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Mon… Err.. Tuesday Manga Madness: The Bare Neccesities III

2 Aug
Lets talk about Akira.

It was once upon a time (quite a while ago) when I was going through the inexhaustible information that is the internet, that I came across a particular poster. It was not something out of this world. Looked like a standard Sci-fi poster to me. But something about it caught my eye. Perhaps it was the slick looking bike that instantly attracted my vision, or perhaps it was the mysterious Capsule logo on the back of the protagonists jacket. Or maybe was it the cracked road underneath hinting possibly at an apocalypse.

The iconic poster

Either way I did what any sensible anime fan would do upon encountering such a poster – devote my meager resources to hunting down and watching the movie. Needless to say, my mind was blown.
Akira the movie dealt with such a diverse degree of emotions and actions that I had never seen before in an anime. It was, and probably still is, one of the most complex and issue-laden movies out there. But surprisingly instead of answering all those questions that had popped into my head, the movie had raised a whole bunch of new ones.
How could this be? Was I missing something in the bigger picture? Was there something more? Was there some manner of material available on Akira that I had missed? INCONCEIVABLE!

Oh shi…

Turns out there was a whole library load of stuff on Akira that I had missed! I had missed the manga.

Katsuhiro Otomo’s masterwork was the pièce de résistance to the manga genre. This manga screams “EPIC” from page one and will continue to scream so in your head long after you have put it down. Oh what a manga.
What artwork, to be crafted with such finesse and infinite attention to detail that it brings the bleak world of Akira to life. What writing, to create such a story, truly worthy of remembrance long after all of us are dust.

But beyond the art and the many pitfalls and climaxes that follow a story, beyond the shackles of stereotypes that bind so many mangaka today, beyond even the hero’s journey – Akira is a tale of transcendence. A tale of humanity’s greatest triumph and its greatest tragedy. One that tells us that we have the greatness of God within us, yet none of the divine wisdom necessary to wield such awesome power. And this beautiful tale is told so truthfully and honestly, that the manga itself transcends the boundaries it sets down. This manga inspires hope.

A hope for a brighter future. A hope for wisdom.

Counting all the heroes and villains, there are so many characters in this manga that it is impossible to touch upon them all in this space and do them justice. I will however touch on Kaneda. The heroic leader of “The Capsules”. A streetwise gang of bikers who rampage through the streets of Neo Tokyo trashing anything they choose. Kaneda makes for a very fresh kind of hero – we never see him turn into a typical super-powered manga hero. The tropes are done away with for good. There will be no training montage chapter that will lead to the unlocking of great inner power. No miracle shall occur to rescue him in the face of great adversity. No, Kaneda survives one disaster after another not because he is a super, he survives because that is his way. He is good at it, a survivor born.

And because he has something to do before he kicks it: He bears the demonic Tetsuo a grudge he cannot let go.
A grudge that takes both of them spiraling down an all too familiar path. The cold shrouded path of death. And of death there is no shortage here. But death is not an ending, and there are greater things at stake here than simply dying. There is absolution. There is enlightenment.

But hey, dont you just take my word for it. Akira is a labyrinth of story and art dripping with awesomeness. Explore it on your own time, at your own pace. Find your own favorite characters and villains, find your own nuances. But for the love of all that is holy, read this story of human power and glory at least once…before it is forgotten.

I still dream of that bike.

Who is Aru, anyway?

13 Jul



A little History… 


Archie Comics, Walt Disney, and 2000AD

The first memory of ever seeing or reading a comic book was in, Nacovi, Nadi Town in Fiji. It was two different ones, an Archie and a Walt Disney Comics, with Goofy etc. Its reading these comics at the age of 7 or 8yrs old that has become the focal point in my life. 

The second memory is, when having moved to New Zealand with my mother in 1981.  A tent created with my knees under blanket at night, a small torch lighting the 2000AD comics, my friend had lent me.

