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KTNV 13 Action News

Using comics to connect with Asian American culture and beyond

By Joe Moeller,

2023-05-30
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For Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month we're highlighting local community members making a difference.

Joe Moeller speaks with a UNLV professor who says her Asian heritage is what has influenced her work in the comic book industry.

STRETCHMARKS

"This is my most recent graphic novel that came out... It has been intentional for my community," says Jean Munson .

She says she's the first Asian American comic book publisher in the state of Nevada. Writing and drawing, Stretchmarks, a graphic novel she has been working on for years.

"We intentionally talked about body image and the really great thing, growing up Filipino there is a lot of parallels with Latino culture," says Munson.

She goes on to say "It has become a universal way about talking about the toughness we impose on body image."

Along with writing and drawing comics, Munson is a UNLV professor in the Art Department. She's also part of the Women's Research Institute of Nevada, a UNLV program pushing college women to take on leadership roles.

She moved to Las Vegas from Guam.

"I am Filipino American and I came here originally for college," says Munson.

She says her Filipino background plays a role in her work as an artist and as a teacher and helps her relate to students in the comic and art world.

"In my class it is predominately Asian American, there are a lot of students who seek that within our community," says Munson.

She says her work with comics shows many in the AAPI community a different career option.

"I think there is a growing trend of wanting to do something different from our parents who have careers in stem and healthcare," says Munson.

CULTURE CONNECTION

She says she tries to stay involved in her community as much as possible, working on several Asian American and Pacific Islander programs throughout the year.

"It is something I do all year, so I care about a lot of Asian American initiatives, I was part of an exhibit last year, Two Cultures One Family, to pay homage to my Lola and mom. I also was part of the Reflections Oral History Project at the Lied Library," says Munson.

Her path of sharing stories through comics isn't typical, always evolving and becoming more effective.

"I would like to write western humor within Filipino stories and what not, I am able to do that today," says Munson.

She hopes her story of chasing her dreams and writing comics can help inspire others.

"I think listening to the future you want and the people in the past and merging that, being a part of the merge," says Munson.

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