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2013 National Book Award Nominee

2014 LA Times Book Prize Winner

Boxers & Saints

colored by Lark Pien
published by First Second Books
recommended for High School and Up

The Boxer Rebellion was fought Chinese soil over 100 years ago.  Back then, the Chinese government was incredibly weak. Western powers were able to establish concessions – pieces of land that functioned as colonies – all across China. The poor, hungry, illiterate teenagers living in the Chinese countryside felt embarrassed by their nation’s weakness, so they came up with this ritual that they believed would give them mystical powers. Armed with these powers, they marched across their homeland into the major cities, killing European missionaries, merchants, soldiers, and Chinese Christians. Because their martial arts reminded the Europeans of boxing, they became known as the Boxers.

Boxers & Saints is a two-volume project.  In the first volume, the Boxers are the protagonists. In second, their Chinese Christian enemies are.

I wanted each volume to be distinct from the other.  Boxers is much longer, almost twice as long as Saints.  It’s my attempt at a comics version of a Chinese war epic, full of glory and color and bloody battle sequences.

Saints is shorter, more intimate, more humble. The scope of the story is more limited, as is the color palette. I pulled from the aesthetics of American autobiographical comics, and I hope it reads like a personal journal.

Related Materials:
Boxers & Saints Teachers' Guide
Good OK Bad Boxers & Saints Study Guide
Meet the Author Book Reading at TeachingBooks.net
The Boxers and the Power of Pop Culture
Chinese Opera and American Comics Books
Interview and Preview at Wired.com
Historical Figures of Qing China