Vancouver-based artist Jordan Cooper grew up watching all kinds of cartoons but found himself particularly drawn to shows from Japan. He loved Dragon Ball, but being a kid with Jamaican, Spanish, and Filipino roots there weren’t many characters he identified with.
“There was a character with black skin in that show: Mr. Popo. Look him up. If you already know who that is, I don’t need to tell you that that Mr. Popo is not the top idol for young Black kids; basically a weak, obese, black clown-looking guy with giant purple lips and Aladdin’s wardrobe. For Halloween, kids would plan to dress up as the shows hero, but say to me “you should go as Mr. Popo! You look more like him!”
Years later Jordan is imagining his own characters, and creating heroes he didn’t see in the shows when he was younger—people who look more like him. “I didn’t get that chance growing up but I’m going to change that for the next generation. So get ready for some Black Anime. Get ready for it to look good.”