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When Akira creator Katushiro Otomo was announced as the winner of the Grand Prix d’Angoulême earlier this year, it was a notable moment because he’s the first Japanese artist, and one of only five non-French creators, to be honored with the Angoulême International Comics Festival’s top prize.
Part of the award is an invitation to serve as the president of the following year’s festival. Although the previous winner, Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson, didn’t make the trip to France, it was announced Friday that Otomo will not only come to Angoulême but will star in a two-and-a-half-hour presentation, alternating interviews with audio-visual presentations, on the making of Akira.
Artist Rick Celis clearly has a fondness for pop-culture send-ups, and for Gotham City. Although he was brought to my attention because of his mashups of Disney and Batman characters, it’s his Joker parodies that really caught my eye.
Drawing inspiration from movie posters, album covers and beyond, Celis creates a series of fun illustrations with The Joker, Harley Quinn and their associates at their center. While the Peanuts and Breakfast Club gags are somewhat expected, the tributes to Marley & Me, the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Gorillaz’s Demon Days certainly aren’t.
The Montreux Jazz Festival Japan has unveiled the main visual for its 2015 event, created by none other that acclaimed Akira artist Katsuhiro Otomo.
“I really don’t want to explain my work,” he said, “but since it is going to be held in Tokyo, I was strongly aware of the image of Japan.” The art will appear on posters and merchandise for the festival, held for 12 days in October in Tokyo; it’s tied to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the second-largest jazz festival in the world.
Ryan Humphrey had no way of knowing that his Simpsons/Akira mashup would inspire James Harvey to spearhead Bartkira, an ambitious — epic, even — jam project in which hundreds of artists would recreate every page from Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering cyberpunk manga using characters from Matt Groening’s beloved animates series. That, in turn, led international art shows. Now add to the chain Bartkira: The Animated Trailer.
If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic and fantasized you could split off a motorcycle from your car, Dark Knight-style, to race to your destination, you may be in luck. Well, some day.
Combining the functionality of Batman’s Tumbler and Batpod with the aesthetics of Kaneda’s bike from Akira and the Spinner from Blade Runner, the Lane Splitter concept design from Fast Company’s Mark Wilson and Argodesign is a car that converts into two functioning motorcycles.
Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo has won the Angoulême International Comics Festival’s Grand Prix, marking the first time a Japanese artist has received the event’s top honor. Just five non-Europeans have earned the award.
Jeremiah artist Hermann and Watchmen writer Alan Moore were also finalists for the award, presented annually in recognition of lifetime achievement to a living comics creator. The winner traditionally serves as president of the jury for the following year’s festival.
The prize is presented annually to a living comics creator, with the winner traditionally serving as president of the jury for the following year’s festival. Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson received the honor in 2014, becoming only the fourth non-European to do so, but the famously reclusive cartoonist declined to attend. He did, however, create a poster for this year’s festival.
You’ll likely recall the Akira Project, the crowd-funded fan trailer for a live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering manga and anime that sticks close to the source material (as opposed to whatever Hollywood’s been toiling away at for the past decade or so). It’s an impressive effort.
Now the minds behind that project have released a visual-effects video showing just how they recreated Neo-Tokyo, Kaneda’s iconic bike and some of those memorable scenes.
The pieces, some of which can be found in the “Comic Bricks!” gallery, range from classics like Detective Comics #27 and Adventure Comics #445 to modern issues like The Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Invincible #63. Ewoks, from Marvel’s old Star Comics imprint, even makes an appearance.
More than a year ago, James Harvey took Ryan Humphrey’s idea of a Simpsons/Akira mashup and ran with it, launching an ambitious jam project in which artists — 768 in all — would recreate every page from Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering cyberpunk epic using characters from Matt Groening’s beloved animated series. That’s the story of Batkira, a sprawling, loving tribute to both creators that received its own gallery show last month at Floating World Comics in Portland, Oregon.
Hollywood has been trying since 2002 to produce a live-action adaptation of Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering cyberpunk manga and anime, coming frighteningly close two years ago with a version that could’ve starred Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart. Frustrated by those efforts, a group of fans in 2012 launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund their own adaptation that would “do Akira justice” by sticking as close to possible to the source material.
And now the Akira Project has released the result, a live-action trailer from CineGround Media directed by Nguyen-Anh Nguyen.
Fans of both Harry Potter and Akira will likely find common ground in this well-executed video that reimagines J.K. Rowling’s saga of the boy-wizard as a 1980s cyberpunk anime.
Created by Nacho Punch, who also brought us Star Wars Anime, Harry Potter Cyber Punk Adventure: The 1980s Anime delivers such gems as a mashup of a Quidditch broomstick and Kaneda’s bike, “You’re a cyber-wizard, Harry!” and a Patronus Charm that looks as if it could level Neo-Hogwarts.
Here’s a treat for fans of both Astro Boy and Katsuhiro Otomo: The creator of Akira drew Osamu Tezuka’s robot for the cover of the third volume of the industry magazine Anime Busience as only Otomo can.
Crunchyroll notes that Neon Genesis Evangelion character designer and manga author Yoshiyuki Sadamoto took on Akira for the cover of the magazine’s second volume (below), while Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno depicted Space Battleship Yamato for the first.
It’s not exactly Kaneda’s iconic ride, but Honda has drawn upon the likes of Akira for its new bike, the NM4 Vultus. The company acknowledges as much in its press release, describing the motorcycle as “a ground-breaking machine inspired by futuristic machines seen in the anime and manga television and film styles, known collectively as ‘Japanimation.'”
Let’s just ignore that “manga television” bit and marvel at not only the design — at least two websites make Batman references — but the wording of the press release, which uses phrases like “future-shock style,” “stealth bomber silhouette” and “brooding menace.” However, the word motorcycle never appears …
While the Vultus may indeed be mistaken for the Dark Knight’s new wheels (particularly if the rider is wearing this Bat-eared helmet), don’t think it’s a concept bike; Honda promises it’ll actually be in showrooms.
LEGO modelers the Arvo Brothers have recreated Kaneda’s bike from Katsuhiro Otomo’s landmark manga and anime Akira, using only those little Danish bricks, of course. What’s more, they’re going to share just how they did it in a 200-page book that will be available beginning next week — complete with die-cut decals.