Sally Ingraham and Gabriella Tito here today with more details on that Urasawa Naoki no Manben episode, a new article from John F. Kelly, some behind-the-scenes peeking, and comics from Stephen Beck and Cesar Erhard.
Right off the bat we’ll hand the mic to Gabriella Tito. She’s a terrific cartoonist from Orlando, FL, whose work you can find on her own tumblr, on Comics Workbook, and most recently within the pages of Zona 01.
Although the Daily News team here at Comics Workbook reported on the recently subtitled episode of Urasawa Naoki no Manben a few days ago, Gabriella wanted to dig in with some thoughts of her own. Here she is!
Hi all! Gabriella Tito here reporting from Orlando Florida. I wanted to expand a bit more on the recent episode of “Urasawa Naoki no Manben“.
The first episode in the new season focused on Hagio Moto, often referred to as the founding mother of Shoujo manga and BL (boy’s love, stories that involve two young men romantically). Shoujo manga loosely means “girls comics” if you are not familiar with the term. It has a general focus on the psychological aspects of the characters and romantic relationships. BL is a subculture of the Bishounen (a beautiful and youthful boy) culture that Hagio Moto and other female manga artists pioneered during the 70’s. Drama and conflict is key for both of these genres! Unfortunately, a lot of her work has not been seen in English, which is why you may recognize the famous shoujo style, but not Hagio Moto’s name. In Japan she is extremely well known and many manga artists cite her as their inspiration.
To say her work was a direct inspiration to me would be a little far-fetched, but I can say I was greatly inspired by the genre she helped to create. I was always an avid manga reader growing up, always imitating my favorite artists. So naturally, watching this episode of Manben for me was truly a delight! I am a huge NERD when it comes to process and Hagio Moto’s process was no exception. Unlike many of the other artists featured on Manben, she works at a much slower pace, fully fleshing out the sketch before inking. This is a huge refreshment, given the environment I have come to know in the fast paced world of comics. There is such detail and thought given to the poses she creates because of the fact that she is trying to convey so much into one action. Naoki Urasawa in one section even pointed out that Moto’s work reads exactly like a theater drama, even down to the lighting! I think Shoujo manga in general can be seen as a theater drama if you look at it in that perspective.
One final thought about the episode is how frantic Moto is about getting the “performance” just right or else her thoughts will not be conveyed correctly. She talked as if her characters are actors on a stage – the acting has to be perfect or else the drama falls flat, right? It’s why composition and being able to convey the mood of the moment is so important, even in comics without intense drama like Hagio Moto’s.
Thank you all for tuning in! – Gabriella Tito
All righty, Sally back on the mic now to bring you the rest of your Friday comics flotsam and jetsam.
John F. Kelly has delivered a fantastic article about Bill Griffith – the “legendary underground cartoonist” best known for his comic strip Zippy the Pinhead – and the weird relationship between Zippy, Bill, and the city of Pittsburgh. The article is perfectly timed, because Bill Griffith will once again be in Pittsburgh – next Saturday, for the Pittsburgh Indy Comix Expo (PIX) – and everyone is hoping that Zippy will also find himself in more odd corners of that city.
Check out the article right here on Comics Workbook, and if you’re in the area, pop round to PIX to meet Bill Griffith next weekend!
There are a lot of cartoonists out there right now who are really putting in the work, whether it’s Jim Rugg and his cat, stapling zines together in preparation for DINK (TODAY and TOMORROW in Denver!); or Anya Davidson hand coloring Band for Life (see pic above); or Oliver East numbering his run of 1,000 new books (below); or Grant Gronewold packing up comics in borrowed medical bags immediately following a surgery…not to mention the feverish activity that is taking place at the Rowhouse any given day, as Frank assembles Truth Zones and prints Zona 02 among a thousand other things.
Maybe it’s because I am up to my eyeballs in my own comics at the moment, in preparation for PIX (April 2nd, Pittsburgh!), that I find all these folks so relatable. However, this part of the process – less glamorous perhaps than the drawing and composing of a comic – has always interested me, and that DIY spirit is a huge part of what makes this community viable and vibrant. Hang in there folks – you can do it!
Giving a shout from Switzerland, Raul Burgos Paredes has a recommendation for us – Coloforme (and Greyscale) by Stephen Beck. Published by the collective Frémok (located in Brussels), the book does indeed look “trippy and awesome”, as do many of the other offerings from the group. Keep hitting that translation button if you have to as you poke around the site – you just might find a treasure. (Raul has just stumbled into comics, by way of cartoonists on tumblr and the likes of 2dcloud and Comics Workbook, but he is quickly finding his feet. We’ll see what else he digs up!)
Cesar Erhard has been rolling out comics about various musicians over the last few weeks. The most recent offering can be seen above, featuring trumpeter Charles Tolliver. Cesar has riffed on pianist Ahmad Jamal, on Alice Coltrane and her harp, and detailed the first time he heard the music of Sun Ra. He collects something special about each artist and holds it in gentle hands, so that we can catch a few notes of the music the way he hears it. Sounds good to me.
That’s another week wrapped up, folks! Let’s meet back here on Monday for more comics gold. – Sally