BOOM! Studios announced its latest graphic novel on Friday: We Served the People: My Mother’s Stories by Emei Burell, the Eisner-nominated cartoonist whose work appears in Get Naked, Adventure Time and on the Nib. The book will be published under BOOM!’s Archaia banner. As the title suggests, her latest work will retell her mother’s experience living in 1960s China, under communist rule.
Yuan Ye Ping, Burell’s mother and the story’s protagonist, is one of very few women truck-drivers. At the time, the Great Leap Forward mandate pushed youths out from urban areas into rural ones in hopes that the society would transition from agrarian tendencies to socialism. It was that mandate that pushed Burell’s mother out into the remote areas of China and would jostle her into another communist policy: the Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement, which sought to directly influence youth’s ideologies.
On the topic of retelling her mother’s experiences of self-discovery, Burell said in a statement, “Getting to work on such a personal story of someone who I love and admire so much is truly amazing. I can’t wait to share with the world all of the incredible stories that my mother has shared with me growing up until now.”
Along with her work in comics, Burell’s art is also featured prominently in several other mediums. She’s worked with Cartoon Network on animation and is also stretching into the video game industry.
Sierra Hahn, BOOM! Studios Executive Editor, said in a statement, “Emei explores her mother’s sometimes funny and often inspiring stories of working agriculture during a time of immense political change in China during the late 1960s. Throughout the constant relocations and endless days of back-breaking physical labor, Yuan Ye Ping lost none of her joy, humor, or sense of adventure and ambition—attributes her daughter shares and poured lovingly into each page of this graphic novel.”
Read Yuan Ye Ping’s story for yourself when We Served the People: My Mother’s Stories hits comic shops in April 2020.