The Wang

“You, sir, have created something absolutely South Parkian in its f*cked-up-ness” ~Charles Ellis, The Axalon

The Big One

“The Wang: The BIG One” follows the misadventures of Eugene Wang, graduating college student (he hopes!), and the spectacle of his dysfunctional relationships with his mom, girlfriend, and the very few other people in his lonely life.  The Wang can be seen as a story about the spiritual, erotic, and neurotic awakening of Eugene and those around him. 2004. 2015, second edition.

96 page b&w digest, color square-bound cover. $9.95 US

Who's Your Daddy?

The long-anticipated sequel to the underground hit, The Wang: The BIG One.  As successful as The Big One was a combining what Scott Chon (Arbiter of Good Taste, Sequart.com) calls, “An Asian-American sex comedy” with “a laugh-out-loud tragedy,” Yan feels Who’s Your Daddy”one-ups its predecessor by weaving into the mix, “the best murder mystery I’ve ever written.” 2006

96 page b&w digest, color square-bound cover. $9.95 US

Erection Year

“What if Charlie Brown grew up?” is how Wade Busby of The Guide described Eugene Wang, the protagonist of Yan’s graphic novel series, The Wang. “And what if Charlie Brown was Asian?” is the rhetorical question Yan dares to ask in this latest bound edition. The result is this attractive, square-bound collection — a pu pu platter of inside jokes that give readers a flavor of what it is like to grow up as an Chinese-American in a white bread town like Denver, Colorado. In addition to the introduction of Dildo, Kristin’s popular new pet wiener dog, story lines revolving around insider trading in the stock brokerage industry, … and the US Presidential erection (ahem) election run of Eugene’s college roomie and self-made motivational speaker, George, will leave readers full of laughter, and hungry for more an hour later.

Reviews:

 

“Every strip has a laugh, even when it is really meant to set up for a larger joke.”

 

Yesterday, I started off Web Comics Week with a look at Calamities of Nature. That strip came to my attention due to having advertised in the past. So, why abandon that method of picking strips to take a look at already?THE WANG is quite a funny comic. It has a diverse cast, as well as subject matter. Unlike the turn that Calamities took with changing to the old standard layout, WANG has at least kept to giving you something more akin to the double-sized Sunday newspaper version. And why not, since it is delivered weekly rather than 2-3 times a week?But where it really breaks from standards is in the subjects and language used. Our protagonist, Eugene Wang, constantly has the short term romantic hook up between his mother and his ex-girlfriend thrown in his face. They have his friend, George L. Gedaladapus, tricks a dimwitted friend of Eugene’s into bed and into handing him a check for a bogus pyramid scheme (that might be a redundant phrase, come to think of it). The language used tends to be a little blue from time to time and has no qualms about employing sexual humor.In addition to going politically incorrect or with shock humor, they tackle the more “middle of the road stuff” (like what a dog on a walk is thinking) and politics (like addressing some of the voter suppression tactics used).Unfortunately, since the online version only goes back to February 2008, I can’t really compare and contrast how the strip started versus how it is today. It existed in some form before that date and, I’m gathering, previous strips were pulled down once they were printed in a collection. From the start of this iteration, though, Stan Yan (the creator) was in full stride.Every strip has a laugh, even when it is really meant to set up for a larger joke. Maybe Yan is more keen on this due to his weekly schedule. Readers are probably even more concerned with having a payoff in each strip when they only get it on Mondays. But whatever the reason, it consistently works.The cast is extremely well-balanced. While Eugene’s ex-girlfriend might not be able to carry the strip with cutesy observations about a dog being walked, there is rarely a case of feeling the strip is lacking by the absence of a particular character. Quite the opposite, it works when it’s Eugene & George, George & Sueann, Eugene Jr & Eugene Sr or any other combo that graced Yan’s WebComicNation page. That page apparently does contain some old work with the character, but not the beginning of the version you’ll see under THE WANG.I’d head on over and catch up on the last year of strips. I don’t think you’ll regret the time spent.Kevin Huxford, Schwapp, October 28, 2008

“Satirical cartoon of present-day US. B&W, good art. If you read MAD-magazine back at the day or like Crumb-style art, this is for you.”

~Garfunkel, Iron Tower Studio, 10/27/2008

 

“If you’re tired of the same ol’ comic book furfural you should definitely check out the Wang.”

 

The Wang is from Squid Works (www.squidworks.com) and is $9.95 for 88 b/w story pages.  The Wang is a series of strange graphic novels featuring the same characters by creator Stan Yan.  Eugene Wang, the main character, has an overbearing mother, a dysfunctional romance and frineds that always seem to do better in life than him.  Eugene struggles, but ultimately life beats him down; a loser who, when revealed, is even a bigger loser.  Yan’s creation is unique, weird, funny and at times disturbing.  If you’re tired of the same ol’ comic book furfural you should definitely check out the Wang.  The GFP is 4 for your d20 Modern campaign. ~ Tony DiGerolamo, Knights of the Dinner Table #143, September 2008

 

“Yan’s not an innovator, but he’s a worthy artist to carry on a tradition of the grotesque in comics.”

 

THE WANG: THE BIG ONE, by Stan Yan. I reviewed the second volume of this series a couple of years back. THE BIG ONE was the first volume of the saga of the Goodman Beaver/Candide-esque Eugene Wang, and while the situations were slightly different, the humiliations were similar. THE BIG ONE lays out the territory that he would carve out more successfully later, especially in terms of his comic timing. Still, the series of gags relating to his mother and (soon to be ex-) girlfriend were cringe-inducing and direct hits.

 

Yan’s work can best be described as “grotesque”, in every sense of the word. His figures are exaggerated and elongated, composed of all sorts of jutting and deliberately ill-fitting angles. Hair sticks out at odd angles, giving his characters a vaguely crazed, asymmetrical appearance. His stories are also grotesque in terms of their settings, and one can tell Yan takes a special pleasure in brutally satirizing cold-call stockbroker culture. He saves extra venom for “Milestone”, a letter-perfect satire of the sort of cultish “personal growth and transformation” groups that were especially common in the 90s. Having Wang as a sort of hapless, passive protagonist allows Yan to satirize these institutions without having to preach against them. Wang is bewildered by everything in his life and about the only thing he knows how to do well is run away.

 

Yan’s art is at his best when he shows confidence in his character design and doesn’t over-render, as when he introduces us to a panel of lunatics in the Milestone group. In earlier portions of the book, he sometimes uses too much black or makes his line too heavy, which chokes the life out of his gags and reduces the clarity of each page. One can see this becoming less of a problem for him in his later work, because clearer composition allows the reader to apprehend the gag quicker. Any time spent trying to interpret a panel or page kills the timing of jokes, and that’s lethal for what Yan is trying to do. Yan’s not an innovator, but he’s a worthy artist to carry on a tradition of the grotesque in comics.

 

~Rob Clough, High-Low, Sequart.com, 9/2008

 

“FIVE STARS” [out of 5]

 

The Wang #1 (The Big One) and #2 (Who’s Your Daddy!) by Stan Yan. Woooo, nice work here for sure! Both issues are comic book size, about 90 pages each, $9.95, with color covers and square bound. Black and white interior art that is super fantastic all around!

 

From the inside cover of #1:

 

The Wang is supposed to be a graphic story about my son, Eugene Wang’s “Coming-of-age” –his graduation from college and subsequent entry into the world of business. But what you hold in your hand is a pack of lies perpetrated by Mr. Stan Yan! I raised my son to be a strong, upstanding young man–not the sack of tripe Mr. Yan illustrates. Granted, he does a good job of portraying those hussies that prey on my son, but I don’t have words for how appalled I am by the godless acts perpetrated in this book…and how old-looking he draws me. Shame on you, Mr. Yan–mark my word, you will burn in Hell for this!–Sincerely, Selma Wang, Mom.

 

So how can you not buy these books? Really great art and story in both issues! (*****5 out of 5 stars for each)

 

~ Allen Freeman, Small Press Newsroom, 10/25/2006

 

“…don’t let the giant dildo on the cover keep you from giving it a try … you might be surprised at what you like. “

 

Grade: 8

 

Hilarious read! I really only have 4 words to say on that — Star Wars with Dildos. Ok, now I know I’ve got your attention (that, or you’ve left the review). The Wang is about the typical college male, Eugene Wang: his craptastic life, dominating girlfriend and mother (and their sexual relationship), and basically his attempts to get a job, get laid, and live his life.

 

The Wang won’t be for everyone. Some people just wont appreciate this kind of humor, brilliant as it is. There are a lot of comics out there (all around the world) that try to do what Stan Yan has done here — follow your average Joe through the turmoil of his day to day life and still be able to poke fun at it (with a giant dildo no less). Honestly, it took me a little bit to really get into it. The first few pages almost made me put it down as Yan wastes no time at throwing you into the deep in (of course, I don’t think there really is a shallow end…), but man am I glad I kept reading. A few more pages and I was splitting my sides laughing. I couldn’t put it down, and when I finished with this book I immediately grabbed the next book.

