Saturday, June 14, 2014

The American Immigrant: Philippines

 

Last year, American student loan debt for the first time in history exceeded $1 trillion dollars, becoming the number one form of financial liability in the USA. Young people who were promised the same standard of living as their parents now find themselves jobless in an economy that doesn’t want to pay a living wage. Many are choosing to move back with parents and are delaying marriage and owning property. Others are abandoning their country altogether. The American Immigrant: Philippines is part one of a graphic memoir trilogy that follows myself, Erik Thurman, as I work as a young migrant teacher traveling the world in search for solutions to this growing unaffordability and inaccessibility of public education.

With work scarce in the US, I travel to Southeast Asia to be reunited with my Filipina fiancée of three years, while being pressured by our in-laws towards a quick marriage. In order to stay within the Philippines and have my visa supported, I take on an unpaid internship working at a rural high school.

  
Somewhat disgruntled by my former education and bitter that I'm not working in a field that I studied for, I find the work as a teacher to be overbearing, to say the least. As I settle into my new Philippine life, I begin to uncover many parallels between Filipino and American public schools and experience where both systems are failing. And amid growing trouble with my relationship at home and my work at school, I find the struggles of my students to be not unlike mine, and rediscover a love for education that I thought was all but lost.



The American Immigrant: Philippines, already nominated for the Reportager Award, merges the hard journalism from Joe Sacco’s Palestine with Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical Persepolis in order to tell the struggles our young generation faces around the globe to inspire positive change in education. Join me in this adventure that spans worlds, as I bring you a tale of romance and adversity that will kindle a passion for our public school systems. The book hopes to find a global release in the near future, so stay tuned for updates as they come. 



5 comments:

  1. I'm already fascinated by just this little taste of the memoir! Can't wait to read the whole thing.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Teresa! I'm crossing my fingers to have this sucker out soon enough :)

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  2. Looks and sounds cool Erik!
    Do you draw from photographs? If not, the amount of detail you get in your environments is really impressive!

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    1. It depends really. While I've been known to draw straight from photographs, I usually thumbnail my pieces roughly and then extrapolate the information in my reference folder. That way I'm making sure that the design on the page fits the piece best, so that I don't get locked into a composition that might destroy eye trace, for example. That's not to say that I draw these thumbnails directly out of my head, though. My main goal with non-fiction comics is to try to describe the place as accurately as possibly, so I don't make up any place.

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  3. I would love to read the whole thing...great work!

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