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Boxers by Gene Luen Yang


by Gene Luen Yang

Other authors: Lark Pien (Colorist)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Boxers & Saints

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
I would love this if it were just a graphic novel about the boxer revolt.

I additionally love it because it does a great job of showing that there aren't "good guys" or "bad guys" in war without being overly didactic about it.

Gene Yang hits it out of the park with this one. He creates empathy and then shows what war demands of us. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
Little Bao decides to join forces with the Boxers and takes on a mythological persona to fight the foreign missionaries and soldiers who oppress Chinese peasants. This is a short but remarkably thorough account of the Boxer Rebellion. The art is very simplistic, but the topic is quite serious and it's nice that the art is easy to read. I very much enjoyed how the author used mythology to explain the mentality of the fighters and that he didn't shy away from showing the horrific side of war (and how it changes people), no matter who is "right" and who is "wrong," if either indeed exists in a conflict of this sort. Looking forward to continuing with the companion book, Saints. ( )
  -Eva- | Sep 12, 2014 |
Great art and story telling ( )
  eenerd | Jul 30, 2014 |
BOXERS provides a much fuller picture of the events in China in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Little Bao and the others learn kung-fu from Red Lantern, and Bao, the youngest of his brothers, becomes the leader of the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fist, with a mission of freeing China from "foreign devils." When they fight, all of the Brother-Disciples take the form of Chinese gods depicted in opera; Bao's form is not a god, but the first Emperor of China.

Bao believes in his mission wholeheartedly - in a way that Vibiana, in SAINTS, never quite believes in the precepts of Christianity - but encounters moments of doubt when he is not sure who to trust or who is right. One of the Edicts is to have compassion for the weak, but the first emperor of China tells Bao that to show mercy is a mistake.

The two books together, BOXERS and SAINTS, show how easily a conflict escalates when neither side tries to understand, communicate, or compromise with the other. Every action becomes a reaction, revenge for hurt inflicted.


"Good people, you're all free now. The foreign devils are all dead. Go home in peace. [...] What's wrong with you all?! Go home!"
"Bao...they're Christians. The foreign devils weren't kidnapping them, they were helping them escape. From us." [Moment of realization.] (188)

[No text, three panels; third panel depicts Christians kneeling, Brother-Disciple and Imperial soldier about to execute them] (294)

"You have to understand, Mei-wen-- I did it for China."
"For China?! What is China but a people and their stories?" (312) ( )
  JennyArch | Jun 29, 2014 |
Boxers and Saints, Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel set about the Boxer Rebellion in China told from the perspective of a young man who becomes a rebel leader and a young woman who converts to Christianity and stands against the rebellion. I loved Boxers, but was less enamored with Saints. Boxers felt like a full story, showing the history of foreign colonial contact with the Chinese and fleshing out motivations for its characters. I loved the artwork, especially the Chinese gods that the rebels envisioned themselves transforming into; I also loved the author's decision to depict all foreign speech in meaningless scribble while the Chinese dialogue was written in English. This heightened the reader's identification with the Chinese rebel perspective because like the Chinese villagers, the reader literally has no idea what the foreign missionaries and soldiers are saying and must judge them solely based on their actions.

Saints, which is about 1/3 the size of Boxers, definitely felt like a sidenote. It focuses on a girl who is unwanted, called a devil, vows to be the most devilish devil she can be, and decides that aligning herself with the so-called "foreign devils" by converting to Christianity is the most evil thing she can do. Unlike the main character in Boxers, who rises to the status of prominent rebel leader fairly quickly, she struggles throughout her book to find a purpose and seems like a bystander in her own story. This might have been intentional, as Yang in both books draws attention to the male warrior's fear of contamination by women - whose "Yin" will weaken their fighting spirit - and their attitudes that women can't really contribute in a meaningful way to society. But the female character's general listlessness, combined with the shorter narrative, made this perspective feel like more of an afterthought to the "real" story presented in Boxers. I am posting the combined review on the bookpages for both volumes, because they are intended to be read as a set. ( )
  fannyprice | Jun 15, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gene Luen Yangprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pien, LarkColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Steen, RobDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Venable, Colleen AFCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Spring is my favorite time of year.
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In 1898 China, Little Bao has had enough of foreign missionaries and soldiers robbing peasants, and he recruits an army of Boxers to fight to free China from its oppressors.

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