New Comic Reimagines Lois Lane as an Asian American Teen

First look at 'Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story' by Sarah Kuhn and Arielle Jovellanos.

If you were like me, growing up as an Asian American consumer of comic books, you sometimes had to crane your neck to find representation within those four-color panels. And sometimes, intended or not, it was right there in front of you in plain black ink. I can't be the only one who interpreted Superman's canonically black hair as a signifier of Asian-ness -- by way of Krypton, of course. (Kal-El is an immigrant, don't ya know?)

For writer Sarah Kuhn, it was Lois Lane, intrepid reporter for the Daily Planet.

"Lois Lane is my idol — as a kid, I imprinted on her immediately and dreamed of becoming a hard-charging reporter on a quest for the truth (who also gets burgers and freshly squeezed orange juice delivered to her desk at 9 am)." Sarah says. "I was always desperately searching for some tiny scrap of representation in the stories I loved and Lois had dark hair, so sometimes I'd fantasize that she was Asian American -- like me."

Sarah, whose previous work includes the Cassandra Cain story Shadow of the Batgirl, gets to realize that fantasy in her upcoming original graphic novel, Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story, due out in April 2023. Part of the DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults line, with art by Arielle Jovellanos, the book reimagines Lois Lane as an Asian American teenager -- a small town girl with a big city summer internship trying to get a handle on friendship, romance and a burgeoning career.

I'm pleased to share this first look at preview pages from Girl Taking Over:

For this Asian American take on Lois Lane, Sarah drew from her own experiences and relationships.

"Our Lois is a modern Asian American girl, a biracial Japanese American teenager making her way in the big, bright world and discovering how to be messy and real and meet all your deadlines while consuming endless amounts of caffeine and Pocky," Sarah says. "And I loved giving her a brilliant, supportive Asian community much like the one that's been so important to me -- a way-too-blunt Japanese mom who encourages (well, more like demands) Lois to stand up for herself, a free-spirited best frenemy who helps her find her voice, a fierce mentor who inspires her to become that icon we know she's meant to be."

Sarah says Girl Taking Over was also an opportunity for her to work with one of her all-time favorite artists, Arielle Jovellanos. "Her character designs and visual storytelling are so vibrant, so instantly alive, and it felt like we had some kind of Asian Auntie mind-meld going the whole time."

Arielle confirms the mind-meld. "While reading Sarah's script there were a bunch of times I said to myself, 'Huh. I know this girl.' I've known people like our Lois Lane: ambitious girls with notebooks full of ideas and washi tape, a cute caffeinated beverage always in hand, and an intense passion they'll stop at nothing for," she says. "I've been lucky enough to draw a number of wonderful characters in my life, but I'd never been asked to draw a book starring a contemporary Asian American protagonist before."

"Sarah wrote a script about an Asian American storyteller, a journalist learning the power of her voice. As a creative person, representation not only in stories but behind stories crosses my mind often. To get to work on a book that has both of those things and a vibrant, cathartic, funny, and real story with the most fashionable cast of characters ever has been an absolute blessing."

Here's the official publisher's blurb:

Can Lois Lane open herself up to friendship, romance, and being vulnerable in order to get the future that’s right for her? She might have to change her entire life plan to find out.

Ambitious small town girl Lois Lane tackles a summer in the big city with gusto, but a cavalcade of setbacks—including an annoying frenemy roommate, a beyond tedious internship at a suddenly corporatized website, and a boss who demotes her to coffee-fetching minion—threatens to derail her extremely detailed life plan. And, you know, her entire future.

When Lois uncovers a potentially explosive scandal, she must team up with the last person she’d expect to publish her own website for young women. And as Lois discovers who she really is and what she actually wants, she becomes embroiled in her own scandal that could destroy everything she’s worked so hard to create.

From beloved author, Sarah Kuhn (Shadow of the Batgirl, Heroine Complex), and with expressive and lively art by Arielle Jovellanos, comes a charming YA story about the strength it takes to embrace the messiness of life.

Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story, written by Sarah Kuhn with art by Arielle Jovellanos, will be available April 4, 2023 from DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults. Pre-order here.

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