By Mimi Chen, AsAmNews Staff Writer
Asians all know the White Savior trope too well. White hero saves the Asian village. This resurfaced in 2017 when the movie The Great Wall was released and the White guy played by Matt Damon ‘saved’ China from the supernatural monsters.
Around that time, Iron Man and Hulk illustrator Eric Nguyen (pronounced ‘we-en’) who’s illustrated comic books from Iron Man to the Hulk,received an unexpected email from Scott Burman.
Burman modestly self-describes himself as a “nobody crazy enough to email Eric, so I’m pretty much nothing.” Yet his scripts convinced Nguyen very quickly that he was a pretty talented ‘nobody’ whose writing made him laugh out loud.
“ I’ve been doing so much comic work for so long and I’ve been doing a lot of the same kinds of stories where the books are kind of dark and noir and you know Batman or Punisher,” he told AsAmNews. “I was like, OK, I want to do something fun again. So what Scott left out is his script actually was one of the very few that when I read it, I laughed!”
After joking around about the “White Savior” trope, the two figured out it might be fun to develop a comic book lampooning that very idea. The description of the series on the website says it all:
Our “White savior” is actually a drunken idiot who leads an innocent Japanese village to be mercilessly slaughtered.
Enter Todd Parker, a Japanese American teacher who time travels back to feudal Japan, where he finds the only way to save the town is to convince the villagers that the “White savior” will actually be the death of them all.
Burman notes that Eric came up with the title White Savior. “I said, no way in hell Eric, I do not want to write something called White Savior with you. I don’t want my name forever googled with that name, let’s come up with a different title. But we kind of realized maybe it’ll get the attention we want. So we went with it. But I am definitely every day biting my nails and checking my hairline because I’m stressing so much about it!”
Apparently, for the past five years, the two have actually never met in person. They worked virtually to put the book together. Notes Nguyen: It was “just like this, (referring to our zoom room) and we have never been in the same room together ever. “
Burman nodded in agreement, “Seriously, we never met.”
Nguyen smirked, saying it’s probably better that way since “I would have punched him out, due to all the times that he’s been harassing me, oh, did you get this done yet? Did you get this done yet?”
According to Nguyen, he emailed his contact at Dark Horse Comics who “loved it” and eagerly agreed to publish their work pretty quickly.
For comic book fans looking to pick up the first issue, White Savior just hit the comic book stands. Look for three more issues to be released over the next three months with a composite trade paperback that puts it all together in one graphic novel.
Both Nguyen and Burman agree they would welcome a development deal for transforming their work into a TV or film project. Notes Nguyen, “for now it’s a four-issue story that has a nice ending to it, but also lends itself to a sequel. It really depends on how it does and if it attracts enough interest to take it to TV. We’re hoping somewhere in the streaming site such as Netflix or something like that, because it has a lot of potential for Spinoffs.”
And in spite of never having met in person, it seems the collaboration will continue post-White Savior. Nodded Nguyen, “we’re slowly working on this thing we’re calling Red Rain. But again our main focus right now is trying to get this book in the hands of people who will take it to that next level.”
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