“Is becoming a successful manga artist an achievable dream or just one big gamble?” The back cover of every Bakuman. poses this question, the central question to a series about the highs and lows of professional art, and the troubles an artist has to endure for their work. In Bakuman., two high school students named Mashiro and Takagi team up to create manga, taking on the roles of artist and writer, respectively. They have different and unique motivations for pursuing this path, Takagi doing it to avoid falling into the trap of a boring life, while Mashiro endeavors to impress the girl he loves. They’re both incredibly well developed characters that struggle, win, lose, and never accept defeat. Over the course of the 20 volumes in this set, we’re offered an in depth chronicle of their attempts at success.
Manga fans may recognize creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata as the team behind the popular Death Note. While Death Note was a high concept mystery, Bakuman. is a much more accessible “everyday life” kind of story that blends comedy and drama with ease. Now excuse me while I gush a little, because I think Bakuman. may be my favorite manga series. Any manga/comics fan should read it, but I cannot recommend it enough to anybody working in an artistic medium. Ohba & Obata use the simple plot to develop a complex reflection on the nature of creation. In their journey, Mashiro and Takagi have to confront the reality of achieving their dreams, struggling to discover if it was worth the struggle. Read the rest
Japanese manga artist Junko Mizuno is known for her dizzying mix of everything from Japanese cute culture to erotic and pin-up art to religious and fairy tale imagery. In TRIAD, an absolutely stunning 16-page book, she brings three of her characters to life in 3D pop-up form — the Nurse, the Witch, and the Wrestler. The trio appears in five pop-up spreads, Ocean, Serpent, Triptych, Mansion, and Tree.
There is no text to the book, and no explicit narrative that I could discern. But there’s so much going on here, so much whimsy and weirdness, and some very clever use of pop-up book technology. This is really a piece of interactive art exploiting the book format. If you’re a fan of Junko Mizuno, Japanese manga and pop art, or of pop-up books in general, you will likely be as blown away by TRIAD as I was.
This little video flick-through by Poposition Press will give you a better idea of the blazing eye-candy to be had in TRIAD.
by Junko Mizuno
2016, 16 pages, 11.5 x 9.0 x 1.5 inches, Hardcover
$50 Buy one at Popsition
See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest
San Diego Comic-Con International has concluded for 2016, but these amazing photos of dedicated cosplayers at the event will live on.
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See sample pages from this book at Wink.
Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater
by Eric P. Nash
2009, 304 pages, 8.6 x 9.2 x 1.1 inches
$29 Buy a copy on Amazon
Manga Kamishibai tells and shows the fascinating history of Japanese paper theater, a lost storytelling form and the link between Edo-era Japanese ukiyo-e prints and modern day manga and television. I say “and shows” because this art form combined the spoken word with compelling visuals in uniquely Japanese storytelling performances and this book is rich with many wonderful reproductions of the hand-painted artwork.
Picture this: In devastated post-WWII Tokyo, a man stops his bicycle on a street corner. On the back of his bike is mounted a large, sixty-pound wooden box. The man flips a few panels around to reveal a stage-like picture frame. He noisily clacks together two wooden sticks, hiyogoshi, to call the neighborhood children. As they gather to see and hear the free show, the man sells them home-made penny candies, including a not-too-sweet taffy that’s pulled and stretched using a chopstick (like today’s movie business, the real money is in the profitable concessions!). The paying customers get a front row seat to the performance. The man slides a sequence of large, colorful panels in the frame “screen” as he tells adventure stories, quizzes the audience, and weaves tales of suspense, all with character voices and sound effects. As the story ends on a dramatic, to-be-continued cliff-hanger, the man packs up his two-wheel theater and pedals away ... Read the rest
See sample pages of Akira at Wink.
At the far too early age of seven I watched Katsuhiro Otomo’s film Akira. In a time before the internet, my parents had made the mistake of thinking that since it was a cartoon it couldn’t be that bad. If you’ve seen the movie you know just how wrong my parents were. If you haven’t, what followed was two hours of high-octane animated violence, drugs, and mind-bending psychokinesis. Being too young to really appreciate what many critics believe to be one of the greatest animated movies of all time, which helped bring Japanese anime into American culture, I retreated to the warm comfort of Disney. Thankfully as I got older I rediscovered this great movie, and this even better comic series.
