“White Savior,” a new comic from Dark Horse by comic book artist Eric Nguyen, satirizes the cinematic trope in a humorous take on the samurai genre.
Inspired by movies in which white characters are portrayed as the rescuers of disenfranchised minorities, such as the 2003 Tom Cruise period drama “The Last Samurai
” and the 2017 Matt Damon action fantasy “The Great Wall
,” “White Savior” imagines a scenario where the “savior” is anything but.
Written by Nguyen and Scott Burman, “White Savior” follows Todd Parker, an Asian American film history teacher who is suddenly sent back in time to feudal Japan. Upon arrival, he quickly realizes that the local villagers have put their faith in an incompetent “white savior” who will surely lead them to their doom unless Todd can stop him.
Nguyen, whose work for major comic book publishers like Marvel and DC includes “Old Man Logan,” “The Immortal Hulk” and “Batman: Arkham Unhinged,” tells NextShark the goal of “White Savior” is to both laugh at and learn from the ignorance of the past.
The white savior trope has been around forever. Heroes like Iron Fist, the only white guy in a land of Asians who, of course, is a better martial artist than all the other Asians. Or any samurai movie where a white outsider rescues an Asian village. We wanted to bring light to the problematic nature of these stories, but do it in a way where humor and satire were at the forefront. And that’s the ultimate goal of our comic — to bring people together and laugh at the insanity and ignorance of the past, while still recognizing the progress that needs to be made in the future.
“White Savior” will be released in stores and digitally on Jan. 18.