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Tuesday, October 03, 2017 

SF Chronicle sugarcoats Gene Luen Yang's own SJW pandering

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote about the career of cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, with a sugary headline that he's pushed to "deeper themes", and noted his own addition to various SJW and/or diversity pandering measures:
[...] In the past two years, he wrote 10 issues of DC Comics’ “Superman” series before helming the rebirth of the series, “New Super-Man,” in which a Chinese hero emerges as the latest Man of Steel. Yang’s latest book, “Robots & Repeats” (First Second; $10.99) — part of his comic series “Secret Coders,” which follows a group of young programmers fighting world domination — comes out Tuesday, Oct. 3.
Sounds vaguely like Marvel's own direction with "totally awesome Hulk", doesn't it? At least DC, from what I can tell, didn't replace Clark Kent wholesale. But the way they've set things up is still pretty silly, and now that I think of it, why must these newly introduced heroes even have codenames to begin with? Why not follow the example set with Adam Strange, and let them be known by their own name without even employing the secret identity concept either?
As a child, Yang read comics in secret, hiding from disapproving parents, sneaking out of the library with a friend to a nearby comic book store. “We’d check out these coffee-table size books that we could sneak our comics home in,” he recalls.

This was in the 1980s in the South Bay, where Yang was born and raised. Then, comics were widely dismissed as a serious form of literature, especially a genre that explored Chinese American identity, a theme Yang would help pioneer years later.
Unfortunately, even today, I have no doubt there's quite a portion of society who still dismiss comics as serious literature, though depending on how surreal they're crafted, the stories behind the covers weren't meant to be. After all, if sales figures are so low, even for trade collections, then obviously the medium's not truly a success from a modern perspective. It's sad, but that's how it's been for many years now.
After writer Alan Moore (“Watchmen,” “V for Vendetta”), Yang and his friends would say — pretentiously he now admits — that there was nothing left to say in superhero comics. Ironically, while Yang has helped push graphic novels and comics toward a more mature and diverse art, he returned to its origins, becoming the writer for “Superman,” the first comic he ever read.

Yet Yang continues to challenge the form, especially with the Chinese hero of “New Super-Man” — an “oxymoron,” perhaps, that Yang has had to creatively wrangle as it situates the quintessentially American genre and hero within a Chinese setting.
I'm not sure what they mean by that, but I do know there have been black heroes before, and if nobody had to do much creative wrangling then, I can't figure out why it would be hard to do the same with Chinese heroes now. There is such a thing as foreigners going to live on different soil and adjusting.

In any case, it's already a cliche coming far too late to put characters of different races into roles of franchises that were already filled, and market them almost entirely around the very idea. The SJW pandering of recent overshadows Yang's book, and that doesn't guarantee good writing.

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