Tuesday, December 21, 2010
After reading Frederik L. Schodt's 1986 book Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics sometime in the early Nineties, I joined the ranks of many frustrated American fans of Japanese Comicbooks who could not find the titles they were wanting to read. Animation, especially made for television animation, was imported to the states for years, but Manga, especially the stories featuring gay men in relationships, often called yaoi, were not yet available in translation within the United States in the early Nineties. Speed Racer may be one of the better known anime shows that aired on American TVs in the early seventies from Japan, but there have been many others.
Discovering a backlog of comicbook archives had not yet been imported to the US was maddening on a certain level, but in the intervening decades that has begun to be remedied. Fans began translating both movies and magazines, which eventually lead to commercial entities being formed and official publications. In the meantime I was seeking untranslated magazines for a time in the Nineties, mostly to examine the art style. The above picture is one of my first deliberate attempts to copy a Manga style.
At some point while hanging out on Capitol Hill in Seattle, a young Japanese-speaking woman accosted me because she saw me carrying my sketchbook and asked to see my artwork. She liked this portrait of a young man in a coat and asked if she could have it. I was still quite attached to it, but I did give her another figure this was based on. Later when considering characters for my forthcoming novel, I remembered this picture and decided this young man with the big eyes would be my protagonist. Thusly, I've named him Eon.