Today, September 15, is WILD CARD DAY. Don’t know what that is? I’ll summarize:
– WILD CARDS is a long-running superhero/science-fiction anthology novel series, edited by George R.R. Martin. It is in the early stages of development into an episodic TV series. Martin’s other novel series, GAME OF THRONES, is doing pretty well as a TV show, I’m told.
– The premise of the Wild Cards universe is, in 1946, an alien named Dr. Tachyon brings the Wild Card virus to Earth. An explosive device carrying the virus detonates over New York City, infecting (for evermore) the populace of Earth.
– Wild Card-afflicted people may develop superhuman abilities and become ACES. Or they will manifest severe, usually grotesque, deformities and become JOKERS. Sometimes both. Then there are the Naturals (NATS) who don’t exhibit any signs of the virus.
– In contrast to GAME OF THRONES, WILD CARDS is set in our world, principally New York City, in an alternate history in which the Jokers live in Jokertown, an ethnic neighborhood bordering (and analogous to) NYC Chinatown. Also, it’s an anthology series weaved together from stories by scads of different science-fiction writers. Like GAME OF THRONES, it features metric tons of sex and violence.
– In this timeline, Wild Card Day is September 15, and is annually commemorated as the day the virus was released and the world changed. Today would be its 70th anniversary.
– It’s a pretty awesome novel series and it could be a terrific live-action episodic. Because it’s set in New York City, it naturally reflects a lot more racial-ethnic diversity than GoT. Casting can only be in the earliest stages at this point, but because I care about these things, I’m already gonna start a fantasy casting call to play the prominent Asian and Asian-American characters in the Wild Cards Universe.
MOONCHILD (created by Victor Milan) – an Ace alter-ego of Captain Trips (I’m gonna keep these character descriptions really essentializing and possibly inaccurate, for space reasons, pardons to the true Wild Cards fans), a Korean woman with superhuman strength and agility. Think Silk from the Spiderman clan…who is, notably, also Asian and is named Cindy Moon.
Korean pop goddess Boa is not American, but dude, she can dance like the dickens. I think she’d be a swell Moonchild.
FORTUNATO (created by Lewis Shiner) – one of the polestar Aces in the WCU, Fortunato is half-Black, half-Japanese, and….um…..harnesses the power of retained sperm through quasi-Tantric sexual practices to unlock fantastic psychic abilities. Yes, and in the books you generally get to read about the sex that happens first.
I’m NOT going to suggest Tiger Woods play Fortunato, because that has tooooo many implications. But I would suggest (African-American with Chinese heritage) Ne-Yo, or Tyson Beckford (of Jamaican and Chinese roots) just cos he’s so damn handsome.
LAZY DRAGON (created by William F. Wu) – This guy, a bad guy Ace, could make his origami sculptures turn into GIANT KILLER PANDAS (as well as, presumably, lifesize cranes, frogs, and goldfish. I am not sure what happens when he makes the cup.) I’m thinking Keone Young from SONS OF ANARCHY.
ELEPHANT GIRL – An Indian-Irish woman who can transform into a flying elephant. Duh.
Freida Pinto is a gimme, how about….well, let’s just take that gimme because here’s a pic of her with a cute-AF baby elephant. FREIDA PINTO.
KAVITA / NATYA – I’m not as familiar with this character because she appears in the more recent stretch of Wild Cards novels (I’m more attuned to the first three trilogy-sets) but she was created by Mary Anne Mohanraj and is a Sri Lankan-born ace who “can manipulate the kundalini” to cast illusions or form weapons. Aided by Mary Anne’s suggestions, I’m going to say Parminder Nagra, because looky, she’s on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.!
THE SLEEPER – Of these, the Sleeper is the character who’s almost a lock to be in the TV series, because he is one of Wild Cards’ most “novel” creations — a guy who periodically falls into extended sleep/hibernations, and wakes up each time with a new case of the virus: Ace, Joker, whathaveyou, he’s been and seen it all since 1946. And seriously, there’s no reason the Sleeper could not at one point metamorphize into an Asian person, among his many, many identities. For the episode I’m hypothetically titling “The One Where Croyd Crenson Woke Up A Chinese Ace,” I’m nominating:
Because, Jetboy. And because being Jet Li is all the Ace power you need.
I’ll be writing more on WILD CARDS as developments develop, because it’s some of my favorite shit ever.
Happy 70th anniversary to the most devastating fictional event in human history, and remember, in a Wild Card World, if you haven’t seen THE JOLSON STORY, you can’t die yet.