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William F. Wu Comics Collection

Call Number



1920-2001, inclusive


Wu, William F., 1951-


11 Linear Feet in 10 record cartons and 2 flat boxes.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


William F. Wu is an Asian American scholar and science fiction writer whose doctoral dissertation titled The Yellow Peril (1981) documents evolving depictions of Chinese and Chinese-Americans in American fiction. This archive represents his collection of nearly 600 comics featuring Asian characters.

Biographical Note

William F. Wu is a Chinese-American science-fiction writer who has published thirteen novels and more than fifty short stories. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Wu attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, and later returned to earn his Ph.D in American Culture. During this time he became active in East Wind, an Asian American student group. His doctoral dissertation titled The Yellow Peril (1981) documents evolving depictions of Chinese and Chinese-Americans in American fiction.

Wu has been nominated for the Nebula Award, World Fantasy Award and the Hugo Award, twice individually and once as a member of the Wild Cards. Hong on the Range, set in a futuristic version of the wild west, was chosen for the Wilson Library Bulletin's list of science fiction "Books Too Good To Miss" and was a selection for the American Library Association list of Best Books for Young People, the New York Public Library's Recommended Books for the Teen Age, and was also a Young Adult Editor's Choice by Booklist Magazine.



The William F. Wu Comics Collection is organized into eight series, arranged primarily by publishing company. Subseries are arranged by character or comic. Many of the character subseries are pulled from titles written on cardboard dividers that Wu used in his own organization of the comics. Subseries based on comics contain multiple issues of the same title, and feature different characters.

The collection is arranged into eight series:

Series I: Marvel Asian (By Character)
Series II: Marvel Asian (By Comic)
Series III: DC Asian (By Character)
Series IV: DC Asian (By Comic)
Series V: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu
Series VI: Charlton Comics
Series VII: Various Comics
Series VIII: 2018 Accretion

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of comic books with Asian characters, collected by William F. Wu over the course of several years. Spanning the years 1920 to 2001, the books contain an abundance of representations of Asians in popular American culture. Many stereotypical depictions of Asians and Asian Americans - such as "Chinamen" and martial arts experts - are present, as are characters with exaggeratedly "Asian" features. Many of the comics also contain advertisements for martial arts books and courses. Although most of the comics were published by well-known comic book companies such as DC Comics, Marvel, Atlas and Charlton, comics from smaller companies such as Wings Publishing Company, Real Adventures Publishing Company and Rotten Comics are also included. Titles include Superman, Iron Man, Spiderman, Batman, Jonah Hex, The Justice League of America, Yang, Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Weird War Tales, Godzilla, Doctor Strange, and Starfire. The earliest comics in the collection are Pulp magazines, Captain Marvel, and Green Hornet. There are printed compilations of both Will Gould's Red Barry and Doctor Strange comics, as well as a number of original splash pages of the Master of Kung Fu and What If? comics.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open to researchers. Please contact the Fales Library and Special Collections,, 212-998-2596.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder. Please contact the Fales Library and Special Collections,, 212-998-2596.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); William F. Wu Comics Collection; MSS 244; box number; folder number; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by William F. Wu in 2009 and 2018. The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 2009.244 and 2018.062.

Collection processed by

Caitlin Klein, 2011

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 17:07:41 -0400.
Language: Description is in English

Processing Information

Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Some anachronistic terms have been revised.

Revisions to this Guide

May 2018: Updated to include materials integrated from accession number 2018.062 by Kate Fisher


Fales Library and Special Collections
Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012