Tak Toyoshima is a pioneer. He’s been publishing “Secret Asian Man,” a smart, funny Asian American comic strip, since 1999 in various Asian American and Japanese American newspapers and websites. He’s a visual AAPI blogger, tackling issues of the day, racial stereotypes, friendships, the foibles of family life and of course, Asian American Pacific Islander identity.
SAM is an autobiographical reflection of Toyoshima. In fact, the main character, Sam, is, according to the cast of characters rundown in the book,”an aspiring cartoonist who works as an art director at his local alternative newsweekly. He is an incurable dreamer who is fascinated by what makes us all tick.”
The Boston-based artist has been the art director of a alternative newspaper, the Weekly Dig, the whole time that he’s been building a following for SAM. A couple of years ago, SAM was picked by by United Media, which syndicated the strip in mainstream newspapers across the country. That was great for Tak, because he was able to reach a much wider, mainstream audience with his witty, observant social jabs.
Earlier this fall, though, Toyoshima parted ways with United Media to concentrate on promoting SAM once again through AAPI channels and with a new, full-color comic every Sunday on his own website.
And now, he’s collected every strip syndicated by United Media into his first book, “Secret Asian Man: The Daily Days,” which is available now for pre-order from Amazon.com. I ordered my copy — be the first one on your block to have a copy!
For more Takness:
You can read a terrific interview with Tak by the Pacific Citizen from October.
Wikipedia also has a pretty thoughtful entry on “Secret Asian Man.”
Discover Nikkei interviewed Tak back in May 2009.
And here’s a 9-minute video interview with Tak at the Boston Comic Con: