Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2023

Document Type

Visual Works


Whittier Scholars Program

First Advisor

Jonathan Burton


The Siren of San Francisco is a story I have been interested in telling for the longest time focusing on the coming of age of the main character, Mia, and how she deals with change through gaining the power of shapeshifting. A lot of the graphic novel explores the relationships between Mia, her mom, and her close friends and how her relationships with them change during this transitional period.

The driving force behind this story was my enduring interest in relationships, identity, feminism, and how people can shape the people around them, including themselves. I approached this particular story from a feminist angle; interested in the ways women interact and relate to one another. There’s been a wave of feminist graphic novels that touch on this subject but The Siren of San Francisco is unique because it doesn't commodify feminist ideals; it allows its female characters to simply be characters without limiting them to feminist role models. I wanted the graphic novel to feel more personal, so I took pieces from my own experiences coming of age…after all, centering experience is a tenet of feminist ideology.

The Siren of San Francisco deconstructs the superhero and coming of age genre, expressing the myriad of ways femininity can be expressed and experienced. The graphic novel is more a coming of age story rather than a classic superhero origin story; it’s more focused on the friendships and relationships of the main character and how she navigates change through the lens of the “classic” superpower of shape-shifting.

The graphic novel and subsequent afterword, I explore what it means to have a “strong female character” without limiting such characters to one experience. To discuss this, I explore the idea of loving perception, or understanding through relating to other people’s experiences, and implement these concepts into the characters themselves.