Prime Baby

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ABC Author BMR

PRIME BABY
by Gene Luen Yang
ISBN: 978-1-59643-612-1
Published: Spring 2010
64 pages
$6.99 US / $8.50 CAN

Flap Copy:

From the pages of the New York Times and the pen of Printz Award winner Gene Luen Yang comes a tale of math, aliens, and new siblings.

Thaddeus doesn't like his new sister (she's not all that smart -- and she gets all the attention).  He likes her even less when he discovers she's an inter-dimensional conduit for peace-loving aliens (who are totally lame -- all they want to do is knit socks for the homeless and have sing-a-longs!).  But what's even worse is that no one will believe him about any of this!  How is he ever going to manage to become the President of Earth?

Author Biography:

“I think we're in the middle of a graphic novel golden age. Many of the best comics ever made are being made right now. Cartoonists are pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling in surprising ways. They're achieving aesthetic and emotional effects unique to comics.  It's awesome to be involved in comics right now.  Really, really awesome.”

Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received a Xeric Grant for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work.

“My creative process is constantly changing.  I'm always looking for ways to go faster.  I want to write faster.  I want to draw faster.  Making comics is such a time-intensive process, and I have so many projects I want to do.  I've switched from pen and ink to Japanese brush pen, which has saved me quite a bit of time.  I've also tried to digitize a lot of my process.  The lettering and the corrections are all done on computer.  Eventually I may go all-digital, but right now I just like drawing on paper too much.”

He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan’s Kingdom and The Rosary Comic BookAmerican Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award. 

“Of all the visual storytelling media, graphic novels offer the most creative control.  Animation and film require teams of people, whereas comics can be handled by one or two individuals.  One or two cartoonists can manage every aspect of a comic book.  This makes comics a very intimate medium, capable of telling very intimate stories.”

Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he teaches high school.  He got his Master’s in Education at Cal State Hayward, where he wrote his thesis on – what else? – using comics in education.   

“My students are used to reading documents made up of words and images, sound files and movies. They aren't disturbed when these elements bleed into each other - when words use visual devices to enhance what they're communicating, when images are made up of textual elements. Comics are a bridge between media we watch and media we read.  They're an important, but historically neglected, part of the cultural conversation.  What's NOT awesome about a bunch of little doodles being able to put a flesh-and-blood story in your head?”

Reviews:

Eight-year-old Thaddeus Fong is insanely jealous of his baby sister and exploits his intelligence as a weapon against his social insecurities. Politics ranging from those of the family to those of state are explored and sent up as Yang unfolds a rich and spirited story that lays bare psychological and social truths, a parable in which ever-forgiving space aliens play a major role in advancing not just the plot but also character development. Using the flat, cartoon style of his award-winning American Born Chinese (2006), Yang pulls us in from the first page and packs in several surprises as well as clever asides within its 55, multi-paneled, single-strip pages, allowing plenty of white space to force readers to note the finest details of the action in counterpoint to Thaddeus’ attempts to interpret every interaction as a personal slight. The color palette employed is soft, subtly contradicting Thaddeus’ emphatic evil-versus-good outlook with its relative gentleness. Sf readers who value humor and humanity (not just slam-bang action), Christians, newcomers to graphic novels, and fans of Yang’s simultaneously childlike and sophisticated ability to create and maintain tension should all be satisfied by his new book. -- Booklist

Anyone who’s experienced sibling rivalry--or anyone with a keen sense of humor--can enjoy this wittily pleasing graphic novel from the author of the National Book Awards finalist American Born Chinese. This slim volume centers around precocious youngster Thaddeus K. Fong, who gets it into his mind that his attention-stealing baby sister, Maddie, is actually an alien, and is bewildered when adults and his schoolmates don’t jump aboard his theory, even after he makes what he thinks is a conclusive video and puts it on YouTube. As Thaddeus tries to get people to take his theories seriously, he ends up making an even more incredible discovery about Maddie. His and the other characters’ antics are always amusing, but the ending and overall emotional tone is kindhearted, and it should come as no surprise that Thaddeus finds that Maddie is not so bad after all. The art has clear but not overly detailed characters and all the panels set up in neat, colored boxes. -- Publisher's Weekly

Sample Pages:

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each image links to a Hi-Res print size sample page (a jpeg compressed in zip format) for download