This isn’t me just saying “Well, I read the book which is far better than the movie.” (Imagine me saying that with a snooty condescending accent). The movie barely skims the surface of the comics. It would be like if HBO took all the Game of Thrones books and turned them into a single two-hour special.
Spanning over 2000 pages the Akira series is a sci-fi epic. The story follows a teenage delinquent as he unknowingly gets caught up in psychic warfare that leads to an all-out revolution. Like the amphetamine that the main characters eat like candy, you’ll get addicted to this book – also, you might lose your teeth, but that could be unrelated.
Dark Horse did an exquisite job reprinting the comics into six volumes (although I did notice a typo in Volume 2 on page 228, so someone might want to contact Dark Horse about that). Read the rest
Someone just pointed me to this hentai/manga porn for sale on Amazon, entitled Boing Boing.
Boing Boing is a great name for a creative project!
Boing Boing by Yamatogawa via Amazon.
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My 12-year-old daughter Jane introduced my wife and me to Attack on Titan. It's a Japanese comic book and animated cartoon series by Hajime Isayama about a war between the last few remaining people on Earth and the creepy giant humanoids who want to eat them. I havn't read the manga like Jane has, but my wife and I enjoyed watching the animated series on Netflix. Attack on Titan is coming to the big screen, and a trailer with English subtitles was recently released.
I think it looks good, but Jane and her friends don't like it. They especially don't like the way the character Armen is portrayed. In the manga and anime, Armen is a sweet, brilliant mophead. In the movie, he's a tough guy with a buzzcut. That's a shame, because Armen's gentle demeanor and wisdom is important in the manga and anime. Changing his character into a badass warrior seems like the wrong move, but I'm still looking forward to watching it when it comes to Imax theaters. It'll be released in two parts, with the first installment screening on August first. I don't think it will be too difficult to convince Jane to come with me.
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In March 2015, Firstsecond books published its English translation
of the first volume of Lastman, the spectacularly successful French martial arts comic; they're bringing out the rest of the books on an aggressive schedule, with Book 2: The Royal Cup
coming out today.
The kamisama of manga. The Japanese Disney. The godfather of anime. Tezuka-san has had many labels bestowed upon him both before and after his untimely death, but very few do justice to his contributions to a truly transatlantic medium, one which has dramatically surged in popularity in the last decade.
A doyen of over 500 individual print titles and scores of feature films, his creations – numbering amongst them the maverick doctor of Black Jack, the epic treatise on immortality Phoenix (Hi no Tori), and the all-conquering, sci-fi inflected Pinocchio retelling of Astro Boy (Mighty Atom) – are adventurous, topical, riotously funny and fundamentally human.
Part biography, part showcase of a lifetime spent in creative abandon, author Helen McCarthy traces his early inspiration drawn from Disney's wide-eyed characters – a look that would define manga's similarly neotenous bent – to a public, if officially unacknowledged repayment in the form of Kimba The White Lion re-imagining The Lion King. Packaged with a DVD of Tezuka at work, and a relief cover of the aforementioned Mighty Atom, Osamu Tezuka: The God Of Manga is a compelling and comprehensive work.
– Nick Parton
The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga
by Helen McCarthy (author) and Osamu Tezuka (illustrator)
Harry N. Abrams
2009, 272 pages, 9 x 12.2 x 1 inches
$25 Buy a copy on Amazon
See sample pages from this book at Wink.
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Welcome to Otome
, visual dating games made with women in mind. They enjoy a healthy fandom, but many acclaimed titles remain in their native Japanese—frustrating, because romance and relationship games are more popular than ever.
