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johncomic: (roundhead cartoon self-portrait)
The arrival of a book that I have been keen to read for a while now -- written by an American cartoonist, talking about her experiences working in Japan as an assistant to a manga artist! This sorta geeky sutff is right up my alley!
johncomic: (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad)
The arrival of the latest volume of the only manga I buy which is still being published:

johncomic: (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad)
Just got Cross Game 8:

Happy because I get to read more of one of my all-time fave mangas, love this one so much. Sad because I was expecting the story needed to go on longer, and now it actually turns out that this is the last volume, they wrap everything up here.
johncomic: (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad)
Got the next book of Cross Game -- excitement abounds!
johncomic: (roundhead cartoon self-portrait)
Today is National Cartoonists Day! (And my Zoner friends have informed me that, by extension, it is Curmudge Day!) I am grateful for cartoonists and cartooning and comics, and I'm also happy that I am a cartoonist.

I'm also grateful that I am Curmudge to those who know. <3
johncomic: (Default)
This mornin, I was finally able to come up with a design for a gundam for Episode Five -- one which I am not only fairly happy with, but also one which I feel fits the feel of the series.

I need three gundam designs for that episode, but now that I have the first one nailed, it feels like the next two will be easier to whip up. Waggy tail!
johncomic: (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad)
I spent part of my birthday money ordering the next three volumes of Cross Game -- and now they're here! I love this series!
johncomic: (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad)
Just got new volumes of 20th Century Boys (#17) and Bakuman (#7) -- two of my current manga faves!
johncomic: (piggy family)
My son Hunter, who turns 19 today. He has always been bright, decent, and intensely creative. I'm especially pleased that he has devoted a large portion of his creativity to the making of comics. I didn't push him, honest, I swear!

Happy birthday, dude!
johncomic: (Default)
I think this link is full of phenomenally good work and phenomenally good advice -- I urge you to check it out if you haven't seen it before and if you're at all interested in the process of cartooning. That being said:

I kinda hafta disagree with the first couple of items, wherein “The Manga Way of Doing Things” is put down, and they say “It's not a style.” I dunno, I think it is a style. Admittedly, it's a style that too many artists adopt slavishly without inputting any of their own uniqueness into it, perhaps.

But I feel that the manga way, of using symbology and iconography in place of rendering, is still a valid way of approaching comic drawing. And it's a method that undeniably connects powerfully with (and communicates powerfully to) a large audience. If your goal is to create a comic that communicates, then manga style is still a strong and valid approach -- one of many -- that can still be considered, rather than simply dismissed as “not really drawing” like I feel is being done here.
johncomic: (Default)
Just finished reading 20th Century Boys #14 and really enjoyed it, as if there would be any doubt. It remains one of my all-time fave manga.

It's one of those series you can count on. Every volume of 20thCB contains a surprise that I never saw coming. Just like every volume of Yakitate!! Ja-pan contains a genuine hearty laugh, and every volume of Bakuman contains an insight or a new way of looking at the art and craft of creating comics.

Coincidence that these are all among my top faves? I doubt it.

Someday soon I hope to be able to tell you what I can always count on finding in Cross Game -- once I've read a few more volumes...
johncomic: (Default)
Bakuman #4 finally showed up in my local Chapters this mornin! Yay!

[Slow! Sometimes I feel like the Chapters here is the last place in Canada to get manga volumes in -- when they get them in at all! Still haven't ever seen Dragon Ball Z #5, guys!]
johncomic: (Default)
Volume 2 of Bakuman!

I loved Ohba and Obata's work in Death Note, so it's a real kick to see them working together again here. And, as this is a “manga about manga”, it's teaching me a lot of insider sutff about the manga industry and the creative process that appeals heavily to the otaku in me as well as the cartoonist.

I gather that Bakuman has been running for a couple of years in Japan and is still going, so I hope this translates into many more volumes of the English version still to come. (Not a sure thing, of course: BECK lasted over thirty volumes in Japan but pooped out after twelve over here. Which still ticks me off, BTW -- that was my all-time fave manga and I would dearly love to have and read the whole thing! Ah well, what can ya do...)
johncomic: (Moss)
I passed my eye exam.

Meaning that my eyes are in the same shape as they were a year ago. As a diabetic I am urged to get my eyes checked every year to look for any retinal damage (which the disease can cause). So far, no sign of any retinal boo-boos for over ten years now.

Plus there's the simple “getting old” aspect which eventually caused me to need reading (and drawing) glasses -- however, my reading prescription from two years ago continues to be what I need today, so my lenses have not grown more decrepit this year.

Part of my annual exam is eye drops that dilate my pupils for hours afterward -- Hunter tells me that this makes me look like Zatch Bell.
johncomic: (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad)
Reading a new volume of Yakitate!! Ja-Pan -- the only comic that makes me laugh out loud every time.
johncomic: (Default)
I have just started reading God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga by Natsu Onoda Power. Surprisingly academic: it reads a lot like a textbook. [Believe it or not, some of us actually appreciate that!] More serious and in-depth than I was expecting, honestly. I'm not saying such an approach is unprecedented in writing about comics, but it is rare.

You know whether reading something like that would appeal to you or not, I suppose. As for me, so far I'm learning lots of new things and finding it pretty interesting. If it stays this good throughout, consider it recommended.
johncomic: (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad)
I suspected/feared that it was only a matter of time till I saw this:

Was in the bookstore recently, browsing thru the manga section. Saw a title that I didn't recognize [and don't recall], but I noticed that the cover credits gave “Anglo” names for the writer and artist. I also noticed that the art was trying very hard to “look Japanese”. Not so surprising: there's an awful lot of manga-influenced Western artists out there, more than ever before. I actually think this is a good thing, IMHSO [In My Highly Subjective Opinion].

Then I looked closer and noticed that it was drawn and printed in Japanese format, reading right to left.

I suspect this was done in an effort to make the work look “more authentic” or “more genuine” or somesuch. Cuz it's obviously trying to look like “real manga”. Granted, since there is a well-established market in North America for right-to-left manga now, this move will not harm the book's saleability, so in that sense it's not a mistake per se.

But I can't help feeling, Nuh-uh.

Japanese comics are drawn right-to-left because the creators grew up reading that way and their culture as a whole does it that way. This is how they naturally envision their art and the flow of their stories because it's ingrained into them from Day One.

In the late 40s, when Tezuka and a few contemporaries were shaping manga into what we recognize today, they were heavily influenced by Western comics and cartoons [e.g., Tezuka's pronounced Disney influence], but they felt no need to extend this influence to the direction in which they drew. They recognized that they were and would always be creatures of their own culture.

I mean look, Korean manhwa artists are all perfectly happy to draw their sutff left-to-right, even though it already “looks more Japanese than most Westerners will ever be able to manage”, because they're Korean and left-to-right is how Korea does it.

I dunno, to me this book I saw today is like they're saying “Oooo we wanna be Japanese so bad!!!” And I'm like, “Sorry, dudes, ain't gonna happen. Be yourselves, 'kay?” Is this too curmudgeonly of me?
johncomic: (Default)
Curious about Manga Studio Debut when I ran across it online just now -- definitely surprised by how cheap it is. Anyone out there familiar with it? Willing to offer reviews or recommendations? Get it? Save up and invest in Manga Studio Ex instead? Skip 'em both?...

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