Ling and Kitsy in the trailer for Ling. Photo: Dennis Liu

Asian American Superhero Ling by Director Dennis Liu Adapted for TV

by Neil Bui

Director Dennis Liu recently released a live-action video trailer for Ling, an independent comic book featuring an Asian American female superhero that he wrote with his wife Marie Iida. Since that release, producer Marty Bowen and his company Temple Hill have announced plans to develop a TV adaptation of Ling.

After reading Ling, I am excited to see where the story goes and how the magical girl elements will be incorporated into a live-action adaptation. Kitsy, the magical fox voiced by Randall Park, serves as the master and companion to the main character Ling, as she learns about her innate powers and the role she has to play in this battle of good against evil. The artwork was done by Mariko Yamashin who skillfully takes us from Ling (played by Angeline Jara) at school to flashbacks of her bullied childhood to her dreary life at home and even to another world with evil forces. From this video, you can see this series is a mashup of anime tropes with the live-action and animation visual dynamic of Space Jam, to give us a relatable hero of color that inspires us without limiting us. Ling is not a model minority, she isn’t oversexualized, she isn’t a perfect and flawless Mary Sue. Ling gets knocked down, but always gets back up.

The Ling comic is available in print or digital download here: https://indyplanet.com/ling-1

She’s not sexy, she’s not good at math, she’s not submissive, and she skateboards. LING, a Chinese American teen with a birthmark on her face, struggles with cyberbullying and self-image in high school. One day, Kitsy, a magical three-legged fox, teleports into her washing machine to tell her that she’s a “witch”: she has the ability to transform to be, whichever girl she wants to be. 

Ling isn’t Liu’s first time writing a comic book or adapting it to film. As a Taiwanese-American member of the Directors Guild of America, Dennis Liu has always worked to put more diverse faces into entertainment. Even before Ling, he wrote the comic Raising Dion, a story about a Black single mother raising her son as she discovers he has powers. The accompanying video he released for Raising Dion captured the attention of Michael B. Jordan and Charles D. King’s production company MACRO, which led to a series order by Netflix.

“I wanted to see more diverse representation on film and television,” he said in regards to why he wanted to tell a story like Raising Dion.

The television series adaptation for Raising Dion will be available on October 4, 2019.

Dennis Liu is best known for his work on commercials and music videos such as “Not a Bad Thing” by Justin Timberlake and “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities. Marie Iida is best known for being the interpreter of Japanese organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo.

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