Episode 153: Gene Luen Yang
Not too long before our conversation, the Library of Congress appointed Gene Yang its “Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.” It’s the kind of announcement that makes everyone around the comics community cheer — another big moment in a space perpetually starved for legitimization as the institution chose its first ever graphic novelist for the post. Of course, they would have been hard-pressed to find a stronger candidate. Yang has been a fixture in the kids and YA comics scene since his 2006 book American Born Chinese became the first graphic novel to score a spot as a finalist for the National Book Award, Young People’s Literature. These days, Yang finds is at the helm of DC’s flagship Superman title and has released Secret Coders, an educational book that combines the cartoonist’s love of comics and passion for computer programming. We sat down at First Second’s triangular conference room in the Flatiron building to talk tech and the Man of Steel’s truly American immigrant story.