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Archive for the ‘Gene Luen Yang’ Category

It’s Friday night!  Here’s a light reading review for the weekend…because Pastors need a break from heavy theological readings too!

Gene Yang. New Super-Man, Volume 3: Equilibrium. Burbank, CA: DC Comics, June 19th 2018. 168 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is the third volume and final volume of a fun series.  I’m not usually a fan of Superman but this “New Superman” has really been a delight to read.  This particular volume collects issues 13 through 19.  I was actually looking forward to this volume to come out; something very rare for me with comics.  I really am a fan of the writer Gene Yang and he does not disappoint in this book.

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Thank you for DC  for allowing me to review this comic.  This new book comes out today.  For more of my reviews of comics check out Collection of Posts: Superheroes, Comics and Worldview Series.

Gene Yang.  New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made In China. Burbank, CA: DC Comics, June 27th, 2017. 231 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This was a fun read.  This was a little different than the typical Superman comic. This New Superman is Chinese (as one can gleam from the subtitle).  I loved the story as it was a breath of fresh air from the generic Superman story and also that it was a different cultural perspective.  I am glad DC printed this and had a good writer name Gene Yang tell this story.  Thus far this is my favorite of DC’s latest company-wide relaunched called Rebirth.

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The following below are the graphic novels or comics I did finished but for one reason or another it wasn’t on my list of exceptional works, hence my delay in reviewing them earlier in 2015.  Just for the record there’s many comics and graphic novels that I didn’t finished because it was either not that good of a story or because it was inappropriate.  So for me to finish a graphic novel requires a lot, unlike my reading with non-fictions, which I typically can’t stand the idea of not finishing.  Also with all my discussions of worldviews, there’s time where the reading was just for enjoyment.  I’ve arranged the order of these reviews from what I most enjoyed to the least satisfied.

The Shadow Hero

The Shadow Hero

Gene Yang. The Shadow Hero. New York, NY: First Second, July 15th, 2014. 169 pp.

5 out of 5

It’s hard to find a good graphic novel involving superheroes that has good story telling, original, nice artwork, meaningful and also appropriate and clean that you can really recommend to people of all ages.  This is one of them.  It is not so childish that it’s beyond adults or teenagers reading them either.  I really enjoyed this book and I picked it up to read because of who authored it.  This book certainly didn’t disappoint.  I love this story about a hero and how it touches on the Chinese American experience: it has reference to Chinese immigrants coming to America, a son who is born in America and raised by traditional Chinese parents in an ethnic enclave of China town in an urban city.  Readers of Asian American descent will have a kick and the story is told in such a way that all can follow and appreciate.  I like how the author and illustrator also tells us the background to why they told this story and apparently there was a “Green Turtle” superhero during the 1940s that mysteriously died out as much as it mysteriously started.  Very fun read and I highly recommend it.

Purchase:Amazon

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American Born Chinese Gene Yang

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Note: This is a review as part of our Worldview Dilemmas in the Movies and Comics series.

This is the third comic by Gene Luen Yang that I read.  The first two works I read by Gene Yang were his later works, Boxers and Saints, which impressed me enough that I decided that I have to read American Born Chinese which was the Graphic Novel that made Yang popular.  The book has countless awards such as being the National Book Award Finalist for Young People Literature, the first Graphic Novel to achieve this status.  While I enjoyed Boxers and Saints more than I did American Born Chinese, I must say that American Born Chinese was still a pleasant leisure reading.

The book tells the story of an American Born Chinese boy growing up in America. Throughout the book the author tells his story with great humor and insightful to the phenomenon of being second generation American while having traditional Chinese parents.  I’m sure American Born Chinese would be able to identify with it.  The book is partly autobiographical—like the main character Jin Wang, Gene Yang also had parents who first met in the Library.  Also like the main character Yang also grew up listening to the story of the Monkey King, which comes out in the book.  The book is creative, with the author balancing what at first seems like three stories that later comes together (I won’t spoil it).  I loved how the three stories are foils to the American Born Chinese experience.  In fact even within the main story of Jin Wang there are wonderful characters that are foils to Jin Wang himself.  Wang tries very hard to fit into America and has some success but this is in contrast to those who were more recent immigrants.

I know that as a pastor reviewing this book the question among some would be “What can we learn spiritually after reading this book?”  I think the book brings greater awareness of negative Chinese stereotypes in our culture today.  Those in ministry with Asian American background might want to be conscious of those.  The stories in the book should also shed awareness that there are different kinds of cultural barriers, even among those who are Asian Americans.  I am not bringing this up to say we must idolize certain specific cultures (or sub-cultures), and I also appreciate the fact that the author doesn’t really point fingers, having had enough personally of all the stock liberal neo-colonial and ethnic studies dribble in my undergraduate days.  But being aware of certain cultural current should allow us to be better friends and better minister to people who are different than us culturally.

The book at times did have it’s quirky moments.  Sometimes it’s a bit slap-stick or it made me say, “Awkard…”  However, it is still insightful and a good story.  After reading this book and comparing how much he has improved with his story telling in later works, I hope to see the author produce more works in the future, works that I will read whenever the opportunity for leisure reading arises.

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