February, 1983: In a California bookstore, nine-year-old Gene Luen Yang asks his mother to buy him a copy of Marvel Two-in-One #99. His mother refuses, concerned that the Thing and ROM will give him nightmares. Instead, they leave the store with DC Comics Presents #57, in which Superman and a band of armored warriors traverse a devastating post-apocalyptic United States.
Gene Yang is terrified by this comic. But he loves it, too. He decides to become a comic-book artist.
October, 2013: Gene Yang, cartoonist, is nominated for his second National Book Award.
I haven’t yet read Boxers and Saints, but American Born Chinese is wonderful.
Listen to Yang describe his early encounters with comic books here, at the fourteen-minute mark.