comics

Barefoot Gen cover designs


Barefoot Gen cover designs

Last year I had the great honor of redesigning the outer sleeves for Last Gasp’s 2016 Kickstarter campaign edition of Keiji Nakazawa’s “Barefoot Gen”. The first four volumes were released in hardcover form to backers, and donated to libraries and schools. Over time, the softcover versions of all ten volumes will be replaced by new editions with my designs. Click here or the above preview to see the sleeves larger and in detail.

 

For these covers, I scanned-in many interesting and emotional panels from my copies of the 1985 run of the Japanese edition. My books are old and weathered, and I decided to retain that for the images in my final design(hence the back cover of volume 3 having some damage, for example.) For the logo, I made that in sumi ink with a large brush.

 

I’m very proud of these designs, and very much enjoyed seeing the hardcovers in print, and am looking forward to seeing the softcover editions when they are in print. Barefoot Gen is an extremely important and historic work of art, and I’m happy I got to take part in its new print run.



Lots of manga lettering!


Lots of manga lettering!

Hey everyone! A couple years ago, I added examples of my manga lettering work to the site. Since then, I’ve done a lot more books (I’ve lettered 60 manga volumes to date!), but never really had the time to show examples of that newer stuff here. Well, I just posted a TON of samples of my lettering work, showcasing a wide range of techniques. You can see the extremely complex and challenging lettering tasks I’ve taken on on Real Account, the large amount of hand-written work I’ve done on Forget Me Not, the all-by-hand lettering I do on Land of the Lustrous, the crazy action-packed sound effects of Ninja Slayer Kills, and other fun stuff! Also, check out the work I’ve done on dream-come-true projects such as Akira (for the upcoming 35th anniversary box set), Die Wergelder, and The Osamu Tezuka Story. I’m still in disbelief that I got to work on Akira. I’ve been a big fanboy for that series since I was 13 years old! Also, feel free to take a look at some of the pages for manga that I’d previously posted here, such as Sankarea and Maria: The Virgin Witch, since I overhauled the pages and added new examples. I think in general, the stuff I chose to share gives a good example of my range as a letterer, and I’m excited to finally have something convenient to show to family and friends who are curious what I do. Oh and btw, I went out of my way to avoid using images that are spoilers, so if you’re a manga fan, don’t worry about having stories ruined for you when looking. While you’re checking out the samples, feel free to follow the links on each page to buy the books from their respective publishers! More manga selling means dinner on my table.

 

Anyway, you may notice that I’ve changed the location of my manga lettering pages from the Design gallery, to the Comics gallery. Even though I do plenty of design work as part of my manga job, as a whole it seemed like it would fit in better in the Comics gallery, not to mention adding a little life to that page (since I never seem to have time to make my own comics.) Go ahead and check out the Comics gallery to see everything, but if you want a handy little list of all the titles reflected there, here you go!:

 

Akira  |  Barbara  |  Cat Diary: Yon & Mu  |  Complex Age  |  Die Wergelder  |  Forget Me Not
The Ghost and the Lady  |  Land of the Lustrous  |  Livingstone  |  Maria: The Virgin Witch
Ninja Slayer Kills  |  The Osamu Tezuka Story  |  Panorama Island  |  Real Account
Sankarea  |  That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime  |  Tokyo Zombie

 

PS: I also relettered a volume of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order a couple of years ago (another dream title, seeing as the original Battle Angel Alita is what introduced me to manga in the first place), but since I just handled dialog balloons, I figured there wasn’t too much to show of that.

 

What else is new? Since last I typed here, I had a crazy busy month of work, then a lot of preparation for my wedding, then the big day itself, then showing my parents around Japan for a couple weeks during their first visit here, then a couple weeks of recharging my batteries, then more work. I’m in a brief time of respite at the moment, then back to more work soon. I have another post ready to share with you soon, however, about another neat comic-related thing I worked on. Stay tuned!



Tatemae / 建前


Tatemae

Hey everyone! I’m, uhhhh, not DEAD. I finally made a new illustrated-photography piece. (Well, I made a quick one two years ago in ink over inkjet print, but this is my first digital one since 2013.)

 

Honne (本音) and tatemae (建前) are Japanese words used to describe the contrast between one’s personal feelings (honne) and the facade that one presents to the world (tatemae). While it certainly depends on the person, in Japan it’s often difficult to get past the wall that people put up and get to know someone’s true feelings. Generally this “wall” is a friendly one, mind you, but sometimes not genuine. I don’t think this is a uniquely Japanese thing, and I think we all conceal parts of our true feelings. I thought I’d explore this idea a bit since I find it both fascinating and frustrating.

