"Poppie" Seeds the Way to a New Comic Book for Girls

By Karen K. Sakai
Photos by Sammy Tantawy

While one might generally think that most comic heroes are all about muscular men in tights, there are now new alternatives thanks to changes made by the independent world of comics. While one of the best perks about being an independent comic creator is the flexibility to create one's own deadlines, one of the hardest problems for most to overcome is the burden of not having a big business to fund a series. However twice a year, the Xeric foundation, established by co-creator of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," Peter A. Laird, helps charities and independent comic creators get their work published.

In March of 2003, the Xeric Foundation awarded Way-Out Comic creators, Julie Yeh and Jack Hsu, for their work, "Poppie's Adventures," a story about a young pre-college heroine who takes a job working for a writer in a travel magazine, and finds herself in Hawaii solving problems along with her sidekick, Ham.

In "Poppie's Adventures," the intelligent yet feminine, Poppie finds herself on assignment in paradise with na•ve yet very typical teenage-girl expectations that this trip is for pleasure. Her agenda quickly changes from a sun-tanning tourist reporter to stopping the path of evil when she stumbles upon a snake worshiping cult that has plans to release snakes into Hawaii. Poppie finds herself racing against time, using her intelligence to find resources in order to find a quick way to stop the maniacal plan of Ika Re and rescue Ham from the hands of the evil, snake worshipping cult. Along with the realistic background illustrations from Hsu, the comic also includes both cultural and historical facts of Hawaii that add more substance than regular comics.

This married couple has been numerously recognized in the comic industry for making quite a significant contribution because in addition to the excellent story and wonderful art, "Poppie's Adventures" is a rare gem that brings in unique elements of Jack and Julie's very interesting backgrounds. Born in Taiwan and raised in Japan and the U.S., comic-fan Jack brings in elements from his favorite comics of Hong Kong and China, as well as Japanese anime and manga. Julie was raised in Africa and turned to comic books when she was learning French in school. She draws inspiration from one of her favorite comics, "The Adventures of Tintin," a French story about a boy's exotic adventures in North Africa. She also brings in her education as an English major from Wellesley, various degrees from Columbia and UCLA, as well as her experience as a world traveler to enhance her work.

Julie and Jack explain that they decided to create "Way Out" comics specifically with their young daughters in mind.

"There isn't really a lot out there for the younger crowd, I mean there's some really great stuff out there for the older kids, but it tends to warp the reality when it's filled with implant enhanced bodies, super powers, intergalactic battles, and adult only content. I also wanted to create something that is appropriate for girls, but at the same time, won't turn male readers off."

Besides continuing the saga of "Poppie's Adventures," extending the adventures to Africa and Paris, James is also extremely busy with his own projects. Besides being an award winning comic book creator, Yale-trained architect, Jack is also extremely well known for being a film storyboard artist, working on such blockbuster films as "Stuart Little II," "Spiderman II," and most recently, "The Haunted Mansion." He is also working on a project of his own, a more grown-up crime comic story about loyalty and betrayal set in modern day Japan. While the first of four issues won't be out till the beginning of 2004, it is already anticipated to be another innovative work of art, with Hsu using his creative talents to spawn another "Way-Out" contribution to the comic world.

For more information and details of the artists of super*MARKET, visit the super*MARKET website.

For more information on Julie Yeh, Jack Hsu and "Poppie's Adventures," visit poppiesadventures.com.

For more information about the Xeric Foundation, visit xericfoundation.com.

November 21, 2003



© APMN, Tom Plate.