Ha, got your attention with that title, right?
In this blog, I’d like to showcase the three running comics series I have right now: one is for lesbian magazine Zij aan Zij, the second for protestant magazine Predikant & Samenleving, and the third is popular science magazine Wetenschap in Beeld.
The comic about bisexual Minnie is the longest running, I’ve been drawing it for 13 years! In this episode, Minnie gets philosophical (as I get in Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics). I used this story as well in my latest book, on Love.
Reverend De Heer (my alter ego) has been running since 2012. I love drawing it, it gives me a chance to comment on a lot of current issues. Most Dutch Protestant reverends are rather laid-back people who are pretty open-minded about everything – I should know, I’m the product of two of them (see for more on this my graphic novel Religion: a Discovery in Comics).
The third comic is the newest: I’ve been drawing this for a popular science magazine for less than a year. I love doing research on different scientific topics (much like I did in Science: a Discovery in Comics) and it’s always a challenge to get all the information in the panel.
I like that being a simple comic artist gives me the chance to touch upon so many different subjects at the same time!
On February 11th, Jirô Taniguchi, one of Japan’s best known manga writer/artists, passed away.
Some of his better known work included The Walking Man, The Summit of the Gods, A Distant Neighborhood, The Times of Botchan, and The Magic Mountain. In addition to collaborations with Natsuo Sekigawa, Baku Yumemakura, and Mœbius.
In Japan he was probably best known for Kadoku no Gourmet (The Solitary Gourmet), written by Masayuki Qusumi, in which a lone business traveler goes around the world eating art restaurants, a work turned into a TV series.
His work also was frequently adapted to film, notably The Summit of the Gods and A Distant Neighborhood, which was the basis of the 2010 French-language film Quartier Lointain, about a middle-aged businessman who’stransported back in time and into the body of his younger self.
Last year, NBM published Taniguchi’s Guardians of the Louvre, a part of the Louvre collection which Publishers Weekly named as a “Top Ten Graphic Novel for Spring ’16”.
Among his professional accolades, Taniguchi received the Osamu Tezuka Culture Award and won multiple awards at the Angouleme International Comics Festival.
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.
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!
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.
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.
(our marriage in 2009, p. 77)
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.
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.
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.
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.