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The Blog of Gene Luen Yang
Interview at The Millions 
During my trip to Minneapolis, book reporter Paul Morton came to speak with me about comics, religion, and growing up. The Millions just put up our interview here.



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Mark Waid is Amazing 
Back when I was in my post-adolescent, anti-establishment, pro-indie-comics phase, I used to argue that they should've stopped making superhero comics after Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. What's the point of scaling the mountain once the peak's been reached?

Now Mark Waid has made my younger self eat his own words with Irredeemable and Incorruptible. I'm collecting Irredeemable in trades and Incorruptible electronically through Comixology's Boom Studios App. (BTW, if you've got an iExpensiveDeviceOfSomeSort and haven't played with any of the Comixology comics-reading apps, you're missing out! I never thought reading on a screen could be so pleasurable.)

Both Irredeemable and Incorruptible are cape-wearing roller coaster rides with soul. Waid explores the nature of evil through a series of superpowered fistfights. Brilliant. This is a master of the genre at the top of his game.

Age-wise, I'd say this is appropriate for high school and up.




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The Last Airbender Opens At Midnight 
Given the avalanche of horrifically bad reviews this movie has already been getting, arguing against its use of yellowface feels a bit like trying to beat a bag of hair at Scrabble. Most people are going to boycott it because of its suckitude rather than its racebending.

I do want to make one point, though. Director M. Night Shyamalan claims that The Last Airbender is "the most diverse tentpole movie ever." Pleeease. Having your Caucasian-playing-Inuit protagonists deliver exposition against a background of actual Inuits does not make your movie diverse. It makes your movie a modern-day equivalent of Charlie Chan.

I have to say, if The Last Airbender weren't the modern-day equivalent of Charlie Chan, I would've gone to see it despite the reviews, if only in the hopes that the sequels would be greenlit. As things stand now, the only hopes I have are for its carcass to serve as a warning against racebending in future American films. After all, nothing says blockbuster like accusations of racism.

All right. In the words of that great philosopher Stan Lee: 'Nuff said!



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Astroboy Volume 3 
I love love LOVE Japan's God of Manga Osamu Tezuka. I started reading his stuff as an adult and credit him for helping me get past my teenage anti-manga bias. (A friend and I used to argue American comics vs. Japanese comics, with me defending the good ol' U.S. of A.) His series Adolf is probably my all-time favorite, and Phoenix is a work of genius.

But, I must admit, some of his comics leave me cold. And that's to be expected, given that he is probably the most prolific cartoonist to ever cartoon on planet Earth. With literally hundreds of thousands of Tezuka pages in existence, SOMETHING'S bound to not work for any given reader.

Astroboy, arguably his most famous creation, happens to be one of those Tezuka comics that I can't get into. I think Astroboy's design is really cool (how can anyone not love a robot with machine guns that come out of his butt) and I tried so hard to like his comics... but I couldn't.

Except for Volume 3 of the Dark Horse Astroboy reprints, which I read last week!!! Mostly because it's three shades of awesome.

Volume 3 reprints the story "Greatest Robot On Earth" and it's as fun as comics get. Pluto, a giant robot with demon-like horns, tries to become the greatest robot on Earth by destroying the other top seven robots, one of whom is our hero Astroboy. What follows is sort of a robotic MMA tournament, with a discussion about the purpose of AI woven in for good measure. Supposedly, every kid in Japan knows this story. Manga master Naoki Urasawa has even retold it in his series Pluto.

If you're looking for a way to get into kid's manga, this might be your best bet.



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Gordon Yamamoto Animated! 
Some web animator friends of mine down in L.A. put together this little clip, based on a scene in Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks (currently available as part of Animal Crackers):



Their rendition of Gordon is clearly better than mine. Thanks, Squadron B!

They also have a bunch of clips based on the comics of Kate Beaton, who is Wittiness Embodied.

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