White Savior Comic Debuted Last Week, But Movie Was Planned For Years

White Savior creators Eric Nguyen and Scott Burman took a long path to their new comic book, including being rudely interupted by The Weeknd.

It's every creator's dream. To create a comic, get a massive publisher behind you, and of course, create that killer movie that brings the whole world watching your story. However, White Savior creators Eric Nguyen and Scott Burman took a different path. Usually, Hollywood gets a hold of you after your comic is published – but in their case, talks of a movie have been going on for years.

It all started with a cold email. Scott, a virtual unknown, messaged Eric, an accomplished artist and 20-year vet of the comic industry, including the likes of Old Man Logan, X, Stormwatch, Strange Girl, Infamous, Batman: Arkham Unhuinged, Fables, X-Men First Cklass, Gigantic, Sandman Mystery Theatre, Halo, Quicksilver, Crossing Midnight, Eternals, X-Factro Forever, Dark Horse Peesents, Arrow and Ultimate Fallout (coming so close to drawing the first Miles Morales…). Eric read one of Scott's scripts and immediately wanted to work with him. Months later, they started brainstorming ideas, and White Savior was born.

The idea came when the two of them joked about the movie The Great Wall with Matt Damon. "What if the outsider destined to save everyone was actually an idiot who had no idea what he was doing?" From that simple joke, they developed the plot in which Asian American teacher Todd Parker time travels to feudal Japan, where he has to convince a small village NOT to follow the "white savior."

But it wasn't an easy road to get there. Eric had been working for Marvel/DC, and in order to create White Savior, he had to forgo a big two paycheck and take a risk on creating something without a publisher, without a book deal, and with a title like White Savior, which was bound to bring out the YouTube critics.

Eric and Scott spent months writing the initial script, and just when Eric was about to start drawing, he got a call from Marvel. Apparently, The Weeknd chose Eric to draw his comic. It was an offer he couldn't refuse, but that meant White Savior would be put on hold, for The Weeknd's Starboy, published by Marvel.

That was when Scott got an idea. He called Eric and suggested they sell both the comic AND a movie simultaneously. "We have a script; we have an idea, we just need people to support it." Eric said, sure, give it a try, not thinking twice about it. And without any "ins" or "Hollywood connections," Scott began blind emailing actors, agents, and producers. "I sent out literally hundreds, maybe thousands of emails. And usually, if you send out a hundred emails, you're lucky if you get one response. But for every hundred I sent out, I'd get 13, or 14 responses. Literally from a zero response rate to a 13, 14 per cent rate."

That's when they knew they had something. Before they'd drawn one page, they were getting interest from significant film/tv producers. With talks continuing and Marvel's Starboy coming to an end, Eric returned to work on the comic. Not before long, they had a first issue finished, and Dark Horse came calling.

"Interestingly," Eric said, "I talked to Dark Horse entertainment, the film/TV division before I talked to the comic division. They had reached out about another one of my books, Gigantic, and I sent them White Savior. And within one day, we got a call saying the company president, Mike Richardson, read it, laughed out loud, and wanted to give us the green light right away. Within one day."

I can back that account of Richardson. I sold him on my own comic strip The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne in line at the grocery store Ralph's in San Diego during the comic convention. Introduced myself, pitched the idea and by the time we;d got to the end of the line, he had bought it for Dark Horse Presents.

Anyway, back to White Savior. Leveraging the success of the comic with their previous film/tv connections, Eric and Scott have been overwhelmed with support from the Asian American community. Famous comedians like Ronny Chieng of the Daily Show publicly supported the comic; Time Magazine's Woman of the Year Amanda Nguyen follows them on Instagram, and they even took a call with the Asian American Foundation, a coalition of some of the most prominent Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the country.

It wasn't the usual path to get their comic out there, but it's safe to say nothing about White Savior is normal. With the comic industry forever changing and actors like Keanu Reeves and Wesley Snipes starring in their own comics, is this a sign of things to come? Time will only tell. For now, White Savior #1 is in comic book stores now with issue 2 out in two weeks. Here are the solicits for each issue.

(W) Eric Nguyen, Scott Burman (A/CA) Eric Nguyen
An ancient prophecy foretold of an outsider that would save the peaceful village of Inoki from an unstoppable army-a man who would confuse the people at first with his unconventional ways, but lead them to the light. Nathan Garin, Captain in the United States Army, known for his viciousness in battle on the American frontier, could be that man . . . if he weren't such an awful, drunken idiot. Now it's up to Japanese-American teacher Todd Parker to warn the good people of Inoki of Garin's true nature before he causes the very death and destruction they are counting on him to avert! By Eric Nguyen, artist on Old Man Logan and Strange Girl. In Shops: Jan 18, 2023 SRP: $3.99

(W) Eric Nguyen, Scott Burman (A/CA) Eric Nguyen
Yesterday, Todd Parker was ignoring his grandfather's story about the decimation of the ancient Japanese village of Inoki. Today, Todd is stranded in Inoki just days before its destruction. The good news is that he knows how this turns out. The villagers place their trust in a savior who is anything but a savior. But how is he going to convince them not to follow that man when they've branded our scrawny hero the village idiot? Todd Parker, ignorer of stories passed down from generation to generation, is the only thing standing between Inoki and destruction.
In Shops: Feb 15, 2023 SRP: $3.99

(W) Eric Nguyen (A/CA) Eric Nguyen
Inoki Village is just hours away from being overrun by the Akuno Clan. The village believes that they have a savior in their midst who will lead them to a decisive victory against the Akuno Clan and their evil leader Kenzo. Our hero, Todd Parker, knows that following the "savior" leads to certain destruction, but how can the man branded the village idiot convince them to ditch their faith in this foolish fake? And then what? Surely Todd can't face an entire army by himself!In Shops: Mar 15, 2023 SRP: $3.99


(W) Eric Nguyen, Scott Burman (A/CA) Eric Nguyen
This sword-swinging satire comes to an explosive conclusion. It's Inoki Village versus the might of the Akuno Clan for the fate of the people! Can our heroes Todd, Neal, and Maggie lead the village to victory? Find out, in the conclusion to the series that has brought you time travel, compromising situations, accidental homicide, mistaken identity, and, most importantly, laughs.In Shops: Apr 12, 2023 SRP: $3.99


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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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