I first came across Lela Lee’s comic, Angry Little Asian Girl, online when I was a teenager and a little less comfortable with the idea of being different. How I found it, I have no idea. But, those strips and I soon became friends and continue to be nearly 5 years later!
Using minimalism and iconoclastic drawings, Lela Lee plays on stereotypes- but not just racial stereotypes but gender and animals. And she is definitely not the nice, polite type. In juxtaposition with her cute and colorful drawings, the dialogue is witty and sharp. It’s not all simple banter. According to PBS:
There’s an aspect of Angry Little Asian Girl that all women can relate to… The stereotype affects all of us. All of us are socialized to be feminine, to be quiet, to be polite, to be nice. And our anger is denied us.
It has been breaking grounds on the voice of the ethnic woman in cartooning. Her characters represent more than the 1.5 generation Angry Little Asian Girl Kim. There are her girl friends Deborah the disenchanted princess, Maria the crazy little Latina, Wanda the fresh little soul sistah, and Xyla the gloomy girl. And none of them are quiet passive types. With the help of Lee’s humor, they vocalize their thoughts and emotions.
Lela doesn’t solely represent women though. She includes older generations by adding characters such as: Ogalog (Mom) and the silent reading father. She interacts with American boys through Bruce the meat-head and the very happy, feminine Pat. And she doesn’t forget her animal friends like the cat, dog and cool chick.
None of them lack spunk. And, if you open your heart to Lee’s Angry Little Asian Girl you’ll be sure to come back for more. So take a try and visit the website for weekly updates or watch an interview between Kim and Lela on PBS.