Posts Tagged ‘misc’

I don’t like to talk about potential jobs until I’m sure it’s going to happen, because one thing I’ve learned from being a professional artist so far is that any exciting potential project can fizzle out for any number of reasons so it’s best not to talk about it or else a whole lot of misunderstandings will arise (e.g. when FOX said they might be able get me some work doing Futurama merchandise art, but it didn’t end up happening. To this day I think a lot of people think I worked on the Futurama DVDs). So here’s one tale I never made mention of in public — until now!

December 2008, on a Wednesday afternoon while I was busy working on Yokaiden 2, I received this e-mail:

Hi Nina,

My name’s Bruce Ramsay. I do the covers at Newsweek. I have an IMMEDIATE need of and anime artist like yourself for a cover this week. Due Friday! $[amount removed] fee.

I can explain if you are interested and can contact me…

It’s Wed. night (here in NY)

Many, many thanks,
[phone number removed]

I wasn’t ever expecting to have someone from the second largest weekly news magazine (right behind Time) contact me hurriedly going “Nina! We need an anime artist, quick! And we want YOU.” so for a second I thought it may’ve been a joke. But sure enough, his e-mail was an official Newsweek one, so I phoned right away.

Bruce sounded stressed out, and he described himself as “frazzled”. The editor couldn’t decide on a cover for the next issue (due Friday) and kept changing his mind on it. The cover story was to be about how the Japanese auto industry is upstaging the American auto industry, and how the US can learn from Japan’s ways. The editor decided the cover art should feature The General Lee and Bo and Luke from The Dukes of Hazzard, anime style. Bruce had no idea where he could get an anime style artist, but a friend gave him two names: huge manga publisher Tokyopop, and mine. He contacted Tokyopop, who gave him a list of available artists working for them, and went to my website. He decided my style would suit the subject matter best.

I agreed to the job and did a few rough thumbnail sketches, but unfortunately, the next day he contacted me again saying the editor changed his mind again and the cover story won’t be about the auto industry at all anymore. I understood that things move incredibly fast in the production of a magazine as widely circulated as Newsweek and things change all the time, so I wasn’t too surprised either. He thanked me for the quick turnaround and sent me a nice kill fee for the few sketches I did, which was very nice of him.

It’s too bad I couldn’t do the cover, but it’s still very cool that I was given this opportunity.

P.S. I’d still love to do an awesome magazine cover, so if there’s anyone who can get me such a job reading this…contact me?


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…and how they’ve influenced me.

BIG but beautiful images

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Fujiko F. Fujio is one of my favourite manga artists. Along with Fujiko Fujio (A) they did Doraemon, Pa-man, Esper Mami and other classic children’s manga. His favourite genre to do was SF, but to him, SF didn’t stand for “science fiction” but “sukoshi fushigi“, meaning “slightly strange/mysterious”. I grew up reading mainly Doraemon — my works have been hugely influenced by his (though it might not be easily evident).

He’s done some grimmer, bit more disturbing works, and his 34-page short story “Minotaurus’s Plate” (published October 10, 1969) is one of them. In February of last year, I scanlated it to show my friends. Today I’ve decided to upload it here to show people what a great writer and artist he is. Enjoy!

Read from right to left.

Minotaurus’s Plate – not quite Doraemon

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San Diego Comic-Con 2009 was my very first Comic-Con. I had always wanted to go — especially since I used to attend Anime Expo every year with friends — but my usual congoing group didn’t feel the same way. Since I’ve stopped going to Expo, I decided to make it my goal to attend in 2010…that is, until Murder He Wrote got nominated for an Eisner. No part of me thought we would win (I compared our chances of winning to the chances of a wacky slapstick comedy winning Best Picture at the Oscars when up against epic profound war movies and arthouse films); however, I didn’t want to miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the ceremony and hear my name announced as one of the nominees. And so I opted to go this year instead, prepared for my first major award loss.

Little did I realize then how incredible the trip would be!

click for my full San Diego Comic-Con 2009 report

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Because sometimes I just want to broadcast a one-line message to the world:


Don’t know how often I’ll use it, but follow me if you wish!

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I was clicking around Random House‘s homepage, when I came across a downloadable guide to graphic novels for librarians who want to expand their graphic novel selection. See the Graphic Novel Catalog here.

I couldn’t help but notice the cover:

Yes, there’s Yokaiden, right there along with some infinitely more famous works such as Batman, Maus, Transmetropolitan. How odd!

Even odder: Yokaiden isn’t even listed in the catalog! Well, at least they credited me right underneath the image in case anyone wonders where that picture came from.

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Hey so Yokaiden’s been out for half a month! Do you have a copy? Yes? Good! No? Why not?

Here is some online feedback so far!

6 reviews up at Amazon — it has a 5 star rating there so far. (I have a feeling Tim Lasiuta from Red Deer, Alberta thought my comic was originally in Japanese….)
2 reviews up at Chapters, and a 5 leaf rating.

A positive review up at Precocious Curmudgeon by David Welsh. Prosperos Manga wasn’t as impressed. But David Grendell put it in his top 5.

But the most flattering review of all is by Peter Gutiérrez at Firefox News, where he compares Yokaiden to Bone, one of my all-time favourite American comics!

I just returned from a weeklong trip to Toronto where I saw Hawksley Workman live at Massey Hall, took pictures of dinosaurs, examined a bunch of very old shoes, rode the Rocket, went 553.34 m up in the air, and spotted Yokaiden in a store for the very first time (it was in a Chapters). And now it’s straight back to work.

There is an article on me in the November issue of the Nikkei Voice which I’ll be scanning soon. And there will be a podcast about Yokaiden going up later in the day.

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