Asian American graphic novelist explores racism in Deep South

"Southern Dog" features illustrations from artist Alex Diotto. Writer Jeremy Holt says the story, as well as the imagery on the pages, sprung from an interesting source: a dream.

AsAm News/VPR: 

Jeremy Holt of Middlebury,Vermont has written a series of four graphic novels titled “Southern Dog” about racism in the Deep South.   The series is illustrated by Alex Diotto and published by Action Lab Entertainment.

Southern Dog is about a teen who is dealing with the after-effects of a wolf-bite and his family’s connections with the Ku Klux Klan.

The issues feature illustrations from artist Alex Diotto and Holt says the story sprung from an interesting source.

This story actually stemmed from a dream I had of a werewolf fighting off a bunch of [Klu Klux] Klansmen,” Holt said. “And that imagery was pretty intense, but I didn’t know what to do with it so I sat on the idea for a while. And it wasn’t until I started to do some research into the Klan — more specifically around Obama’s inauguration — that kind of stemmed the idea for the story.”

Although it’s selling well in book stores locally and worldwide, Holt said he thinks his story is a hard sell. “It’s a hard sell for the reader. It’s a hard sell for a publisher to talk about racism, which is something that I think we all want to believe is kind of going away.”

He said that as an Asian American, he feels racism is alive and well, and he’s experienced it in every city he’s lived.

Holt wanted to explore those issues in graphic novel form through the eyes of his protagonist and, fueled by the imagery of his dream, began to write.

Towards the end of the writing process, Holt noted in his Tumblr blog, “I haven’t loved writing a story more than this one. At this point in the process the characters speak for themselves and I love that. I’m gonna miss hanging out with them.”

 

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