Award-Winning BOXERS AND SAINTS – Gene Luen Yang’s Two-Perspective Historical GN

by Zack Smith, Newsarama Contributor
Date: 29 January 2014 Time: 05:00 PM ET
CREDIT: Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang’s already earned widespread acclaim for everything for such works asAmerican Born Chinese and writing the Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels for Dark Horse. His most recent work is actually two works in one, that take two perspectives on a historical event that’s often forgotten in American culture.

Boxers and Saints is a set of two graphic novels from First Second Books that examines the Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901 from two sides in China – the “Boxers,” the rebels who sought to purge China of foreign influence, including missionaries, they felt were overtaking their culture, and the “Saints,” the Chinese who fought against the Boxers, and were later canonized by the Catholic Church.

Yang’s take on the Boxer Rebellion splits the story across two volumes from both points of view, and offers no easy answers as it examines a painful conflict and a difficult time in history from teenagers caught in its wake. It’s already earned massive acclaim, including earning Yang a second National Book Award Finalist honor, and was picked as one of the best Young Adult books of 2013 – graphic or otherwise – by the New York Times.

We called up Yang to talk about his work, the unique cultural connection between the Boxers and modern comic book fans, how the books were almost presented, and his next graphic novel, a unique take on a superhero 99.9 percent of readers have never heard about.

Read the full interview here!

Frank Cammuso first made a splash with his acclaimed series Max Hamm, Fairy Tale Detective. His work there got him noticed by Scholastic Books, which led to his new full-color graphic novel series Knights of the Lunch Table.

The first volume, The Dodgeball Chronicles, introduces us to Artie King, newest student at Camelot Middle School. The principal can’t stand him, and he’s already run afoul of head bully Mo. But luckily, he finds a few friends in fellow outsiders Percy and Wayne, and has an ally in science teacher Mr. Merlyn…and somehow manages to open a locker that no one else has been able to crack.

Together with his friends as a dodgeball team called the Knights, Artie King’s legend is about to begin. To find out more, we talked with Cammuso, who also did the young readers GN Otto’s Orange Day with Jay Lynch earlier this year, about his new series.

Read the full interview here!

JON BULLER ON THE FOG MOUND v3: SIMON’S DREAM

by Zack Smith

The line between books and graphic novels has grown narrower in the last few years. Novelists have started scripting comics, comic writers have started doing prose novels, novels have been adapted into comics, and comics have been adapted into novels.

But one medium that’s emerging is a combination of the two – the prose novel with sequential comic sections, such as J. M. Dematteis and Mike Ploog’s Abadazad. One that’s received a great deal of critical acclaim is Simon and Schuster’s The Fog Mound by the husband-and-wife team of Susan Schade and Jon Buller. Alternating prose chapters with comics-format chapters, its format helps bring to life a colorful yet atmospheric world of talking animals.

DWIGHT MacPHERSON ON KID HOUDINI AND THE SILVER DOLLAR MISFITS

by Zack Smith

Dwight L. MacPherson has already taken Edgar Allen Poe on a fantastic journey with Image’s The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allen Poo, which was recently nominated for an Eagle Award. Now, he’s taking on Harry Houdini with Kid Houdini and the Silver Dollar Misfits, an original graphic novel premiering from Viper Comics in June (you can also preview the series at http://www.chemsetcomics.com/). What happens when a young Harry Houdini starts a detective agency with a group of circus children?

MICHAEL HAGUE ON IN THE SMALL

by Zack Smith

What if all humans on Earth suddenly shrank to six inches tall?

Oh, and everything else – including animals – is still the same size.

That’s the apocalyptic question posed by In the Small, a new graphic novel for ages 12 and up coming from Little, Brown and Company this May. Aside from its chilling high concept, Small is unique in that it’s an original graphic novel from a major children’s book illustrator, Michael Hague.