25 April 2013

The Artful Readers Club for April

Vagabond 3 by Takehiko Inoue
Inked drawing by Takehiko Inoue, coloring by me in Photoshop CS4.

Tweet Review: With swords like that, why fight?

If I can turn ANY club readers into graphic novel fans...I am going to be very happy, but then so will you. As most club readers are also artists, this challenge especially emphasizes the relationship between words and pictures. And, as in graphic novels and manga...that's exactly what you get!

A little look into Japanese manga is enough to pique anyone's interest.  The manga artists keep up with  societies interests. The stories written are illustrated for all age groups;  boys and girls, men and women. The series Vagabond, my April book is seinem manga which means it's written for men ages 18-40. But I don't think I'll be arrested for reading it.

The first two things to know about Vagabond is that the artist Takehiko Inoue is also the author and his drawings are done, up until very recently, with a black ink brush pen. The images are truly gorgeous.

Another impressive fact about Takehiko, is that he is an art machine. Each volume of Vagabond is about 10 chapters, and each chapter is about 20 pages (so 200, inked manga pages). He is on volume 34. That's 6,800 (give or take) pages. Fewh!

Sometimes when I am reading Vagabond, I catch myself pausing at the art work. It's so intricate and detailed, I just get caught up in it and forget what I am reading. However, the story is one of my long term interests, so I quickly get back on track.

I first read about Miyamoto Musashi as a teenager. He wrote a book called "The Book of The Five Rings", the (depending on what you know) quintessential  handbook on samurai sword fighting. Essentially, Vagabond is the story of Miyamoto. In essence, a historical fantasy.

I'd be very delighted if any ARC readers were also interested in the Sengoku period of Japan. If so,  these are the books for you, for the rest of some of your life. Truly golden.