Renegade BB cartoonist Ed Piskor points us to this documentary about manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989), the creator of Astro Boy, Black Jack, and Kimba the White Lion. Ed says, "I am, at the same time, inspired and heartbroken by this film. It's an amazing document about the Japanese God of Comics shot a short time before his death." A DVD of the film is included in the book "The Art of Osamu Tezuka." Read the rest
"Numerous Japanese teens, it seems, are uploading photos of themselves doing the Kamehameha attack from popular manga and anime series Dragon Ball," writes Kotaku's Japan-based correspondent Brian Ashcraft. There's a photo gallery and it's awesome. Brian had an earlier post at Kotaku about the broader trend in Japan of young women staging photos with manga-style martial arts. Below, one such image found on 2ch, Japan's largest bulletin board, with the heading, "Schoolgirls Nowadays lol".
(Thanks, Brian Lam!)
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Posted online is a preview of the first installment of
Manga Taishō and Mari Yamazaki's manga bio of Steve Jobs. Read the rest
Cartoonist Mark Crilley has made over 200 high-quality videos showing how to draw people and animals in a semi-manga style. My daughter Jane and I like to watch them and sometimes we draw along with him. Even if you don't draw along with Crilley, his videos are a joy to watch, because Crilley is a very talented illustrator. He has interesting things to say about drawing, too.
The above video is called "How to Draw a Chibi: Winking, Peace Sign." To see all his videos, visit his YouTube channel.
Mark has a book out, too, called Mastering Manga with Mark Crilley: 30 drawing lessons from the creator of Akiko. Read the rest
Francesco sez, "In my blog on Wired.it I posted a new series of wonderful 'manga inspired' plates created by the Japanese designer Mika Tsutai.
Positioning the food in the right way Geek Chefs can tell a story or almost make the food more fun!
Each plate costs 2980 Yen and for now is available only in Japanese design stores."
La cucina invasa dai manga!!
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I've written several times here about Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, a collection of outstanding dystopian YA science fiction novels about a world where everyone is forced to undergo cosmetic surgery at the age of 16. Westerfeld concluded the series in 2007, but now he is revisiting the world in manga form, co-creating a series of graphic novels with Devin Grayson and Steven Cummings.
The first of these volumes, Uglies: Shay's Story came out this week, and it's a fantastic, fast-paced addition to the Uglies canon. As the title implies, Shay's Story retells some of the key events in the series from the point-of-view of one of the minor characters from the novel, Shay, giving her her due (she was always one of my favorites). In so doing, Westerfeld and co illuminate more of the Uglies world -- and bring to it a set of visuals that flesh out and enhance the original novels.
You can certainly enjoy Shay's Story without reading the Uglies novels first, though each series (Shay's Story is the first of several volumes) contains a few spoilers for the other.
Uglies: Shay's Story
Uglies: young adult sf that perfectly captures adolescent anxiety ...
Conclusion of Westerfeld's Uglies and Pretties trilogy is out - Boing ...
Scott Westerfeld's Extras - a superb volume in the Uglies series ...
Scott Westerfeld's ass-kicking, bestselling YA novel UGLIES as a free
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Charles from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund sez, "Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has formed a coalition to assist the defense of an American facing criminal charges in Canada for having manga comics on his laptop that Customs authorities allege are child pornography. He faces a minimum of one year in prison if convicted. CBLDF has also published an advisory about traveling through international borders with comics and a list of comics seized in Canada since 2002."
The images at issue are all comics in the manga style. No photographic evidence of criminal behavior is at issue. Nevertheless, a warrant was issued and the laptop was turned over to police. Consequently, the American has been charged with both the possession of child pornography as well as its importation into Canada. As a result, if convicted at trial, the American faces a minimum of one year in prison. This case could have far reaching implications for comic books and manga in North America.
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The CBLDF's Board of Directors voted unanimously to aid the case by raising funds to contribute to the defense and to help the defense with strategy and expert resources.
Brownstein says, "This is an important case that impacts the rights of everyone who reads, publishes, and makes comics and manga in North America. It underscores the dangers facing everyone traveling with comics, and it can establish important precedents regarding travelers rights. It also relates to the increasingly urgent issue of authorities prosecuting art as child pornography. While this case won't set a US precedent, it can inform whatever precedent is eventually set.