Who would have thought that the from the age of 17 to 21yrs old would see myself spending thousands of dollars on comics and then losing then to the fire in 1999. And then I didn’t pick up a comic again till I began my studies for a Bachelors Degree in Digital Filmmaking in 2003. I got back into the comics as a way of meeting/making news friends in a city, Invercargill, New Zealand. I also started trading in them and also collecting as an investment. And have continued that trend up till now 8yrs later.  

A Writer is Born
The previous 2yrs I had watched all the Star Trek Next Gen, Voyager, Enterprise, Deep Space Nine,

and then the best Sci-Fi series in the universe,

. And having read almost all the Babylon 5 novels I became inspired to write my own Sci-Fi series. (I have written the 1st Pilot and most Season 1 and will at some stage, will illustrate or get an Illustrator it for a graphic novel.  


The Circle Graphic Novel
The highlight of the studies was making my own 90mins length Student Feature Film, which I wrote/directed and shot on a HDV Cam. It was this that U decided to turn into a graphic novel and I then spent 2.5yrs using a mouse with Adobe Photoshop turning the film into a 148 page graphic novel, called The Circle. A crime/drama story about four male students. Which had, up till last month 55000+ hits with 8 to12 months on myebooks.com until I took it down as I want to get this printed.

Incredi-Girl  Comic Book Series
I then decided to write a Superhero book especially for my niece who was 6yrs old at the time and Incredi-Girl was named by her and an acquaintance who I had given a PC drawing tablet to work on it only did the 1st issue before ended all communication with me. 

Months later while asking for an Illustrator to help complete the artwork on DeviantArt.com, I was able to find Mike Burbbeck, who completed 6 of the 7 issues, which I decided to Color (my 1st time) and Letter it. I still need to finish lettering and coloring it.  
(art by Mike Burbek in pics, left & right, all others are by me.)


The Girmit Graphic Novel

Last year I separated from my wife after 9yrs of marriage and did two university papers in Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts. For one of the papers I decided to put my 5yrs of research I had been doing on the history of the Indians in Fiji Islands. I wrote/illustrated/colored and lettered the first volume.  I have several trips to Fiji for this book. I have started work on the 2nd volume, but since this volume is very emotional and has a lot of painful ordeals in it I want to be in a right set of mind to write and illustrate it. 





For the past 10 weeks I have been doing a weekly single page upload of a comic book series on to a Facebook page about a world parallel to ours, only 25yrs ahead of ours. It’s a Sci-Fi political drama with the main character being a radio talk show host.  I am hoping to have this in print after I have completed the first pages.

Scriptwriter/Storyteller
 I have written and completed several movie and graphic novel scripts. And having created the world of Zero © I will be including some of those as part of Zero©. My strength lies in script writing but due to necessity I have also started doing my own illustrations. 

For Scriptwriting I use a programe called CeltX. I have been using this app for over 6yrs and I find it very user friendly and since they add the Comic set-up bit its made comic writing so much faster and easier. 

As far as stories go, I write in nearly all the genres; from Science Fiction to Crime to Horror to Dramas. 

Artist 
I actually don’t like illustrating as it takes too much time and I like to utilize my time writing, but due to costs involved in acquiring an Artist to work on my projects I have started to work on my own work. And so, from now on until I can afford to pay someone I will carry on working on my stories myself as I have enough stories to keep going for 10yrs.  

Software
I work on a Windows OS HP DV3000 Notebook and a MacBook Pro Snow Leopard OS 10.6.8. Manga Studio Ex is the Software I use but I also use Photoshop CS5 and Illustrator from time to time. But I find the best software for illustrating, lettering and design for comics is Manga Studio EX 4. I also use a Wacom InTous4 Drawing Pad 6″x9″ which for me, due to my wrist injury is flexible to use and using the pad makes the process of drawing digitally so much easier.

Freelance Comic Work
I am looking for work as Freelance as a Letterer and Graphic Designer for Comic Book logos and layouts. I have an extensive background in Art and Graphic Design and am fluent with several Creative Suites.
  
Well, that’s my comic addiction in a coconut shell. 

I am off to Zinefest over the weekend and so next I am hoping to have some video interviews and pics from the festival. Zinefest will have lots NZ comic book creators around promoting and selling their works.