So here I am in Detroit. I'm halfway through a six hour layover on my way to Osaka. Yes, it's that time of year again... I'm making my annual pilgrimage to Japan. It sucks I can only really find the time to go once a year these days. I used to love going 4 or 5 times a year. You get used to the flights and it's always a good time over there.
This time around, I'll be visiting family over the New Years holiday for the first week, hitting a spa with Mutsumi for a few days after that, then it's off to Tokyo for business. But when you work in comics, business is really pleasure.
I'm actually really excited for the Tokyo part of the trip this time as there are some very interesting opportunities afoot. A recently approved project for a major U.S. publisher has put me in contact with some big name manga-ka and I'm going to meet with these artists whose work I've admired for years! The list would surprise even the most jaded manga fan! And maybe even more exciting is the fact that I've been asked to visit one of the biggest Japanese manga publishers to actually pitch a few series!! An extremely globally-minded editor recently reached out and is actively looking to bring more internartional creators into the manga market in Japan, similar to some of the attempts that were made in the 90s. At first I thought he might be kidding, or maybe just humoring me, but after a few initial spitballing sessions, I've been asked to come in and present my ideas to the entire editorial group at one of the main monthly mags. I'm not sure what will come of it, but even being let through the doors to meet with these folks is an honor for me.
From what I understand, the Japanese editors have been keeping more of an eye on the whole "global manga" movement happening here and in Europe these days. It seems they're not really interested in licensing titles that have already been published elsewhere for reprint in Japanese, but are up for taking a shot at it on their own by teaming foreign creators with Japanese artists for more of a "fusion manga" program. I know one other non-Japanese writer who's already had his story outline approved and is in the layout stages with his Japanese artist now. Fingers crossed that maybe I'll be one of the next ones...
I'll also be throwing my third annual Chesterfest Tokyo bash in the beginning of January, so e-mail me if you'll be in town and would like to attend.
And much like last year, I'll be doing my best to blog daily while I'm there, to give you a glimpse into my time in Japan as I go about my days. Expect goofy pictures and personal updates, as well as manga and anime news and gossip.
There's much more to come from me...