As it makes its way to Emerald City Comicon in Seattle (March 2-5, 2017), Dark Horse Comics announces new plans for their latest Hatsune Miku manga license. The first of two Hatsune Miku: Future Delivery volumes is scheduled for a October 4, 2017 release with writer Satoshi Oshio and artist Hugin Miyama, the team behind the Overlord manga adaptation, telling the story first featured in their 2014 hit.
“The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime,” by Toshio Ban, published by Stone Bridge Press, is a work in manga fit for one of the greatest manga artists ever, Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989). Manga is a very particular experience and much can get lost in translation. One key trait to manga is that time constraints often go out the window, the format embraces extended scenes. I like this approach and find it can be quite effective in setting a mood. Like any other technique, it can be overdone. I thought this to myself as I began to undertake this behemoth of book clocking in at 928 pages. Could it have benefited from some restraint? Well, yes and no. Overall, I highly recommend it on many levels. It provides much needed context and general information. And, in the end, there is an enthusiastic spark throughout that lifts the reader.
Manga is inextricably linked to a different world view, as opposed to most Western comics. We Americans, even the most seasoned readers among us, have been conditioned to more tightly edited work. You just need to come into reading this biography with the same spirit you would approach a gloriously sprawling foreign film. Yes, expect to find many detailed scenes with the little boy Osamu. And, yes, expect various detailed scenes of Osamu, the man, at his drafting table.
Osamu Tezuka in his prime.
Who exactly was Osamu Tezuka? you may ask. In the United States, Osamu Tezuka is not as well known as he could be. But, in Japan, he ranks as high as, say, Charles M. Schulz does in America. There is every reason to believe that Tezuka could become as beloved an artist as Schulz. And that adds to the importance of this biography. In America, a certain number of enthusiasts know Tezuka for his landmark Buddha series. In Japan, Tezuka is also celebrated for Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and Black Jack. Also covered in this book is Tezuka’s trailblazing work in animation. It is no exaggeration to say that Japan’s manga and anime owes greatly to the work of Osamu Tezuka.
Working for Osamu Tezuka proves challenging.
Among the memorable detailed accounts: Tezuka, up to his ears in work, is literally fleeing anxious editors from various publications hounding him to meet his deadlines. The King of Manga, hiding out in hotel rooms from publishers, with the press not far behind, became a veritable cause célèbre. At the height of so many conflicting deadlines piling up on him, Tezuka had to devise various systems to cut down the time-consuming process of creating manga. This included hiring a team of assistants. The poor devils were left to do various bits of piece work without a clue as to what would ultimately go where. This would be just a taste of what it would be like once Tezuka began to work in his own anime studio.
You are in for a treat. Yes, here you are dealing with a mammoth book. Take it bit by bit and you will be rewarded. Frederik L. Schodt’s translation works smoothly with Toshio Ban’s original script and artwork which greatly emulates Tezuka’s own artwork. This is indeed a treasure trove. The original work was published in 1992, three years after Tezuka’s death. It originally came out as three books: Osamu to Osamushi (1928-1945), Dreams of Manga (1945-1959), and Dreams of Anime (1960-1989). With that in mind, it is more reasonable to see how we ended up with such a big book. I think a graphic novel should be as long as it needs to be. Some 300-pagers could easily be half as long. But, in this case, here is a story that is well justified in spreading out as much as it needed to.
“The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime,” by Toshio Ban
THE OSAMU TEZUKA STORY is a 928-page trade paperback, published by Stone Bridge Press. Visit them right here. You can also find it at Amazon right here.
Faith Erin Hicks is one determined and dedicated cartoonist. She has created a remarkable output of work which includes the graphic novel, “Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong,” with Prudence Shen, which began as a webcomic later to be published by First Second as a graphic novel. And “The Adventures of Superhero Girl,” also a webcomic turned into a graphic novel, published by Dark Horse Comics.
A lot of Faith’s work began as webcomics. In fact, that is how it all began. She just drew, and drew, and drew, and posted her work. In this interview, I chat with Faith about her work in webcomics and we also focus in on her current title, “The Nameless City,” just published by First Second Books.
There is more to this story so be on the lookout for “The Stone Heart.” I hope you enjoy this conversation which took place today at Emerald City Comicon.
Our friends at Last Gasp need that last big push to get them over the top for such a worthy goal: a new hardcover edition of a landmark in manga, “Barefoot Gen,” for schools and libraries. This is the story of the bombing of Hiroshima told from the perspective of a young boy. It has moved Art Spiegelman, creator of the masterpiece in comix, “Maus,” to call “Barefoot Gen” a prime example of how the comics medium can bring ideas to life.
All you Kickstarter supporters know that thrill of making it to the finish line. Let’s all do what we can, spread the word, donate to the campaign, and visit often (the campaign ends this Thursday, Sept 10th!) right here.
Last Gasp estimates that $36,000 is the minimum needed to create and distribute 4000 copies (1000 each of four volumes). The cost would cover the following:
Redesigning the books for hardcover
Printing hardcover books
Mailing rewards to backers
Kickstarter and credit card processing fees
ABOUT BAREFOOT GEN
Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen in the original Japanese) is a semi-autobiographical story about wartime Japan and the bombing of Hiroshima. For many years, Last Gasp has published the English edition of this classic manga story.
Visit the BAREFOOT GEN for Schools and Libraries Campaign right here.
“Sensei is dead.” When he clicked on the email, that is all that the esteemed comics authority Paul Gravett had to read to know what had happened. Some will say that the work of the master cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi (1935-2015) has brought them to tears. That’s quite a tall order. But it is certainly plausible. The world of comics, as you may know, is more than one thing. One aspect of it can be so rarified to make the most glamorous and refined creatures on this planet pale in comparison. That’s what you get when certain people communicate with, “Sensei is dead.”
