Sasha Matthews is a 12-year-old cartoonist who attends 7th grade at a New York City public school. Local bookstores started selling her first self-published comic when she was in 5th grade (see available titles).
Sasha decided she wanted to raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union, and came up with an idea: to draw real people and the things they do, but in the style of superheroes. Some people use “everyday superhero” portraits as social media profile pictures, others give them as gifts. Commissions are accepted, and 100% of what she earns goes to the ACLU. As of this writing she has earned over $5,000 to give away. If you would like to commission an everyday superhero, please see the contact info at the bottom of this page.
“Liz FitzGerald, a spokesperson from the ACLU, told HuffPost that Sasha is proof that anyone can help fight for others’ rights. ‘We love this project because it shows that everyone has a role to play in fighting for our rights, not just lawyers who work at the ACLU,’ she said. ‘Using her unique talents, Sasha has helped to educate people about the ACLU, raise money to support our work and remind all of us that heroes are among us every day. We’re thrilled that Sasha is standing with us.’”
“‘It’s really kind of an educational experience in a way,’ she said. ‘I now know what an astrophysicist might be interested in or I know what a fencing uniform looks like. I really think that learning about people’s specific interests is a really cool thing to do.’”
“I always look for opportunities where my kids can feel that they’re going to be heard and they’re going to make a difference. So I think that’s what really attracted me to Sasha’s project, because she’s figured out at such a young age to make her mark on the world.”
“The superhero part is because I think a lot of people feel a little bit powerless. The point is to make people feel empowered. Everyone has something that makes them special, even if it seems ordinary.”
Sasha was invited to be a guest on Little Big Shots, NBC’s #1 Sunday Prime Time show with an audience of 10 million. For her appearance, she wrote a new biographical comic about the show’s host, Steve Harvey.
Sasha was invited to run a cartooning workshop at PS/MS 200Q, a public school in Queens, New York City. She spent an afternoon making presentations, taking questions, and coaching other students to express their own comic ideas.
Pompeii: Lost and Found (2015)
Sasha’s second self-published comic, “Pompeii: Lost and Found,” was introduced at an event at Book Culture in New York City. She co-presented alongside George O’Connor, author of the “Olympians” series.
“In a short story you concentrated the history of an ancient Roman city with some of its most common habits (the baths, the games at the amphitheater, the daily life at the cafes, the golden objects), the tragedy of the eruption and the rediscovering of the city in modern times. I was very surprised by your ability in presenting the story through flash backs to the past and connections to real time.”
—Massimo Osanna, Head of Archaeology at Pompeii
Sitting Bull: A Life Story (2015)
Sasha’s first self-published comic “Sitting Bull: A Life Story” started off as an extra credit project in her New York City 5th grade public school classroom. She first set up shop in her building lobby, and then introduced herself to the owner of a local bookstore, Book Culture.
“Matthews captures all the important details, balancing word and image with a skill well beyond her years. Her vivid colours choices, expressive faces, use of texture, action panels, dialogue, and concise narration all combine to create a story that is inspirational in both its subject matter and its composition.”
“Matthews is definitive when I ask her what she does: ‘I’m a self-publisher,’ she proclaims, adjusting her horn-rimmed glasses. She tucks a chin-length lock of hair behind her ear and tilts her head toward her right shoulder.”
“Last Friday, I had the chance to meet with writer Sasha Matthews at our 112th store for an exclusive interview on her debut comic book Sitting Bull: A Life Story. We talked for over a half-hour about how she came to write Sitting Bull, what it is about comic books that inspires her, her influences, and most of all, what she finds surprising and challenging about the comic-book writing process.”
“Sasha Harmon Matthews, 10, had a very exciting spring. On a whim, her dad, Scott Matthews, emailed the comic book she designed for extra credit at school, ‘Sitting Bull: A Life Story,’ to the popular site Boing Boing. To their astonishment, the site decided to publish it in its entirety.”
“I recommend taking a look at it, not necessarily because it's by a ten year old girl... The reason I like the comic is because Sasha has a really great handle on economic storytelling. She covers a lot of ground, an entire life story, with a sense of research and complete ideas in it.”