Ah to have been in the room for this! At the recent International Manga Fest in Tokyo, manga superstar Naoki Urasawa (Monster), and the Euro-comics masters Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten (Cities of the Fantastic) appeared at a talk together , and here’s a translation of a Japanese report on the event. It turns out all three are interested in the “international style”:
One decisive difference between BD and Japanese manga is time, Urasawa noted—namely, the amount of time spent on production. When Schuiten disclosed that one volume takes him two years to complete, Urasawa sighed: “The norm in Japan is having to complete twenty pages a week. I’m jealous of that manner of working!”
Schuiten, however, took the opposite tack in his response: “I feel like I’ve spent my entire life just drawing Les Cités Obscures. Sometimes I wish I could have drawn faster.”
Peeters, who also been active as a manga critic, offered his take on the differences between the two artistic approaches: “Japanese manga series draw readers into their long stories. So the artist draws panels that get them to keep turning the pages. Conversely, in a BD, you draw the scene in such a way that the reader’s gaze remains focused upon a single panel for a long time.”
Even with all the language barriers, this must have been some chat up!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.