The past few years have been a whirlwind of success for American Born Chinese author Gene Luen Yang, and now SLG Publishing is collecting his earliest published comics works, Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks and Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order, in an omnibus, Animal Crackers, to be released by SLG Publishing in January 2010.
Gordon Yamamoto was Yang’s first comic, a three-issue miniseries that Yang self-published with the aid of a Xeric Grant and SLG published as a trade paperback in 2004. It tells the story of bully Gordon Yamamoto, whose worldview changes when alien technology leaves him with the memories of his favorite target — a hapless freshman that Gordon had dubbed King of the Geeks.
Yang followed Gordon Yamamoto with Loyola Chin, which SLG also published in 2004, the story of a teenage girl who visits other worlds by eating strange foods before she goes to sleep. Soon, she becomes entangled in an alien plot to “save” humankind that forces her to examine her own heart and ask hersealf what makes us better human beings — our intelligence or our compassion?
Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks and Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order, both of which have fallen out of print, explore themes of empathy and friendship, offering an early look at some of Yang’s signature treatment of adolescence, culture, and faith. In January 2010, they’ll be available in one volume, the 224-page Animal Crackers: A Gene Luen Yang Collection, which includes an introduction to Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks by Yang’s friend and collaborator on The Eternal Smile Derek Kirk Kim and an all-new 12-page story by Yang about his journey to publication.
“I’m excited about Animal Crackers!” said Yang, whose American Born Chinese was the first graphic novel nominated for a National Book Award and the first graphic novel to win the Michael L. Printz Award. “I’m thankful, too. I’m thankful that — hopefully! — enough folks are interested in my old stuff to merit a new edition; I’m thankful that I’ve been able to make comics long enough to actually have stuff that’s considered old, and I’m thank to still be working with SLG Publishing.”
Animal Crackers is available for pre-order from comic stores now with the Diamond code NOV090582. Its ISBN is 978-1-59362-183-4.