Jean Luen Yang American born Chinese Considered one of the most timely Chinese American graphic novels based around youth and growing up in America. The graphic novel is currently being adapted into a TV series via Disney+ starring Ben Wang, Michelle Yeoh, Chin Han, Yeo Yan Yan, Daniel Wu, Ke Hui Quan, Jim Liu, and Sydney Taylor.

Yang is a writer and cartoonist who writes and illustrates comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’ fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocates for the importance of reading, especially diverse reading. American born ChineseHer first graphic novel, from First Second Books, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as a winner of the Printz Award and Eisner Award. his two-volume graphic novel boxer and saint Won the LA Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award finalist. His other works include secret coder (with Mike Holmes), the shadow hero (with Sunny Lew), Superman from DC Comics (with different artists), and Avatar The Last Airbender series (with Gurihiro) by Dark Horse Comics. In 2016, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. his latest books are dragon hoops from the first two books and superman shattered the klan From DC Comics. Forbes sat down with Jean Luen Yang to talk about her career path and the current adaptation of American Born Chinese.

goldie chan: Hello Jean, thanks for joining us. What has been your writing career path?

Jean Luen Yang: I graduated from college with a degree in computer science and a minor in creative writing. After that, I was a software developer for two years before becoming a high school computer science teacher. While teaching, I wrote and drew comic books and graphic novels on the side. About seven years ago, I quit teaching to become a full-time cartoonist. I now spend most of my workday writing and drawing comics.

Chan: What has been your favorite project or book that you have created?

Yang: I believe you have to be in love with your current project to some degree in order to have the passion and energy to reach the finish line. Right now, I’m doing some collaboration. DC Comics is one monkey prince, monthly series by superstar artist Bernard Chang and me. The Other is a graphic novel tentatively titled lunar new year love story By Caldecott Honori Leuyen Pham and me. It would eventually be published by First Second Books.

Chan: What are you most proud of for the new American born Chinese Customization?

Yang: The television show differs greatly from the original graphic novel. First, it’s a serialized storytelling format. The first season has eight episodes, which means there should be eight beginnings, middles, and ends. A graphic novel is a two hundred page book with a single beginning, middle and end. Second, we decided very early in the process that the television show would take place in the present day. The graphic novel was loosely based on my own childhood, so it’s vaguely set in the late 80s, early 90s. The conversation about what it means to be Asian American has changed since the late 80s, early 90s. Television shows have to reflect those changes. These were some huge challenges, and I’m very proud of how the entire creative team, including showrunner Calvin Yu and director Destin Cretton, responded to those challenges. I was thrilled to see how these creative people at the top of their game approach their craft.

Chan: What projects are you currently working on?

Yang: monkey prince Brand new super hero. Bernard Chang, editor Jessica Chen, and I wanted to bring Chinese mythology to the DC Universe, and that’s right. monkey prince does. journey west There’s a classic Chinese novel, and we’ve integrated it into DC Comics continuity. monkey prince The main character of Journey to the West claims to be the son of the legendary Monkey King. So far, we’ve pitted the Monkey Prince against DC mainstays Batman, Aquaman, and Supergirl. If you’re a fan of both Chinese mythology and DC superheroes, then this book is for you.

I’m also working on my first romantic comedy with illustrator Leuin Pham. The working title of our book is lunar new year love story, The story revolves around two holidays, one Western and the other Eastern, that are often right next to each other on the calendar: Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year. This is my first dive into the rom-com genre. Uyen and I are having a lot of fun.

Chan: What is the key element of a great story?

Yang: This is a debate for the ages. I am sure that if you had asked me this question a year ago or a year from now, I would have given you different answers. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about characters’ desires and characters’ fears, and how they often overlap. I think there are two keys to a compelling story: desire and fear.

Chan: What are you inspired by?

Yang: I’m inspired by my wife, Theresa. She is an incredibly capable and caring person, and because of this, there are many demands on her time from our children’s schools, our church, and our local communities. She has been able to meet all of these demands artistically for the most part. Through the chaos, she remains disciplined about maintaining quiet time for herself, usually for prayer.

Chan: What do you do to uplift others in your community?

Yang: One of the best things writers can do for each other is to promote each other’s work. There are a few books coming out next year that I’m really excited about. is one family style by Thien Pham. Thien is a really good friend. He’s been doing comics and graphic novels for a long time, and this is his most personal work to date. He tells how his family immigrated to America from Vietnam.

i am also looking forward transience By Brianna Lovinoshan, Another Good Friend. This is a quiet, meditative graphic novel about the relationship between mothers and daughters. It is like a beautifully illustrated poem.

In conclusion, I would recommend land of the Dead by Brian McDonald and Toby Cypress. This is a Storycraft book in graphic novel format. If you’re any kind of writer—a screenwriter, a novelist, a graphic novelist, a poet—you’ll find something useful in this book.

Chan: Any branding or career advice for this new year?

Yang: I’ll give some advice that was given to me, that I’m trying to follow, however imperfectly: Pay attention to what you pay attention to.

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