 

It’s both scary and amusing to know there are really people like those in The Wang, and Yan of course uses both aspects to his advantage when creating scenarios for Eugene to suffer through. His art has a cartoon-esque look that’s in keeping with the story — it doesn’t take itself too seriously — but is at the same time a mature enough quality to work. I am so glad I was introduced to this title, and I can definitely think of a few friends who would love this kind of story and humor. It really boils down to a matter of taste. When it comes to The BIG One, just don’t let the giant dildo on the cover keep you from giving it a try … you might be surprised at what you like.

 

~ Sheena McNeil, Sequential Tart, 10/01/2006

 

“De hecho deben ser las veinte páginas de cómics con las que más me he reído en los últimos meses.”

 

Dentro de la marea mareadora y a veces vomitiva de la autopublicación de cómics aparecen propuestas que sacan la cara por toda la vecindad. En el caso de Stan Yan, su serie The Wang sobresale por cuenta de la mezcla perfecta de solidez conceptual, excelente actitud y dos millones de estrategias para torturar a un personaje principal. Así, la vida y obra del tímido veinteañero Eugene Wang nos ofrece un conjunto de elementos ideales para armar un cómic más parecido a una sit-com pasadísima que a un título humorístico tradicional. Por eso, en vez de convertir al joven en una otra parodia de superhéroes, Yan lo mete en un triángulo amoroso de pesadilla conformado por Eugene, su novia y su madre. Su madre de él. Si a esto le sumamos que el tipo acaba de terminar la universidad y está buscando trabajo o en otras palabras plata, tenemos suficientes enredos, incomodidades, transpiración y estafadores para hacer de The Wang una historieta que se merece una oportunidad.

 

Según Yan, yo le compré uno de los últimos ejemplares que le quedaban del primer tomo. Y aunque podría ser una estrategia para vender, me lo dijo con una tranquilidad que le daba mucha verosimilitud (Obviamente en Amazon se deben conseguir los dos refácil). El hecho es que si tuviera que recomendar uno de los dos volúmenes, el segundo definitivamente es el más atractivo. Usualmente, y lo digo por experiencia propia, cuando uno está planteado el mundo y los personajes de una serie cómica se toma mucho tiempo asegurándose que todo está bien plantado como para que el lector entienda el tipo de humor que uno está trabajando. Así, cuando la tarea de difundir las bases de la serie está terminada empieza la verdadera fiesta, el segundo tomo, en el que todo puede pasar y los giros son cada vez más exagerados y divertidos. La secuencia de un Eugene moribundo arrastrándose hasta la casa de su (ex)novia para que los padres de ella no encuentren The Loser, su vibrador, es absolutamente clásica. De hecho deben ser las veinte páginas de cómics con las que más me he reído en los últimos meses.

 

Aunque uno de sus referentes directos es Peter Bagge con Hate y Apocalypse Nerd, The Wang me recordó más a 4 Segundos de los argentinos Alejandro García Valderrama(g) y Feliciano García Zecchin(d) porque me remite al estilo de la comedia televisiva. Ya no se trata del círculo vicioso de la historieta noventera en el que el protagonista es un clon del autor y el mundo del papel es una caricatura del propio. Ahora se trata de una comedia distante de la experiencia creadora que ojalá empiece a recibir el reconocimiento que merece.

 

~ Drake Comics, 6/24/06

 

“Yan proves hilarious in his unflinching ability to be outrageous and go places most others would fear to tread”

 

SPOILER ALERT:  The Wang, Vols. 1&2: The Big One & Who’s Your Daddy? Stan Yan Squid Works Comics Paperback 96 pages

 

Okay, I know what you’re thinking; a giant vibrator with the words “Big Loser” along its side is not what you expect to see on the cover of a graphic novel. Stunning? Yes. Provocative? You bet. Another sign of the decline of human civilization? Wait until you turn to page fourteen. With bold lettering in the upper left corner of Volume One, Stan Yan prepares his readers with the phrase “Mature Use Only,” and perhaps more aptly on his second volume, “For Immature Adult Readers.” This definitely isn’t a series for the young – or weak – at heart.

 

Wang, just barely graduating college, must face the “real world.” But his real world resembles one of the raunchier Jerry Springer shows that were too spicy to run on regular cable. After his last college exam, he stumbles upon his mother and girlfriend in bed. Feel free to insert your own Freudian joke. Meanwhile, his employment at Robin Deblynde Investments, where the greatest sin is telling the truth, seems sketchier by the moment. Worst of all, he can’t even buy an Eskimo Pie without being accosted by someone who wants to rope him into a soap-selling pyramid scheme. When Wang finally does meet a new girl, she tries to rope him into a cult-like seminar group – and that’s just the first volume.

 

The second volume finds Wang elated over the breakup of his mom and his ex-girlfriend, and seeking advice from his college friend, George, whose great wisdom has been obtained via osmosis from the girls he bedded in college. When not having nightmares about his obligations to protect his ex-girlfriend’s sex toys from her parents in case anything should ever happen to her, Wang seeks out his father, to whom his mother has not spoken since before Wang’s birth. He is also trying to sell horrendous stock to kind old ladies but, alas, he can’t even do that.

 

Yan proves hilarious in his unflinching ability to be outrageous and go places most others would fear to tread.  As outrageous as his adventures may seem, we have all heard anecdotes or even experienced aspects of Wang’s tale that make him easy to relate to. The other extremity of Yan’s humor comes in the form of Wang’s imagination. His idle fantasies and nightmares are the true hypothetical questions we all experience when under duress. Yan masterfully depicts the human psyche (and the sometimes asinine way we obsess over things). Yan’s full use of humor also proves delightful as he crams humor into names (such as Dot Kamm and Ernest Mann), requiring thorough examination of many panels to pick up on all the hidden jokes.

 

With the loose outline of a plot, one can follow Wang as he stumbles into the real world while laughing uproariously at the crazy predicaments he lands himself in. Reader be warned, The Wang will make you laugh if you let your guard down.

 

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Lance Eaton, 02/2006

 

“I thought it was hilarious…”

 

Grade: 7 (out of 10)

 

I accidentally discovered that the world is divided into two types of comic readers: people who like Stan Yan’s The Wang and people who don’t get it. I had brought the leaner 24-pg. preview copy The Wang: Premature “0” to share with a bookstore co-worker (a copy which I haven’t gotten back yet!). But before that I showed the comic to a customer who loves Hayao Miyazaki. When she saw Yan’s cover, she suddenly got frosty (Diamond Comic Distributors said it was “too PG-13” for Previews). Caught off-guard by her reaction, I stuttered that Yan did college student humor and left.

 

So there’s this phallic-looking instrument on the cover. Big deal. I thought it was hilarious, so did my co-worker who also copied a panel from the comic and taped it to the outside of his employee locker (the horrified expression on Chief’s face when the sex store clerk drops her newly purchased, test activated vibrator). But the 96-pg. The Wang: The BIG One isn’t really about sex, but about your average Joe trying to get through day after day in his trying life. [Click to view rest of article, caution, spoilers]  ~Kat Avila, October 2005, Sequential Tart

 

“…really superbly odd…”

 

“Another graphic novel that I picked up because the cover had a dildo on it. It was really superbly odd and made for an excellent way to spend an hour.” ~Cerra, 7/15/05, 43 Things.com

 

“What if Charlie Brown grew up?  Smart Stuff.”

 

The first four [ashcan] issues are gathered together to make for one complete “wild ride,” so to speak… ahem…  Anyway, the art’s amazing and consistent in it’s own emotive, angular, stylistic and friendly way.  The writing is sharp.  It sneaks up and, well, grabs you in an unexpected manner and makes you go, “eew”, on occasion.  Chapter one is loser, Eugene Wang, in college, two his his job search, three is mom and “ex” issues and the pyramid scheme… er, job he’s in, and four is a cult… er, empowerment group he encounters.  What if Charlie Brown grew up?  Smart stuff.” ~ Wade Busby, The Guide to Self Published Periodicals, 2/2005

 

“A very nice package…”

 

The Wang: A very nice package, leaves you wanting more.  There’s really a lot to love about this and if the world play I’m using here makes you smile knowingly, then this is the comic for you.” 4.25 stars (of 5) ~Ian Shires, The Guide to Self Published Periodicals, 2/2005

 

Truly, Deeply, Profoundly Disturbing

 

Ever hear a story so pointless that you’re left wondering for a long time why anyone would have told it, only to realize later that reaction was exactly the teller’s intent? The Wang is heinous in the extreme, not because of its content, but because of the offhand manner in which it is presented. The most brutally filthy comic in recent memory, Kieron Dwyer’s Lowest Comic Denominator, out-stanks the Wang by a mile. However, Dwyer went into the endeavor with the sole intention of creating something disgusting and he did so with style. The Wang carries itself like a quirky little indie comic that doesn’t wanna hurt anyone, but random appearances of pseudo-incestual lesbianism and lightsaber battles with sexual devices keep popping out like a nervous tic. If this effect was intentional, it’s comedy gold. If it wasn’t it’s a damned nightmare. Either way, for the right reader, it’s a bizarre ride.

 

Stan Yan’s meandering story focuses on Eugene, the titular Wang, who refuses his girlfriend’s advances while studying for a test, so she seeks relief and solace in the arms of his haggard, grating harpy of a mother. This compounds Eugene’s loser-hood infinitely as he stumbles into a crappy job following a crappy graduation. The second half of the story deals with a ray of possible hope in Eugene’s life, a pretty girl named Sue Ann Potts, who turns out to be a member of a quasi-religious psycho cult a la the Church of Scientology or the Landmark Education Forum. Having been forced by a cultist friend to sit through one of these crapfests, I could completely relate to Eugene’s hunger pangs as the brainwashers droned on.

