Jazmin Truesdale Explains New Female-Driven Superhero Universe
Aza Comics Creator and CEO, Jazmin Truesdale, sits down for a Q&A to explain what her new superhero universe is all about.
Do you make comics or novels?
I make both. I write novels where the action scenes are illustrated like a comic book.
What made you decide to do it that way?
I was doing some research on the comic book industry and noticed that women didn’t read comics…they read novels, mostly. I did a poll where I asked 75 women why they didn’t read comics and then created a superhero universe based off of what women wanted. I wanted to create a universe where there was no limitation on how great a woman could be.
Do you write the books? What inspires the storylines?
Yes, I write the main series. My stepmother writes the children’s books which I’ve made available in English and Spanish. The storylines are inspired by real life, things I see on the news, etc. I say that I write the truest fiction because I incorporate real issues, real problems into each storyline. Hopefully, it will help people understand each other better.
I also try to make the storylines full and entertaining. So, there’s action, drama, suspense, scifi, romance…a little bit of everything. Its not your typical story about superheroes.
Explain the Aza Universe. Does everything take place on Earth?
The Aza Universe is an origin story of our actual universe. There are seven realms with infinite planets and each realm corresponds to a particular racial group. Realm 1 is the Pangeatic Africus Realm where Kala is from. Realm 2 is the Arabiatic Realm. Realm 3 is the Asiatic Realm. Realm 4 is the Europeatic Realm. Realm 5 is the indigeneatic Realm.
Earth is located in the 6th Realm. 10,000 years ago, during the Great Azian War, people from the various five realms fled to earth as refugees (ironic, I know) in order to escape the war.
Realm 7 is a prison realm where criminals are completely removed from society. In the depths of Realm 7 is a planet called Haulo where very few criminals have committed crimes so terrible as to be sent there. It’s the equivalent of Hell.
How did you come up with the characters?
In my dreams, or the shower, lol. I usually think…wouldn’t it be cool if I could do this…and boom! I have a new superhero. The look of the characters are based off of real life. I designed this universe based off of the real world. I’m a nerd so I watch a lot of Novas and documentaries which help me to develop character personalities, villains, things like that.
For example, when I was creating Kala I was doing a lot of reading on the female warriors of Africa. There are so many and I’m sure no one knows about them…well not in America. I thought to myself wouldn’t it be great if I could make a character based off of that. Also, I had never seen a Native American superhero and that’s where I got the idea for Ixchel, who is named after the Mayan goddess of medicine.
Who are The Keepers?
The Keepers, or the Askari, consists of Kala (leader), Adanna, Fenna, Ixchel, and Amaya. They were chosen by the gods to protect the universe. It’s the first time that women have been chosen for such an honorable position.
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Nari isn’t one of the main characters, how does she fit into the story? What inspired you to create her?
Nari is an oracle who helps to protect The Keepers. She is the slave trade personified. People will understand more about her character when they read the book. If you look closely at her jewelry, she has chains on her wrists and her necklace is actually a collar used to imprison her. This goes to show you that everything is not as it appears to be.
Nari is also a twin. Twin oracles are super rare in Aza. and my stepmother gave me the idea to design her after the people of Melanesia. There is a population of people there who look like Black people only with blond hair due to a genetic mutation on hair pigment. I thought that was so fascinating!
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Who does the illustrations?
Remero Colston does the illustrations. I discovered him on Instagram when he did a comic book illustration of Janet Jackson. It was incredible so I knew I had to sign him to the Aza Entertainment.
Did body image play a role in how the women were designed?
Absolutely, I wanted the characters to have different body types and they do. Fenna and Ixchel, for example, are the thicker girls of the group but in different ways. Ixchel is thicker in the hips and Fenna is thick in general. Women come is all different shapes and sizes and I wanted to depict that but also be somewhat realistic.
Are you trying to be the next DC/Marvel?
No, I’m trying to be Aza Comics.
Will there be a film in the future?
Absolutely! I’m already talking to production studios. There will also be a video game coming very soon.
What do you want people to get out of these characters?
I want people to stop policing women. I want women to learn to be themselves and OWN IT! Stop letting people tell you how to be. Each one of my characters lives life on her own terms and they all support and respect each other’s individuality. There is a sisterhood between my characters that is unbreakable. I want women to start seeing each other as allies, not enemies.