Live Q&A w/ Gene Luen Yang, Writer of SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN, NEW SUPER-MAN, BATMAN/SUPERMAN, & More! Tuesday, 5.18.21 @2pm PT

Starting 2021-05-18T21:00:00Z we’ll be hosting a LIVE Q&A with Gene Luen Yang, writer of this month’s selection for DC Book Club, SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN.

Gene Yang is also the writer of many other groundbreaking series, including BATMAN/SUPERMAN, NEW SUPER-MAN: THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF CHINA, and most recently, DC FESTIVAL OF HEROES!

Please join us in welcoming Gene to the DC Community and add your questions in the comments below. Then, come back 2021-05-18T21:00:00Z to read his answers LIVE!

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Hello, Mr. Yang! Thank you for all of your fine work with DC, from the New 52 volume of Superman to New Super-Man, the Festival of Heroes one-shot and beyond.

Main Question: Given your history with Superman, and that we’re amidst the spotlight on Asian-American characters within DC, are there any Asian elements you’d like to further introduce into the franchise? Maybe in the form of new allies or villains for The Man of Steel? New locations for his adventures to take place in?

Secondary Question: Is there a DC franchise that you’re an ardent fan of, but have yet to be given the keys to drive/write? Personally, I’d like to see you behind the wheels of Justice League at some point, especially if the Kong Kenan Super-Man could be amongst its ranks.

Thank you for your time Mr. Yang, and for your wonderful reads in the DC pantheon. I look forward to your forthcoming adventures to star the World’s Greatest Super Heroes™! :superman:

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Hello Mr. Yang,

I think Superman Smashes the Klan is one of the best Superman stories I’ve ever read and it addressed complex and real themes in a unique way through a character that in a way is the ultimate immigrant story.

I also think that your Batman/Superman run is incredibly fun and innovative, with the first issue’s dual storytelling being unlike anything I’ve read before and reminiscent of the old Superman and Batman serials.

Both of these stories pay homage to older versions of the characters and I was wondering what made you want to explore these versions.

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Hi, GLY! I’m an enormous fan of your work on DC, and how you historically engage with DC’s past to drive commentary on the present, whether it’s a revisitation of this important radio serial story, or the many, many Asian characters from DC’s past who resurface through New Super-Man. I’ve got a question about SStK, and a couple as well regarding your current output:

  1. In Superman Smashes The Klan, you worked once more with your Avatar collaborators, the Japan-based Team Gurihiru, Chifuyu Sasaki and Naoko Kawano. Gurihiru are an interesting team to me in that they represent a synthesis we could stand to see a lot more of between the East Asian and the American comic book fields. How does your working relationship operate with them, and is it one you think we can emulate for further cooperation between these often separated expressions of the comic medium?

  2. In New Super-Man, one of the most breath-taking moments was the reveal of the villain All-Yang as the face on the cover of Detective Comics #1, in a storyline which took the era’s horrible “Yellow Peril” tropes to task. Now, in Batman/Superman, we’re seeing a resurfacing of the villains and incarnations of the heroes from the early black and white film serials featuring Batman and Robin – the earliest of which, shamefully, feature those same fearmongering stereotypes of Asian villains such as “Dr. Daka.” Serial villains The Wizard, Atom Man, and the Spider Lady have already been present in your run, with Dr. Daka’s absence among the four relatively conspicuous. Does Dr. Daka figure into your plans for this film serial arc, or is his problematic role in DC’s history outside the scope of this story?

  3. I’ve just read the introduction of the Monkey Prince, a delightful new take on the “Journey to the West” stories for the DC Universe. The biggest surprise of this first appearance was the decision to frame him as a character in the world of Billy Batson. I have a few guesses, but why was Shazam the corner of the universe chosen for the Monkey Prince to plant his dextrous feet?

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GLY,

When people sit down to read your work, what’s your dream goal? Not just making people think and feel-- that’s what we all want-- what do you want them to know that can help them make a better world-- with a little prodding from a good story, well told?

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I eagerly read The New Superman when you were writing it!

What are your thoughts on The Great Ten that you incorporated with your series The New Superman? Do you feel that DC property is worth a revisit?

Is there any way that in the near future DC would be interested in having you write New Superman with The Great Ten?

In my opinion, with China emerging as one of the two great superpowers lately, this could be an extremely relevant, intriguing book to follow.

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Hi! Thank you for coming to answer questions for us today!

My question is, was it your choice to set Superman Smashes the Klan in 1946? I know it is based off a radio serial from that time frame but I am curious about the decision to keep this story in the past instead of bringing it to the present. Do you think that this is a story that could also be told in a present setting?

