Erik Thurman is a comics journalist and educator who travels throughout the world for his work, but currently calls a tiny, impersonal apartment in Seoul, South Korea, home. His hobbies include hiking, drinking coffee, and fighting corruption. Visit his recent comics journalism of Hong Kong and other locations at Medium, on The Nib, or his website.
A roaring city of piercing blue skyscrapers and financial markets that break the skies of Southern China, serving as a major hub for progress all throughout East Asia and the world.
What better introduction into a city with such a profound history of independence than to see the Fragrant Harbour’s streets filled with tents and students chanting for autonomy during last year’s Umbrella Revolution?
And that’s what inspired me to look into how the Umbrella Movement was being policed, beyond what was happening on the ground at the occupied sites.
I favor working with journalism in comic form because of its inherit ability to convey a plethora of information visually that would be otherwise too heavy for traditional prose. Also, unlike in film or photography, I can choose the precise moment that a tear gas canister is shot, or when an arrest is made, and even recreate images that couldn’t be taken when the use of a camera is forbidden. My recent comics journalism, Umbrella Blackout: China’s War on Digital Activism, tries to use the advantages in this medium to help inform activists and protesters, not just in Hong Kong, but throughout the world, the dangers of digital violence against their persons when they speak out against authority.
I like to especially give thanks to the help from various activists in Hong Kong, especially S.L., who introduced me to people from all walks of life during the Umbrella Movement, to make my work possible with my interviews.
Get the full comic, Umbrella Blackout: China’s War on Digital Activism.