How Jim Lee’s kind gesture turned my husband’s Christmas gift into a memory of a lifetime.
by Ada Tseng
I didn’t grow up reading comics, but I know a legend when I see one. I’ve seen the look in the eyes of friends and acquaintances when they talk about Jim Lee — whether he was their childhood hero, whether it meant so much to them to see an Asian name during a time when there weren’t very many Asian American role models, or whether they just remember being a kid so awed by his illustrations that they flipped back to the front of the comic to find out who the artist was. I respect anyone who’s inspired a generation of dazed looks and child-like admiration.
On December 8, Audrey Magazine Associate Editor Kanara Ty and I were responsible for interviewing guests on the red carpet for Unforgettable, KoreAm Journal’s annual gala where Jim Lee was being honored for his work as a comic book artist and co-publisher of DC Entertainment. My husband of a few months, not one to be easily impressed by celebrities I sometimes interview for work, seemed taken aback by the mention of Jim Lee. Once he confirmed it was the Jim Lee (and not another probably-talented-but-not-as-legendary Jim Lee from a TV show he’s never heard of), he made a joke about how I should bring his comic books with me to the event. It was the kind of joke people make when they really want something but don’t want to ask directly, in case they’ll be mocked for having a dream too out-of-reach to be taken seriously.
I told him I could try. Would he actually sign it? he asked. I had no idea. But worst case, he’d say no, right?