Gene Yang’s The Shadow Hero, illustrated by Sonny Liew

Was it coincidence?  Yesterday morning I started to read Gene Yang’s new graphic novel, The Shadow Hero.  In the afternoon Sukie and I went to see Raina Telgemeier at The Reading Bee in San Carlos.  And there was Gene Yang with his kids!  He and I had been on a panel several years ago at the California Librarians Association conference, so I felt free to bug a celebrity.  (As Sukie later pointed out, how could all those people in the store not know him!?)

Last night I finished reading the book.  Obviously less sophisticated and ambitious than Boxers and Saints, and less emotional than Level Up (which I found really sad), but still a good read.  The drawings are by Sonny Liew.  It is refreshing to see how easy it is to have a nuanced, non-discriminatory “super-hero” story nowadays… all due to The Watchmen.  There never was any need for all the idiotic stereotyping and othering of the past.  But you do wonder: maybe we are so comfortable in our contemporary multiculturalism that we can’t see what others will see 50 years from now.

Anyway, as usual with Gene Yang, the story is nuanced and clever, steeped in history and character.  A wonderful way to spend an hour or two and then daydream awhile afterwards.


About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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