By Erin Alvarado
By day, Jazmin Truesdale ’11 MBA works in the tech industry. But by night, she transforms into a superhero on the pages of Aza Comics.
Growing up, Truesdale loved reading comic books and watching superhero movies, but she noticed one major flaw: a lack of women in leading hero roles, particularly in films.
“It was always male characters with the females as supporting side roles. No one was doing anything with their female superheroes at the time,” Truesdale says. She remembers thinking, “Well, I can change that.”
Inspired by her favorite superhero, Wonder Woman, Truesdale started brainstorming her comic series, The Keepers: Origins.
She created a digital video trailer for the series: a space-fantasy adventure starring a team of diverse, female superheroes.
At first, she received negative feedback from agents, who advised her to switch the leading Black superheroine’s race to white for better publishing, but Truesdale put her foot down to ensure that girls like her could see themselves in comic books.
“A lot of the characters are based on real people who inspired me growing up,” she says. “My leading black female character, whom I was told would be unmarketable, is my most popular character.”
Once the framework of her story was complete, Truesdale started sending the trailer to other industry giants for advice and guidance on what her next steps should be.
The connections she made through the process led her to become a panelist at comic-cons throughout the U.S., where she presented her ideas to the people who would be directly consuming them. To Truesdale’s surprise, her sessions sold out so fast that event staff had to bring in extra seating.
“The concept of this universe with strong female characters resonated. My room was predominantly women, and it was fascinating to see that response,” she says.
Originally, Truesdale planned to hire writers to create her comic book universe, but after her presentation, the writers of The Walking Dead comic book series approached her and persuaded her to write the story herself.
She got to work, and the rest is “her-story!”
Today, Truesdale is the founder of Aza Entertainment, a production company centered on telling the stories of women with diverse backgrounds.
“It always starts with one,” Truesdale says. “Just be resourceful, find a way and always keep trying.”
FLORIDA TECH CONNECTION: ’11 MBA
FAVORITE SUPERHERO MOVIE: “Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot
RELAXING ACTIVITY: Working out
REAL-LIFE SUPERHERO: Janet Jackson
FAVORITE FLORIDA TECH MEMORY: My capstone course. I have carried the skills that I learned in that class into Aza Entertainment for when I’m coming up with product lines and how I want to go about things in the business.
This piece was featured in the fall 2023 edition of Florida Tech Magazine.