 

Yan’s artwork is stark and angular, and visually jarring, His transitions can leave you confused in some areas, but overall it’s not a terrible-looking read. The writing is just as spartan as the look and in some cases the dialogue comes off as a little stilted. However, Yan’s gift for names is unmatched, including but not limited to: Dea Flemings, Robin Deblynde Investments, and Fall Scod; fun stuff. The Wang is a fun read, not world-shaking but entertaining and certainly unpredictable nonetheless. It’s certainly worth a look if you’re into this sort of thing.

 

~Sean Jaffe, PopMatters.com, 1/27/04 (Go to article)

 

Nominee for the “I like the cut of your jib award” for impressive debuts: 2004 JKC Awards! 

 

“…the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time!”

 

~Almost Normal Comics, 10/2004 (Go to article – warning: spoilers)

 

 

“I’d like to see Yan put his obvious talent to better use”

 

SPOILER ALERT: The Wang: The Big One by Stan Yan The cover of this graphic novel is a mock-up of the packaging of a vibrator, which ought to tell you something about the sophomoric level of humor that much of this book entails. It actually opens on a high note, as the protagonist, Eugene Wang, stressing out about his last final exam of college, has a dream wherein he realizes just days before the final that he has registered for a class that he forgot about attending all semester. (This is very similar to a dream I myself have had many times–both while in college and since–though thankfully my recurring dream doesn’t end in the same way that Eugene’s does!) After graduation (and after his girlfriend leaves him to shack up with his mother) Eugene finds work as a phone saleman for a shifty investment firm, moonlights at the bottom level of a multi-level marketing scheme, and gets sucked into a cult of personality by a pretty girl. Yan has a good sense of pacing and his cartoony art works well. If the humor ever aspired to rise out of the gutter this could have been better; I’d like to see Yan put his obvious talent to better use. Rating: 2.5 (of 5) ~Yet Another Comics Blog, 10/20/2004 (go to this article)

 

“… surprisingly sharp and fascinating…”

 

 

 

The protagonist, a new college graduate, must now deal with a whole new set of pressures, including the stress of finding and keeping a job and dealing with his unfaithful girlfriend. What starts out as a simple goofball romp quickly turns into a surprisingly sharp and fascinating satire on both the corporate workforce mentality and those self-help encounter groups. In the face of so many pre-programmed drones, Eugene, the main character, finds it harder and harder to retain not only his individuality but his sanity, and it’s really funny to see (especially the scene in the self-help seminar). The art is decent and reminiscent of Jim Mahfood. However, I didn’t like the lettering. Even though it’s a font, the letters aren’t aligned evenly, and it’s annoying to look at initially. Still, this is very much worth getting for its engaging mix of smart and silly humor. B+ ~Rich Watson, Comic World News, Chicks & Romance 10/13/2004 (Go to article)

 

 

 

“FOUR STARS” [out of four]

 

 

 

“If you’re looking for a highly unique, imaginative, screamingly funny graphic novel intended for mature audiences, get your hands on ‘The Wang’!”  ~Todd David Schwartz, CBS Radio 9/2004

 

 

 

“The Wang: The BIG One was really good. Unpredictable, funny and dead on target on some things.”

 

~ Tim Stroup, Cold Cut Comics Distribution 9/2004

 

 

 

“… it’s a Russ Meyer’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”…”

 

Slack And Slackability, part two: This is the comic that Previews didn’t want you to see the cover of! As you can see, what got their winkles in a wrangle was the image of a “virtual boyfriend” – which, to me, looks more like a blister-packed cold capsule than anything remotely sexy. Yet, they felt that the youth of America would turn into frothing pervs if exposed to the sight of such a thing. Whatever.

 

“The Wang” is struggling college student Eugene Wang, who as we meet him is trying to study for finals while enduring a joint attack by his guilt-tripping mom and his sexually rapacious girlfriend. Wang manages to study, but things go all Portnoy on him.

 

Stan can draw the big fun stuff, but man-O, is this book marinated in sex. There’s Oedipal tension, dildi, a dreamed threat of sodomy, characters with names like Peter Wacker and Dick Handler .. it’s a Russ Meyer’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”. There’s also some sharp satire of bottom-feeding office life, and a scary brush with a scam-cult; but the ending is unsatisfying, Eugene should overcome but things just tootle to a stop. And while I’m griping, that merry-go-round font used for the lettering makes my eyes sting. As extended dick jokes go, though, this one is pretty funny, and contains a couple of funny surprises. ~ Mark Campos, Poopsheet, 8/26/2004 (Go to article)

 

“Sick but fun…”

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT: A special shout-out to Stan Yan who puts out a range of cool comics, available from www.squidworks.com.  My personal fave was the On-Campus Crusader series, which morphed into the non-superhero-oriented The Wang.  Eugene is a guy barely holding his life together, compounded by the fact that his ex-girlfriend and his domineering mother are now lovers.  Sick but fun, and Stan’s art looks pretty amazing. ~BP #27, Aug/Sept 2004

 

 

 

“This book is a complete a breath of fresh air in a self-publishing market full of self-indulgence.”

 

SPOILER ALERT: Eugene Wang is an inveterate loser. He barely graduated college with a Philosophy degree. He works for a shady investment firm and is on his way to becoming Shelley “The Machine” Levine. His mother stole his girlfriend.

 

 

 

Yes. His mother stole his girlfriend.

 

 

 

The Wang, a continuation of Stan Yan’s On-Campus Crusader mini-comic, is a playfully crude, hilariously lewd story about a neurotic young man and his misadventures in the real world outside of college. The cover, which features a vibrator in a cleverly satirical packaging idea, was deemed unsuitable for publication in the Diamond Previews catalog and they chose to go with something less offensive like half naked women in spandex and whore-boots. Way to go, Diamond!

 

 

 

This book is a complete a breath of fresh air in a self-publishing market full of self-indulgence. An Asian American sex comedy, who’d have thunk it? It may not be a big deal to you, but to a very proud Asian male who celebrates Bruce Lee’s birthday, this is a huge. Asian men have been desexualized since the 1800’s, when the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Cable Law made it almost impossible for Chinese American men to find wives (Ah, Asian American History course that I audited and rarely attended, how I love thee!), and this book at least proves that we think about sex.

 

 

 

Eugene Wang is a revelation as a character — a nebbish, a coward, and highly likeable, he’s one of the few Asian comic characters who isn’t a ninja, Yakuza assassin, or a British woman trapped in the body of a Yakuza ninja assassin. He’s just an average Joe with girlfriend, mother, and job problems. In Eugene’s case, his three problems are inextricably linked, as one problem can’t be solved until the other two are. The resignation with which Eugene handles these should be disheartening, but Yan’s nimble comedic touch turns these situations into a laugh-out-loud tragedy.

 

 

 

These types of stories move you at a basic human level and when they’re executed as effectively as The Wang, they’re downright entertaining. Besides, who doesn’t like crass sex comedies? These types of stories move you at a basic human level and when they’re executed as effectively as The Wang, they’re downright entertaining. You may be a king or a street sweeper, but sooner or later, you will laugh out loud at a dick joke.

 

 

 

Stan Yan’s like an Asian-American Woody Allen, spewing psychosexual Freudian high jinks at a nervously feverish pace that is jarring, discomforting, and liberating at the same time. The stark black and whites in his art reminds one slightly of Jim Mahfood, but make no mistake about it; Yan’s a complete original. Chock full of sight gags, such as the very clever image of Eugene thinking of a brain being scraped across a washboard, while he’s at group therapy, his masterful rendering of uncomfortable situations is truly a sight to behold. These moments should elicit an uncomfortable chuckle, but I found myself giggling girlishly like Charlie Chan in one of those horribly racist movies I can’t force myself to dislike when everything tells me I should.

 

 

 

Even though I know how it ends, I’m pulling for Eugene Wang. I’m also pulling for Stan Yan who didn’t let the lack of a publisher stop him from getting his book in print, Diamond’s myopic sense of taste force him to stop promoting his book, and will most likely not let my jittery, self-referential review get in the way of his success. ~ Jeff Chon, Arbiter of Good Taste, 8/13/2004 (go to article)

 

“…kind of like The Norm on crack and viagra…”

 

A big surprise in the mail recently was Stan Yan’s The Wang: The BIG One, available from Squid Works Comics. At once a critique of Amway-like groupthink and a bizarre, stream-of-subconscious sex romp, The Wang provides way more laughs than I was expecting and is definitely worth your ten bucks. It’s dirty as hell, kind of like The Norm on crack and viagra, and the comic momentum sustains all the way through the book. ~Comic Book Galaxy, 7/26/2004 (go to article)

 

“…his problems are hilarious!”

