Joyce Hsu, Cartoonist, Playwright, Cancer survivor, et al


by Joyce Hsu

I believe this is a self-published book, as it has no ISBN, and no publishing history.  Nor for that matter, a publisher.  The book consists of the Glossy paper cover and nineteen 13 ½ x 9 ¾ inch pages.  The book is stapled in the middle.

The author says that she has been drawing cartoons for many years, and includes 59 of them in this collection.

The July 28, 1999 edition of the Mercury News, in San Jose, CA. has an article by Steve Enders about Hsu the playright.  Here is an excerpt

Then she had a family here while working in labs at UC-Berkeley and at Stanford University. It was time to slow down.

“Now they’re grown, and I picked up this hobby of writing scripts,” Hsu says. “Nothing can prevent a chemist from writing, and I always liked theater. It seems very natural that I try this.”

She repeatedly wows thousands of audience members on stages in Mountain View and Santa Clara. Her last play, which ran three nights, brought in 1,500 people.

I believe she has penned six plays, the first was “Who’s the winner?” The plays are in Chinese, with English subtitles projected on a screen.

In the July 15, 2011 edition of Asian Week, in an article by Gerrye Wong, there is more information on how the plays are presented.  They also add information about this cartoon book and a second book.  First, the cartoons.

“…she became a volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s Northern California Chinese Unit (NCCU) and was elected president in 2001. She edited the group’s newsletter, showing her artistic talent of creating cartoons, and ultimately produced two cartoon books focusing on humor for hospital patients. Titled “The Best Medicine” and “Laugh Along The Way” these paperback books would give any hospital patient a little to laugh at, which was her goal. She had doodled cartoons all her life, she recalls, and thinks humor is her best attribute.”

And then, the plays.

Following a recurrence of cancer in 2005, Joyce is active in the Reach to Recovery program where she continues to support patients and works to enhance cancer awareness among Chinese communities both here and abroad. As she looks back, she recalls that during her recovery period she was able to rekindle her strong interest in the arts, theatre and script writing, something she had enjoyed doing since high school. In high school she produced little comedy skits, saying, “I love making people laugh so all of my works are comedies.” Since 1996, Joyce Hsu has written and produced the following: “Who’s The Winner,” “Date of a Lifetime”, “ His-Shih-The Aching Heart”. “A
Bushel of Love”, “Yin and Yang”, and “It’s Too Much Trouble to Change Your Wife”.  All of her plays have been written and performed in Chinese with English subtitles on a side stage screen large enough to be enjoyed by both non-Chinese literate American Born Chinese and Caucasians alike. One of which – “It’s Too Much Trouble to Change Your Wife” was showcased in Shanghai’s Grand Theatre.

I found a website that has many of her cartoons, including some from this book.

In my searches, I came across another talented Joyce Hsu, but this one works in sculpture, and has a different academic pedigree.

Well, I kind of got off the subject of this particular book.  So, first here is a thank you and dedication page.

And then a page about how the book came to be.

I like the comment about the animals.  A real pragmatic person.

Strangely enough, soon after reading the above, I came across the following cartoon from

Ah, yes.  Let us all hope that the cartoons in our local papers are not on the way out.  However, the sunday funnies in “The Oregonian” at times  are so small that I have trouble reading them, and my local paper dropped the Monday edition, which means that Arlo and Janis, do not always make sense.  However, onward.

In the back of the book I found a little more detail on Joyce Hsu.

The following cartoon reminded me when my wife was undergoing Chemo.  As her hair started to fall out, I got the clippers and did the deed.  When her hair grew back, it was darker and curly.

The next one will resonate with all women.


Strangely enough, I believe my wife found some gift items in our local hospital gift shop.

No, it is not punishment.  If someone says so, stick an IV up their, well let us move on.

And speaking of smoking…

And on to equal opportunity.

I like her attitude on life as expressed in the following excerpt from her book.

What an attitude.  And with that, here is the final cartoon from the book.

After the final cartoon, there are several pages in Chinese.  Here they are.

And with that, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Thanks for reading.



About visualhumor

Enjoy viewing and collecting visual humor from around the world.
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