Award-winning cartoonist and educator Gene Luen Yang has joined the Board of Directors for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the leading defender of the First Amendment rights of the comics industry. Yang, the first graphic novelist to serve as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, is a noted advocate for young adult literature. He launched the Reading Without Walls initiative to encourage the diversification of reading materials (see “Gene Luen Yang's Reading Without Walls Goes Annual”). The MacArthur Fellow has earned several prestigious awards for his work, such as ALA's Printz Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Eisner Award. Yang was a finalist the National Book Award for both American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints. Yang has also written several popular series, including the Secret Coders series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Superman, and New Super-Man.

"I’m so excited to be joining the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund," Yang says. "Like many people, I’ve found it more and more difficult to wrap my head around issues of free speech because of recent news events. However, I still believe that, to borrow a phrase from poet Liu Xiaobo, free expression is the mother of truth. The CBLDF has been at the forefront of these issues for many years now, which makes our work more important than ever."

Yang joins IDW CEO Ted Adams as a recent inductee to the CBLDF Board of Directors (see “Ted Adams Joins CBLDF Board”).