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Gene Luen Yang

Fiction and Excerpts [9]
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Fiction and Excerpts [9]

Paths & Portals

, || Book 2 in the Secret Coders series. In a secret underground classroom Hopper, Eni, and Josh discover that the campus was once home to the Bee School, an institute where teachers, students, and robots worked together to unravel the mysteries of coding.

Paths & Portals

There’s something lurking beneath the surface of Stately Academy—literally. In a secret underground classroom Hopper, Eni, and Josh discover that the campus was once home to the Bee School, an institute where teachers, students, and robots worked together to unravel the mysteries of coding. Hopper and her friends are eager to follow in this tradition and become top-rate coders. But why are Principal Dean and the rugby team suddenly so interested in their extracurricular activities?

From graphic novel superstar (and high school computer programming teacher) Gene Luen Yang comes Paths & Portals, the second volume of Secret Coders—a wildly entertaining new series that combines logic puzzles and basic programming instruction with a page-turning mystery plot! Available August 30th from First Second.

[Read more]

Secret Coders: Lost & Found

In Gene Luen Yang’s latest project, programming takes center stage, as he creates a preliminary introduction to coding through the adventures of three schoolkids. A missing dog?  This is clearly a job for… the Giant Flying Laser Turtle! But will Eni, Hopper, and Josh be able to figure out how to control the turtle so that no one (including the dog) gets shot with a laser? Find out below in the Tor.com Original Comic “Lost & Found”!

The Secret Coders series is the first collaboration between author Gene Luen Yang and artist Mike Holmes. The first book—with further adventures of Hopper, Eni, and Josh—will be available September 29th from First Second.

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Secret Coders

Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes!

From graphic novel superstar (and high school computer programming teacher) Gene Luen Yang and artist Mike Holmes comes Secret Coders—a wildly entertaining new series that combines logic puzzles and basic programming instruction with a page-turning mystery plot! Available September 29th from First Second.

[Read an excerpt]

Advice to Aspiring Comic Book Creators

I turned forty last year.

When I was a kid, forty seemed like a lifetime away. I didn’t think about forty all that much, but when I did I imagined I’d have life figured out. By the time I got that old, I’d have cracked the code.

My actual fortieth year has been a blur of ink and airplane trips and diapers. Most days feel chaotic, but it’s a satisfying sort of chaos. And while I definitely haven’t cracked the code, I have learned a few things along the way.

That’s why, when I get asked for advice by aspiring cartoonists, I feel that I have something to offer. The following is for those of you considering a career in comic books. I hope you find it helpful.

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In Praise of Mahjong

I first learned how to play Mahjong in high school. My best friend Arthur, an immigrant from Taiwan, taught me. Mahjong is sort of like a Chinese version of poker, only with tiles instead of cards. Like most games that are able to captivate an entire culture, Mahjong blends skill and luck. Four players sit at a square table, pulling tiles from the neatly stacked wall or pushing them into the mush pot middle. Sessions can often last for hours.

When I told my parents about my new pastime, my mother was thrilled. She’d played with her family when she was young, so she felt like I was reclaiming a piece of her past.

[My father didn’t quite have the same reaction…]

Top Ten Asian Pacific American Comics Characters

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Er… did you know that May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month?Well, now you do. And I hope you have a happy one.

All over cyberspace, folks are celebrating in all sorts of ways. Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Yang (no relation) kicked things off with an article that asks if the APA community is one or many (and graphically compares it to Voltron). CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) launched a campaign of YouTube videos with several prominent APA entertainers talking about their career paths.

I’m doing my part by sharing with you my Top Ten Favorite APA characters in comics. They aren’t listed in any specific order, but they all meet these requirements: They’re in comics, they’re of Asian or Pacific Islander descent, they’re American, and they make my heart happy.

[Check out the full list below!]

Is Art Selfish?

Oscar Wilde once said, “Art is the most intense form of individualism the world has ever known.”

And perhaps he’s right. When I’m working on my comics, I lock myself in my art studio (i.e. spare bedroom) for hours. At least once a day, my four-year-old will tiptoe down our hallway. She’ll scratch at my door quietly, like a cat. After her scratches don’t bring any response, she’ll try whispering. Then knocking. Then shouting. “Daddy?! When are you coming out, Daddy?! Daddy, can you even hear me?!”

