Growing up on the west coast, in the Strathcona neighbourhood of Vancouver, I saw myself always getting into trouble. As I grew up in this inner city neighbourhood, it was no fun seeing friends end up in street gangs, some going to jail and worse, friends dying.
The elders in my family tried their best to keep me out of trouble. I was lucky that I had an Auntie who had a large box of comics. That became my favourite daily activity — reading comics. It was also the desire to become a cartoonist that kept me at home — drawing all sorts of stuff, and thus, keeping me out of trouble.
The thought for the creation of this graphic novel occurred many years ago — myself, as a frustrated wanna-be cartoonist, I had always wanted to create a comic book.
The opportunity came in 2009, when our Canadian government (as a recognition to redress the historic injustice of Chinese head tax and exclusion) made available, small grants to support community projects that explored the history of the Chinese in Canada. The program was called the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP).
Vancouver’s Ming Sun Benevolent Society, one of Canada’s oldest Chinese Canadian organizations was interested in sharing their story, so together, the Ming Sun and I applied for some seed funding, and Escape to Gold Mountain is the result.
Thank you CHRP and Ming Sun for supporting this effort. It’s been a wild and sleepless ride, but I think it was worth it!