By PW Comics World Edi­tors |Dec 11, 2013

yang_boxers_saintsAdding yet anoth­er hon­or to its already crowd­ed awards cab­i­net, Gene Luen Yang’s Box­ers and Saints topped the eighth annu­al PW Comics World Crit­ics poll with five votes. The two-vol­ume graph­ic nov­el was nom­i­nat­ed for this year’s Nation­al Book Award for Young Peo­ple’s Lit­er­a­ture (Yang’s sec­ond NBA nom­i­na­tion), gar­ner­ing acclaim from every cor­ner, so top­ping the poll comes as no surprise.

Box­ers and Saints was also named one of the PW’s Best Books of 2013.

Yang’s his­tor­i­cal tale won for its even-hand­ed por­tray­al of China’s Box­er Rebel­lion as seen through the eyes of two young peo­ple drawn in on oppo­site sides of the war. In Box­ers, Lit­tle Bao becomes caught up in the war against for­eign dev­ils and expe­ri­ences bloody bat­tles in the name of lib­er­at­ing his home­land. His oppo­site, Four-Girl of Saints, is a Chris­t­ian con­vert who strives to pro­tect her peo­ple against mur­der­ous, inhu­man rebels. Through both stories—which inter­min­gle in var­i­ous trag­ic, iron­ic twists know­able only to readers—Yang cap­tures the con­fused ide­al­ism that war often foists upon the most vul­ner­a­ble young com­bat­ants. Like his pre­vi­ous mod­ern clas­sic, Amer­i­can Born Chi­nese—also nom­i­nat­ed for an NBA—Yang uses clean­ly effi­cient art and mul­ti-lev­eled sto­ry­telling that employs fan­ta­sy sequences to reveal his character’s views on the world.

Watch a video inter­view of Yang talk­ing about Box­ers and Saints and the inspi­ra­tion behind them.

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