Reading has always been an escape and I have been an avid reader since I learnt my letters. Reflecting on my childhood, one female character stands out: Yoko Tsuno. Yoko is a female electrical engineer of Japanese origin living in Belgium. With her two male best friends, Pol and Vic, their adventures are of technological, historical and even alien nature with a strong emphasis put on technology.
I do not know to what extent I identified to any of the characters, but I was fascinated by the universe created by Roger Leloup and eager to learn more and discover their next adventure. Yoko was everything that I wanted to be and felt I was not: pretty, clever, resilient and adventurous. Even though my brain has absolutely no ability towards mathematics and physics, I always enjoyed reading scientific news.
Yoko was certainly one of the first heroines of European comics. Her and the other female characters created by Leloup are strong women, as capable as men and often held positions traditionally thought as masculine. Yoko does not have any romantic relationship through the course of the comics but adopt a little girl, showing that motherhood is possible without being in a relationship.
Written between 1970 and 2019, I did not realize the impact that comic had on me growing up, especially on my girlhood. I actually had forgotten all about it until I had to think of my girlhood’s heroine. With hindsight I appreciate that, thanks to Yoko, I learnt that girls were smart and courageous and could do everything. I will certainly buy the comics and share them with my niece in the hope that it will have the same effect on her.