Secret Coders Entertains and Educates

Secret Coders, a new graphic novel series written by Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Superman), sets out to bring computer programming to kids and adults. Some people may not know that Yang, when not writing comics, is a high school computer science teacher. This is his attempt to combine his two passions – comics and programming.

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The Most Watched Hard N.O.C. Life Episodes

We’re continuing the celebration of our two-year anniversary week with another look back. This time, we’re going to count down the top ten most watched episodes of Hard N.O.C. Life, our (semi-)weekly YouTube series where I talk to folks about various topics.

When the site first launched in 2013, the idea for a YouTube show utilizing the Google Hangout format was going to be one of the main pillars. I had just come off a stint appearing on a similarly formatted show about basketball (more specifically, about Jeremy Lin) created by Terry Park for Asian CineVision and thought the format would be great for talking comics, movies, and TV. And thus, Hard N.O.C. Life
was born!

So just like we did yesterday, we’ve combed through the archives to find these, the ten most viewed HNL episodes over the last two years.

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Join the N.O.C. at Comic-Con in San Diego

Can you feel it in the air? It’s officially Comic-Con week, and we are happy to announce that for the first time ever, the N.O.C. will be in full effect in San Diego! In addition to seeing many of our guest contributors on panels and at booths during the show, we are also co-hosting a meet up with our friends at Black Girl Nerds on Saturday night! So check out everyone’s schedules and we’ll see you at the con!

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Superman: The Man of Tomorrow

by Gene Yang | Originally posted on GeneYang.com

There’s a reason why folks call Superman the Man of Tomorrow.

When he was created in the late 1930s, he really did embody that era’s ideas about the future. Back then, progress was seen in largely physical terms: our technology would make us stronger, faster, more invulnerable. And that’s what Superman was: the world’s strongest, fastest, most invulnerable person.

But in the decades since, our imagined future has changed. Nowadays, when we think of tomorrow’s technology, we don’t necessary think about physical power — we think about information. We think about knowledge. Our dreams of the future are as much about bits as they are about atoms. Maybe more.

So how does Superman, a character whose “tomorrow-ness” dates back to the 1930s, deal with the “tomorrow-ness” of today?

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Superman: Truth, Justice, & the Asian American Way

On the eve of June and the post-Convergence DC Universe next week, we are in breathless anticipation to see the new, more diverse DC Universe as promised by the publisher’s “DC You” campaign. Part of that diversity is represented by the all-star writing talent attached to the flagship books of DC’s most iconic character: Superman.

Hard NOC Life was honored to welcome Action Comics writer Greg Pak (@gregpak) and new Superman writer Gene Luen Yang (@geneluenyang) — whose preview story you can read here right now — on the show to talk all things Man of Steel.

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My Answers to an Oft Asked Question

I have been asked some variation of the following question more times than I can count: “Which comics or graphic novels would you recommend that are by people of color, or address people of color in a holistic way, and also books for people who may not ever read a comic or graphic novel?” This is a very hard question as there is just so much out there that is great. There are books that I have taught in my classes that are neck and neck with the books I’ve bought as gifts for people who I am trying to convert to our four-color ways. While the below list is in no way comprehensive, they are my go-to books for whenever I’m asked the question. Please feel free to add your own picks.

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No 52: The New Era of DC Comics Looks Promising

Can it be? Am I actually excited about DC Comics? Again? I’ve made no bones about my aversion to the company-wide reboot of 2011, but it seems that starting this summer, DC is dropping the The New 52 branding and starting fresh with all-new books, and a diverse and wide-ranging roster of talent, including — full disclosure — several friends and alums from the SIUniverse! So maybe I’m a little biased.

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Raina Telgemeier and Wonder Woman

by Gene Yang | Originally posted at Humble Comics

A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter (a second grader) bought Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters from her school’s book fair. She instantly became a Raina devotee. I’d already read Smile with her, but something about Sisters flipped a switch — maybe because my daughter has to deal with sibling drama of her own at home.

Raina’s a friend of mine. I knew from Facebook that she was doing a signing near us, so I told my daughter we’d go see her. On the morning of the signing, my daughter woke up chanting Raina’s name.

The signing was freaking amazing. I’ve never been to a comics signing like it, not even with the Image Comics founders when they were at the height of their fame in the 90s. Raina did a joint event with the inimitable Kazu Kibuishi, and the entire store was packed with parents and kids holding stacks of Smile and Drama and Sisters and Amulet.

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From Invisible to Inevitable: Why We Need Diverse Books

by Gene Yang

[Ed. note: Over the weekend, Gene delivered the following speech at the National Book Festival gala in Washington, DC.]

I’m a comic-book guy, so tonight I’d like to talk about another comic-book guy. Dwayne McDuffie was one of my favorite writers. When I was growing up, he was one of the few African Americans working in American comics. Dwayne worked primarily within the superhero genre. He got his start at Marvel Comics but eventually worked for almost every comic book publisher out there. He even branched out into television and wrote for popular cartoon series like Justice League and Ben 10.

Dwayne McDuffie is no longer with us, unfortunately. He passed away in 2011, at the age of 49. But within comics, his influence is still deeply felt.

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