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First Second Books has announced Secret Coders, a graphic novel by Eisner winner and National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang and Bravest Warriors cartoonist Mike Holmes. The publisher indicated on Twitter that it’s the first book in a series.
Aimed at middle-schoolers, Secret Coders centers on Hopper and Eni, who discover their rather mundane prep school was built atop another mysterious institution, one dedicated dedicated to secret and wonderful knowledge — computer code.
“There’s something magic about coding, especially old-school coding,” Yang, who for the past 17 years has taught computer programming to high-school students, tells Wired. “When you type these words into this machine, something kind of magic, something kind of crazy happens.”
His hope is for readers to learn code alongside Hopper and Eni. “There’s a pure, visceral sense of joy [in coding] that I want to communicate with my students and my readers,” Yang says. “When I learned how to code in fifth grade there was something very empowering about it. What I tell my students is that deep down inside of every coder is this desire for control. You get to tell this really powerful machine what to do.”
First Second, which published Yang’s American Born Chinese, The Eternal Smile, Level Up, Boxers and Saints and The Shadow Hero, will release Secret Coders on Sept. 28.
One of the biggest indie comics events of the year, Small Press Expo (aka SPX), will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in North Bethesda, Maryland.
It’s a must-attend show for me, and this year will be no different. Well, it will be a little different, as my 11-year-old daughter will be coming along for what will be her first-ever comics convention. She will have copies of her own comic, Indefinable, for sale, so if you see us wandering the aisles, say hello.
Traversing the aisles of SPX with a pre-teen might prove to be a bit of a challenge, but I’m going to try to cram as much age-appropriate comics fun in the weekend as possible. Here’s some things I’m looking forward to/hoping to buy.
Five comics I’m planning on buying:
1. Wild Man: Island of Memory by T. Edward Bak. I’m a big fan of Bak’s Service Industry and really enjoyed the story he was serializing in Mome, about explorer and scientist Georg Steller. Wild Man: Island of Memory collects and reworks that material, the first part of what will be a projected four-volume series. Based on what I’ve read so far, I feel expect that this will be one of the more talked-about books at SPX this year.
2. Frontier #2 by Hellen Jo. Jo has been relatively quiet comics-wise since she released Jim and Jan a few years back. Now, via Ryan Sands’ relatively new publishing venture, Youth in Decline, she’s got what’s sure to be a swell mini collecting various paintings, pencils and other artwork.
3. Monster. It just wouldn’t be SPX if Hidden Fortress Press didn’t have a new volume of this usually reliable anthology. This year looks to be especially good, with 200 pages of comics by such noteworthy names as Marc Bell, Mat Brinkman, Jordan Crane, Michael DeForge, Edie Fake and Leif Goldberg. That’s a pretty killer list of talent – when was the last time we saw a new Brinkman comic, anyway?
4. Gold Pollen and Other Stories by Seiichi Hayashi. It’s nice to see more and more classic manga from people that aren’t Osamu Tezuka coming to Western shores. This is a collection of short stories from the author of Red Colored Elegy, a book I was a bit flummoxed by initially but that has slowly won me over more in ensuing years. The Picturebox site still labels it as “coming soon,” but it’s listed as a debut book on the SPX site. Basically, if it’s there, I’m buying a copy.
5. Love Stories by Mat Tait. New Zealand will be duly represented at the show by Tait, who will have this collection of stories available for sale. I’ve heard good things about Tait’s work and am excited to delve into it.
Gene Luen Yang, who just picked up an Eisner for his short story “Urgent Request” in The Eternal Smile, discusses his evolution from geek to comics geek to comics creator to successful comics creator in this video of a talk sponsored by the Hennepin County Library and the Loft Literary Center. I saw Yang give the same talk at the American Library Association meeting last month, and I can highly recommend it—he’s personable and entertaining, and he has a lot to say. The video is almost an hour long, but the time will fly by.
(Found via the Forbidden Planet blog.)