Boxers by Gene Luen Yang: A Review

Image courtesy of MTV-Geek News


Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers is a fantastic read.

This volume (which is paired with Saints) follows Little Bao, a dreamer of a boy who is eventually drawn into rebellion against foreign forces, who seek to bring Christianity to China (among other things). The events that follow are a retelling of the Boxer Rebellion, a significant historical event.

With subject matter like this, it can be pretty easy to be historical and dry, or have artwork that’s dark, sinister, or brutal. Yang’s work is none of that.

The art is vibrant and the colors are well-chosen: in the story, the commoners who join the Big Sword Society are possessed by the spirits of China. The spirits are colorful and vibrant while the peasants are in dull, muted colors. The character designs are delightfully simple but unique to each and every character. While the landscape of the story is simple, that’s fine – the focus is on the characters, as it should be. In stories about war, it’s important to know the people that fought in them, even if they’re not big names.

The pacing throughout is brilliant. There can be several pages to a slow and thoughtful scene, but when the action happens, everything is bold and fast. The design of the panels is simple enough that you can read the story easily and not get lost (which is important to note, because there are an awful lot of comic artists that try layouts to be artistic – Marvel’s SIEGE, I’m looking at you – and instead it becomes an artistic mess. Boxers is not that work).

Ok, so obviously the artwork is great, but what about the writing?

It. Shines.

The art is simple and classy to let the writing shine through.

This story is still posing deep and thoughtful questions in me three days after I’ve finished it. Questions like, What is worth fighting for? What would you sacrifice for the future? Love? Others’ lives? The concept of yourself as an individual? What is fundamentalism and how does it transform people?

If you haven’t read this yet, you should. Go get it on or at your local library (that’s where I got mine. I have no shame).

P.S. I have yet to read Saints, the companion book to Boxers. That review will be coming up soon!

Jamie Roberts, Vlogs, and Graphic Novels

Welcome to another week!

Last week there was Validation, Johnson & Sir, and The Women Warriors Project galore.

For the past two days I’ve been writing the script for The Legend of Jamie Roberts like a madwoman. The odds are high that I can finally have the whole script finished before the end of this month! And then I can start making the art, and it will be glorious.

I’ve also been mulling over the vlog. It’ll start back up again this week since I have some videos recorded already. It’ll be back to updating every Friday.

Sometimes this week, expect a review of Boxers by Gene Luen Yang. I finished reading this marvelous graphic novel yesterday and I’m polishing my thoughts about the work.

Speaking of reviews, I am open to reviewing graphic novels, comics, webcomics, or even novels! If you would like me to review your work or any particular piece of work, shoot me an email at

Expect more updates later this week!

Status Report!

Unexpected post is unexpected.

So what’s been going on lately? Well Validation and Johnson & Sir are still chugging along.

Last week was the launch of a NEW project, The Women Warriors Project! I wrote all about it in a previous blog post, which you can read here.

I’ve been posting some Johnson & Sir sketches over on my Tumblr. Here’s a few for you:

johnson_and_sir_spanish_sketch_by_kelcid-d79o6jp tumblr_n2e66kFhrW1s278nuo1_500

That last one is actually an in-joke on a Validation strip I did before, because half of the audience on Validation’s Facebook page saw this strip and went “I want Rubber Duck The Reckoning to be a thing!”

I want it to be a thing, too! We’re figuring it out ;D

I’m still writing The Legend of Jamie Roberts. With any luck the script will be done by March 30th.

I haven’t been working on Charlie and Clow as much as I should be. I need to fix that. And I hope to get the first 6 or so pages online once they’re done. I’ll let you know when that happens!

And I just might be making a new short story for an anthology soon…

Illustrations and Commission Announcements

Today I knuckled down and started a four-page anthology submission. I even shared it on Facebook and Twitter, but I’ll share it here, too. Sorry for the crap quality, but I took the picture with my phone:


It’s called The Story of Queen Padmini and it’s based on true events, detailed in my favorite book at the moment, Women Warriors: A History.

2014-01-30 21.21.36

Speaking of Women Warriors, I’m planning on making a new series of illustrations. Keep your eye on my Tumblr for updates, because that’s where the series will make their first appearance!

On the vlogging front, you might have noticed there was no update this week. Sorry!

My mind has been on getting new gigs lately, to add to what I have going at the moment. I’ll be opening up for commissions within the next few days, so keep checking in.

And speaking of gigs and commissions, I drew caricatures for three years. I think I might get back into that for a bit…


As much as I love making comics, I also really miss interacting with customers when drawing caricatures. That was always the fun part of any day.

Anyway, I’ll be updating this blog a lot more often now. I’m aiming to update every day, so keep checking back for news and sketches (and other awesome things!).

Update on Charlie & Clow


See that comic page up top? That’s the first (yet unfinished) page of Charlie & Clow.

So in a previous blog post here, I said that  I would be having a Kickstarter campaign for this comic. Well, it’s not happening, at least not for a few months.

Why did I cancel it?

Well the biggest reason is that I don’t have all the comic pages finished. It’s hard to fund a book when it isn’t even finished yet.

do want to keep this comic black and white because I feel it fits the tone of the story (not to mention black and white pages are just faster and more fun to make).

“What’s the story about?” you might ask (as you should).

Charlie & Clow is about a young lady named Charlie who runs into some supernatural trouble and reluctantly teams up with a man named Clow to fight it.

Anything more than that and it would be spoilers.

However, expect some monster designs soon!

Speaking of monsters and non-human people, I added some new work to the “Commissioned Work” page that you should look at. It was the most fun and challenging character design assignment I’ve gotten thus far.

Ok, I gotta’ get back to work. I’ll see you next time.

P.S. I’m trying a new idea where I update this blog everyday. Is it ambitious? Yes.