 

One thing I often found unsettling while teaching English in Japan was how many of my students would wear a mask, not just when they were sick, but in general. Some kids wore it every day. Once in a while, during flu season, I’d walk into a jr high classroom and every single kid would be wearing one, and I’d be unable to fully “read” their social cues. I think for most people it’s a matter of stopping germ transfer when a bug is going around, but for the folks who wear them every day, it seems like the tatemae mask takes on a literal form.

 

Anyway, as usual these days for a lot of my art, you can pop on over to Society6 to order a print of it, or cell phone case, pillows, tote bags, whatevs!

 

In other news, this has been a crazy busy year so far with manga lettering, but pretty front-loaded. From now on I’ll have a bit more free time here and there to make more art and hopefully music. One of these days, I badly need to update the lettering section of my design page since it only reflects four of the 17 different manga series I’ve lettered, but that’ll have a wait a bit more. Right now, after a nice stay-cation, it’s time to get to work on the next book.

 

I will say, I got to work on a dream project earlier this year. I got to re-letter Akira for the 35th anniversary boxed set that Kodansha is putting out this fall! It was amazing! I’ve always deeply loved that manga, and it was a huge inspiration on me growing up, and to be able to observe Otomo’s art with the level of intimacy that working with it on my own computer brought, was a truly special experience. More on that later.



Looking back on Project Orion, and my history in and around comics


Project Orion: a restrospective, 1993-1997
(I meant to make this post on July 15th 2016, a special day, but life got crazy-busy. Oh well, better late than never. I’ll explain the significance of that date soon enough.) (Also, in case you’re reading this several years later, something broke in my WordPress files and it’s jamming all the paragraphs together. Sorry if it’s a little hard to read because of that. I’ll fix it when I have time. )

When I was in middle school and high school, I used to draw a ton of comics. I’d usually crank out an issue per month, full-color, and sometimes two. I started several series, all of which were seen by only friends and family, and the occasional comic artist I was getting a portfolio review from. I had big dreams of exploding upon the comics world as soon as I graduated and finding a spot in said world for my manga-influenced comics – a sort of rare thing in the states, in the mid-90s. Various things eventually kept this from happening… the realities of life… I started college and didn’t have time to make comics. My interest in photography became a full-on passion and pushed the comics aside and I took on new hobbies like making music. I started having a social life in high school, and later in college at techno & house music nights. I started enjoying dating girls as opposed to just wishing I could be less awkward and shy. …aaaand my confidence in my artistic abilities and ability to network waned, but let’s keep this post positive. Anyway, let’s rewind…
(more…)



Belladonna of Sadness


Belladonna of Sadness

Hello everyone! Long time no type. I’ve been back in Michigan for about four months now and haven’t posted anything on here because my comic lettering job has been keeping me so busy I haven’t had time to make personal art. Well, I did carve out some time at the end of March to make something, and I’m finally posting it now. Click above, or HERE to see the full pic!

 

I created this for an art contest for the Cinelicious Pics release & remastering of  “Belladonna of Sadness”, Mushi Productions’ final film. It was a lot of fun to create and to experiment more with paint, a media which I don’t often use. Anyway, before you click that link, note that this one has nudity and is NSFW / 18+, like the film that it’s based off of. I’d recommend if you didn’t catch the film on its limited art house cinema tour, to pick up that Blu-Ray!

 

As for when I’ll have more art to show you, no idea… Still in a glut of work for the next few months so I can’t promise anything, but I would recommend you pick up any of the following book series, as I’ve worked on them recently and/or currently! Die Wergelder, Junji Ito’s Cat Diary, Sankarea (I did vol 2 & up), Maria: The Virgin Witch, Livingstone, Real Account, Forget Me Not, Ninja Slayer Kills, Complex Age, & The Osamu Tezuka Story.



Panorama Island – out now!


