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Archaia to Publish China Memoir

We’ve got exclusive news for you today: BOOM! Studios will publish Emei Burrell’s We Served the People, a graphic novel based on her mother’s experiences growing up in China in the 1960s. Like many young people, Burrell’s mother, Yuan Ye Ping, was sent to the country to work on a farm as part of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward. Burrell, who has been nominated for two Eisner Awards, has worked on BOOM!’s Adventure Time comics and her work has also been published at The Nib.

We Served the People is scheduled for April 2020. The full press release is below.

Emei Burell Reveals Her Mother’s Unforgettable True Story in WE SERVED THE PEOPLE from BOOM! Studios

Discover One Woman’s Coming of Age Under Mao’s Rule in Communist China in April 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA (August 9, 2019) – BOOM! Studios today announced the new original graphic novel WE SERVED THE PEOPLE, available in April 2020, from Eisner-nominated cartoonist Emei Burell as she breathes new life into the stories her mother shared of growing up in mid-1960s Communist China and discovers a connection to her family history and heritage.

In China, an entire generation’s most formative years took place in remote rural areas when city kids were sent to the countryside to become rusticated youth and partake in Mao’s mandated Great Leap Forward. In an inspiring tale, Emei’s mother, Yuan Ye Ping, recounts how she ended up as one of the few truck-driving women during the Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement, which sought to increase agricultural outreach and spur social and ideological change amongst youth.

Burell’s stunning illustrations honor her mother’s courage, strength, and determination during a decade of tremendous political upheaval, where millions of lives were lost, and introduces us to a young woman in a new era of self-discovery. 

Emei Burell is a two-time Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist and illustrator based in London. Burell is currently venturing into the video game industry but has dabbled in animation while working for Cartoon Network. Her previous comics work has been  published by Image Comics, and featured in The Nib,The Believer, BOOM! Studios’ Adventure Time series, and in Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree from Fantagraphics. 

“Getting to work on such a personal story of someone who I love and admire so much is truly amazing. I can’t wait to share with the world all of the incredible stories that my mother has shared with me growing up until now.” said author, Emei Burell.

WE SERVED THE PEOPLE is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ ambitious Archaia imprint, home to graphic novels such as Mouse Guard by David Petersen; New World by David Jesus Vignolli; Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramón Pérez; About Betty’s Boob by Vero Cazot and Julie Rocheleau; Bolivar by Sean Rubin; and licensed series including Lev Grossman’s The Magicians: Alice’s Story by Lilah Sturges and Pius Bak; Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation.

“Emei explores her mother’s sometimes funny and often inspiring stories of working agriculture during a time of immense political change in China during the late 1960s,” said Sierra Hahn, Executive Editor, BOOM! Studios. “Throughout the constant relocations and endless days of back-breaking physical labor, Yuan Ye Ping lost none of her joy, humor, or sense of adventure and ambition—attributes her daughter shares and poured lovingly into each page of this graphic novel.”

Print copies of WE SERVED THE PEOPLE: MY MOTHER’S STORIES will be available for sale in April 2020 at local comic book shops (use to find the nearest one), bookstores or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.

For more on WE SERVED THE PEOPLE: MY MOTHER’S STORIES and other projects from BOOM! Studios, stay tuned to and follow @boomstudios on Twitter.

Brigid Alverson About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.

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