Gene Luen Yang’s comics output has ranged a wide gamut, from intensely personal explorations of Asian-American identity in American Born Chinese to straight-ahead superhero comics like Superman. The skill in his work has garnered him one of the highest accolades that a creator can get, the prestigious MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant.
The 2016 MacArthur Fellows were revealed last night, with luminaries such as poet Claudia Rankine and computer scientist Subhash Khot named along with Yang. According to the organization, MacArthur grants are given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.” Yang’s also an educator who was appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in 2015. His high-level work on amazing graphic novels like Boxers & Saints puts him in the company of Alison Bechdel, Ben Katchor, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, comics creators who’ve also been named MacArthur Fellows. Yang’s currently writing New Super-Man, an offshoot of the Superman franchise starring Chinese hero Kenan Kong. You can read my Comic-Con 2016 interview with him here.