[Thoughts on art, selfishness, cosplay, and livers…]

Parental Expectations, Practical Majors, and Advice for Making Art

A few days before I headed off to college, my dad sat me down for a talk. It wasn’t that talk, which we’d had a few years before. That talk was incredibly awkward, involving metaphors about shooting guns and comparisons between human genitalia and broccoli. My dad gave me that talk in Chinese, and it was one of the few times in my life when I was grateful my Chinese language skills weren’t up to par.

The talk we had before college concerned something even more important than the birds and the bees, at least in the eyes of a first-generation immigrant like my father. He wanted to talk to me about my choice of major. He told me in his most solemn voice, “You must choose a major that is practical.”

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On Spider-Man, Puppet Monkeys, and Saturday Morning Chinese School

I’ve loved superheroes ever since the first episode of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. Remember that show? If you’re a child of the 80s like me, I’m sure you do. It was my favorite. Spider-Man was just okay, but his friends? Iceman made his costume out of a giant ice cube! And Firestar made hers from a giant ball of microwave radiation! Amazing!

I could never watch the show during its actual broadcast time because of “weekend cultural commitments”—Saturday morning Chinese school, in other words. Chinese school was a nonnegotiable with my parents. “Pay attention to your teacher or you’ll regret it later,” my parents would tell me. “Chinese will be very useful in the future.”

[I didn’t believe them…]

They Came Here Not to Save Us, But to Live Among Us

Superheroes are about America. They were invented in America and they are most popular in America. Superheroes grew into a cultural force in the 1940’s, when America was growing into her role as a superpower. At their best, superheroes express America at our best. They embody our ideals of courage, justice, and sticking up for the little guy.

Superheroes are also about immigrants. Superman, the prototype of all superheroes, is a prototypical immigrant. His homeland was in crisis, so his parents sent him to America in search of a better life. He has two names, one American, Clark Kent, and the other foreign, Kal-El. He wears two sets of clothes and lives in between two cultures. He loves his new country, but a part of him still longs for his old one.

[Bringing the Shadow Hero out of the shadows]

The Shadow Hero

In the comics boom of the 1940s, a  legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity… The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.

The comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but the acclaimed author of American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang, with artwork by Sonny Liew, has finally revived this character in a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the Green Turtle.

The following seven comic strips, originally published in black-and-white in the Shattered comics anthology, are collected here in color for the first time. Thrill to this short adventure of the Green Turtle, which takes place shortly after the events of the graphic novel!

[The Shadow Hero]

The Shadow Hero (Excerpt)

We’re pleased to present an excerpt from The Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel from author Gene Luen Yang and artist Sonny Liew, available July 15th 2014 from First Second. Check out this article on Boing Boing for a video of Yang talking more about the project!

In the U.S. comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comic book characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity… The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.

The Green Turtle comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but Yang and Liew have finally revived this character in a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for this forgotten character. Hank just wants to enjoy his quiet life running the family grocery store with his father, but his mother has other ideas for him… she wants him to become a superhero, and to clean up their Chinatown neighborhood!

[Read an Excerpt]

Boxers and Saints (Comic Excerpt)

Gene Luen Yang’s two-volume graphic novel Boxers and Saints, due out September 10th from First Second Books, explores the stories of two peasants during the Boxer Rebellion in China who struggle with issues of identity during a time in Chinese history when many were asked to choose between their country and their faith. While Boxers tells the story of a young man who joins the Rebellion, Saints follows the spiritual journey of a Chinese woman who converts to Catholicism.

Read an excerpt from the second volume, Saints, below.

[Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers and Saints]

Boxers and Saints (Comic Excerpt)

Gene Luen Yang’s two-volume graphic novel Boxers and Saints, due out this September from First Second Books, explores the stories of two peasants during the Boxer Rebellion in China who struggle with issues of identity during a time in Chinese history when many were asked to choose between their country and their faith. While Boxers tells the story of a peasant who joins the Rebellion, Saints follows the spiritual journey of a Chinese woman who converts to Catholicism.

Read an excerpt from Boxers below and read more about the series at Wired.

[Gene Luen Yang's Boxers and Saints]