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August 25, 2005

FAVORITES -- from Gene Yang


There's a book that's going to make a hell of a noise: AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Yang. Seriously brilliiant stuff. Coming out Fall '06. Can't say more. Mum's the word. Who is mum anyway. But wait, I'm not kidding -- this kind of project is why FIRST SECOND exists in the first place.

Oh, you don't believe me. Just you wait and see. I've never read anything like it. And it has color by Lark Pien.

More shameless plugs later, as we get nearer to releasing it.

In the meantime, in our continuing award-winning FAVORITE SCENES, here's Gene's entry:


"There's a reason the Japanese call Osamu Tezuka the God of Comics.

In high school, I refused to watch anime or read manga. I found the plots trite, the storytelling unintelligible, and the pancake eyes utterly annoying. Plus, why did all the boys get projectile nose bleeds whenever a pretty girl walked by? Leave me to my Todd McFarlane Spider-mans and Peter David Hulks, thank you. At least gamma rays make sense; they're, you know, scientific and stuff.

Then Osamu Tezuka came along. A year after I graduated college, after hearing his name over and over again in comic book magazines articles, comics websites, and Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, I decided to pick up the first volume of Adolf, Tezuka's World War II epic, from the local Borders.


The first few pages unnerved me in a way that's difficult to describe. Sohei Toge, a Japanese news reporter covering the 1936 Berlin Olympics, discovers that his brother, a student living in Germany, was mysteriously thrown out of his bedroom window. The drawings were much simpler than the American superhero art I'd grown up on, yet they were so much more... intense. They grabbed me by the intestines and wouldn't let go. Sohei Toge might've only been a line drawing, but my guts didn't know it. I was scared for him.

Over the next few weeks I bought the entire five volume set of Adolf. I read it again and again, not only for the visceral thrill of the story, but also to pick at Tezuka's secrets. Why do these pancake-eyed characters pull me into their lives so completely?

I'll let you know when I've figured it out." -- Gene YANG


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