HB’s classification and why it is how it is

uploadWell, I know I was invited to do this Q&A but as I mentioned on my blog over at Deviantart I’m thinking of cancelling – 99% of the people have said no, they are not coming.

My feelings aren’t hurt in the least. I’m worried about a phenomenal waste of time sitting on the internet when I’m skipping one of those military wife functions to attend this. =^-^=

At any rate, I was surfing the internet a bit this morning and came across some Heavenly Bride reviews on Barnes and Noble. Now we know I try to avoid going to Barnes and Noble because the people over there review badly just for the sake of being mean. Or it’s by kids who expected HB to have super heroes and explosions simply because it’s an Amer-manga comic format.  I mean, it goes way beyond “I didn’t like this book” to people giving one star to another review they didn’t like – except that one star isn’t rating the review it’s rating my book. O_O And one of the newest reviews, I discovered today, called me out right a “bitch” and accused me of not finishing Heavenly Bride and starting up a new title. While giving HB five stars. -_-

To be fair, let me dedicate a paragraph to the rare Barnes people who reviewed fairly. God bless them. Like the person who slammed Heavenly Bride for only being manga-inspired in order to go into the “proper” meaning of manga, and how HB was mislabeled, etc. Or the other person whose review reads something like “adakjdf;alkjs;ldkjfaeorieure” – but hey. They gave HB five stars. LOL.

Heavenly Bride is a josei (or redikomi) Amer-manga. That is the proper term. It can be considered an original English language manga – which are comics originated in English and in the style of Japanese manga – but I feel it’s more of an Amer-manga, meaning it’s an American comic using a lot of manga elements.  It draws a lot of elements from manga, and if things read right to left on the page then it would all be pretty close. Manga artwork is not limited to the familiar styles we see on the shelves either. I’ve read manga – from Japan – with artwork very similar to Heavenly Bride’s. I’ve read manga whose artwork looked very American.

Manga is not defined by the art style alone, it’s just a large part of it because the artwork first was modeled after Japanese 9th century artwork. For example, not all of the eyes are big as some people think is essential for a manga – big eyes suggest youthfulness. It just so happens my characters are over 18. And the only reason why Japanese manga reads right to left is because that’s how the Japanese language is written. Some books coming from Japan have their artwork reversed so the book can be read left to right – because that’s how our language is written.

Heavenly Bride is a josei because it’s not an action superhero fest. It’s not a mystery. It’s basically a soap opera: josei means literally “comics for women” (even though we all know a guy can appreciate a good story as much as anybody). Usually a josei would center around a woman’s daily life, but Heavenly Bride is a science fiction romance. So the story flows in a soap opera type storytelling but has the odd feral creature to brighten your day. Maybe that makes it unique. Most likely this is why so many people find it boring.

Heavenly Bride is how it is not because I’m a great lover of manga. It’s because I grew up with Speed Racer and Robotech. Woody Woodpecker. Hong King Phooey. The Thundercats, Bravestar, and He-man. Years ago my artwork was heavily criticized by professionals to the point my artwork was ostracized because I draw a blend of Japanese and American style. That hurt a lot – their demand I change who I was not to improve my artwork but to conform to what they thought was proper.

But like it or not, my artwork is the product of cultural exchange. Manga themselves started as a result of cultural exchange. And the styles bleed into each other as things must do. I am 41 years old and I might even be one of the first true blends of Japanese and American cartooning styles as a result. Who can say.

But in the end, this is why Heavenly Bride looks like one but not quite and yet not quite like the other either. This is why it’s an American-manga comic. Or, “manga-inspired” if you simply want to avoid the drama.

By the way and for the record, I have not dropped Heavenly Bride to start a new title. 10 Confessions is simply a second project. Comic artists can and sometimes do make more than one comic at a time. =^-^=

Although I can verify that there are times I’m a real bitch. Just ask the hubby.