 

The Wang: The BIG One

 

Standard comic book size/ 89 pages/ $9.95 / From Stan Yan Squid Works PO Box 480463 Denver CO. 80248-0463 

 

squidworkscomics@gmail.com 

 

www.squidworks.com/Stan/thewang.html

 

 

 

This graphic novel brings a number of the Eugene Wang stories together in one handy volume. If there was ever a guy that has a rough time it’s Eugene. Girl friend problems. Mom problems, work problems, you name it he’s got it. Fortunately for the reader his problems are hilarious! Stan’s stylized cartooning makes it even funnier. Now please note, this is for mature readers, so I wouldn’t buy it for the kids, unless they are 18. And yes that is a vibrator you see on the cover over to the right of this write up. I don’t want to give any of the gags away so just go ahead and send for a copy, you won’t regret it. And of course, tell Stan you saw this write up. ~Larned Justin, Homemade Komics, 7/13/2004

 

 

 

“…this is something that could be enjoyed by just about anyone who reads comics.”

 

The Wang: The Big One

 

Well, I’ve been looking for something meatier from Stan, and this certainly qualifies. It’s broken up into four different chapters, all about the same size (individual issues of a comic maybe?). The first one deals with Eugene trying to juggle college, his mother and his girlfriend, and has one of the more disturbing endings that I’ve seen, although done in a humorous way. The second chapter is about Eugene entering the workforce and trying to get by as a telemarketer. The third and fourth are both about Eugene dealing with his mother and ex-girlfriend, trying to start a little romance with a crazy person and having an open mind about some self-help charlatans. It’s a funny book, no doubt about that. One thing that really sticks out for me is the lettering. I know, how often do you hear that, but it’s true. His letters bounce all over the place, while still being perfectly legible, so it adds tons to the impression of constant chaos that his bouncy artwork also conveys. Not sure if it’s intentional or if he’s just a spaz, but kudos. I think every single male in the book has a name that’s a pun about a penis, which gets old after a little bit, but the rest of the book is funny enough to make up for it. It’s a world that’s easy to get sucked into, and I could see this guy going far if he can get any publicity for this book, as this is something that could be enjoyed by just about anyone who reads comics. It’s only $9.95, click on the title to go to Stan’s page on Squidworks (scroll down a bit to get to this comic). ~ Optical Sloth, 7/12/2004 (go to article)

 

“I immediately became a socially sexually deprived deviate like my hero Eugene Wang!”

 

 

 

Name: The Wang – The Big One 

 

Publisher: Squid Works Comics 

 

Creator: Stan Yan 

 

Price: $9.95 

 

Website: www.squidworks.com 

 

Email: squidworkscomics@gmail.com 

 

Overviewed by: Paul Dale Roberts, Publisher – Jazma Online! www.jazmaonline.com 

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT: Comments: You may have heard about this comic book, it’s the one that Diamond Comic Book Distributors Inc. refused to run the listing with the actual cover image citing that they wanted to maintain a “PG” environment with the catalog, and the cover image was “too PG-13″. The cover features a picture of a vibrator along with some of the characters of this controversal comic book. The story is about Eugene Wang, graduating student and the spiritual, neurotic, and erotic awakening of he and the very few other people in his lonely life. The comic book is as funny and zany as Revenge of the Nerds to Something about Mary. You will get a kick out of the main character Eugene Wang. You will root for him, you will turn away from him in disgust, you will feel sorry for him, you will want to give the guy a hug! Eugene is a complex character that is hard to figure out at times. Hilarious times as Eugene is busy studying for school, I got a kick out of watching Eugene talk with his mom over the phone and in one part his mom says…”let your frail old mom carry her groceries by herself”, as Eugene makes up one excuse after another to keep from going shopping with dear old mom. His mom is quite the character. Eugene has a girlfriend he calls “Chief” and his girlfriend is a very demanding domineering woman that wants sex by her command. Eugene pulls away from her, he finds her too commanding and forceful. When you open up this comic book, don’t be surprised to find some of the characters carousing at an adult video store or seeing Eugene’s mom in bed with his girlfriend “Chief”, both holding onto their vibrators. Is the mom a lezbo? Hmmm…go figure. There is an interview with Peter Wacker in this absurd comic book and some very funny stuff that is done loosely based on Star Wars and a group counseling session! After reading The Wang – The Big One, I immediately became a socially sexually deprived deviate like my hero Eugene Wang! ~PDR, 7/5/2004 (go to article)

 

“Hilariously funny.”

 

The Wang #2 – Ashcan Preview 20 pg. Full Size, B+W, 2002, By Stan Yan. QR: 4*’s CR: PG – 13, crude humor. “Hilariously funny, wicked sense of humor. Stan has dug deep to bring this title a sense of reality from an insane cartoon perspective. The characters are wild, the story is wilder. Stan’s artwork, very much his own. I’ve gotten used to the lettering fonts…certainly for older readers” ~Ian Shires, The Guide to Self-Published Periodicals, 4/2004 (go to article)

 

“A great slap in the head.”

 

The Wang #1 [ashcan preview] 20 pg., Full Size, B+W, 2002, By Stan Yan “Wildly humorous, if you’ve never followed or read any of Stan Yan’s work, this one’s a great slap in the head to get you started. His art style is well developed and unique, the story flow is fast paced and natural. I still don’t care for the lettering style, but it’s readable, and worth it for the smiles in here. Try out Stan’s Wang!” ~Ian Shires, Obscurity Unlimited #24, 12/2003 (go to article)

 

“You, sir, have created something absolutely South Parkian in its f*cked-up-ness”

 

You, sir, have created something absolutely South Parkian in its f*cked-up-ness and everyone with a one-mile radius of the Eugene Wang comics is doomed to Hell.

 

So clearly we need more! I’m hooked on the bizarre and filth-ridden adventures of Eugene, Chief et al, and a fourth issue of the Wang would be greeted with mass-human sacrifices in your honour.

 

The crowning highlight so far was OC2: Eugene The Queen. Bloody funny, cool artwork (I notice four different art styles used in Eugene’s escapades so far), the glory of crossdressing and even better- Chief hurting things! And Chief scenes make the world go round.

 

Loved the cover for Wang #1 [ashcan preview] – more like that, please.

 

–Charles Ellis 11/03, The Axalon

 

“Seriously… what planet are you from?”

 

Stan, you sick bastard!

 

Wow, who could have imagined that a meek, mild-mannered, milquetoast married man like yourself would be more insane than I am?

 

Hey, I devoured all three [ashcan preview] issues of THE WANG and really enjoyed them, although to varying degrees. Let me explain – while the art is top notch in all three issues, the first issue is classic, the second is near classic, and the third is pretty good, but left me less satisfied than the last two. It also had a weird poignant moment or two that almost through me into someone else’s autobio comic. So, in summation, you’re getting worse and worse as you go along…so quit cartooning while you’re ahead!!!

 

Just a joke – quite the opposite, I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with THE WANG ? in my opinion, your best work to date. Or rather, I enjoyed this series well beyond ONLY CHAOS, the only other comic of yours that I have. The comic timing and “acting” by the characters was breezy and articulate. The dream sequences, the phallic fixations (the big loser, Orel Johnson, Peter Wacker), and the Mom/Chief affair had me smiling and shaking my head (the big one, not the little one)….

 

…Eugene Wang…what a sap! I only hope none of this is based on your personal life…not even remotely!

 

Let me know when more WANG comes out…and when is # 4 coming out? How regularly do you plan to do this series?

 

Great seeing you again at SD…although sorry we never did the big dinner thing. Oh, well…there’s always APE in Feb. or SD 2004!

 

Be well and stay in touch,

 

Michael Aushenker (El Gato)

 

PS — Keep making funny comics! God knows we all need laughter!

 

Almost An Oedipal Odyssey!

 

“The Wang #1 [ashcan preview]” by Stan Yan is a raucous, sometimes raunchy giggle fest! Mr. Yan has obviously spent hours wandering the aisles of many an adult novelties store suffering for his craft. His high high contrast, stylized illustrations keep the guffaws coming. It felt like “The Simpsons” meets “Chasing Amy” — a real treat for the whole family!

 

I’ve read “The Wang” twice now and found myself laughing both times. It’s smart and evocative … I think that given the right exposure, you could have a real hit on your hands. There were frames in there that reminded of “Akbar and Jeff” …  funny stuff!

 

–Review by Robert Elrod, comic artist, www.elrodesign.com/comics 

 

 

 

“THE WANG is a VERY funny book.  No, I stand corrected… it’s a VERY VERY funny book.”

 

 

To this day, I still look back fondly as I recall my first glimpse of THE WANG by Stan Yan.

 

I remember taking it out of its envelope, gazing lovingly at the soothing olive green colored cover…a tear forming in my eye, a lump in my throat. THE WANG had arrived! Jumping and capering around madly like Daffy Duck used to do with his “Duck Twacy” comics, I felt like I was a lad of ten again, a lad hopped up on the sugar rush from a couple bowls of Count Chocula cereal consumed during a block of Saturday morning cartoons.

 

Studying the cover a bit further, I recall looking at the big…ummmm, vibrator…on the cover and thinking to myself, “Great Caesar’s Ghost! Is this what I blew two bucks on?”

 

Thankfully, since I’m such a long time supporter of Small Press and Independent comics…yes, I was reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles BEFORE they became a commercialized sellout…, I didn’t toss it aside in disgust and go read a Superman comic. Nosiree, boy howdy!

 

Reactivating my original fanboyish glee, I cracked open that soothing olive green cover and read what was inside.

 

Stan Yan’s, THE WANG, is a VERY funny book. No, I stand corrected…it’s a very very funny book.

