International Manga Awards Certificate

The award ceremony for the International Manga Awards 国際漫画賞 in Tokyo was held this week. Our book got bronze award from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs 外務省

Here is my artist comrade, Akiko Shimojima, accepting the award,  the inside of my copy of the award… and close up of a board that was signed by all winners and a bunch of well known Japanese manga-ka creators who came along to the ceremony.

Nice!

artists-board-signed

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Love is out there!

My newest book, about Love, is now out in The Netherlands! It is a colorful, funny, semi-autobiographical and informational comic about all the ins and outs of love – with dating tips, a critical look at romance, notes on sex, kids, the seven year itch and a whole lot more!

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This month is all about book promotion – there will be an official presentation in bookstore Scheltema in Amsterdam on February 9, then I will be at YaYCon on 19 February where I’ll sell the book and be on a panel, and on 4 and 5 March I’ll be at De Stripdagen in Rijswijk.

love-banner

It feels a bit strange. The world is on fire at the moment, every day seems to bring new fear and anger, and here I am, trying to generate attention for something as silly and trivial as love…

But is it? Is Love not exactly the thing that is lacking in the world right now? Is it not what all the protests are about? About this great unifying force that seems to be under threat? Is it not what all people really want – to love and be loved, and to have a safe place where to do just that? It goes beyond left or right, beyond politics and culture. Love is of all times, of all people. And yet, it’s still this mysterious energy, or as I say in my book [SPOILER ALERT]: “Love is an everyday mystery.”

So I’ll just give in to it, and make sure to enjoy it: after all, this book is also a celebration of the love in my life, with Yiri in the center, and a great circle of beloved family and friends around us.

There’s nothing wrong in reminding ourselves every now and then.

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(our marriage in 2009, p. 77)

 

What is LOOK about? Like, REALLY about?

look-cover

LOOK is about a few things. It’s about a robot, sure, but it’s also about friendship, loneliness, and wanting to feel that sense of belonging. More than any thing else, though it is primarily about a single question. A question our protagonist, Artie, asks himself before the story even starts: “Do I really want to be doing this forever?”

Here’s someone who’s only ever had one job and has been doing that job for countless years. Someone desperate to know if there is more to life than this. Someone who is unhappy with his lot in life and finally builds up the courage to do something about it.

It’s practically a story about a robot having a mid-life crisis.

But instead of buying a sports car and doing whatever else it is that people having a mid-life crisis do, Artie asks questions. He leaves behind the only life he’s ever known in search of truth, and when that truth offers no comfort, he moves on in search of something more.

And that’s what LOOK is really about. Finding the courage to change your life for the better, even if that scares you more than anything. Because, after all, you deserve to be happy.

Even if you’re a robot.

You can find Jon on Twitter where he posts his silly drawings and sometimes brags about his kids, and you can find out more about LOOK here.

International Manga Award

My first post of 2017 on the NBM blog and a very nice one: we won a medal in the International Manga Awards!

Winners were officially announced a recently. My book SECRETS OF THE NINJA, got a medal in the ’10th International Manga Award’, 国際漫画賞 organised by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs 外務省

They give out awards every year to international creators – and I’m the first British person to get one. Just the bronze medal award, in this case, but that is still very good, as only about 5% of the entrants get chosen for the final awards.

Myself and the artist, Akiko Shimojima, are very pleased to get this. We will attend the award ceremony in Tokyo on Feb 6th.

http://www.manga-award.mofa.go.jp/prize/index_10_2.html

int-award-website-page

Not My President

Technically, Donald Trump will not be MY president, but since the world is dealing with so many global issues and the US is a key player his presidency affects everyone. Like many others, I am deeply concerned.

not-our-president

I drew this comic as a submission for protest newspaper Resist! – it did not make the cut though, so I hope it will spread online.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Many best wishes to everyone this Christmas and let’s hope for a New Year with many new chances and opportunities for good. The past year was discomforting in many ways – it even affected my comic character Minnie, who’s usually pretty carefree…

minnie-freedom

 

Here’s the New Year’s card Yiri and I have sent out this year – it’s based on a New Year’s card from 1917, exactly 100 years ago! It references voting because that’s what we’re going to do in The Netherlands in a few months.

2017

Another book out in Korea

I’m proud to announce that my fourth graphic novel, World Domination: a Discovery in Comics, has hit bookstores in South Korea.

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Below are the pages with architect Aad Breed and his pyramid cities – I hope these cities get built one day, it’s an awesome and potentially life-saving design:

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It’s weird and thrilling to see my own pictures paired with (to me) totally unintelligible text. I understand that the title of the book in Korean translates to ‘If I Ruled the World‘, but that’s as far as my knowledge goes.

It also means I cannot read the Korean reviews. Putting text through Google Translate usually hardly clarifies things. Although I think I understand and like the first paragraph of the review on this site, which translates as:

Wonder Box new comic cartoon “If I dominate the world,” I invite readers to ask questions in a timely manner, and to experiment with misguided thinking. We all try to imagine it once, but rarely push the imagination to the next level. I have a complicated head right now. The author, however, made an interesting social inquiry cartoon while embodying his own imagination while remaining confused.

“Embodying my own imagination while remaining confused” – yeah, that sums up a lot of what I do.

At the same time, my fifth book, about Love, is about to go to press in The Netherlands – publication date in February. Busy times!