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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.
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.
After initially announcing he would decline the Angoulême International Comics Festival’s Grand Prix Award, Jeremiah creator Hermann has reluctantly altered his position.
“Under friendly but insistent pressure from publishers, fans and colleagues who don’t understand his position, Hermann changed his mind and seems now to accept the Grand Prix if he eventually wins it,” reads a statement posted this morning on the Belgian cartoonist’s official Facebook page.
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.
Japan’s Sendai Airport is installing a massive mural designed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the acclaimed creator of Akira.
Blending elements of traditional Japanese art with Otomo’s distinctive stylistic touches, the 258-square-foot ceramic relief depicts a boy, accompanied by the gods of wind and thunder, riding “against nature’s might towards the future he desires.”
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.
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.
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. So without further ado, let’s get to it …
Events | The British Library is staging a “long overdue” exhibit on comics, called “Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the U.K.,” which will feature comics in a variety of genres from the 19th century to the present. Featured items include The Trials of Nasty Tales, which chronicles the 1972 obscenity trial of the editorial staff of Nasty Tales. “I went to a very traditional school where they would raid desks and take comics off to the orchard to burn them,” said Dave Gibbons, one of the contributors to The Trials of Nasty Tales. “Fast forward 40 years and they now invite me to the school to lecture on graphic novels.” The exhibition runs May 2-Aug. 14. [The Guardian]
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.
Conventions | Coast City Comicon returns this weekend to Portland, Maine, and Batman artist Chris Burnham, who will be a guest, drums up excitement by explaining the nuances of Batman’s nostrils to the local newspaper. Other guests include Mike Norton, Yanick Paquette, Rachel Deering, Ben Templesmith, Alex de Campi, JK Woodard and Lee Weeks. [Portland Press-Herald]
Publishing | Jamal Igle and Kelly Dale have been named marketing co-directors of Action Lab Entertainment, with Igle handling public relations and promotions and Dale coordinating retailer outreach. [ICv2.com]
Creators | Brian Heater interviews Paul Pope for the latest RIYL podcast. [BoingBoing]
Creators | Ed Piskor talks about his love of hip-hop and his latest graphic novel, Hip Hop Family Tree. [TribLive]
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.”
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d be tempted to blow it all on the recolored Death of Superman collection for the ’90s nostalgia. But then I’d probably flip through it and come to my senses, and instead get something new like Fatale #12 ($3.50) by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, which looks like it’s going to be a trip, flashing back to Medieval times but self-contained as a good entry point for new readers. That’s smart comics. Speaking of smarty-pants, I’d probably get The Manhattan Projects #9 ($3.50) by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra. It’s the first part of a two-part story about scientists trying to take over the world. There will probably be lots of words that leave me dizzy. I likely wouldn’t be able to resist Matt Wagner writing The Shadow: Year One #1 ($3.99) because, you know, The Shadow knows. I haven’t been following IDW’s G.I. Joe universe but G.I. Joe #1 ($3.99) by Fred Van Lente and Steve Kurth seems like a good opportunity to try it out. And I’d finish it off with Cyber Force #3 by Marc Silvestri and Koi Pham because it’s free.
With $30, I would add to the above. Darkhawk is on the cover of Avengers Arena #4 ($2.99) by Dennis Hopeless and Alessandro Vitti, so I’d be compelled to buy that. I’ve been meaning to check out Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening’s Ghostbusters since I hear it’s real fun, so the relaunched Ghostbusters #1 ($3.99) is a perfect opportunity. Morning Glories #24 ($2.99) by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma seems too intriguing to pass up. I am so behind on the X-books, but I’d be real tempted to try Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo’s Uncanny X-Men #1 ($3.99).
My splurge item would be tough. I’d be real tempted to get either the Iron Man Omnibus collecting the entire run of David Michelinie, Bob Layton and John Romita Jr., including the famous alcoholism story, or Counter X: Generation X – Four Days by Brian Wood. But I’d probably end up instead getting the Daredevil By Mark Waid, Vol. 1 hardcover for $35. I don’t know, do I need to justify this purchase? It’s probably the most beloved superhero comic of last year, maybe for the last couple of years. It paved the way for similarly rejuvenating series at Marvel like Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, and Young Avengers. The art by Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin is swoon-worthy. And it wants to be on my bookshelf, dagnabbit!