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Interview by Becki Burrows on ‘Oh Deary Me’

Posted: January 4, 2012

Just before Christmas, I had the pleasure of meeting blogger and multimedia producer Becki Burrows at a preview screening of Tatsumi, the powerful and award-winning new animated movie about Yoshihiro Tatsumi, the inventor of ‘gekiga’, a darker, more dramatic form of Japanese comics. Directed by Eric Khoo, it opens in the UK on January 13th. Becki has just posted this mini-interview she made with me on the night here on her website Oh Deary Me together with her commentary and links for the Tatsumi film, which I also heartily recommend you go see. And do check out Becki’s vivacious and informative Oh Deary Me website.

How/when did you get into comics and what is it about them that you find appealing?
It was TV that got me into comics first - Thunderbirds, Tintin and Batman shows led me to discover their original comics and from there I was hooked. I love how comics stimulate both sides of my brain, make me read and look at the same time and fill the gaps between the panels - and then the stories and emotions they create.

What is your favourite comic and why?
Impossible to choose just one! All I can give you is my favourite right now, this instance, which is a manga called Saint Oniisan [by Hikaru Nakamura, see ‘scanlated’ panel below], about Jesus and Buddha coming down to present-day Earth and renting a Tokyo apartment for their holidays, it’s hilarious and utterly original.

You’ve just finished editing ‘1001 Comics’ - tell us more about the content…
The first 500 entries cover more than a century, from 1837 to around 1985, the last 501 entries cover the last 25 years or so. That reflects how many amazing, innovative comics have been produced all over the world in these recent years. This is connected to the rise of women’s role as comics authors and to the medium expanding from traditional genres and tackling every subject you can imagine.

Do you think the traditional medium of the comic can survive the increasing desire for virtual reality… how / why?
Comics are already working brilliantly online and as apps, and at the same time we’re also seeing a renewed appreciation of the beauty of books as tactile objects, graphic novels with fantastic production and design, and the return of the hand-crafted. Comics are our oldest storytelling form… right back to cave paintings, so they can survive anything and will evolve as they have always done as technology changes.

What did you enjoy about the Tatsumi film?
I especially enjoyed the chance to get to know the man behind the manga and appreciate what drives someone to devote themselves to their life’s dream of making powerful stories in their own unique way. It proves the secret power of comics - one person, with pen or pixels, can make a reader react emotionally to something as ‘simple’ as motionless, silent drawings and words on a page.

Read The Blog At The Crossroads here.


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