 

As a former college student and grad school student, I laughed at and sympathized with the misadventures of “Eugene Wang: Frustrated College Student”. While I’ve never totally forgotten to attend a class I’d registered for, that amusing scenario is indeed possible for anyone deeply immersed in the lunatic world of academia: no sleep, bad food, crappy jobs, arrogant Profs (well, I had many cool Profs too!) and mountains of classwork…SIGH! That was once my life for several years.

 

Eugene’s misfortunes with his girlfriend and his Mom make up most of the plot of this very funny comic. The earlier mentioned vibrator makes a reappearance near the end of the book and you’ve gotta read what happens yourself.

 

I enjoyed Stan’s artwork…a bit heavily inked in places, a bit “cartoony”, but still most enjoyable. It kinda reminded me of stuff by Mahfood and Hempel.

 

THE WANG [Premature 0] isn’t for young readers but it delivers a lot of laughs for two measly bucks. It’s not as “scatological” as DEEP FRIED but it’s still a healthy dose of mature humor wrapped up in some decent artwork.

 

Check it out!

 

–Dennis Kininger, ORCA, Amateur Press Association (APA)

 

“Stan Yan’s comics make Baby Jesus cry.”

 

The Wang #1

 

Published By: Squid Works

Written By: Stan Yan

Illustrated By: Stan Yan

Inks: Stan Yan

Letters: Stan Yan

 

I too have had this nightmare- no, not that a professor with fat, hairy, Robin Williams legs will ask me for a blow job, but that it’s the end of the semester and I forgot to go to one of my classes… ever.

 

The difference is, I tried to forget the unsettling dream, whereas Stan Yan turned it into a sick, funny comic book with a dildo on the cover.

 

To be honest, my first response to THE WANG was to wonder whether Stan Yan has issues with women, considering Eugene Wang is hassled by a girlfriend whose stern, disapproving glare never fades even when she’s demanding sex, plus an overbearing mother who’s little more than a bitter, unpleasant cliché.

 

But then I got to page 14 and decided he just has issues in general.

 

Stan Yan dares to answer the question, “What are a spurned mother and girlfriend to do when they’re both ignored by the only man in their life… and what does it have to do with that ominous dildo on the cover of this comic?”

 

I take it back, I take it back! Superhero parodies are fine! Really!

 

Seriously, though, take a look. THE WANG probably crosses the line and goes too far for some readers. For the rest of us, it’s damn fun. Sick, but fun.

 

Score: 4*’s

Reviewed by Monte Williams

Zentertainment.com

 

 

 

Feedback:

 

Once I started reading The Wang, I just couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. This is probably the coolest and funniest comic I have read in a while. Stan Yan is the man!

 

Thomas S. Sciolino

19 Bridgeman St.

Buffalo, NY 14207

716-877-9357

 

I read your book “The Wang #1” yesterday. The artwork was compelling. Your black and white styling is among the best. The story was good easy reading at a good easy pace. The story itself was amusing.

 

–Michael Carroll, Small Press Syndicate (SPS)

 

Thought Wang was a riot, BTW. Nicely rendered visuals, exquisitely timed humor.

 

 

 

I had ahold of your remarkable Wang for quite awhile. Then I gave your Wang to Jen. It’s in her hands now.

 

Lisa Renee Jonté

Artist, Writer, Irritant, Tart

http://www.ArcanaJayne.com

http://www.ArcanumVisual.com

 

Heh … your Wang was smaller than I’d imagined by Lisa’s description … but still entertaining. I think I gave it to Rebecca …

 

I thought it was funny … and outrageous, but also a little gross 

 

–Jen Contino, Sequential Tart

 

“No-one I know in the world would do that!”

 

SPOILER ALERT: Stan-

 

Hello, My name is Davey. I created the Roboporn and Saltey Dog comics and ran into you at APE recently. I’m responding to “the Wang” which I bought at APE. Hopefully it’s not too late, but here’s some feedback. First off, Good storytelling. I really enjoyed the overall flow of the story. The characters and the dialogue bounced along at a nice pace and the tone kept my interest. I liked the deep angle point of perspectives that are used in panels here and there. I think the strongest plot points surround Wang’s late paper and his attempt to study even though no one helps. This climaxed on page 8 and 9 when his girlfriend shows up in a robe and lingerie! This scene is hilarious! His girlfriend is so aggressive at this point without losing her believability, that I really wanted to see what you were going to do with her. She was so over the top yet I could still picture her as someone I might know or as a blown out of proportion characteristic of people I know.. But, then, she bones his Mom. I just could trust the narrative here, I was like, ” That isn’t true to character! No-one I know in the world would do that! Or if they would I would have to see some really quirky details that made it believable. It was after that point that I lost interest. Your storytelling kept me reading because your craft continued to be high quality and interesting! But, I just didn’t care what happened to the characters. This was unfortunate because I was really invested in them from the beginning. Even the details of the friend sleeping with his girlfriend and the nightmare about the teacher I could buy. But the Mrs. Robinson with the soft porn twist I just didn’t get. This doesn’t however diminish the talent you display throughout the book with your keen sense of timing and humorous characterizations. Also, it was good for a couple reads. I didn’t notice the, “Do you mind?” as the friends are still getting it on. It makes me wonder, are they always doing that? Maybe they have these whole conversations with him ask him to grab them a soda or something because they are always going at it. That’s what I’m curious about… What little foibles and quirks do these people have that makes them human. I like the Wang character alot. He seems to be the only sane person in a completely backwards world. Well anyways, good luck. I’m curious to see what happens. See you in San Diego maybe.

 

-David Davidson

“Every strip has a laugh, even when it is really meant to set up for a larger joke.”

 

Yesterday, I started off Web Comics Week with a look at Calamities of Nature. That strip came to my attention due to having advertised in the past. So, why abandon that method of picking strips to take a look at already?

 

THE WANG is quite a funny comic. It has a diverse cast, as well as subject matter. Unlike the turn that Calamities took with changing to the old standard layout, WANG has at least kept to giving you something more akin to the double-sized Sunday newspaper version. And why not, since it is delivered weekly rather than 2-3 times a week?

 

But where it really breaks from standards is in the subjects and language used. Our protagonist, Eugene Wang, constantly has the short term romantic hook up between his mother and his ex-girlfriend thrown in his face. They have his friend, George L. Gedaladapus, tricks a dimwitted friend of Eugene’s into bed and into handing him a check for a bogus pyramid scheme (that might be a redundant phrase, come to think of it). The language used tends to be a little blue from time to time and has no qualms about employing sexual humor.

 

In addition to going politically incorrect or with shock humor, they tackle the more “middle of the road stuff” (like what a dog on a walk is thinking) and politics (like addressing some of the voter suppression tactics used).

 

Unfortunately, since the online version only goes back to February 2008, I can’t really compare and contrast how the strip started versus how it is today. It existed in some form before that date and, I’m gathering, previous strips were pulled down once they were printed in a collection. From the start of this iteration, though, Stan Yan (the creator) was in full stride.

 

Every strip has a laugh, even when it is really meant to set up for a larger joke. Maybe Yan is more keen on this due to his weekly schedule. Readers are probably even more concerned with having a payoff in each strip when they only get it on Mondays. But whatever the reason, it consistently works.

 

The cast is extremely well-balanced. While Eugene’s ex-girlfriend might not be able to carry the strip with cutesy observations about a dog being walked, there is rarely a case of feeling the strip is lacking by the absence of a particular character. Quite the opposite, it works when it’s Eugene & George, George & Sueann, Eugene Jr & Eugene Sr or any other combo that graced Yan’s WebComicNation page. That page apparently does contain some old work with the character, but not the beginning of the version you’ll see under THE WANG.

 

I’d head on over and catch up on the last year of strips. I don’t think you’ll regret the time spent.

 

Kevin Huxford, Schwapp, October 28, 2008

 

“Satirical cartoon of present-day US. B&W, good art. If you read MAD-magazine back at the day or like Crumb-style art, this is for you.”

~Garfunkel, Iron Tower Studio, 10/27/2008

 

“If you’re tired of the same ol’ comic book furfural you should definitely check out the Wang.”

 

The Wang is from Squid Works (www.squidworks.com) and is $9.95 for 88 b/w story pages.  The Wang is a series of strange graphic novels featuring the same characters by creator Stan Yan.  Eugene Wang, the main character, has an overbearing mother, a dysfunctional romance and frineds that always seem to do better in life than him.  Eugene struggles, but ultimately life beats him down; a loser who, when revealed, is even a bigger loser.  Yan’s creation is unique, weird, funny and at times disturbing.  If you’re tired of the same ol’ comic book furfural you should definitely check out the Wang.  The GFP is 4 for your d20 Modern campaign. ~ Tony DiGerolamo, Knights of the Dinner Table #143, September 2008

 

“FIVE STARS” [out of 5]

 

The Wang #1 (The Big One) and #2 (Who’s Your Daddy!) by Stan Yan. Woooo, nice work here for sure! Both issues are comic book size, about 90 pages each, $9.95, with color covers and square bound. Black and white interior art that is super fantastic all around!

