Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Vagabond Within Us All

Tonight, PLANET GRIFFIN continues the subject of the Mighty Japanese Manga market and its far reaching effects into the American subculture... The illustrators of the genre alone are considered legends, not only in their own backyard, but here in ours as well. From Godfathers like OTOMO (Akira) and IKEGAMI (Crying Freeman) to the upstarts like KISHIMOTO (Naruto) and OKAZAKI (Afro Samurai), these guys create magic pure and simple! And to top it off, despite that fact that each artist works with a 'ghost staff' of about 30+ people ( How else are they gonna grind out a 200/300 page book per week), the artist still manages to instill that same level of passion in their staff! (As far as people like PAUL POPE and FELIPE SMITH to take on that level of commitment over there, you gotta respect them for that! I'd like to see someone like Joe Quesada pull that off---)

One cat in particular that I simply can't get enough of is TAKEHIKO INOUE, who has become, without a doubt, one of THE most recognizable names in the business since SHIROW. Here's a guy who's working on 3 different volumes right now (Yes, volumes to them are like complete 6 issue mini-series ready for trade here)--- the sports manga's REAL and SLAM DUNK, and the ongoing historical epic of Miyomoto Musashi as VAGABOND--- the combined workload that sells almost 160+ million copies worldwide! I'm a Vagabond fanatic personally--- the recent VIZ BIG oversize series is a BIG HIT in my house ( I mean, where else can you find a 600 page manga for $20 bucks US, huh?!)

For those of you who haven't picked up a copy of VAGABOND, now is definitely the time because I can't recommend it strongly enough! For any artist, this series should appeal to the Vagabond in us all--- wandering the land, looking to become the strongest of them all--- or at least, never being satisfied until you realize your strongest potential!
I have no problem admitting that this guy's style inspires me to put even more effort into my work than ever before... But then, shouldn't we all?


Mdoubble said...

Mr. Griffin, great post. I'm also a fan of Inoue. You did however forget to mention my personal favorite: Naoki Urasawa, of Monster and 20th Century Boys fame.

I got the most enjoyment of any story I've ever, yese EVER consumed, be it comic, prose, movies etc., from his epic, Monster. We get so into the art of manga and series that we often over look the vast storytelling abilities that the creators/artists are often the writers as well. Maybe the staff of 30+ helps with the script like we do here with television. At any rate, I'd never think I'd enjoy so much, the work of someone who studied accounting in college; with no dreams of being an artist.

I say you give us the PlanGriff version of the differences betwix american comics and manga. Such as why manga pulls the reader in faster and why american comic artists aesthetic seems counter intuitive to effective story-telling.


Rodbuddah said...

Good show, old bean!
I admit, I did get a little lost in the translation NOT to include Urasawa as a 'member'of the legends category--- I do stand corrected, Thank you.
As far as the differences between to two, you're right on the money with that! My next post on the subject will definitely explore that in depth!