Recently I started writing the second volume of THE STORY OF LEE which I had already planned out in rough form. In fact, in true Star Wars fashion a bit of part 2 came out BEFORE part 1! The collection ‘Best New Manga vol 2′ a few years ago had a 25 page section from our SOL story that takes place in Edinburgh, the setting for part 2 of THE STORY OF LEE. So, I began to work up the details of that story recently, spurred on by some of the reviews that volume 1 has had.
Those reviews often made the point that the conflict in personality and culture between Matt and Lee was not explored enough in volume 1. Agreed! – as this is a three part story and the full range of such things was never intended to be explored in just the first volume. Wait for the whole spread, in which we will do our best to go into those things more.
A second point in those reviews is that some of the crisis in volume 1 were too easily resolved. Not agreed! – I was tired of all those stories, especially films, were the romantic difficulties were strung out artificially over weeks, months, year even! How cliched that all is. So, I deliberately wrote a story in which the issues were resolved with direct frank discussion, due to some precipitating event – just like they sometimes are in lived experience.
Of course its possible that in doing this I forget some basic storytelling rules or structures. Yes, that may be the case. Or, then again, maybe the story just goes against most reader’s habitual presumptions of what will happen. In which case, I’m glad – we made something a little unusual.
In the light of the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan there are at least two charity benefit books in the making, one from a UK publisher and another that an American man in Japan is organizing. All the money will go, of course, to help relief work for the people in the worst hit areas around Miyake, Iwate and Fukushima.
I have already written a 6 page story to contribute, from my personal point of view as a foreigner living in Japan., with Japanese artist Michiru Morikawa illustrating (she did a fine job on our ‘Yakuza Moon’ book for Kodansha).
As for The Story of Lee, Terry tells me that its selling quite well, which is nice. It’s had quite a lot of reviews now, mostly positive, but with a few points that some reviewers felt needed work. Sounds like my old school report cards! So, ok. I will try harder sir!
I’ve had a lot of contacts with Scotland recently, which is nice when I’m so far away.
Most recent thing is that my old university just did a piece on me and will commission a comic about my time there for their magazine:
But hey – I went to Edinburgh University too, and no sign of them so far – are they too posh to run a piece about a lowly ‘comic book’ writer maybe?
- The Rajs! (Scottish word mean something unpleasant)
And I even mentioned them already in THE STORY OF LEE book, see below:
Just to extend on what I noted already regarding our recent lecture talk in Glasgow, me, Chie and Paul Gravett, involving pages from THE STORY OF LEE:
I enjoyed that talk – it was odd to have my VOICE only appear back in my home country, while my BODY remained in Japan! But why not… actually its an easy way to take part in such an event, dont have to travel or book any hotel, just switch on the computer and sign into skype! It’s the first time Ive talked in public in Scotland about my books, even though Ive done many lectures now, all over the world!
A lady from the Alumni association of my old university, Glasgow Caledonian University was present, and will write a report about it for their website. Plus they have decided to commission me to make a comic for their magazine about my time in the University – Nice!
Then it was also very nice, just before the talk to get a mail from ILYA, well known British comic book creator of almost 25 years activity. He is, in a way, the godfather of the Story of Lee book, as it first appeared in public in his anthology book ‘Best New Manga, vol 2′. Chie was also in that anthology. So the SOL book is one of the children of this Best New Manga book. Ilya was impressed by The Story of Lee, and told us: “It reads very well, so I wanted to congratulate you. Overall it is very good. Quite a gentle drama – manages to convey the everyday, but also to ring true, and with plenty of cultural detail without overload.”
- Cheers Ilya!
I came back from Glasgow, where I attended Glasgow Film Festival and talked about manga in general and my work, of course including the Story of Lee, with Paul Gravett and Sean (via Skype!), last night.
At the talk, I showed this image to the audience and explained my working process.
When I create stories by myself, I automatically know who the main characters are and how they act and react. But when I’m working with the writers, in this case Sean, I need to read the script again and again and again, then digest it until I feel familiar with the characters and understand why they act like as the writer wrote. This process is very very important to me and sometimes it takes me quite long time to go through some scripts.
Once I do this part deeply, the rest is easier. When I’m ready and feel like I can see what the characters look like and how they move etc, I naturally start making memos and sketches.