 

From the inside cover of #1:

 

The Wang is supposed to be a graphic story about my son, Eugene Wang’s “Coming-of-age” –his graduation from college and subsequent entry into the world of business. But what you hold in your hand is a pack of lies perpetrated by Mr. Stan Yan! I raised my son to be a strong, upstanding young man–not the sack of tripe Mr. Yan illustrates. Granted, he does a good job of portraying those hussies that prey on my son, but I don’t have words for how appalled I am by the godless acts perpetrated in this book…and how old-looking he draws me. Shame on you, Mr. Yan–mark my word, you will burn in Hell for this!–Sincerely, Selma Wang, Mom.

 

So how can you not buy these books? Really great art and story in both issues! (*****5 out of 5 stars for each)

 

~ Allen Freeman, Small Press Newsroom, 10/25/2006

 

“This is what comics exist for”

 

Stan Yan understands comedy, and comedy timing more than most people I have read. He really knows how to build a story that leads to a simple, but brilliant punch line and keep you laughing and wondering along the way. He seems to understand how to make the highly dramatic completely hilarious as well. That includes car crashes, break-ups and not knowing whom your father is or if he’s even alive.

 

Who’s Your Daddy? feels like season three or four of a TV show that’s so good with brilliant writers, that you can drop right in and quickly know who’s who, what’s what and what you’ve missed that’s important to the current situation. It will take you but a moment to want to join Eugene Wang down his wacky, weird world of stockbrokerage, old college friends, ex-girlfriends who used to have sex with his mother, and a brush with life and death. That feeling btw of season three is essentially because The Wang is the continuing story of Stan’s lead creation Eugene Wang.

 

On the Squidworks website one can read the Pre-History of The Wang, a hilarious strip updating once weekly that tells exactly what he claims, the story of Eugene Wang before “The BIG One”, back when he was a steroid induced superhero known as The On-Campus Crusader! Sound crazy? It is, but in a good way. Stan’s artwork fits his story telling sensibilities perfectly. It’s got that cutesy meets realism aspect I tend to really enjoy, but he also has dynamics that blow you away.

 

There’s a sequence in Who’s Your Daddy? which is stirring, scary, funny, violent and dramatic all in once and Stan captures this all in his dialogue, pacing, artistic decisions and that un-nameable thing that just speaks to you and makes you say “This is what comics exist for”.

 

Stan also has a comic which he drew written by Ape Entertainment’s Managing Editor Kevin Freeman called Subculture coming in Spring. The preview feels like we’ve got one of those nerd meets “no way can she be a nerd” love stories inter-spliced with bad job, crazy roommate, and nerdy pop-culture references. I personally never tire of that type of material and in Stan’s artistic hand it looks fabulous. Keep an eye out and make sure you go to Squidworks to get yourself copies of Stan’s The Wang books.

 

~ Reed Harris Cooper, Pop Culture Spectrum, 10/19/06

 

“I can’t recommend it enough.”

 

Grade: 7

 

Who’s Your Daddy? continues the story of newly college-grad Eugene Wang as he tries to survive his job, his mother, his girlfriends, new and old, and find out who his daddy is. And I think putting the disclaimer of “For Immature Adult Readers” on the cover was a great little touch. As with The BIG One sexual humor abounds. Work sucks (which gets rubbed in his face by a friend of his), he has a very disturbing sex dream, his ex would have him risk life and limb to hide her dildo from her parents, and the truth about his dad could be a very scary thing (or not).

 

I am so glad I had this volume to read right after I finished The BIG One; it is a perfect follow-up. It’s completely off-the-wall, outrageous, and unabashed, and it’s the fact that it’s believably realistic that makes it so darn funny. Eugene gets the short end of the stick no matter what he does or how hard he tries, and while we might feel sorry for him we also can’t help laughing our asses off. I especially love the zombie parody as Eugene, injured from a car accident, staggers through the city to hide his ex’s dildo. And of course, it does not end well for him, but seeing the moviegoers run in terror was priceless. The Wang is my kind of humor. Immature? Yes. But also on a level that wont dumb you down. It also deals with reality and life in such a way that those looking for a “easily amused” moment just wont get. While it may not be for everyone, I can’t recommend it enough. Go grab The Wang today!

 

~ Sheena McNeil, Sequential Tart, 10/01/2006

 

 

 

“Tastes like: your mama’s nipple.”

 

The Wang: “Who’s Your Daddy?” This is the second installment of Stan Yan’s relatively polished graphic novel about an eternal loser constantly stumbling through scenes of confusion and jealousy with a cast of stronger but way less ethical characters. The funniest foil is his maddeningly more successful old college buddy who always skipped class, but never ass. Wang’s girlfriend left him for his mother, which leads to some lunch-chucking moments. Quirky, dorky, and occasionally gruesome—like something from Spike & Mike’s Festival of Animation. Tastes like: your mama’s nipple. Squid Works Comics, PO Box 480463, Denver CO 80248-0463, squidworkscomics@gmail.com, www.squidworks.com [$11.94 US, $12.94 Canada & Mexico, $13.93 elsewhere, select trades, age stmt (13+ with written parental consent, or 18+) :30 96M] ~ Jaina Bee, Zine World #23

 

“The art continues to impress…”

 

College grad turned office schlemiel Eugene Wang returns in a new graphic novel featuring more corporate shenanigans, disturbing sexual encounters, and near-death experiences, along with a search for Eugene’s long lost father. The humor in this new Wang GN is slightly darker than the first one, which was a surprise – witness the car crash scene and what immediately follows, for example. While the satirical elements and character bits are still in place and still quite funny, the whole thing felt a bit disjointed, like it got lost somewhere along the way. Not necessarily a bad thing; I guess I just expected more involving Eugene’s dad. The art continues to impress; I especially like the facial reaction shots. B

 

~ Rich Watson, Chicks and Romance, 9/1/06

 

“…like reading Clerks or Mallrats if they were graphic novels…”

 

Perhaps it’s the Kevin Smith-esque, characters, dialogue, and situations. Or maybe it’s that The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy?, the second entry in Stan Yan’s The Wang series, was my first foray into this world. But whatever the reason, it’s hard to not feel disengaged and slightly off-put by Who’s Your Daddy?.

 

The book follows the post-graduate real-world exploits of Eugene Wang, navigating his way around an entry-level stock broker job, an ex-girlfriend who is now also his mother’s ex-girlfriend, and a know-it-all friend who’s charismatic enough to get girls and employment with little effort. And in this second entry in the Wang series, Eugene is also attempting to answer the titular question of who his father is. For the most part, Eugene’s problems could be those of any recent college grad in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century. Maybe we can’t relate to our mother dating then breaking up with someone who used to be our girlfriend, but we certainly have friends like the ones Eugene says and we have, at one time or another, have had to deal with the dread and angst Eugene feels at his job, in conversations, and just trying to make a place for himself in the world.

 

But that familiarity ultimately works against Who’s Your Daddy? because so many other artists and filmmakers and writers have mined that material. Going through sections of this lean, efficient book is like reading Clerks or Mallrats if they were graphic novels. The opening seven-page first chapter is so overwrought with swearing, dorm room philosophy/economics/political discourse, and care-free reminiscences of what girl Eugene’s friend George banged when that it’s hard to take those crucial first steps to caring about what’s going to happen in the book.

 

This problem persists in various forms throughout the rest of the scant 95 pages of the book. A mainstay of the book is Eugene’s fantasy world in which he gets back together with his ex, Chief, and, later, where he and Chief are involved in a horrific car accident. The latter dream lasts nearly 22 pages, or roughly over 20 percent of the book’s length. That is far too much time to dedicate to a sequence that reinforces Eugene’s loyalty and commitment — things that are bolstered a couple times prior to this — when the purpose of the book is to have him find his father.

 

What ends up happening is that the climactic discovery of his father’s identity comes on page 91 with nary a whimper. This comes after a very rushed, haphazard, underdeveloped narrative thread about the possibility that Eugene’s mother murdered his father, which itself starts on page 75 and ends on page 90 — though not every one of those 15 pages is dedicated to that subplot. It seems as if Yan remembered midway through that Eugene should maybe start looking for his father and therefore rushed what was seemingly the point of the book. That is no way to tell a story.

 

Who’s Your Daddy? is disappointing because, admittedly, it’s a well illustrated book. With its black-and-white panels, stark contrasting, and chiaroscuro framing, Yan’s work recalls to a certain extent Charles Burns and Daniel Clowes. Similarly, Yan’s protagonist, Eugene, is a wonderful cipher for the aloof, oft-misguided paranoia that characterizes so many twentysomethings carving out a life for themselves in the 21st century. Wade Busby from The Guide to Self-Published Periodicals compares Eugene to a grown-up Charlie Brown on the back cover of the book. A more appropriate description there couldn’t be.

 

The first book of the Wang series, The Big One, was highly touted for its realism and irreverence. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the follow up. Who’s Your Daddy is an enjoyable read at points, but its problems far outweigh its successes. Perhaps if it were a longer book, or maybe if Yan planted the seeds of Eugene’s search for his father in the second installment for them to blossom in the third book, this second entry would have been more successful. But, as it is, it’s rushed and a bit shoddy, and no amount of admirable illustrative work can compensate for a lack of a narrative thrust.

 

~ Dante A. Ciampaglia, PopMatters.com, 7/6/06

 

“De hecho deben ser las veinte páginas de cómics con las que más me he reído en los últimos meses.”

