dealing with Yaya reconciling with it and her deciding to do good with it and how to control it, obviously.

KM: Is there a villain then, like an archvillian?

YAYA: Of course, every hero has to have a villain. We talked about it and I don’t want to reveal who the villain is, but there might be a twist to it. Where you think it’s very on the nose who the villain is, like typical, l but then you kind of realize there’s somebody in the background, pulling the strings! There’s going to be some shit going down at a Comic convention, I can tell you that!

KM: Since this is heavily influenced by cosplay, that’s your niche, are there going to be any guest stars or other famous cosplayers, or is it only, solely about you?

YAYA: That’s actually a really good question. They never actually talked to me about or on other cosplayers. I think because it’s such a short run, we’re just really trying to tell the story of Yaya discovering her powers and how to become a hero herself, but also still do what she loves! Which his designing and making stuff, so no cameos at least for this run, but I would love to be able to bring some of my friends on and maybe do a team up of sorts, you never know the future!

KM: So is this going to be a long term series then, nothing like a one shot, or maybe something more short term?

YAYA: WONDEROUS, the WONDEROUS series is a long series. This is my run. So my run I think is a 8 issue run, but the future is full of opportunities and if it’s something that people like and they want to see more of it, I’m definitely open to doing more so. I would love to see it becoming something more long term.

KM: Last two questions, I know you’re busy, how much influences have you had on the writing? Obviously, you talked about the background and everything else, but are you directly involved every issue or is it more, here’s my thoughts and ideas and you go from there?

YAYA: I am fairly heavily involved in the writing, to the point that that Joelle wrote an overall story arc and then talked to me about it, then I told what I liked, what I don’t like. For every issue they send me, they send me those issues and let me approve it and for the first couple issues, there were certain things that would not have made sense. That the writers didn’t catch because they’re not cosplayers, they don’t understand what the nuances in this world are like, so I come in and we shouldn’t say that or Yaya wouldn’t say that. Instead of this, it would be like this at a convention. They do take that all to heart. Actually, maybe I can tell you. We were going to start off with Yaya sort of being, doing sexy costumes would be the way to get noticed. The whole first draft of the first couple of issues, was her making like these really skimpy outfits and then I was like actually, that’s not what I would do. I was starting off like a wallflower. I was really shy and I wouldn’t have done that. Now that I’m more confident and have gained confidence through cosplay, now I can do more ranges of characters. But starting out, I actually used to wear very, I guess, full coverage costumes? I don’t know! So we changed that so that. When Yaya is first starting off, she’s really too shy to show her confidence, but gaining her super powers she’s able to be more confident and that reflects in her costume, it reflects in everything.

KM: Last question, you’re busy going to a lot of conventions and you make your own outfits. How difficult is working with the comic, while also doing your own thing, your own business?

YAYA: It’s hard, I will say juggling time and managing things when I’m traveling is very difficult. Which is why I’m so grateful , that the whole Lion Forge team is incredibly patient. Thank you, thank you, thank you! So yes, there have been times when they’ve tried to reach me and I was out of the country and couldn’t get back to them, in enough time. But, I feel like if you just keep emailing I will see it and I will respond. I do try, this is a very important project for me, I try to make a lot of time for it. I did a lot of sketches for myself, for some of the other villainous characters too. What I could envision them wearing, just submitting as many ideas as possible, because I know that Lion Forge would listen to my ideas. The more I give them, the more they would be incorporated. I definitely stand behind the comic one hundred percent and I’m so excited it out! I can read it! I still haven’t had time to read it this weekend and I have an issue, I’m just too busy signing to read my own comic!

Overall, I had a lot fun interviewing Yaya and she was an awesome person to talk with, especially because she’s someone who’s energetic and talks a lot, those interviews are always the easiest and most enjoyable. So thank you Ms. Han for your time and thank you Lion Forge for giving me the opportunity, I really appreciate and hope to work with you guys again in the future, for any other projects. If you are interested and this interview peaked your fancy or you’re already a fan of Yaya Han, check out WONDEROUS II, now available for purchase.

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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