Tag Archives | Gene Yang

Bay Area Bugle: Bay Area Comic News Round-Up – October 5, 2016

This is a round-up of Bay Area comic news from the last few weeks.

A number of comic books related events and signings are happening in October. Signings include Mike Mignola, Marjorie Liu, Hope Larson and more. See my round-up here.

Writing for The Bold Italic, Mel Burke (of Mel Reads Comics) showcases Four Bay Area Comic Shops You Gotta See. Mentions include Cape and Cowl Comics, Isotope: The Comic Book Lounge, Mission: Comics and Art, and Flying Colors.

Bay Area graphic novelist and cartoonist Gene Luen Yang is the recipient of MacArthur Foundation Genius grant. The grant gives each fellow $625,000 to spend how they see fit. Yang is the author of American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints, and is the current writer on DC’s New Super-Man.

Berkeley’s Doe Library’s Bernice Layne Brown Gallery is featuring an exhibit, Beyond Tintin and Superman: The Diversity of Global Comics, which focuses on how the comic book medium is used around the world. The exhibit includes comics from “Mexico, Egypt, Argentina, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Colombia, Poland, Israel and other nations.”  A video about the exhibit is below:

Steve Wozniak’s Silicon Valley Comic Con is preparing to return to San Jose in April of 2017. The tech and comics convention put general admission tickets on sale last month and has begun announcing guests.  Recent announcements include Buzz Aldrin, cast members from multiple iterations of Star Trek, Art Adams, Adam Savage, and more.

Berkeley’s Fantastic Comics is getting name dropped in articles discussing Greg Rucka’s recent clarification that Wonder Woman, for all intents and purposes, “must be queer.” In an interview with Comicosity the author said:

By the same token, going back to the question of sexuality on Themyscira, we spent a long time thinking about what this means. I did a talk at Fantastic Comics in Berkeley, California, where I said that no Amazon is going to look at another Amazon and say they are Amazoning wrong. Because that wouldn’t be paradise. The society accepts everyone in it. The requirement is, you’re here and you’re female.

Now, that opens up a separate question. For the purposes of Themyscira, as the Amazons experience it, and as we represent that experience, nobody looks at Io and says, “You’re too butch.” Nobody looks at Kasia and says, “You’re too femme.” Nobody says a dress is inappropriate. Nobody says, “Why are you wearing pants?” Nobody says you’re too heavy. Nobody says you’re too skinny, or not strong enough.

It has to be an inclusive and accepting society, for a number of reasons — paradise being one of them. But also because, Nicola, Liam, and I believe very strongly that Diana is beautifully and very actively inclusive.

That’s not to say Batman or Superman are not, but for Diana, it’s a very active inclusivity. That’s just part of what she is. Her arms are always open wide. There’s room for everybody. That’s an active part of her. I mean, Batman doesn’t have an issue, but he doesn’t spend his days thinking about how best can he understand his fellow man.


Gene Yang revives the first Asian-American superhero in “The Shadow Hero”

ShadowHero-Ecover-1-rgbBay Area creator Gene Yang is arguably one of the most consistently celebrated modern graphic novelists. His 2013 two volume novel Boxers & Saints was a finalist for a National Book Award, landed on numerous end of year lists, and was noted as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal. His 2006 book, American Born Chinese, was also a National Book Award finalist, received both a Printz and an Eisner, was named 2006/2007 Best Book by the Chinese American Librarians Association, and was noted on numerous lists.

Yang is finally applying his craft to the realm of superheroes with The Shadow Hero. He’s teaming up with illustrator Sonny Liew to resurrect Chu Hing’s Golden Age hero the Green Turtle. The Green Turtle made his appearance in issues of Blazing Comics and is considered the first Asian American superhero. Yang recently conducted an email interview with Publishers Weekly and he explained the publishing history of the Green Turtle.

Rumor has it, Chu Hing wanted to make his character a Chinese American, but his publisher didn’t think it was a good idea. Chu subverted his publisher by drawing the Green Turtle so that we almost never see his face. In those original comics, he usually has his back to us. When he is turned around, something – a piece of furniture, another character’s head, his own arm – blocks his face from our view. Supposedly, Chu did this so that we could imagine the Green Turtle as he originally intended, as a Chinese American.

Yang goes on to say that the Green Turtle wasn’t very popular and only lasted five issues of Blazing Comics. As a result of his short life in pulp the back story of the hero has never been told. That back story is what Yang is telling in his new comic.

The comic is first being released as a six-part digital series. That six-part series will be published by First Second in a trade paperback format this July. The Publishers Weekly article has more details on The Shadow Hero. Yang has also been writing occasional behind-the scenes posts at creation of the comic on his blog. The digital issues are available on Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, and Apple iBooks.

Shaking the comics out of SF’s Litquake

Litquake2013Litquake is an annual Bay Area event that seeks to foster the region’s sense of literary community. Between October 11 and 19 venues open their doors to let in the literature-hungry hordes for readings, workshops, panels, happy hours, and more. Tucked in amongst the established authors, poets, barfly wordsmiths, professors, and publishers are a handful of events focused on the literary form of funny books.

First up is a visit to the Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission Street, on October 15 for Sumos and Saints which features Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham discussing “comics, education, and ‘80s cartoons.” Gene Yang is the creator behind the critically acclaimed and well honored American Born Chinese. Thien Pham is the co-founder of handmade comic distributor Global Hobo. In 2011 Pham and Yang partnered to publish Level Up. The talk starts at 7 p.m.

Inconveniently, October 18 is a night only Jamie Madrox can fully enjoy.

On the 18th at the Variety Preview Room, 582 Market Street, there will be readings from Super Stories of Heroes & Villains. This anthology, edited by Claude Lalumière, features a collection of original superhero focused short stories. According to the publisher “you’ll find the exploits, machinations, and epic mêlées of these superpowered aliens, undead crusaders, costumed crime fighters, unholy cabals, Amazon warriors, demon hunters, cyberpunk luchadores, nefarious megalomaniacs, daredevil sidekicks, atavistic avatars, adventuring aviators, gunslinging outlaws, love-struck adversaries, and supernatural detectives.” Joining Lalumière at this event will be authors Tim Pratt and Camille Alexa. A Q&A about the book will be moderated by Terry Bisson. The event begins at 7 p.m.

At the same time the Cartoon Art Museum will be hosting “Comics on Comix” which will feature comedians riffing on comics ranging from Superman to Mad Magazine. Comedians expected to perform include Joe Klocek, Ivan Hernandez, Karen Macklin, Tom Smith, Mike Spiegelman, and Marc Weidenbaum.
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