 

Dentro de la marea mareadora y a veces vomitiva de la autopublicación de cómics aparecen propuestas que sacan la cara por toda la vecindad. En el caso de Stan Yan, su serie The Wang sobresale por cuenta de la mezcla perfecta de solidez conceptual, excelente actitud y dos millones de estrategias para torturar a un personaje principal. Así, la vida y obra del tímido veinteañero Eugene Wang nos ofrece un conjunto de elementos ideales para armar un cómic más parecido a una sit-com pasadísima que a un título humorístico tradicional. Por eso, en vez de convertir al joven en una otra parodia de superhéroes, Yan lo mete en un triángulo amoroso de pesadilla conformado por Eugene, su novia y su madre. Su madre de él. Si a esto le sumamos que el tipo acaba de terminar la universidad y está buscando trabajo o en otras palabras plata, tenemos suficientes enredos, incomodidades, transpiración y estafadores para hacer de The Wang una historieta que se merece una oportunidad.

 

Según Yan, yo le compré uno de los últimos ejemplares que le quedaban del primer tomo. Y aunque podría ser una estrategia para vender, me lo dijo con una tranquilidad que le daba mucha verosimilitud (Obviamente en Amazon se deben conseguir los dos refácil). El hecho es que si tuviera que recomendar uno de los dos volúmenes, el segundo definitivamente es el más atractivo. Usualmente, y lo digo por experiencia propia, cuando uno está planteado el mundo y los personajes de una serie cómica se toma mucho tiempo asegurándose que todo está bien plantado como para que el lector entienda el tipo de humor que uno está trabajando. Así, cuando la tarea de difundir las bases de la serie está terminada empieza la verdadera fiesta, el segundo tomo, en el que todo puede pasar y los giros son cada vez más exagerados y divertidos. La secuencia de un Eugene moribundo arrastrándose hasta la casa de su (ex)novia para que los padres de ella no encuentren The Loser, su vibrador, es absolutamente clásica. De hecho deben ser las veinte páginas de cómics con las que más me he reído en los últimos meses.

 

Aunque uno de sus referentes directos es Peter Bagge con Hate y Apocalypse Nerd, The Wang me recordó más a 4 Segundos de los argentinos Alejandro García Valderrama(g) y Feliciano García Zecchin(d) porque me remite al estilo de la comedia televisiva. Ya no se trata del círculo vicioso de la historieta noventera en el que el protagonista es un clon del autor y el mundo del papel es una caricatura del propio. Ahora se trata de una comedia distante de la experiencia creadora que ojalá empiece a recibir el reconocimiento que merece.

 

~ Drake Comics, 6/24/06

 

Highly Recommended

 

“Miguel and Suzy had a wonderful time at the MoCCA Art Festival. There was so much to see and do. They highly recommend a new graphic novel called, The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy?by Stan Yan. The book is hilarious, the art is beautiful, and Stan seems like a great guy. “

 

~ Iberian Press, 6/11/06

 

Super Girls and Vibrator Oaths (Excerpt)

 

SPOILER ALERT:  This edition of THE WANG is the second graphic novel in a series, and so as a reader I was a bit in the dark regarding a number of the characters. Thankfully, a quick recap on the inside front flap along with the basic premise being easy to grasp made reading this fun. The introduction compares our hero (Eugene Wang) to Candide, which brought to mind a more modern version of the classic hapless innocent: Kurtzman & Will Elder’s Goodman Beaver. Like Goodman Beaver, Eugene has only the best of intentions but not much spine and few wits, and he tends to wind up in situations that escalate in terms of his own humiliation and personal suffering. Yan’s particular story interests revolve around humiliation in bed and in the workplace.

 

The story starts off with some heavy-handed attacks on business, the government, etc by one of Eugene’s friends. Not knowing the character, it was difficult at first to tell what Yan was trying to accomplish here. Happily, the scene quickly changes to Eugene’s ex-girlfriend (who dated his mom after they broke up!) fantasizing about a three-way with Eugene and his mom that disturbs even her. It was quite a jarring shift in tone and content, but that’s what made the scene funny. From there, Eugene is derailed in his soul-draining job as a cold-call stockbroker despite his best attempts, attends a vapid sales motivational seminar, runs into fellow sales hustler Sue Ann Potts (who is even more clueless and helpless than he is) and tries to find out if his father (whom he’s never met) was murdered. My favorite part of the book came when Eugene’s ex-girlfriend (Kristin, aka “Chief”) gives him a key to her apartment. This was done for one reason: if she’s ever in an accident, he must come to her apartment and remove her vibrator before her parents come in and discover it.

 

Of course, this leads to the two of them getting into a car accident, and a gravely injured Kristin reminding Eugene of his oath. In the book’s best sequence, Eugene (with a broken ankle and a bleeding tongue) walks across town, oath firmly planted in his head. Dragging his one foot and slurring his words, he scares a crowd who just got out of seeing “Dawn Of the Dead”. The set-up, the timing and the ultimate (and multiple) payoffs of this sequence are fantastic. Not every gag clicks in this book, but this chapter builds on prior jokes and brings them to a head. The denoument of the book, where Eugene suspects that his mother may have killed his father, has its own share of pleasures and some genuine emotion.

 

The book is somewhere between gag book and and slice-of-life story. It reminds me a bit of what Terry Laban used to do in books like CUD and UNSUPERVISED EXISTENCE, and Yan’s art even reminds me a bit of early Laban. The exaggerated characters and stylization remind me a bit of Bob Fingerman’s MINIMUM WAGE stories, though Yan is not quite as accomplished an artist. At this point, I think Yan is a better writer than artist. I actually quite like his exaggerated caricatures: Eugene’s absurdly long and out-of-place lock of hair, Kristin’s grimness, his mother’s gruesomeness. The problem is that his line is just too heavy at times. The comedy in some scenes is undercut by over-rendering and too much use of black. Some of the panel composition can be a bit cluttered, confusing some of the narrative at times. Fortunately, Yan’s comic timing is unimpeded by these difficulties, and I’m quite curious to see how his style evolves. There aren’t many artists employing Yan’s brand of humor these days, and it’s a welcome sight indeed.

 

~Rob Clough, High-Low #11, Sequart.com, 5/13/2006

 

“…alarmingly funny. Kinda like how it’s funny to see somebody get hit in the crotch.”

 

Stan Yan’s “The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy?” is alarmingly funny. Kinda like how it’s funny to see somebody get hit in the crotch. You’re laughing as poor, poor Eugene Wang’s life goes from bad to worse. I wouldn’t want any of that stuff to happen to me. ~Dan Merritt, 5/10/2006, Green Brain Comics

 

“The new book retains all of the strengths of the old one while elevating the story to true beauty at times”

 

That brings us to Eugene Wang, college graduate and holder of a liberal arts degree in a world that doesn’t give a f*ck if you can write. Eugene is the hero of Stan Yan’s new OGN The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy from Squidworks. In the first book in this series (The Big One), Eugene’s girlfriend left him for a lesbian relationship with his mother, sending our hero into a downward spiral of jealousy, torment, and futility from which nothing short of brainwashing offered any real hope of escape. Even then, Stan went for the minimalist ending, sending Eugene back home to his dysfunctional relationships because they at least reaffirmed the love in his life in a way that he understood. I liked Stan’s first book, but I’ll be honest and say that the ending left me deflated. Was it real? Yes. Was it effective? Yes again. But it left me feeling disheartened, and it wasn’t funny at all, unlike the rest of the book, which I found hilarious.

 

Thankfully, the new book is different and better. Yes life is tough, but in Who’s Your Daddy, Eugene tackles it with an upbeat aplomb that makes him far more likeable. Life sucks, but he wears it well. Mr. Yan spends less time lingering on the challenges of adult life and instead focuses on real issues: the War, the false promises of corporate American, and the real work of maintaining independence in a relationship that is important to you. The result is both funnier and more biting than the original – at least to me. I suspect that at least part of the issue is that Stan himself has matured enough to where the issues that matter to him now are also issues that matter to me as a working adult. At this point in my life, I personally don’t give a crap about some 20-something’s struggle to find a job, but the challenges of economics, war, and relationships strike me as timeless. Eugene is a working adult; so am I. He struggles; so do I. That works.

 

Stan’s art has improved as well. The Big One was good. The timing in particular was excellent. The new book retains all of the strengths of the old one while elevating the story to true beauty at times. In some places the look is almost cinematic – a tough thing to pull off in a black and white indie OGN. Given more space and more patience, Stan lingers on a few important moments to good effect. With newfound artistic strength, Who’s Your Daddy packs a lot more punch.

 

If I had to crit one thing in this book, it would again be the ending. This time Stan takes a surreal tone that breaks with the subject matter to which I felt closest. In a fundamentally realistic (though admittedly over-the-top) satire, the surrealism put me off, and once again I found myself craving a bit more closure on some of the weightier issues raised at the beginning of the story.

 

In the end, I recommend The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy to indie comics fans who like cutting edge satire and social commentary. It’s a great book for fans of the absurd. ~Dan Head, Paperback Reader 4/7/2006

 

“It is funny, provocative and disturbing. It is a murder mystery. It is well drawn. It is well worth ten bucks of anyone’s money.”

