Gene Luen Yang

Photo of Gene Luen Yang
Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received a Xeric Grant for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan’s Kingdom, The Rosary Comic Book, Prime Baby and Animal Crackers.His graphic novel, American Born Chinese was a National Book Award finalist as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. He also won an Eisner for The Eternal Smile, a collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim. Recently, he has been working on the comics series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition cartooning, he teaches high school computer science and also teaches creative writing through Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Author's Comment: The Boxer Rebellion was fought Chinese soil over 100 years ago.  Back then, the Chinese government was incredibly weak. Western powers were able to establish concessions – pieces of land that functioned as colonies – all across China. The poor, hungry, illiterate teenagers living in the Chinese countryside felt embarrassed by their nation’s weakness, so they came up with this ritual that they believed would give them mystical powers. Armed with these powers, they marched across their homeland into the major cities, killing European missionaries, merchants, soldiers, and Chinese Christians. Because their martial arts reminded the Europeans of boxing, they became known as the Boxers.

Boxers & Saints is a two-volume project.  In the first volume, the Boxers are the protagonists. In second, their Chinese Christian enemies are.

I wanted each volume to be distinct from the other.  Boxers is much longer, almost twice as long as Saints.  It's my attempt at a comics version of a Chinese war epic, full of glory and color and bloody battle sequences.

Saints is shorter, more intimate, more humble. The scope of the story is more limited, as is the color palette. I pulled from the aesthetics of American autobiographical comics, and I hope it reads like a personal journal.

Nationality: Chinese American

Featured series by Gene Luen Yang

Secret Coders (Ages 8 and up)
Boxers and Saints (Ages 12 and up)