My adult books contain images I've painted, but the pictures suffer because they are submerged in the sea of words. With the maturation of the graphic novel, words and images carry equal weight--support and play off one another--and have the flexibility to illustrate history and memoir.
When I was a kid in Japan, I loved my telephone book sized manga, but when my family emigrated to the US in 1967, I was no longer able to buy my favorites--they arrived a month late or were too costly in the San Francisco Japan Town bookstores. (When I attended my first American elementary school, I was wearing my red vinyl shoes with a manga character emblazoned on top. Boring sneakers soon became the norm.)
It's a kind of culture shock for me, now forty years in America, to finally see the manga tsunami sweep across the United States. I find that I am not as interested in the manga style as I used to be. I prefer the quirkier European attitude to drawings and storytelling: the "alternative graphic novels" The manga line work is "slick" whereas I like more of a bite.
I don't like to be asked why my graphic novel with WW Norton (Alane Mason, editor) won't be in full color as if black and white were inferior. I love black and white. Bold yet understated, elegant, succinct AND colorful! Any good Chinese ink-wash or Japanese sumi-e painter will tell you so.
Causes Belle Yang Supports
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