 

The cover of Stan Yan’s latest graphic novel proclaims that it suitable for “immature adult reader.” Oh yeah and aren’t we all in that category. The Wang is the second instalment in the coming–of–age tale of one [Eugene] Wang and the very few people in his lonely life. It is funny, provocative and disturbing. It is a murder mystery. It is well drawn. It is well worth ten bucks of anyone’s money.

 

The tone is set by the 19 frame strip that dominates the inside covers. It is a very funny look at gullibility and the very human desire to get rich quick. The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy is divided into six chapters, there is a continuity that overrides all but each chapter concentrates on a different aspect of [Eugene]’s sad little life.

 

Chapter One is set in a café where [Eugene] is the attentive and bemused listener to the socio political rantings of a old school mate. The fact that the ranter gained all his knowledge from the various woman he bedded whist at College is a delightful touch, unfortunately [Eugene] fails to see the irony of this and the chapter ends with the poor guys paranoia going into overdrive. It is a well-controlled and compelling opening. The art work here [and throughout] is bold and confident, a reliance on black backgrounds adds to this boldness. The fact that Yan rarely goes beyond seven frames per page adds visual boldness and creates an expansive feel that prevails throughout the comic.

 

It is with Chapter two though that we realize that this comic is giving us something very special. The subject matter here is fairly degenerate as [Eugene] gets involved in a ménage et trios with his ex girlfriend, without realizing that the third party is his aged mother. We realize this disturbing fact long before [Eugene] does and this dramatic irony just adds to the grossness of the situation. This is sick material but Yan gets away with it. Somehow he knows how far to push [I can’t believe I just said that] and so he stops just short of presenting us with something truly repugnant but still unsettles and disturbs. That takes real skill and it reveals a creator who wants to do more than just shock. His Oedipal foray stops just short of compelling the reader to dig out his own eyes.

 

And so the tale continues, in the following chapters the ranter returns as a successful motivational speaker, [Eugene] struggles in his mundane job and his love life is a mess. [Eugene] is a classic victim.

 

Then just when I thought that this comic had found its rut and would amble along in a similar vein until the end Yan decides to up the ante to a whole new level. In chapter Five things take a serious turn. Think car crashes, serious injuries and dying requests and you start to get the picture. Throw a vibrator into the equation and you get true black humor. The tension builds as the woeful [Eugene] struggles to perform a role that he is just not big enough to carry off. We feel for him whilst at the same time laughing at him.

 

If this wasn’t enough Chapter Six raises the tempo to an even higher level centered as it is around [Eugene] trying to track down his long lost father whom he suspects was murdered by his mother.

 

This is s great comic. It is well paced and carefully structured. Yan draws the reader in and then takes us on a helter skelter ride as the main characters life unravels. It is a clever combination of the sad and the funny the banal and the ridiculous. Most importantly, it works. Buy it.

 

In a Word: Sharp

 

~Steve Saville, Silver Bullet Comics, 3/28/06

 

“Stan out does himself this time…”

 

The continuing story of Eugene Wang, a guy who seems to always look at the dark side of things, and nine times out of ten he is right. Stan Yan’s pro level cartooning is the first thing you will notice about this second volume in “The Wang” saga. Stan out does himself this time, with his cartooning and overall design of the book. The story of course has some twists and turns but Eugene basically is looking for the Father he has never known. I won’t give any more than that away here. This one is well worth the cover price, and you will find yourself going back through it after you read it, just to enjoy some of the wild panels Stan creates. ~Larned Justin, Homemade Komics, 2/7/06

 

“…that’s two great graphic novels in a row…”

 

OK, I officially really like this series. It’s all about the adventures of Eugene Wang, professional doormat, in case you didn’t read the review up there and/or can’t be bothered to look at it now. He get’s taken advantage of by his mother, his ex-girlfriend, and a random woman he runs into in the grocery store. As you may be able to tell from that title, a good chunk of this is about Eugene’s quest to find his dad, which isn’t a quest so much as it an attempt to get his mother to give him any information about the guy. All that being said, this is one great comic. It’s funny pretty much all the way through, the art is terrific and Stan manages to make even the most ridiculous situations (like Eugene’s ex breaking up with his mother and being expected to be the go-between for both of them) seem plausible, and did I mention that I laughed out loud a few times reading this? That’s far too rare in the world, seeing as how I read comics on a daily basis. Check out the links for more about the guy, but that’s two great graphic novels in a row, which I consider to be a great sign of things to come. ~Whitey, Optical Sloth 2/6/2006

 

“Yan proves hilarious in his unflinching ability to be outrageous and go places most others would fear to tread”

 

SPOILER ALERT:  The Wang, Vols. 1&2: The Big One & Who’s Your Daddy? Stan Yan Squid Works Comics Paperback 96 pages

 

Okay, I know what you’re thinking; a giant vibrator with the words “Big Loser” along its side is not what you expect to see on the cover of a graphic novel. Stunning? Yes. Provocative? You bet. Another sign of the decline of human civilization? Wait until you turn to page fourteen. With bold lettering in the upper left corner of Volume One, Stan Yan prepares his readers with the phrase “Mature Use Only,” and perhaps more aptly on his second volume, “For Immature Adult Readers.” This definitely isn’t a series for the young – or weak – at heart.

 

Wang, just barely graduating college, must face the “real world.” But his real world resembles one of the raunchier Jerry Springer shows that were too spicy to run on regular cable. After his last college exam, he stumbles upon his mother and girlfriend in bed. Feel free to insert your own Freudian joke. Meanwhile, his employment at Robin Deblynde Investments, where the greatest sin is telling the truth, seems sketchier by the moment. Worst of all, he can’t even buy an Eskimo Pie without being accosted by someone who wants to rope him into a soap-selling pyramid scheme. When Wang finally does meet a new girl, she tries to rope him into a cult-like seminar group – and that’s just the first volume.

 

The second volume finds Wang elated over the breakup of his mom and his ex-girlfriend, and seeking advice from his college friend, George, whose great wisdom has been obtained via osmosis from the girls he bedded in college. When not having nightmares about his obligations to protect his ex-girlfriend’s sex toys from her parents in case anything should ever happen to her, Wang seeks out his father, to whom his mother has not spoken since before Wang’s birth. He is also trying to sell horrendous stock to kind old ladies but, alas, he can’t even do that.

 

Yan proves hilarious in his unflinching ability to be outrageous and go places most others would fear to tread. As outrageous as his adventures may seem, we have all heard anecdotes or even experienced aspects of Wang’s tale that make him easy to relate to. The other extremity of Yan’s humor comes in the form of Wang’s imagination. His idle fantasies and nightmares are the true hypothetical questions we all experience when under duress. Yan masterfully depicts the human psyche (and the sometimes asinine way we obsess over things). Yan’s full use of humor also proves delightful as he crams humor into names (such as Dot Kamm and Ernest Mann), requiring thorough examination of many panels to pick up on all the hidden jokes.

 

With the loose outline of a plot, one can follow Wang as he stumbles into the real world while laughing uproariously at the crazy predicaments he lands himself in. Reader be warned, The Wang will make you laugh if you let your guard down.

 

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Lance Eaton, 02/2006

 

“I felt completely violated!”

 

SPOILER ALERT: They say that this graphic novel is for immature adult readers. The cover shows a woman holding a baby and the daddy next to her, has his face cut out from the picture. Learn the philosophy of purchasing stock in this comical comic book graphic novel, the philosphy actually makes sense in a very comical way. This is a story about Eugene Wang and his dysfunctional relationships in his lonely life. The encounters of strange people that impact his life in some meaningless way. One guy he meets says that ‘politicians are irreparably stupid. They’re just saying —– to get elected and leech off of our taxpayer dollars…..so the government is raising less money, but spending more on war…” You will learn that the war on terrorism, the war on drugs is a way to take away our civil liberties. Yes, this comic book graphic novel has some political overtones. There are other stories, Eugene gets involved in a menage de troix, well sort of. Eugene experiences Zag Zagler’s Motivational Sales Tour, suggested by his boss. There is a story that deals a bit with the Dawn of the Dead, as Eugene finds himself in a horrendous auto accident, bites off his own tongue, the woman driver is beheaded, but there is a hilarious outcome to the whole story. If you felt like you have been dumped on your whole life, I suggest you read The Wang – Who’s Your Daddy! After reading The Wang, I didn’t know where this story was taking me, but when it was all over, I felt completely violated! The Wang is exceptionally clever, maybe too clever! ~Paul Dale Roberts, CBEM Issue 561, 02/03/2006

 

“Keep an eye out for this one.”

 

THE WANG – WHO’S YOUR DADDY? ASHCAN PREVIEW #1-3: Excerpts from an upcoming graphic novel. Stan Yan’s hapless stockbroker Eugene continues to get crapped on by life everywhere he turns (best example: his girlfriend leaves him… for his mother!). The story takes a somewhat more serious turn in #3 — it’s still funny, but the humor is much darker — and Yan starts to set up a genuine murder mystery. The balance of wacky and serious is just right, and the cartooning is top-notch. Keep an eye out for this one. “Our politicians will sweet talk us just long enough to f*ck us, and they’re gone the next morning. They don’t have the decency to leave a twenty on the night stand either.” ~J. Carrier, Fantasy Theater, 08/24/2005

Repped by Peter Ryan at Stimola Literary Studio

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