Tag Archives: Jerry Scott

The Representation of East Asian Characters in Two Popular Western Comic Strips

Familiar to almost anyone who grew up in America, Archie Comics has told the stories of a fairly interesting group of teenagers living in the town of Riverdale for decades. First established in 1939 these comics are still published today, 72 years of panels featuring that insipid redhead Archie Andrews and his friends [who I actually don’t mind]. The comic strip Zits, on the other hand, was first published in 1997, and has for 14 years chronicled the misadventures of much-more-modern teenager Jeremy Duncan and his own group of eclectic young people.

It’s not difficult to see how the two [a single strip and all those created by an entire company] are similar to one another. Both are about American teenagers and their day-to-day lives, albeit living in very different eras. Having originated in the late 30s Archie and his friends have moved forward generation after generation, yet stick to a much lighter tone in regards to issues that teenagers have to face. Zits, starting at the turn of the 20th century, has a more realistic view of the high school years, addressing such topics as the disconnect between teenagers and their parents, the short attention span of today’s youth, and so on.

What I would like to explore and elaborate upon is the representation of Asian characters, specifically those of East Asian descent. Both of these comics are [or, at the very least, have been] immensely popular, and as a result their content is in part representative of what the West [in this case Canada and America] is familiar and comfortable with. Continue reading