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8 posts from May 2007

May 30, 2007

More treasures from the Eddie Campbell trove

Lots of goodies on the nuts and bolts of the craft of comics, archived on Eddie Campbell's blog.

May 29, 2007

Congratulations Marjane Satrapi!

Congratulations, Marjane!

The PERSEPOLIS movie shared the Cannes Jury Prize, at this year's festival -- due to be released this fall in the US, by Sony Films. Word is it received a 15 minute standing ovation.


More about the movie's reception in Cannes in this piece from the International Herald Tribune.

May 24, 2007

Black Diamond Detective Agency reviewed on NewsARama


"Eddie Campbell has officially established himself as the master of turn-of-the-20th-century comics....

Mixing a mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end with great action sequences and compelling characters, The Black Diamond Detective Agency may have been intended for the screen, but it’s hard to imagine how the story will ever surpass the treatment it receives here. You can smell the air of Chicago in 1899, and John Hardin is one of the most engaging protagonists to grace the printed page in recent memory. Definitely recommended."

- Michael C Lorah, newsarama.com

Read the rest of the article at NewsARama.

May 21, 2007

Deogratias wins the Glyph Comics Award for Best Reprint Publication


Deogratias, by J.P. Stassen, translated by Alexis Siegel, has been named the Best Reprint Publication by the Glyph Comics Awards, honoring the best in black comics and creators!

See the other 2007 Glyph Comics Award winners at PopCultureShock.

May 16, 2007

Gina Gagliano talks about the MoCCA Library in Publishers Weekly


The MoCCA Library Goes Public!

"Giving people the chance to explore something new about the medium they love is part of what we're trying to do here," says Gina Gagliano, First Second's marketing whiz and MoCCA librarian, about the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art library.

"Visitors often come here and ask what they should read," she said. "We'd like to make this place a resource for people to come in off the street and talk to a volunteer who can recommend titles they might like."

The library will be open to the public in July - read the article in PW Comics Week!

May 15, 2007

Gene Yang in the New York Times Book Review



"Is it so bad to grow up Asian in America? One might be forgiven for asking upon encountering “American Born Chinese,” a graphic novel that, with its dark exploration of Asian-American adolescence, won last year’s Michael L. Printz Award for young adult literature and was also a finalist in its genre for a National Book Award.... Gene Luen Yang has created that rare article: a youthful tale with something new to say about American youth."

Read the rest of the article in The New York Times Book Review.

May 08, 2007

Who reads First Second Books?


photo by Lee Wade

May 01, 2007


Apparently, MySpace has made American Born Chinese a featured book... Not all good news, though, since it seems to come with a rather tasteless ad campaign that uses the Chin-Kee character out of context, and has led to all kinds of discussions among people who haven't read the book. Gene Yang responds.

Does acknowledging a stereotype perpetuate it?

I first published American Born Chinese as a series of mini-comics and a webcomic. The readership was much, much smaller than that of the graphic novel, but occasionally I’d still receive e-mail giving me feedback on my work. Every now and then, I’d get one that would make me question everything. “That Chin-Kee story was hilarious!” it would tell me.

Cousin Chin-Kee isn’t meant to be funny. He’s meant to come off the page and slap you in the face. If you’re laughing at him, I want you to do so with a knot in your stomach and a dry throat.

For every ignorant piece of feedback, I’d get a dozen more that were with me, that understood where I was going and wanted to follow. These e-mails felt my anger seething beneath Cousin Chin-Kee’s toothy smile.

These e-mails convinced me to carry on.

To those of you who are offended by every third chapter of American Born Chinese, I say this: Thank you. You’re supposed to be offended. That was the desired response.

You see, Cousin Chin-Kee is no more my creation than the Monkey King. I yanked him, every last detail about him, straight out of American pop culture. One of his most over-the-top lines is a word-for-word quotation from a political cartoon by an
award-winning, nationally-syndicated cartoonist. In a lunchroom scene in the sixth chapter of American Born Chinese, Cousin Chin-Kee offers Danny a bite of his “crispy fried cat gizzards with noodles.” On April 9, 2001, in response to the Chinese spy plane crisis, American political cartoonist Pat Oliphant drew a six panel strip depicting Uncle Sam’s visit to a Chinese restaurant, where he is served “crispy fried cat gizzards with noodles” by a slant-eyed, bucktoothed waiter. Outside of a few angry Asian-American columnists writing for small Asian-American audiences, the entire matter slipped out of public consciousness without so much as an embarrassed blush of the cheek from Oliphant.

Cousin Chin-Kee just keeps coming back to visit. In the 80’s, he showed up as Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles. More recently, he reared his ugly head in movie critic Rex Reed’s review of the Korean film Old Boy. When the American public caught a glimpse of him in William Hung’s American Idol performance, Hung was promptly made the most recognizable Asian-American male in the world. Every time Asian America thinks it's finally time to breathe easy, the doorbell rings and we find Cousin Chin-Kee on the doorstep with a piece of take-out box luggage in each hand.

America simply isn’t sensitive to modern slurs against Asian-Americans. As a nation we know that Fu Manchu isn’t politically correct, of course, but what’s so bad about making fun of someone for switching up her R’s and L’s? We don’t connect modern incidents of “poking fun” at Asian-Americans with their historical roots, with the kind of late 19th/early 20th century imagery that accompanied the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the World War II Japanese-American internment camps.

The fact of the matter is, sometimes you have to exaggerate to get your point across. Sometimes a stereotype needs to be dressed up in bright yellow skin and a queue in order for folks to recognize its severity.

So does acknowledging a stereotype perpetuate it? There certainly is that danger. But there’s also the danger of brushing off stereotypes with a polite grin and downward glance. And given Asian America’s historical lack of political participation, which is the greater danger? After all, if I hadn’t invited Cousin Chin-Kee – this grotesque creation of Sax Rohmer and John Hughes, of Pat Oliphant and my second grade classmates – into the pages of my comic book, if I hadn’t pointed him out and called him by name, I would never have been able to behead him.

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