Panorama IslandIn other news, “Panorama Island”, a manga that Ryan Sands and I adapted into English is now available! It’s being put out by Last Gasp, and is now available to purchase in lots of different places, such as directly from Last Gasp, or via Amazon, for example. It was a dream project to work on, since it’s a Maruo comic, based off of an Edogawa Ranpo story. The book came out beautifully, and is a nice big hardcover. Here’s what Amazon has to say about the story.
On a remote and mysterious island, one man builds a playground of hedonistic excess – replete with waterfalls, grand palaces, and gardens – a backdrop for his decadent feasts, orgies, and dark secrets. Set in 1920s Japan, The Strange Tale of Panorama Island follows the twisted path of failed novelist Hitomi, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the son of a rich industrialist family. Hitomi learns of the rich man’s sudden passing and creates a desperate plan. He fakes his own death, digs up and hides the other man’s body, and then washes himself up starving on a beach near the home of the dead man’s family. After successfully impersonating the now-dead son, Hitomi takes over all aspects of the industrialist’s life, including his company, his fortune, and eventually his wife. The failed author soon redirects the family’s wealth to his own perverse aims. A graphic novel based on the revered novella by Edogawa Rampo. Rampo was the godfather of Japanese pulp mysteries. Stunning artwork by master manga artist Suehiro Maruo deftly illustrates this Japanese pulp classic in fine detail. * 13th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for New Artist

 

I handled the lettering, touch-up, and book design, while Ryan handled the editing. Ryan and Kyoko Nitta did translation. Pick up a copy and enjoy it 🙂



ZONE SYSTEM – remastered


Zone System - remastered

As promised, here is the remastered version of my 2006 comic “Zone System”. I gave this one a more extensive overhaul than that of Webby Crunch. It’s now a page longer than the original (21 pps now), due to rearranging some of the panel layout and flow to allow for some of the content to have more room to breath. I also redrew half of page 7, as well as making all kinds of nips and tucks to the rest of the artwork. You’ll also see a ton more tones in this one, as well as new lettering and some script rewrites. As with Webby Crunch, I changed the page layout dimensions from its original US comic “floppy” size, to the wider A5 manga standard. Anyway, enough technical whatzits, go read it!

 

Since I’m back on a comics kick, I’ve been getting ready to work on a new one… I actually have two in mind that I want to do – a shorter, black & white one, and a rather long full-color graphic novel. Needless to say, I’m putting off the graphic novel for a while, as it’s a bigger fish than I can fry at the moment, but I’ve been plotting out the shorter one, and am hoping to start making it soon. I have to get in the right head-space though, as it’s going to be a pretty depressing story… but one that is appropriate for our times. Anyway, I won’t make any promises right now on how soon that’ll be done, but hopefully reasonably soon!



WEBBY CRUNCH – remastered


 

Webby Crunch - remasteredWell, I decided to “pull a George Lucas” on one of my old comics, and make some modern-day tweaks. (hopefully my tweaks are more meaningful than Ewoks who can blink)

 

In 2005, I did a short comic called “Webby Crunch”, and passed it out at the San Diego Comic Con. It was a little project to get me back in practice with making comics, which at that time, I hadn’t made in five years. More recently, after lettering a few manga localization projects (more on those later!) I got to thinking that I should re-letter my old comics, as I’m better at it now, and have a much better-looking dialog font I use these days. As I started looking at the old pages, I found other things I’d tweak, if given the chance… The problem was, the full-size files of my 2005 / 2006 comics were all lost when my hard drive died in ‘08, and all I had left, digitally at least, were the low-res page files that have been on this site. I decided rather than just lettering those, that I’d rescan the original art pages, redo every digital thing that I’d done previously (hopefully better), replace a couple panels that I was never happy with, and rebuild it at 1200DPI, so it can be printed again. I also changed the page format to a more standard size (A5), and did a lot more with dot-tone and a lot less with the sketchy cross-hatching that pervaded much of the original.

 

Anyway, click above, or here to check it out!

 

Next up, I’ll be doing a remastered version of my 2006 title “Zone System”, and will be posting that in due time. I’m also preparing to do an all-new comic soon. Not a horror story like these two, but pretty dark in realistic ways that I haven’t really covered in comics before. Stay tuned!



come to APE!!


Hey kiddos, it’s that time again! Alternative Press Expo is almost upon us, and you should come and visit my table! I will be there with my buddies Ryan Sands, Hellen Jo, Derek Yu, Calvin Wong, Anthony Wu, and Ryan Germick, and we will be selling all kinds of comics, zines, prints, and other goodies. Keep reading for info…

 

APE 2009

INFO…
Saturday October 17th, 11am-7pm  &  Sunday October 18th, 11am-6pm
at The Concourse (620 7th Street, San Francisco CAView Map

 

Here’s a map of where we’re gonna be in the building (we’re called “Bang Gang”, and are at table #418)

 

APE MAP 2009

 

This will be the debut of issue 2 of “Electric Ant” – the comics & literary anthology zine that I do with Ryan Sands. Several of the contributors in the book will be at the show, so be sure to come. Come on by, say hi, and buy some shit!!!

 

EDIT (from the fuuuuuture!): Click this photo of my buddies and I to see a ton of photos from APE 2009!

APE 2009