Gene Luen Yang (born August 9, 1973) is an American writer of graphic novels and comics. Until recently, he was the Director of Information Services and taught computer science at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, California and travels all over the world, speaking about graphic novels and comics at comic book conventions and universities, schools, and libraries. In 2012, Yang joined the faculty at Hamline University, as a part of the Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) program.
Yang is the son of Chinese immigrants and believes he was born in either Alameda, California or Fremont, California. His father emigrated from Taiwan and his mother from Hong Kong. They met at the San Jose State University Library during graduate school and both spent a great deal of time instilling in him a strong work ethic and reinforcing their Asian culture. In a speech at Penn State, where he spoke as a part of a Graphic Novel Speaker Series, Yang recalled that both of his parents always told him stories during his childhood. This set the foundation for Yang's career in comics.
Yang was a part of a small Asian American minority in his elementary school. Yang says that he grew up wanting to be an animator for Disney. In third grade, he did a biographical report on Walt Disney, which is where, he jokes, his obsession started. He says that this all changed in fifth grade when his mother took him to their local book store where she bought him his first comic book, DC Comics Presents Superman #57, a book she agreed to buy because Yang's first choice, Marvel Two-In-One #99 (May 1983), featured the characters Thing and Rom on the cover, which she thought looked too frightening...
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