Jazmin Truesdale emphasizes the importance of finding one's unique trajectory and uplifting women without disparaging men.
Women have historically been portrayed in comic books as either damsels in distress or hypersexualized objects of male desire. Moreover, very few women superheroes do not get the same attention and popularity as their male counterparts. Jazmin Truesdale, an avid reader of comic books, realized this discrepancy and decided to create her own diverse and inclusive comic books with an all-women superhero universe. She told CNBC, "I remember going to a comic store and seeing a Wonder Woman comic. I was like, Oh my God, who is that? It didn’t occur to me that a woman could be a superhero when I was a kid, but when I saw her comic, it just kicked off this whole thing."
Truesdale, who hails from Durham, North Carolina, ventured into various career paths during her time in college. She completed her undergraduate studies in exercise science and business administration at the University of North Carolina and later obtained her MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology. However, being a graduate during the Great Recession presented obstacles for the 35-year-old. "I struggled to find work. So I would intern at a lot of different places," she explained. "I ended up gaining a lot of skill sets and knowledge."
Despite the difficulties of finding her niche in the business and finance industries, Truesdale discovered a passion for storytelling and creativity. As a result, she made the decision to pursue a career in this field, ultimately giving birth to Aza Comics in 2013. Truesdale's collection, "The Keepers," immerses readers into the Aza Universe and follows the escapades of five women heroes of varying backgrounds - Kala, Fenna, Ixchel, Adanna and Amaya. These characters were crafted based on Truesdale's own personal connections and some of her beloved actresses, such as Maria Felix, Janet Jackson, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner and Dorothy Dandridge.
She noted, "I thought, why don’t I have a group of girls from different parts of the world, they come together, and they’re just kicking butt all day, every day, taking names and getting into shenanigans like women do." In order to more effectively animate her tales, Truesdale independently acquired proficiencies in areas such as 3D art, photoshop and animation, as well as explored various styles of writing ranging from humor to suspense. Aza Comics has afforded Truesdale numerous achievements, such as presenting at Comic-Con as a featured panelist, distributing books in over 75 countries and ultimately purchasing her dream vehicle - a Mustang.
According to Truesdale, her expertise in business, finance, marketing and consulting has facilitated the growth of Aza Comics to a new echelon. "When I was struggling to find publishers, I thought, ‘why am I looking for publishers when I can just make my own publishing company and do it myself?’ And that’s what I ended up doing," she explained. Truesdale said that the most valuable piece of entrepreneurship counsel she has ever obtained was to create her own unique trajectory. She said, "Find what makes you unique. That differentiation is important because it’s the thing that’s going to make people come to you over someone else. It’s going to be that thing that people love you for."
Additionally, she affirms that her distinctiveness stems from her capacity to uplift women without disparaging men. "One thing that guys have said they found interesting with the comics is that I don’t man-bash. And I’m like, women are amazing. I don’t need to man-bash, it’s not necessary," she said. "And as much as I love writing about and supporting women, having men support as well is what helps us grow and that helps to reeducate them. Because being alongside a powerful woman is not emasculating, it only makes you stronger."