On a Sunday morning last month, I got to hang out with cartoonist and author Lela Lee. One of the nicest and most charming people that I've met in the comics industry so far. Liked her style and energy. Didn't detect a modicum of hostility from her. But she's angry. And very good at being angry.
Lela is the artist behind the cult favorite Angry Little Girls comic. She mentioned that the cartoon was fueled at points by conversations with her family and her art became a catharsis for things that she couldn't say ... but that a ticked off little girl that she created could espouse. The character, an expressive Asian girl named Kim, dealt with a language barrier between Kim's generation and her parents', cultural differences between her and her non-Asian friends, love and an overall apprehensive view of the world. As the art grew, along with its following, she found that her work represented far more than her own cultural experience. The comic expanded from Angry Little Asian Girl to Angry Little Girls, where now red and yellow, black and white can all be bitterly biting and be an expression for many who bottle up their frustrations.
Well, Lela's initial character has taken another quantum leap and will be featured as an animated television show later this fall. Emmy-nominated comedienne/actress Margaret Cho will be the voice of Mother Lee, Kim's mom. The show, Angry Little Asian Girl, will be on the new Asian-American station MNet (available on Time Warner in many markets). Lela's ecstatic and so is this not-so-angry black man.
Check out Lela's work on GoComics here.
(See? She doesn't look so angry. Lela on the left, Margaret Cho on the right.)