Author-Cartoonist Gene Luen Yang’s Relatable Stories Draw Inspiration From His Own Life As An Asian American

American-Chinese Gene Luen Yang is an author and cartoonist who writes and draws comic books and graphic novels.

Yang graduated in computer science and minored in creative writing. He then developed software before teaching high school computer science. He became a cartoonist after teaching. He now writes and draws comics full-time.

American Born Chinese, his debut graphic novel from First Second Books, is one of the most contemporary Chinese American graphic novels about growing up in America. It won the Printz and Eisner Awards and was a National Book Award nominee. The graphic novel was vaguely set in the late 80s and early 90s, based on his youth.

He admitted that the television show’s narrative approach and modern setting made it challenging. Still, he was proud of how the creative team met these challenges.

Yang’s other works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), Superman from DC Comics (with various artists), and the Avatar: The Last Airbender series from Dark Horse Comics (with Gurihiru).

Yang also shared that he is currently working on Monkey Prince, which claims to be the son of the main character of the legendary Monkey King, the main character of Journey to the West. He wanted to bring Chinese mythology into the DC Universe, and that’s exactly what Monkey Prince is for.

During an interview with Forbes, Yang gave an advice that he himself attempts to follow: “pay attention to what you pay attention to.”