Student by day, graphic novelist by night

“Of course this is Pamella’s. You can tell by the blood over here, that’s her [style]. Look at how much detail is in the brains that are coming out of his head.“

Junior Pamella Asnata breathes and bleeds life on to the page by painstakingly hand-drawing each page of an original graphic novel, a Cold War era-inspired tale of redemption and tragedy. With every blood red stroke of the pen, she unveils the intricate inner workings of her mind.

Asnata is currently in the process of shaping and transferring this dark reality to paper, but she has many concepts she plans to incorporate into her novel. Combining the gritty realism found in 50’s noir and the science fiction elements of an advanced yet bleak future, Asnata explores Red Scare-esque panic with daring, flawed insurgents warring against their Fascist state.

“It’s a dystopian society, so that’s basically like every other book, but in the middle of all that, there’s this one guy who’s trying to get redemption for everything bad he did before that government,” Asnata said.

Asnata notes that this project falls into the recent onslaught of dystopian fiction, but her graphic novel is far from the rest. Her unique style stems from a variety of sources, ranging from the realism of renaissance art to the violent tendencies of modern day films such as “Kill Bill.” However, it is the works of famous comic writers Alan Moore and Frank Miller, such as “Watchmen” and “Sin City” respectively, that Asnata feels truly inspired by.

“I really like Alan Moore and Frank Miller. They’re two different styles but I like Frank Miller’s dark personality and Alan Moore’s great storytelling. That’s what really gets me, the storytelling,” Asnata said.

With an air of gleeful mischievousness, Asnata reveals very little of her novel, even requesting the title be off the record. However, while the title of her graphic novel is being kept tucked away and safe, none of her characters are safe from harm. Asnata pledges to a sense of realism throughout her novel, so realistic in fact, that she has no plans to release her material at school and instead plans to upload chapters onto a personal website.

“My stuff is too mature. I don’t think [the school administrators] would allow it. There will be a lot of blood and gore. Each character has a tragic past and they’re all sort of digging for a better future, which happens to rely on bloodshed. Every character’s beginning starts with a bit of blood,” Asnata said.

Asnata insists that the carnage is vital to both the story and staying faithful to herself. Animes such as “Cowboy Bebop” and “Attack on Titan” heavily influenced her creative style with their use of necessary and meaningful violence, as opposed to gratuitous violence. Asnata feels that violence can speak volumes and is often times necessary to enhance and solidify her work.

“[Violence] does have significance; this is what happens with war and hatred, but I mostly included it because it’s my personality style and what I read growing up,” Asnata said.

The graphic novel, though spanning Mars and the moon, tackles many Earthly conflicts; Asnata’s penchant for social criticism plays a large role in her work. This is where the influence of books such as “Fahrenheit 451” begin to factor in as she delves deep into the intricacies of government interference and the power of knowledge in all aspects of life. She plans to introduce an element of prejudice and hatred, showing the depth of damage it does to society. By drawing parallels to the all too human aspects of life, Asnata casts away established comic book standards.

“Back then, with old comics, they just put in details about what’s going on but they didn’t really put any personal stuff or anything exciting. They mostly just ended everything with a happy ending. With mine, I wanted to be more realistic with the plot, I guess. I just want to make it relatable to the readers,” Asnata said.

Surprisingly, Asnata does not plan on pursuing an art-based career. This great undertaking is simply something to pass the time to the self-taught artist.

“No, I kind of want to be a doctor. This is just a hobby. I was like ‘eh, I have to accomplish at least one dream in life and I can’t give up.’  Maybe if this becomes bigger, I’ll do more but I want to be a doctor,” Asnata said.

By Katie Nguyen, Staff writer


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