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I’m too nervous to ask a question, but I love your writing. I’ve also been a fan of Gurihuru ever since Gwenpool.

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I too am nervous in that any questions I may have, can be worded better. I’m very new to the DC Book Club. So with that in mind, do you feel that ethnicity, especially Asian ethnicity, in the DC Universe is now more appropriately represented (via your writings), or do you feel that it was adequately representing minority groups to begin with? (Again my question could be worded better.)

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You probably get asked these from time to time but here goes:

  1. Is there a DC hero that you would like to take lead on a solo book?
  2. Is there a villain that you think would be great for a solo story that you would like to take lead on?
  3. What is the most unlikely team up with Superman that you can think of, that would likely be a lot of fun?
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Heres my question: What specific experiences did you go through that led you through and helped you to create the story and characters of “Superman Smashes the Klan”?

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Hi Gene! Big fan. I enjoy how your work often takes elements of the Golden Age and refocuses them through a modern lens. It’s what has made your current run on Batman/Superman one of the titles I look forward to each month.

I’m obsessed with the Golden Age of superheroes. However, there are many problematic elements those stories that can make them uncomfortable. You rather effectively addressed Asian stereotypes from the Golden Age with All-Yang in New Super-Man. You also wrote The Shadow Hero about the Golden Age superhero The Green Turtle. Apologies as I haven’t yet read The Shadow Hero (it’s on my list, promise). I am familiar with The Green Turtle’s history, though, and how creator Chu Hing chose to hide The Turtle’s face since the publisher wouldn’t allow the character to be Chinese-American.

My question is in regards to these problematic elements or shameful moments in the history of American superhero comics. How do you approach addressing these things when you choose to address them?

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Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be with us this afternoon. I have a few questions.

What music do you listen to while you are writing?

When you think of your favorite Superman, is it a version from a comic book, radio show, live action tv series or cartoon? Has this version influenced your own writing?

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Is it easier to write about racism/stereotypes in period pieces or in ones set in the current time, and what if any, is the difference in your approach?

Now that you have written both Golden Age Superman and New Superman, what do you feel is the biggest distinction between the characters?

Did you listen to the old radio serials before writing Superman vs the Klan, and if so, what do you think is the biggest distinction between the two?

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, and am a big fan of your work.

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Hi Mr. Yang,

If SStK were adapted to a live-action movie, who would you want to play the four Lees?

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Gene,
First of all I want to echo the sentiments of many and thank you for taking the time to do this and for creating such an iconic, important book. My first question is this - how do you, and the editorial staff, approach the societal differences that many Asian cultures have compared to Western cultures when writing a book like this and make sure that it’s both authentic to the community it represents and marketable to the audience it will primarily be sold to?

Second - since Hawkman reincarnates and is one of the few DC superheroes that can literally be anyone from anywhere without having to disrupt the character history would you please write a Hawkman book that has a version of him with an Asian or Pacific Islander heritage? I know it’s not entirely up to you but I’d love to see that get released next May to celebrate Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month and think you would do a wonderful job and it would be a great addition under the Infinite Frontier banner.

Last - Monkey Prince. I enjoyed reading his story and look forward to his return to DC comics later this year. What does he say in the middle right panel on page nine after Shifu encourages him to steel his confidence but not let it grow into arrogance?

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Hello :wave:
Thanks for stopping by.

SStK was amazing. The story great from seeing perspectives of people and how some change and others stay the same. The characters felt very real in this story. And combined with Gurihiru’s amazing art just makes it even better.

My questions are…

  1. I found it really interesting seeing this approach to Superman learning about his powers. What made you decide to do this approach?

  2. I really enjoyed the Lee family in this book and how they felt like a great addition to the Superman world. Is there a chance we may see them again in a sequel or just in another story? Do you think story should get a sequel or is it best the one it is?

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Hey Mr Yang, I just wanted to share my appreciation for these comics in particular. Superman vs Klan was really a touching and inspiring story. I’m glad you were able to share it with us and in a way that, yes, all ages can follow with. I can say the artwork is always what I go for. On the other hand This one I really loved the story as a whole with the pictures as well. Thanks so much for sharing and taking the time for Q&A !! :slight_smile:

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Here are some off topic questions :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I hope you don’t mind

Biscuit or Funnel Cake???
Pineapple on Pizza???

Thanks for answering our questions :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes::grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes::grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Hello Gene,
Thankyou so much for your time, my question is, in case it hasn’t been ask yet, how long did it take you to write all 3 volumes of Superman Smashes The Klan? Thankyou!
:superman:

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