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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Kickstart The Green Turtle and Other Amazing Heroes Action Figures

There is a Kickstarter ending in three days that will produce retro-style super hero action figures. Among them is The Green Turtle, the first Asian American comic book superhero. The character was recently rebooted in the graphic novel, The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew earlier this year.

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Find the Green Turtle at Comic-Con

by Gene Yang

Pro cosplayer Alvin Duong has graciously agreed to help us promote The Shadow Hero by cosplaying the Green Turtle at San Diego Comic-Con!

When I first talked to Alvin, I told him we could find a way around the Green Turtle’s bare-chestedness. Alvin wouldn’t hear of it — staying true to the source material is key for him. So here he is, embodying the Green Turtle in all his goofy Golden Age glory:

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Top Ten Asian Pacific American Comics Characters

by Gene Yang | Originally posted at Tor.com

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. Continue reading “Top Ten Asian Pacific American Comics Characters”

Gene Yang & Sonny Liew Bring the Green Turtle Out of the Shadows

Captain America rakes in billions of dollars in box office. Computer graphics are required to bring Superman’s powers to life. An Oscar-winning celebrity is cast to play Batman and the internet breaks in half. We take for granted that these superhero characters are embedded in our modern cultural conscience. They are more than just household names, they’re indelible parts of our collective identity. They are also all really old.

After all, 2014 marks Batman’s 75th anniversary (Supes turned 75 last year). And Steve Rogers being a WWII relic isn’t just a plot gimmick for a series of movies, it’s because the character was actually conceived during WWII. The point is that these characters who are part of contemporary popular culture were actually born during the 1930s and ’40s (the “Golden Age” of comics, if you will) and have endured ever since. They weren’t the only ones who were created at the time, but they have had the most staying power.

There is actually another superhero that is also celebrating a milestone anniversary this year. Seventy years ago this July, a superhero called the Green Turtle debuted in the pages of Blazing Comics. You’ve probably never heard of him, but if Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew have anything to say about it, you will soon.

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Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 5

by Gene Yang | Originally posted at GeneYang.com

All this week, Sonny and I are taking you behind the scenes of our new comic The Shadow Hero! Buy the digital first issue of The Shadow Hero on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, or B&N Nook for a mere $0.99!

Here are the previous posts, in case you missed them:

Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 1
Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 2
Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 3
Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 4

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Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 4

by Gene Yang | Originally posted at GeneYang.com

All this week, Sonny and I are taking you behind the scenes of our new comic The Shadow Hero! Buy the digital first issue of The Shadow Hero on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, or B&N Nook for a mere $0.99!

Here are the previous posts, in case you missed them:

Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 1
Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 2
Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 3

Continue reading “Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 4″

Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 3

by Gene Yang | Originally posted at GeneYang.com

All this week, Sonny and I are taking you behind the scenes of our new comic The Shadow Hero! Buy the digital first issue of The Shadow Hero on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, or B&N Nook for a mere $0.99!

Here are the previous posts, in case you missed them:

Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 1
Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 2

Continue reading “Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 3″

Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 2

by Gene Yang | Originally posted at GeneYang.com

Today is the day! Sonny Liew and I revive the Green Turtle, the first Asian American superhero!

The Shadow Hero #1 hits the digital shelves of Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, and B&N Nook! Buy it now for the low, low price of 99 cents!

All this week, Sonny and I are sharing our behind-the-scene material with you. Check out character designs on Sonny’s blog, and here’s my post from yesterday in case you missed it.

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Secret Origin of The Shadow Hero Part 1

by Gene Yang | Originally posted at GeneYang.com

Tomorrow, First Second Books will release the first digital issue of The Shadow Hero, a six-issue miniseries written by me and drawn by the tremendously talented Sonny Liew! The Shadow Hero #1 will be available via Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, and B&N Nook for the low, low price of $0.99! A print trade paperback collecting all six issues will be available July 15, just in time for Comic-Con.

The Shadow Hero revives the Green Turtle, an obscure comic book character from the 1940s who is arguably the first Asian American superhero. Like so many Golden Age characters, he’s in public domain now. You can read more about him and his creator Chu F. Hing here and here. You can find all of his original adventures at the Digital Comics Museum, an amazing free resource for comics fans.

Since this is The Shadow Hero‘s debut week, Sonny and I are going to share with you some behind-the-scenes stuff. Sonny’s going to show you his amazing character designs, while I’m going to give you a glimpse at my writing process.

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Gene Yang & Sonny Liew Preview The Shadow Hero

Later this year, First Second Books will be publishing The Shadow Hero from writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Sonny Liew. Back in November, we were fortunate enough to have Gene on Hard N.O.C. Life where he talked a bit about working with Sonny and their research into the Asian American origins of a forgotten Golden Age hero named the Green Turtle.

Though the book is still forthcoming, Gene and Sonny actually published a series of Shadow Hero strips in Shattered, the anthology of Asian American comics I co-edited with Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, and Jerry Ma in 2012. For the first time, however, Gene and Sonny are unveiling these strips in full color over at Tor.com (they were originally published in black & white in Shattered).

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(Air)Bend it Like Gene Yang

Two-time National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang (@geneluenyang) joins Hard N.O.C. Life for a special episode discussing his career as an award-winning graphic novelist and his involvement in the Avatar/Korra comic universe.

Joining Keith (@the_real_chow) on the panel as well are The N.O.C.’s resident Avatar experts Julie Kang (@JulieKang) and Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria (@rscspokenword). As always, Hard N.O.C. Life is directed by the indomitable Nelson Wong (@aarisings).

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