Slashdot has posted a group interview with Warren "Transmetropolitan" Ellis, my all-time-fave funnybook writer.
I couldn't care less what other creators "should" consider, and if you ever say something like that within my physical reach I will slap the life clean out of your little body.
Yes. The Yellow Peril characters — Fu Manchu, Wu Fang, etc – were disgusting. Part of the extended joke that was THE AUTHORITY was in seeing people really not react to Fu Manchu sending out thousands of his inscrutable Oriental menaces to divebomb major white world cities. (For those who need the cheat sheet, THE AUTHORITY was a twelve-episode superhero fiction series where the eponymous team fight Fu Manchu, Ming the Merciless and God (dressed up as Cthulhu).)
PLANETARY's intent was different. As the last half of the serial goes into publication, you'll see some examination of the underpinnings of these characters. In fact, you've already seen some questioning of the Oriental Genius type. I don't want to "exonerate" these characters from their pasts, or even exonerate those who created them. It's easy to say, well, it was a different time back then, of course they were racist. Or that, yeah, these archetypes exist in every culture. But while Tarzan is the "feral child" legend writ large, Fu Manchu is not the "evil genius". He is specifically the Evil Chinee. And that's something to be explored from many angles.
If I get too far into this, I'm going to be writing the actual comic, so I'll drop this one here