This Thursday at the Brattle Theatre, Gene Luen Yang discusses Boxers and Saints, his latest two-volume work from First Second Books. Joining him for the discussion is author M.T. Anderson. The two books tell the story of the Boxer Rebellion from the different perspectives of Bao and Four-Girl. Boxers and Saints illustrates how how Eastern and Western spirits can color the experience of those growing up and getting involved in a conflict of different cultures. Gene was kind enough to tell us a bit about the book, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Green Turtle, and what we can expect on Thursday.
DIGBOSTON: Hi Gene! Thanks for joining us today to talk about Boxers & Saints. Why revisit The Boxer Rebellion in comic book form?
Gene Luen Yang: The Boxer Rebellion is a war fought on Chinese soil just over a hundred years ago, in the year 1900. It was the first global conflict involving both Western and Eastern nations. Many historians believe it to be a harbinger of the World Wars that followed.
It was also the first military conflict in the age of mass media, the first conflict that people all over the world followed through their newspapers.
On one side of the conflict were European and Japanese soldiers, Europeans missionaries, and Chinese Christians. On the other was an army of poor, uneducated young people from the Chinese farmlands. These Boxers, as they came to be known, believed that they could call the Chinese gods down from the heavens by performing a mystical ritual. The gods would possess their bodies and give them superpowers. Given the fact that superheroes have been the dominant genre in American comic books for decades, the Boxer Rebellion and comics are a great fit. To me as a comics fan, the Boxers seemed like a Chinese version of Shazam!
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GENE LUEN YANG DISCUSSES BOXERS & SAINTS
IN CONVERSATION WITH M.T. ANDERSON
40 BRATTLE ST.