Well, the first two event-filled weekends of my event-filled June are over and I thought I’d take a moment to review some stuff I have sitting here that doesn’t fit into neat categories and ramble on a bit about related things.
Let’s start with the concept of Doujinshi. As you can see, we defined this in the Okazu Glossary as: Small-press or self-published works. Doujinshi are sometimes parodies of existing anime, manga, novels, games and even popular celebrities, but are also often original works. In Japan, there is a well-accepted undermarket of these works which often violate copyright as it is understood in the west.
Here in the west, we also have doujinshi, which we often refer to as “Indie comics” or sometimes “Comix.” Indie, short for Independent, which is shorthand for saying “Marvel and DC aren’t hiring.” lol Kidding, kidding. Comix are often meant to be alternative, underground or otherwise not for kiddies.
The best Indie comics are incredible. Good or bad, they have something in common – the creators got together and *did* a thing. From beginning to end, they wrote, drew, laid out, printed and published the comic or book. If you have read Okazu for any length of time, you know that I adore people who take the reins into their own hands and just do stuff on their own like that. It’s what pushes the boundaries in any art form.
Today, I want to show you a few of these western doujinshi and share their stories with you.
Crême Brûlee is a doujinshi by a Dutch circle called Open-Minded. The volume contains both Yuri and BL in manga and text stories. The publication itself is extremely lovely, with color pages and a beautifully done dust jacket. The overall theme is that the book is a “menu” of works and that the romance contained therein is “dinner.” The stories are all in English. Art and writing is variable as it is in all anthologies, with links in the back for every creator, so you can look for more by them if you like. The overall effect is one of energy and enthusiasm and a genuine joie de vivre that makes you just want to smile. My thanks for this book goes to Lililicious‘ own Rosa Gigantea, Wendy. It was sent to me as a gift to celebrate Lililicious’ 5th anniversary and I really can’t thank her enough. I’ve been holding on to it to share with all of you. I hope you’ll visit the Open-Minded site and see if you can find some of their collections yourself because it was genuinely delightful.
Hookah Girl is a little off-topic for Okazu, as it is neither Yuri nor Lesbian in any way, but definitely falls under the category Neat Stuff, so I want to tell you about it. I met the artist, Marguerite Dabaie some years ago when I spoke to the Cartoonists Alliance at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Amazingly, I have kept in touch with a number of the folks I met there – every last one of them so talented that it takes my breath away. Margo’s work has ranged widely over any number of topics – some years ago she did a absolutely stellar book about cross-dressers in Germany as the Nazis were coming to power. Hookah Girl is an autobiographical piece, delving into the positives and negatives of being a Palestinian Christian in America. It contains anecdotes of her life and deals with larger issues such as the double pressure of being a non-Moslem Arab, and an Arab in the US right now. Drop by Margo’s website for some page previews and link to buy this book. I picked this up at MoCCA and am very glad I did.
One of the side effects of that long-ago talk to those amazingly talented kids (who are kids no longer, but magnificently talented young women,) was that I kind of built up a relationship with some of the folks from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. One of these, Hilary Florido, was one of those folks and again, at MoCCA a few weeks ago, she recommended I buy this doujinshi anthology she and a bunch of folks had done. It has, she said, some stories I think you’ll like – it’s a “Girl’s Love Megane (Eyeglasses) Comic Anthology.” I do like it, Hilary. Thanks! lol The stories are fun, they are definitely Yuri and very heartfelt. I’m not sure where you could buy this, other than a show, but check out de facto editor Kim Hoang’s website and ask her. :-)
While at the Prism Comics booth I picked up a copy of Leia Weathington’s The Legend of Bold Riley: Serpent in the Belly with art by Jason Thompson. There is much to like about this series – a princess named Rilavashana SanParite, who is amusingly known as Bold Riley, who unabashedly loves women and rides through the countryside saving distressed damsels and slaying things. Pretty much all good in my book. The Prism Comics Shop has all four of the Bold Riley comics and of course, many, many other GLBTQ artists available as well, including…
…the Juicy Mother 2 anthology. (Also available on Amazon.) The first Juicy Mother anthology was by Jennifer Camper, this one was edited by Jennifer and includes work by her, Joan Hilty, Ariel Schrag, Alison Bechdel and many more. I spoke a bit with Jennifer at MoCCA and she was really excited about this book. It’s great, I totally loved it. Again, as with all but Hookah Girl it’s an anthology, so art and writing styles differ, but since I’m more usually reading Yuri, it’s fun for me to wade in a pool of western LGBTQ work every once in a while. And it should be something you do from time to time, as well, to remind yourself that lesbians do not die or get married once they graduate from high school. And, that sometimes the very fact that some of us lesbians are angry, bitter and cynical is exactly why we’re so damn funny. ;-)
While I’ve got you all, I want to say that, although I did not buy anything myself, there was a lot more than just parody and derivative work at AnimeNEXT this past weekend, as well. I look forward to the day when manga doujinshi circles here are doing the kind of work that Indie comic artists are doing. Also while I’m on the topic, thanks to Sean and extra super thanks to Kelli for all your hard work there.
The moral of today’s post: Do NOT wait for someone to discover you. Learn to control your work, from inception to completion. Learn to write, draw, raise money, publish and promote your own work or how to hire someone to do the pieces you can’t. It’s your work and no one else’s – it’s your job to make it happen.
Thanks to everyone mentioned in today’s post – you really make all of this so very exciting for me!