Monday, August 03, 2009
The Way of the MANGA MUERTO, PT 3
Okay, here's another update on MANGA MUERTO Vol. 1 (coming October 2009!). And what should be the final cover is shown above...
Let's start with the pin-ups....
I've now received all four pin-ups from my guest artists. I already showed you the first one I received from cartoonist Krishna Sadasivam. I'm going to save the other ones for you to see in print! I mean c'mon, let's show some support people! The other pin-up artists are Audra Furuichi, Mort Todd and Robin White.
Audra is co-creator/artist of Nemu-Nemu, an online comic about two cute lil' magical stuffed pups and their owners. Mort Todd has a resume a mile long! One of his earliest jobs was as Editor-in-Chief of CRACKED magazine. One of the things he's working on today is promoting his documentary film, SADISTIK!
Our fourth pin-up contributor is Robin White, a Canadian cartoonist currently living in Japan. Robin creates an online comic called DOODZE, and in fact in addition to his MANGA MUERTO pin-up, he sent me some sketches of his Doodze dressed up as El Muerto. Those you can see....
MANGA MUERTO Vol 1 will reprint the two previous stories. One from me and Rafael Navarro, the other one by me and Ted Seko. An all-new Manga Muerto story will debut in this book, written and illustrated all by my little lonesome! Here's one of the pages (well, at least the rough draft of it):
FYI: This is drawn on 8.5" x 11" paper. I'll draw out the whole story this way, then make any changes before I redraw it at the full size, which is on 11" x 17" bristol board. Then it's inked, lettered on the computer and banzai, we have a comic book!
One thing I've realized about working on this book is that while I love the idea of doing a 'manga' version of El Muerto (at least the specific Japanese genre of a young hero controlling a giant robot), I primarily did it for my own self-indulgent desires! I realize now, 8 years after I did the last Manga Muerto story, that my work often attracts a younger readership. Not that the regular El Muerto comics are too extreme for kids, but I like the idea of having a version of El Muerto that most younger kids can enjoy as mostly a real fun, visually appealing comic.
Lots of what goes into a Manga Muerto story are obvious. This is foremost my own nod to the classic animated series GIGANTOR. It's an American translation of the Japanese anime TETSUJIN-28, the creation of Mitsuteru Yokoyama (who also created the GIANT ROBOT television series).
But what I've also realized, just working on this new story and reflecting back on the original stories is that I was also creating, through Manga Muerto, a really easy to read, fast paced story along the lines of a childhood favorite of mine, SPIDEY SUPER STORIES:
SPIDEY SUPER STORIES, the comic, was based on the SPIDEY SUPER STORIES segments shown on the 70s classic kid's show THE ELECTRIC COMPANY. Both featured super kid-friendly tales of Spider-Man. The comic was drawn in a really clean style, minimalistic in details, but designed to keep the reader engaged in the story. I really like that type of storytelling, as far as being designed for a particular readership. (If you click on the link to check out an episode of SPIDEY SUPER STORIES, be prepared to see Morgan Freeman playing an umpire!!)
And another comic I think about when I look for how to approach all-ages material is the grand old American comic book, ARCHIE!
Archie comics, for all their hijinks involving teenagers, dating and chasing girls, always remained an innocent, innocuous story, aimed to entertain it's all-ages readership. Again, very clear, easy-to-read artwork and simple dialogue. Storytelling for easy reading!
(A page from the first Manga Muerto story I ever did. Pencils by me, finished art/inks by Rafael Navarro. Read the 4 page story online here)
So I'm definitely drawing inspiration from Archie comics, Spidey Super Stories and GIGANTOR, and at the same time creating an extension of my signature character El Muerto. I think the uniqueness of a supernatural Mexican character in Japan, with a giant zombie robot at his control, makes for a pretty interesting premise, too! All the while I'm entertaining myself, as well as the readers. At least that's the plan!
Next update will involve showing a page or two of the fully inked new story, "A Day at The Beach".