At the stage of a page arrangement, one of the most important things for me is the position of speech bubbles. They will lead the eyes of the readers and make a flow of a page and the entire story. So I am very careful where I put them.
Well, I can explain how I do forever so I’ll stop here.
At Glasgow, the talk was successful and I really enjoyed my stay.
Oh if you are around the area, you can buy a copy of the Story of Lee from Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow while the Film festival is on (and you should have lunch at the CCA cafe since they serve some wonderful meals!).
Back from a week in Tokyo, and a successful week it was (with one surprising exception, that i wont gossip about!).
The manga great that i met there was none other than YOSHIRO TATSUMI, the originator of the mature manga GEKIGA style, way back in the mid 50′s. Myself, Asakawa-san and a couple of other lads conducted a taped conversation, discussing gekiga, manga in general, Tatsumi’s influences and intentions, my own books (including THE STORY OF LEE). It was a very illuminating chat, which will appear in AX Japan in April maybe. This photo is Tatsumi sketching for us – its a dark cafe as you can (not) see.
A real honour to be with Tatsumi-sensei.
And my other business in Tokyo was good too – a lecture in Lakeland college about mature manga,a magazine interview (all mentioning THE STORY OF LEE, of course) and a radio broadcast appearance at the ‘Whisky live’ event,where our 4 big manga pages showing how whisky is made where out on display for the public in Roppongi (art by Akiko Shimojima), and yesterday (barely one hour before i had to leave the catch the plane) my new book with Kodansha International arrived at their offices – YAKUZA MOON, and it looks wonderful (art by Michiru Morikawa). Very happy to see that!
I have been invited to be a ‘creator in residence’ thing on a popular anime/manga website, called ANIME LEAGUE, which has about 20,000 members it seem. And it looks like all of them have posted some questions for me on their forum already!:
So, I better going an answer some… including posting some pages and info about the type of conflict and relationship between the characters in THE STORY OF LEE.
The Hong Kong based newspaper ‘The South China Morning Post’ will feature an interview with me (or someone who looks a lot like me anyway) s. I discuss The Story of Lee a lot in that. Of course, because the story is SET in HK! That is coming out the first week of 2011 i think.
I’m looking forward to seeing The Story of Lee book itself – its on the way to me now. This will be my 15th published book so far, but the joy of seeing the finished book is still with me – and hopefully always will be!
My other book ‘Ax:alternative manga’ continues to do really well. I was just listed as UK chain store Forbidden Planet’s best manga of 2010, and critic Deb Aoki noted that no less then TEN critics lists feature it – making it, by her count, the 4th most highly praised book of all manga published this
Hi everyone. Let me introduce myself a bit first. I’m Chie and I’m the illustrator of The Story of Lee, forthcoming book about a meeting of a girl and a boy in lost in translation culture mixture.
I just wanted to say hi to you all and wishing a great holiday season and a new year, so I picked up today to post my first entry here.
Also, I’d like to show some pictures of an exhibition in London, which just finished. The Story of Lee was hugely included in this exhibition, That’s Novel! was on for a month at London Print Studio.
The exhibition was successful and the opening night was packed.
The image from the cover of the book and illustrated explanation of how I built up pages from the script by Sean Michael Wilson was printed in huge size and displayed like this.
Also, I had been asked to provide some full body images of the main characters and I did this (part of the full body image) …
Then the people at the studio made them into this!
This image was displayed the window of the gallery with the other artists’ characters.
At the PV, some people came up to me and told that they love what I exhibited. I hope they love book.. well I’m quite sure they’ll do!
Ok, enough of me. Nice to see (?) you all and hope I post before long!!
Meanwhile, have a happy happy new year!
*:..｡o○☆ *:..｡o○☆ *:..｡o○☆ *:..｡o○☆ *:.
P.S. I’m sorry in advance if my English is shaky! It’s not my mother tongue so please forgive me! Hope you understand me ok…
Sean, of NBM book ‘The Story of Lee’ here, with a bit of good news came this week:
My ‘AX:alternative manga’ collection was picked as one of the ‘Best books of 2010′ by the big industry magazine Publisher Weekly:
Out of the 1000′s of comics published this year they pick only TEN as the ‘cream of the crop’. And my AX book is one of them!