Where Gotham City, Metropolis and Central City appear on maps of the United States can vary, but Batman and Superman’s homes typically represent the East Coast, while Flash’s running grounds stand in for the Midwest. DC’s West Coast capital and resident superhero? You might say it’s Coast City, but Hal Jordan hasn’t been around for a while. (That may be changing, though.) That means that for the past forty years, the DCU’s premiere West Coast do-gooder has been Green Arrow, and that’s true whether he calls Seattle or Star City his home.

West Coast culture is a lot different than the East. There’s different food, different music, different trends in entertainment...and there’s also a big demographic difference. For many immigrant families, the Asian-American experience begins on the West Coast, traveling across the Pacific to start a new life here in the world’s melting pot. So with that in mind, it feels only natural that of all DC’s Super-Families, Green Arrow’s family should have some particularly potent Asian representation within it. Granted, like most early efforts towards a more diverse cast, it wasn’t always perfect. But over time, the Arrow Family has grown to embrace the heritage of all those who call the bow their own.

The first two Asian women to join the Arrow Family each began as unfortunate expressions of the same toxic media stereotype which has existed in American culture for over a century: the phenomenon of the “dragon lady.” The highly sexualized, dangerous femme fatale of enigmatically Asian descent sent as an emissary of some greater power to vex and tempt our hero into darkness, or, failing that, dispose of him.

The first of these was Cheshire, the Vietnamese Jade Nguyen, who first appeared in New Teen Titans as an enemy and caustic romantic interest to Roy Harper. Jade’s relationship with Roy would achieve some depth when the two had an unexpected child together, Lian, who has since become a beacon of light and hope in both of their lives, now that she’s recently returned to Roy after a long, tragic absence.

The second, a Japanese assassin named Shado, was introduced at the start of Mike Grell’s legendary definitive run on the Emerald Archer in Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. In a series where traditional villains were sparse, Shado was a consistent looming threat to Ollie’s goals when hired by his enemies, and an occasional ally when their interests aligned.

Still, it seemed as if for a while that Shado lacked a sense of direction. There was a story where she had Oliver Queen’s son. There was a story where she seduced Oliver Queen’s son. There was another one, and this is the one we’re sticking to, where she had a daughter with Oliver Queen’s father. Emiko Queen is now one of the innermost members of the Green Arrow circle, working side by side with her formerly estranged brother as the Red Arrow, and even kicking assassins on occasion as a Teen Titan.

Our first real example of an Asian hero in the Arrow Family comes courtesy of Kelley Puckett and Scott Peterson, who have always been champions of greater diversity in the DC Universe. After all, he did co-create DC’s greatest Asian character, Cassandra Cain. (Fight me on this. Better yet, fight her.) Connor Hawke is the son Oliver Queen never knew he had, born from a youthful fling with Moonday Hawke, a woman with Black and Korean lineage. Connor would grow up in a Buddhist temple, internalizing through faith and philosophy the ideals of inner peace and respect for all life that Ollie had to learn on the ocean or on the road. He also got very, very good at martial arts. When the father he barely knew perished in a plane crash, Connor Hawke stepped into his father’s role as the first legacy Green Arrow. Now, when he’s not reconnecting with his family, Connor is providing guidance and sympathy for his new friend Damian Wayne.

Connor, Lian and Emiko were all born into their places in the Arrow Family, but for many Asian-Americans, birth to American parents isn’t part of their story. It’s a common experience to be adopted into an American household, raised outside of the place and the people to whom you were born. That was the case for Sin Lance, who was brought under Black Canary’s wing as a daughter of her own in Birds of Prey (after practically raising Roy and, to a certain extent, Ollie, herself). Representing Dinah’s own rejection of the roles projected onto her by others, Dinah found a kindred spirit in Sin, escaping with her from a mutual darkness they could some day grow beyond with each other’s light. In truth, Sin will always be a Canary more than an Arrow.

The latest addition to the Arrow Family is the one we currently know the least about—the mysterious Red Canary, who emerged during Dark Crisis. We know she’s a college student, that her first name is Sienna, and that she was a big fan of Black Canary’s rock band before taking inspiration from her to become a crimefighter herself.

It’s a reminder that you don’t have to be related by blood or even establish a relationship with a hero to stand for their legacy. You only need to do what you can to represent their ideals. That’s exactly why it’s so important to have strong Asian heroes represented in comics—so that readers like Sienna, Connor, Lian and Emiko can see someone like them standing up for what they believe in and welcomed into the quiver as part of a family.

Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.