Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This is a really long post.

In short: I'm back from San Diego which was awesome, and I'm announcing my decision that Reman will be a prose novel which makes me so so so happy.

I'm back from Comic-Con '07, and have spent the day chillin' at the studio with Kazu, Becky, Vasilis, and their buddy Ilias who is visiting from Greece. We rewatched Pride & Prejudice (the 2005 version), had some boba, had dinner with Chris and Shadi, and flipped through my collection of books that I got from San Diego.

The convention was the best I've been to in a long time. It was nice going there without any deadlines looming over me, so I could relax and socialize. Thank you to everyone that came out to say hello to me, and especially to those that showed their support by purchasing a copy of Flight or S&S. I had a great time chatting with all of you, and I wish I could spend more time getting to know everyone! The Flight booth was pretty crowded for the duration of the con, partially because of sales but also because we had a good turnout of Flight artists manning the booth and we all took turns signing readers’ copies.

I got to catch up with my old editors, meet new ones, and chit-chat with various professionals. I got to see old friends, got treated to some lovely dinners, and had a great time discussing industry matters with colleagues and readers alike. I also got a chance to nerd-out. Some highlights were checking out the Golden Compass movie booth where Johane and I got our picture taken with Iorek Byrneson (It's hanging on my wall now!), as well as attending the Avatar panel where they played the preview to season 3 on a huge screen TWICE! I was in heaven. Shortly after the panel one of the co-creators of the show, Bryan Konietzko, stopped by the Flight booth and talked to Kazu. I wanted to say hello and introduce myself, but I could barely get my voice out, and my face was red I'm sure, so my husband had to give him my book for me. It was pretty embarrassing, but refreshing at the same time because having met so many artists I look up to, it was nice to know that I still had the energy to be a fangirl about some things. So, my apologies to Mr. Konietzko for being so geeky about his show!

Of the books that I procured from the convention, the free advance reader copy of Shaun Tan's "The Arrival" from Scholastic was my favorite by far. A wonderful story chronicling the emotional journey of an immigrant, it is beautifully told without words. Instead, each moment is lovingly dwelt upon with carefully rendered pencil illustrations. It reminded me of "The Snowman" by Raymond Briggs. The book comes out in October, and I highly recommend it! It's a book you can really savor.

Since I talked about it with a few readers that stopped by the Flight booth, I thought I should post about it here so I could start blogging my progress.

I decided to write Reman Mythology as a series of prose novels instead of a series of graphic novels. I feel like it's a decision that has been many years in the making, and I know some of you were looking forward to seeing a good comic version of the story, but trust me when I say this is for the best.

Reman is a very long tale that would've taken me my entire life to draw had it been a comic series. It started as a novella that I wrote when I was 15-16 years old which I pitched to publishers with the help of the English department head at my high school. It got rejected by everyone, so I put it on the side until I went to college and met other cartoonists like myself. I was encouraged to turn my novella into a comic by some friends, and I did. The webcomic you see online is the result.

While I learned much from doing that, I always felt like I was holding back with the story. It was difficult for me to fully delve into the psychosis of my characters without sounding corny, I struggled desperately with drawing the landscapes and buildings knowing that I had no interest in learning proper perspective or conceptual rendering, and I had a terrible time battling between my desire to tell a good story, and artistic /professional pressures to make things look "awesome" despite not caring about that kind of thing.

I always had a sneaking suspicion in the back of my head that Reman was meant to be written in prose, I just never had faith in my abilities to write it. There was also a sort of guilty feeling of loyalty to the comics medium that was difficult to get over. It actually wasn't until I heard the dialogue to the 2005 Pride & Prejudice that my love for language and books was reawakened, ironically since it was a film. After watching it, I began spending more and more time at my local library revisiting some of my favorite classics like White Fang, various Jane Austin books, and Les Miserables. Following Laurie Halse Anderson's blog helped a lot too, since she was keeping a production diary for her latest book "Twisted" at the same time that I was for "Sorcerers & Secretaries". We were separately blogging about the same struggles with character developement , rewrites, and pacing. It dawned on me that we were essentially talking about the same thing: storytelling. It wasn't long after that when I realized there wasn't much difference between writing for comics and writing for prose, and that I could probably turn out to be a pretty good writer.

This doesn't mean that I'm going to stop drawing comics, in fact I have a great idea for another series that I want to do some time in the near future. However, as far as Reman is concerned, it will be a prose book, just like it started. I've been working on it for a few weeks now, writing three pages a day by hand in a small 9 x 10 college ruled notebook and ball point pen. I'm up to chapter three in the first draft (around 60 pages). Once the first draft is finished, I plan on typing up the whole thing and working on subsequent drafts, however many it will take until it's finished. Until it's ready, I won't be showing it to anyone or looking for a publisher, but I can tell you the story is better than it ever was. Working on comics has taught me so much about basic storytelling, so much that I feel like I don't have to ask for second opinions all the time anymore. I'm confident in its execution to this point. It's probably the best thing I've ever written, and anyone that enjoyed the webcomic will surely enjoy it in its new skin.

In any case, I wanted to get that off my chest. I'll be blogging about its progress here and there, since documenting the progress of Sorcerers & Secretaries was incredibly helpful for pacing myself. I hope you'll enjoy the journey along with me, and hopefully you'll still be around to read the saga of Tabby, Philip, Raed, and Paeter when it's finally printed.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Flight 4 and Comic-Con

The preview to Flight Volume 4 is up, and there's reports of the book hittings shelves at Borders and Barnes & Nobles across the country. Volume 4 features stories by myself (my fable called "Food From the Sea"), but also has excellent works from Kazu Kibuishi, Graham Annable, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, Michel Gagne, Sarah Mensinga, Andrea Offerman, Neil Babra, and many many more. It's my personal favorite volume so far, but then again ... every new volume tends to be my favorite! Anyway, check out the preview and order yourself a copy.


Come and buy one at the Flight booth in San Diego Comic-Con 2007! The booth number is 1128, and will be right across from Random House books. I'll also be doing a couple designated signings at the following times:

Scholastic Book Fair booth -- Saturday, from 2pm-3pm
Flight booth 1128 -- Saturday, from 4pm - 6pm

But as usual, I'm calling the Flight booth my home for the duration of the convention, so if you're there and are looking for me I'll most likely be with them.

added 7/18 --
Also, I'll be participating in this panel on Sunday:

11:30-12:30 -- Kids’ Day Drawing Workshop: Kids’ Cartoon Studio—Watch as six fantastic kid-friendly cartoonists draw their hearts out, right in front of you! Scott Morse (Magic Pickle), George O’Connor (Journey into Mohawk Country), David Nakayama (Marvel Adventures Hulk), Amy Kim Ganter (Sorcerers and Secretaries), Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin), and Nick Bertozzi (Houdini: The Handcuff King) will be showcasing a diversity of styles from manga to superheroes and everything in between. They’ll talk about their backgrounsd and then hit the drawing boards. Moderated by Janna Morishima, Diamond Kids Group. Room 30CDE

Yesterday I wrapped up work on a 10 page short story for the all-Avatar edition of Nickelodeon Magazine. It was a lot of work (so many references!) but it was so much fun. Anytime I see Avatar I'm always reminded of how much I love cartoons and cartooning. Thanks for letting me participate, Nick Mag! The fan girl in me is all giggly. :) I think the magazine comes out in the Fall sometime, but I'm not sure when exactly. When I hear it's on the streets I'll make an announcement.

That's all the news from me for now. See y'all at Comic-Con!