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The Blog of Gene Luen Yang - Comic-Con International
Comic-Con International 
I can't believe Comic-Con is just over a week away. Man, summer goes by fast. I will be there from Friday afternoon through Sunday. My good buddy Wayne Lo has graciously offered to share his table with me, so we'll be at table GG-19 in Artist's Alley. I'll also be doing signings at both the First Second booth and the SLG Publishing booth. Here's the schedule:

Signing at First Second Books (Booth #1323)
Saturday 7/24/2010 at 1:30pm
Derek Kirk Kim will be there, too!

Signings at SLG Publishing (Booth #1815)
Sunday 7/25/2010 at 10:00am
Sunday 7/25/2010 at 3:00pm

Please come by! If you bring me one of my books - or even a blank sheet of paper - I'll be happy to do a sketch for you! I'll also be selling:

1. My books
2. Monkey King buttons
3. My son's latest mini-comic
4. This awesome t-shirt my brother-in-law designed using one of my drawings:



$15 a shirt. I've got adult and kid sizes!

Oh yeah, I'll also be at the Eisner Awards on Friday night because The Eternal Smile, the book Derek and I did together, got nominated this year. The Eisners are the Academy Awards of comics, only you don't have to be some drug-addled starlet to attend. It's open to the public! If you've never gone, please do this year! You've gotta go at least once!

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Harvey Pekar Died Today. 
I found out this morning during my daily walk through the comics blogosphere. Harvey Pekar's been in the back of my mind all day.

When I was growing up, our local library had a small collection of American Splendors dutifully shelved in the 741's. I tried reading them more than once, but couldn't. Usually, comics drawn like this had at least a couple of panels my mom didn't want me to see, you know? This was just some working shmoe talking about his stupid, boring life.

I didn't develop an appreciation for Harvey Pekar until I was well into my adulthood. It's hard not to when you're a cartoonist. After all, every great autobio comic in the last twenty years finds its roots in him. And he was a part of the generation who spearheaded the merging of the comics market and the book market, a phenomenon that I've personally benefited tremendously from.

More than this, Pekar's comics contained a message that I simply wasn't ready for until I was his fellow working shmoe. Pekar found the art in the mundane. The small, forgettable triumphs and tragedies of the everyman's every day were recorded and offered up for contemplation. Pekar gave them a... a sacredness... by making them into images on paper. This might sound weird, but the animus behind his work reminds me of a certain Catholic mystic famous for finding the divine in the small things of ordinary life.

As someone who struggles with balancing comics, family, and a day job, I deeply admire how Pekar balanced comics, family, and a day job for decades upon decades. He was an artist, but he was also a family man who worried about putting bread on the table. He mixed the creative with the practical. And he made having a day job seem romantic-- I'm reluctant to give up my own day job in part because of his example.

So thank you, Harvey Pekar. I'm going to read one of your comics before I go to sleep tonight.



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Comics Workshop in SF 
Man, I thought I was getting so good at this whole blogging thing...

I just realized I never mentioned this workshop I'm doing this Sunday 7/11/10 at the Asian Art Museum in SF. I'll be going over making comics, from beginning to end. We'll be designing characters, writing plots, and drawing panels from 10:30am to 2:00pm. It costs $47 for non-members, $30 for members. Details here.




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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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