Had a lot of fun this weekend when I returned as a guest on the Beta Male Experience podcast, alongside host Corey and the ever-entertaining Ed Sizemore. In the first half of the show you can hear us discussing the movies we’ve seen recently, before moving on to talk about my new book Paintwork. It’s a fairly spoiler-free chat, where I answer the guys’ questions and go into quite a bit of detail about the ideas, influences and technology behind the stories. Well worth a listen, even if I say so myself. Plus Ed and Corey are always great value – go check it out now.
Paintwork is out now – you can get Kindle versions from Amazon US and Amazon UK, and versions for all other popular e-readers (including iPad and Nook) at Smashwords. Those of you that prefer to buy your eBooks from an independent store can grab it from The Wizard’s Tower.
The name Natsuhiko Kyogoku is probably unfamiliar to most anime fans, but the novelist has already had one of his works adapted – Madhouse’s 2008 series Mōryō no Hako – with a second, Loups-Garous, being adapted into a movie by Production IG and due for release in 2010. An expert in Japanese folklore tales and yōkai, the supernatural creatures that inhabit them, Kyogoku-san is best known in Japan for his award winning mystery novels. Unfamiliar with his work myself until now, I was intrigued when US publisher Vertical Inc sent me a review copy of his debut novel – and the first to be translated into English – The Summer of The Ubume.
Even if you’ve never read a single page of manga before, the chances are you’re familiar with Osamu Tezuka – and if the name isn’t familiar, then it’s likely that his most famous creation Astro Boy, is. Even though she’s never, to my knowledge, read a page of the manga herself, my girlfriend’s most prized purchases during last year’s Tokyo shopping exhibitions where the t-shirts featuring the iconic robo-Pinocchio she picked up in Harajuku. But Tezuka – often referred to as the ‘God of Manga’ and the ‘Father of Anime’ – had an impact beyond his cute character designs and children’s adventure stories, with even Astro Boy at times exploring the darker sides and moral ambiguities of human nature, and perhaps his strongest vehicle for this being the character Black Jack.
Mariko Koike is one of Japan’s best known women writers, having built a reputation on the popularity of her romance and detective novels, short stories and essays. While winning critical and commercial acclaim in Japan, along with a string of award, she has of yet failed to gain popularity outside her home country, mainly due to the obvious language barriers. Which is way I was particularly interested when publishers Vertical Inc sent me a copy of her first novel to be translated into English, The Cat in the Coffin.
Some of the coolest things I picked up in Tokyo were a trio of Katsuhiro Otomo art books – although sadly they weren’t for me, intended instead for my favourite Otomo-san obsessive Al T. Shame, as I would have liked to have spent some quality time with these beauties. Luckily though, I was able to grab a few shots before I let him get his grubby paws all over them.