Quotes by: Gene Luen Yang
|Gene Luen Yang
Yang at 2014 National Book Festival
August 9, 1973 |
||University of California, Berkeley
When I work on my own stuff - and I think this is true for anybody - but when you work on something that you just completely own, you are trying to stay as true to your own storytelling voice as you can.
For 'American Born Chinese,' my first graphic novel with First Second Books, I did mostly 'memory' research. It's fiction, but I pulled heavily from my own childhood.
I grew up in a religious community, and like everyone, I went through a period of doubt and later made a conscious choice to embrace the faith of my childhood.
I think a lot of the things in my life that I become most passionate about, and most excited about, are all from comics.
When you work on a pre-existing character, when you end up getting invited to be part of a legacy character like Superman, I don't feel like it would be true to the character if all I did was go in looking to express my own voice.
I minored in creative writing in college, and I've played with the idea of doing something more hybrid, but comics are my first love.
Every superhero has this superhero identity and a civilian identity. A lot of their lives are about code switching.
The thing about research is that there's no end. You constantly have this fear that an expert who knows more than you will call you out on some detail in your book.
I took a Logo programming class in fifth grade. Logo is a language specifically designed for the classroom environment. It was basically doodling through words.
It's a big deal to reveal your friend's deepest truth, your friend's deepest secret. And for all of us, when we do these big things, there's a complexity of motivation that comes behind that decision.
I love the interplay between words and pictures. I love the fact that in comics, your pictures are acting like words, presenting themselves to be read.
Nobody really knows for sure how the Boxer Rebellion started. It began among the poor, and the history of the poor is rarely written down.
Religion and culture are two important ways in which we as humans find our identity. That's certainly true for me.
In academia in general, there's this push toward using comics as an educational tool.
The premise of 'Secret Coders' is reminiscent of 'Harry Potter.' An intrepid band of tweens stumbles upon a secret school, only instead of teaching magic, the school teaches coding.
There's something about the intimacy of comics that gives you a false bravado; you don't always consider the consequences.
I talk about religion because it's one of the ways human beings find power and belonging. Religion is more than just that - I think faith traditions give us ways to talk about experiences of the numinous, too - but power and belonging are a big part of it.
'Avatar: The Last Airbender' is, to my mind, the greatest American animated series ever produced. The characters lived and breathed.
'The Green Turtle' wasn't all that popular. He lasted only five issues of Blazing Comics before disappearing into obscurity.
In my research, I learned that the Boxers' kung fu wasn't all that formalized. The vast majority of them didn't belong to some age-old martial arts tradition. They were basically poor, starving teenagers doing the best they could to figure out how to fight, relying more on their mystical beliefs than formal training.
Superman was created in the late 1930s, and humankind's idea of what the future would be was very different.
When I got the job with 'Superman,' it felt like somebody threw me into the ocean. I was just trying to figure it out, to figure out how to tread water. Lucky for me, I'm part of a great team.
I was really worried that sitting at home by myself in front of a computer was going to make me crazy.