Saturday Morning Cartoons: Baopu #10

Welcome to Saturday Morning Cartoons, a segment where four artists take turns delighting you with their whimsy, facts and punchlines on Saturday mornings! Our esteemed cartoon critters are Cameron GlavinAnna BongiovanniMegan Prazenica and Yao Xiao. Today’s cartoon is by Yao!


Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Yao Xiao

Yao Xiao is a China-born illustrator based in New York City. Yao Xiao creates artwork depicting a poetic visual world where complex concepts and human emotions are examined, amplified, and given physical form. Her work has helped people all over the globe connect at unique moments, from the celebration of the 20 Year Anniversary of the SXSW Interactive Festival, to the grand release of pop singer Katy Perry's single 'Dark Horse.' She has created deeply emotional and beautiful graphics for editorial print publications, pop music record covers, concert posters and book covers. Yao Xiao's serialized comic Baopu currently runs monthly on Autostraddle. It is an original comic exploring the nuances in searching for identities, connections and friendships through the fictional life of a young, queer emigrant. Baopu stands for 'holding simplicity,' a Taoist ideal of wishing to return to a simpler state. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Etsy or her website.

Yao has written 131 articles for us.


  1. “Did the universe ever talk back?” is like a pretty profound question that has got me thinking about a lot before i’ve even had coffee.

  2. I have a huge appreciation for this comic, but am not quite sure how to put it into words.

    • Me too! I keep trying… and then I scroll back up to the comic and nope, it’s simpler and more magical than that. Like it opens a door to some unknowable space that words just can’t reach.

  3. This is just so beautiful…I feel like I want to write the words from those last three frames and keep it in a safe spot to read whenever life seems to get a little too crazy

  4. This is gorgeous. The colors as well as the text.
    Thank you for giving me a moment of reflection!

  5. This is my first time reading Baopu comic and while certainly not comedic, it is really beautiful. I like the artwork and the captions (Is that what you call it in comic strips??) are so poetic. This could easily be a poem. Thank you. <3

  6. It’s a little early in the morning for this but–

    What is the sound people make when they feel safe?

    My immediate thought was, the sound of crying. Tears of relief, after so much time spent afraid and looking over your shoulder constantly.

    • Huh, my first thought was a soft sigh.
      Guess it depends on how one means safe and from what.

      • My first thought was also a soft sigh. A soft, contented sigh when you reach your safe place, wherever that may be

    • I guess the sound of feeling safe means a whole bunch of things. I like that it means different sounds to each of us. There are so many stresses in the world, it makes sense that there may be as many sounds humans make once they feel safe. Beautiful and infinite Bao Pu.

    • interesting how different these sounds are for different people! I think of genuine laughter, I think of sobbing tears, I think of small, soft sighs, and I think of complete, comfortable silence. all in different contexts of course

  7. This cartoon took me out of myself to ask questions that have no answers and feel closer to the universe in doing so. Thank you.

  8. Love the intersection of nature, communication and silence here. The bodies and the spaces between.
    Reminds me of a poet, Stacie Cassarino, who I love…

    “Colonies of prairie-smoke
    and pods turning golden and papery,
    the grassy plains iterating patience,
    and things I cannot name.
    Begin with apples reddening.
    Begin with a woman touching
    the cities in your feet…”

    Thank you, @yaoxiaoart !!!

    • (That was meant to have some italics to better convey my wonder and awe. Your comics are always breathtaking.)

  9. Oh man. So many thoughts. I feel like the universe often talks back, but it mumbles in a language that’s sometimes difficult to understand.

    I wish it would talk to me right now.

  10. Baopu is always a poignant comic, but this page is exceptionally beautiful. Thank you for making it, and for sharing it.

  11. Yao – There have been times where I have felt so much a part of the world, those times that I did feel safe, at peace, connected. Those moments, I felt safe enough to take a complete deep breath and actually exhale, times that the universe seemed to pause, and the split second silence was explosive…

  12. Yao, thank you for making these amazing comics. This one really hit home for me. Please keep doing what you’re doing.

  13. I am somehow both overwhelmed with emotion and calmed by your work, Yao. So much beauty and sadness and joy in five panels. How do you do it?

  14. This comic is very comforting to me. I think the universe always talks back, most of us just don’t stop to listen.

  15. i love these cartoons and am glad that you introduced them, and that you rotate these very talented and unique artists.
    yao’s comics are not as in-your-face (often hilariously) relatable as the others’, but they resonate with me in a way i can’t really put my finger on.

  16. This strip always makes me think and its really comforting in a way I don’t know how to describe. Thank you!

  17. Wow, this is gorgeous. I feel like I need to put those last three panels up in my apartment. Thank you for sharing your work with us all!

  18. This is absolutely gorgeous – takes a couple of rereads to sink in, but it’s lovely! <3

  19. Sometimes… I lay awake in bed at night, wondering if there’s an alien civilization somewhere out there, with danker memes than us.

Comments are closed.