‘I don’t read much of other people’s work. Maybe I should. Maybe I’m missing something. I’m learning so much from this experience, from the way people are responding to my work. It’s teaching me a lot. I feel good that I wasn’t wrong. I’ve been on this track for so long and I haven’t been that successful in Japan. But now some people are getting it. It’s very gratifying.‘ Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Released on the 13th January, Tatsumi is the new animiated drama film from Singaporean Director Eric Khoo. The film interweaves five shorter stories and the better known 800 page manga memoir ‘A Drifting Life’ by now 77 yr old Japanese manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi.
The film takes the audience on a dramatic journey of Tatsumi’s life from the 1960’s – 1980’s and is set in post war Japan. It is a dark humourous play on the cruel reality of life, sometimes shocking.. sometimes a little disturbing, this is an incredibly well made, entertaining and beautifully crafted film which I guess is why it has been selected as the Singaporean entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards (which takes place on the February 26, 2012…ohDearyme wishes it the greatest luck!).
Please note: a strong background/interest in manga/animation is not required for the viewing of this film…so do make it a one to watch!
FACT: Tatsumi coined the term gekiga in 1957 which means ‘dramatic pictures’. This would be a movement that would launch the alternative comics scene in Japan.
You can book to watch the film here
If that has you wanting to know more about the medium of comics here is a mini interview with Paul Gravett editor of 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
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 (pictured 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.
Paul Gravell Website
Check out work from aspiring cartoonist: Mike Medaglia here
In other news… I have fallen in love with this by Charles Bradley ‘The World (Is Going Up In Flames):