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Colleen Doran on the joys of manga

A detail from Mangaman

Colleen Doran and Barry Lyga’s Mangaman is a fascinating crossover in which a manga character arrives in an American high school, with the twist being that the high school students don’t realize that they are also characters in a comic book until the outsider points it out to them. It’s fascinatingly meta and at the same time a fun read—Lyga and Doran have a lot of fun importing manga tropes, such as speedlines, going chibi, and talking to oneself, into the more literal world of western-style comics. I interviewed the two of them for the SLJ Teen newsletter, but I saved one bit for Robot 6 readers: Doran’s account of how she became interested in manga in the first place. It’s an interesting bit of comics history, and she kindly supplied some of her original art to go along with it.

Here’s Colleen, who went on to write the well-received Girl to Grrrl: How to Draw the Hottest Shoujo Manga, on how she discovered manga:

When I was a kid I saw anime on television and had no idea it was from Japan. I used to watch Star Blazers and Battle of the Planets every day. I did a comic strip called B-Force for my band nerd friends. The heros flew around in a giant bass clarinet. It was nutty.

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What Are You Reading? with Brian Ralph

Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics, graphic novels, books and what-have-you we’ve been reading lately. This week our special guest is Brian Ralph, creator of Daybreak, Cave-In and Reggie 12.

To see what Brian and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.

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East meets West in new “metafictive” graphic novel


Artist Colleen Doran (A Distant Soil, Orbiter) has teamed up with author Barry Lyga (The Adventures of Fanboy and Gothgirl) on a new “metafictive” graphic novel called Mangaman. The story is about a manga character who falls through a rip in reality into the “real” world.

“Ryoko, a manga character from a manga world, falls through the Rip into the ‘real’ world — the Western world — and tries to survive as the ultimate outsider at a typical American high school,” Lyga wrote on his website. “When Ryoko falls in love with Marissa Montaigne, the most beautiful girl in the school, his eyes turn to hearts and the comic tension tightens as his way of expressing himself clashes with this different Western world where he is stuck. ‘Panel-holed’ for being different, Ryoko has to figure out how to get back to his manga world, back through the Rip . . . all while he has hearts for eyes for a girl from the wrong kind of comic book.”

The book is due out in November from Houghton Mifflin. You can see additional artwork on the book’s official site.

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