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Film, Comic Books
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.
Publishing | Sales of comic books and graphic novels to the direct market dropped sharply in August, compared to the same month in 2012 (10.39 percent and 24.55 percent, respectively), but ICv2 attributes the decline — at least as far as periodicals is concerned — to August 2012 having five Wednesdays while last month had just four. Year-to-date sales are still up over 2012, although things seem to be slowing down a bit. DC Comics shipped more comic books, but Marvel won in market share, and the top-selling graphic novel was the first volume of The Walking Dead, which points to a dearth of new graphic novel releases. [ICv2]
Conventions | Attendance exceeded 50,000 at the first Salt Lake Comic Con, held over the weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah. This article focuses on families with children who attended, and includes some interesting conversations with parents who are obviously fans themselves and take an active interest in their children’s comics reading. [Deseret News]
While something can be great on its own, the idea of mixing two things can lead to interesting combinations. Peanut butter and jelly, rock and roll, the Beatles and Jay-Z … and soon, The Simpsons and Akira. Cartoonist James Harvey is organizing a full-scale re-creation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s popular manga series with its characters replaced with members of The Simpsons.
“Milhouse is Kaneda. Lisa is Kei. Bart is Tetsuo,” Harvey posted on his blog. “Let’s do it.”
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our guest this week is writer and letterer Ed Brisson, whose comic Comeback with artist Michael Walsh arrives in November. He’s also the writer of Murder Book and Black River.
To see what Ed and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
It’s taken just over five years to get there, but Marvel’s The Twelve is finally nearing its conclusion. And no one could be more excited than artist Chris Weston. When Weston was approached in 2007 to draw J. Michael Straczynski’s story of a group of WW2 heroes lost in time until the modern day, it was a unique chance for the celebrated UK artist to create a time-spanning work on what would be the biggest stage in the industry. But between Straczynski and Weston’s commitments outside of comics, the production went through numerous stops and starts, which led to the 12-issue series taking nearly four years to complete. But with Weston finishing the art on the book last September, he celebrated the end of one chapter of his life and the beginning of a new one.
In the build-up to working on The Twelve, Weston expanded his horizons and began doing storyboards and concept designs for the movie The Book Of Eli. Over the course of The Twelve, and thanks in part to the delays the book had, Weston did extensive work on The Book of Eli as well as director Albert Hughes’ aborted remake of Akira. Currently working on Hughes’ next feature, Motor City, Weston plans to use the money he makes to fund his most ambitious project yet: writing and drawing his own comic series. Weston has done creator-owned work in the past with other writers and has also written smaller works on their own, but this new pursuit, both writing and drawing the material, could be one of the most risky and potentially most rewarding jobs of his career. 2012 will be a formidable time for the artist as he prepares for what comes next.
Chris Arrant: First off, can you tell us what you’re working on today?
Chris Weston: I am “between jobs” at the moment. I’m reluctant to take on anything substantial as I’m getting ready to work on Albert Hughes’ next movie, Motor City. I really want to avoid another situation where my film work coincides with my comic-book work. Unfortunately, that has meant turning down some pretty cool comic-book jobs. I’m not going to name them as it would be unfair to the artists who eventually accepted them. However, I’m keeping myself occupied by doing a few covers for 2000AD, some personal drawings, research and private commissions.