Jason Shiga is an amazing cartoonist known for his work on ambitious puzzle and math based comics, including the mind bending chose your own adventure comic “Meanwhile” and the hilarious conceptual epic “Demon.”
Most of this interview was about his residency in Angouleme France, and his upcoming even more ambitious comic “The Box.” but the interview is capped off by some interesting thoughts about Asian American representation in comics:
I have a friend who is Asian and he wants to be a screenwriter. So he’s working on a screenplay and I asked him to tell me about it, and he said it was based on his own childhood and his own family but he had to make them white. And I was like why don’t you make them Asian? And he said, no one is going to buy that. That’s crazy to me. I feel like even in comics there are a lot of minority comics that want mainstream success, they want to somewhere down the line be able to option their comic book into some big budget Hollywood movie. Even with everything working for us, it’s an auteur’s medium, we get to write, draw and control every aspect of a story, and even then, maybe half of the Asian people working in comics still will default to a white protagonist.
It’s interesting to me that this this would be a problem even in the domain of alternative comics where, as Jason says, there is almost no corporate accountability.