Review Fix talks with Jazmin Truesdale, CEO and founder of Aza Entertainment and how her heroes are filling a much needed role in the comic book industry.
Review Fix: You’ve created a complex superhero universe where women are in the forefront. How did you get started in comics?
Truesdale: I read comics as a kid. My dad and I bonded over Batman movies and he bought me my first wonder woman comic. Writing comics was never my intention. I like storytelling and when I revisited comics as an adult I noticed the lack of women of color in the industry and wanted to do something about it.
Review Fix: Aza Comics seems to be a family affair. How did this comic book come about?
Truesdale: I wanted to do something that could include everyone and truly be centered around women. I noticed that while there were women who read comics, there were many who couldn’t connect and I wanted to know why. So I did some research, asking women what they wanted to see and what would interest them. From there, I created the book. I didn’t want to follow the normal comic book formula, I wanted to try something different and truly get more women interested in superheroes.
Review Fix: Your superheroes are not stereotypes. Rather, each young woman contributes a unique skillset. How did you research this project?
Truesdale: Honestly, they just evolved and fell into place. I already knew what powers I wanted the girls to have but tying all of that into their personalities was interesting because I wanted each girl to go against the gender norms of their cultures. I wanted to expand the mind of girls in terms of what they could do and be in this world. These girls will hopefully show women how to live without limitations.
Review Fix: If you could go anywhere at anytime in history where would you go and why?
Truesdale: I would stay right here in the U.S. 2017. Society is in the midst of one of its greatest struggles and I have a front row seat. Everything is coming to the light and while the consequences of that can be devastating and tragic it is also wonderful because it is the only way we can heal and move forward. You can’t stop progress. You can slow it down but you can’t stop it…history has proven that many times.
Review Fix: With the trend of comic books leaping into other media genres, do you see any of the characters from the Aza Universe on the small or big screen?
Truesdale: Absolutely, that has always been the plan. Women of color deserve just as much visibility as anyone else.
Review Fix: What is the collaborative process like with the artists and writers who have worked with you?
Truesdale: I usually give a loose description of what I want and leave the rest to the artist. I may make some tweaks here and there if necessary but when I choose an artist it’s because I like their style and vision. I like my artists to have a lot of creative freedom and really be able to explore where that can go.
Review Fix: What sort of impact do you want for Aza Comics?
Truesdale: I want Aza Comics to be a symbol of empowerment for women. If a woman goes to the gym and her workout shirt has my characters on the front, people immediately know what that means. My biggest goal is to inspire women to have a strong sense of self.
Review Fix: What’s next for you?
Truesdale: Growing and expanding Aza domestically and internationally. I have a lot of releases and collaborations coming up that I think people will like and I can’t wait to share them.