Just imagine getting a text with, “The king has died.” It’s a bit surreal. And, I’m sure, not what Tatsumi would have wanted. Yes, for authorities on comics, and regular everyday fans, Tatsumi knew his manga. He was a master of the more introspective gekiga. He was no king and yet he was a king. Take away the veneer of reserve from the most venerated authority on comics and you’ll find a child looking up in wonder. At least, I hope so. That would have come easy for Tatsumi. His comics are down to earth and irreverent. But, then again, he would likely have respected any goodwill gesture. “Sensei is dead.”
“A Drifting Life” is the epic autobiography of the manga master. Arguably, it is Tatsumi’s work that has inspired graphic novels as we know them today. With “A Drifting Life,” you follow Tatsumi on his journey of self-discovery spanning 1945 to 1960 as he strives to attain the skills of his own manga idol, Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Apollo’s Song, Ode to Kirihito, Buddha). The book is designed by one of today’s leading cartoonists, Adrian Tomine. You can find it at Amazon right here.
How do we change the world? It can be as simple as how we see the world. There are numerous influences we need to consider. One is as simple as how we tell stories. In the West, for example, there is a rigidly ingrained method for storytelling, and for communication in general. It has conflict built in that must be confronted and resolved. While it may sound like an overstatement, this method embraces aggression, and violence. Why not try another method and see what results?
Inio Asano is a Japanese manga superstar. He is known for such works as “Solanin,” which was nominated for the 2009 Eisner and Harvey comics awards (and which was made into a feature film in 2010). For 2014, Asano’s manga classic, “Nijigahara Holograph,” is published in an English translation by Fantagraphics Books.
Butterflies signal impending doom as children confront a dark entity in a nearby tunnel. Years later, these same kids must confront themselves for how they responded to an unknown terror. “Nijigahara Holograph” is a complex supernatural thriller, like something out of a David Lynch film. It is due out in February 2014. For more details, visit of friends at Fantagraphics Books here.
I was introduced to the work of Gaudí in a very Woody Allen way. This was many years ago and I was on a date. We were very young and full of energy and dropping various names and titles to all the art we had consumed thus far in our little lives. “Oh, Gaudí!” It was the biggest name drop of them all for her since she had just returned from Spain. At the time, the best I could find was a book in the library. I put two and two togehter pretty quickly after that. And I have admired the work of Gaudí ever since.
If you go to Barcelona, you can’t help but find the enormous cathedral of Sagrada Família, the iconic Roman Catholic catheral which is regarded as one of the great wonders of the modern world even if, one hundred years since it was begun, it continues to grow. The legendary Spanish Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí continues, in spirit, to oversee construction.
Today, the works of Gaudí hold their own very well with contemporary giants like Rem Koolhaus and Frank Gehry. Experimental and expressive architecture are more acceptable these days, even if you may still find an old guard of resistance. Artist Takehiko Inoue makes for a wonderful tour guide, with an open and animated spirit, in his recent book about his pilgrimage to the world and art of Gaudí, “Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudí,” published by VIZ Media and offered under the VIZ Signature imprint, priced at $24.99 U.S/ $28.99 CAN.
Takehiko Inoue is in a unique position to share his views on master architect Antoni Gaudí (1852 – 1926), the famous Spanish architect and leader of Catalan Modernism. An accomplished artist in his own right, Inoue is known for landmark manga titles, SLAM DUNK, REAL, and VAGABOND, all published by VIZ Media. Inoue approaches his subject with great enthusiasm and the insights of a fellow artist.
What readers will find striking about this book is the various ways that Inoue comes to his subject: sketchbook drawings, notes, journal entries, more formal prose, photographs, and his own inimitable hyper-realistic artwork.
Above all, this is a refreshingly honest and open book. Inoue makes no claims to a lifelong affinity to Gaudí. In fact, he admits that the first time he saw the work of Gaudí, in 1992, it was as part of a rushed tour and he did not have a chance to develop any significant impressions. However, it was in 2011, that Inoue was determined to learn about the great master.
What you’ll find in this book is such a variety of information from someone you quickly connect with. I’ve always been attracted to these type of books that present you with more than just the facts. You get the facts, to be sure. There is full documentation on Gaudí’s career, family, and where he lived and worked. What’s great is when you have a unique guide that will bring in a variety of unexpected facts. For instance, just consider the title of this book. Pepita? Who are what is that? Well, buried within the book is the answer. Not to spoil anything, I think it helps a lot to go ahead and know what that means. The definition of “pepita” is “fruit seed” and that is meant to describe Inoue’s journey, to find the fruit seed to Gaudí’s creativity. It is also the nickname of Gaudí’s one and only sweetheart! Now, try finding that in your typical book on Gaudí.
“Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudí” is a 108-page hardcover, priced at $24.99. You can find it here.
For more information on other Takehiko Inoue titles available from VIZ Media, please visit www.viz.com.
Here is a quick look at some assorted new an recent VIZ Media releases: Naoki Urasawa’s 21ST CENTURY BOYS; Mizuki Sakakibara’s TIGER & BUNNY; Toh Enjoe’s SELF-REFERENCE ENGINE; Sakyo Komatsu’s VIRUS; Takehiko Inoue’s INOUE MEETS GAUDI.
VIZ Media has got you covered in more ways than you might think: manga, anime, books, video, all faithfully translated into English. You will find something for everyone: from a study on Japan today and its future to the latest Naruto. Check it out at VIZ Media here.