Pen Tonic Comics – Sept. 12, 2002 “The Freshman”

Pen Tonic Comics

After 9 years of not cartooning and watching the world change indefinitely, I wanted to go back and annotate some of my Pen Tonic comics. For some, it might clarify the meaning, and others give new meaning. It’s not to be more academic. Just to extend it’s usability.

Pen Tonic Comic Sept. 12, 2002

I wanted to establish the tone of the series right away. Pen Tonic was going to be an irreverent comic strip from my point of view. And if not from my point of view, it’d be someone else’s point of view that I’m merely reciting. Most of my sources are drawn from American Pop culture, so it’s not like I’m coming up with anything original. It’s an American-centric view, recited by the marginalized Asian-American. The ultimate test is to see whether everyone sees all the propaganda the same way, and if not, is anyone able to figure out why, or do they care?

So, for the scholarly fans out there, what do you think the blow-up doll represents? Why is the freshman driving in a compact car? What significance is there in having an “Asian” face in the very first comic by an Asian writer/artist, who is possibly the first minority to ever grace the pages of a newspaper that is historically white? Let me know in your comments.

To view the published comics, visit

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