My pages from James Harvey and Ryan Humphrey‘s ‘Bartkira’ project – a community project comic by more than four hundred artists where all of the two-thousand-plus pages of Katsushiro Otomo‘s Akira manga are redrawn with characters from The Simpsons!
There’s a cast list of who’s playing who here, and some more information on the project from Ryan Humphrey here.
There’s a Bartkira Tumblr here collecting the pages that’re finished, there’s some amazing work on there, and just trying to step back and look at the project as a whole makes you dizzy, just as it should do. The very keen can check out the Bartkira tag on Tumblr too.
Mayor Quimby is Mayor Nezu! Bart is Kaneda! Lisa is spiritual leader Lady Miyako! One of Lisa’s friends plays Sakaki, the girl bleeding out. Akira is played by Ralph Wiggum, so the iconic double page spread of the entirety of Neo-Tokyo undergoing a cataclysm just had to change from an orb of pure psychic energy to Ralph’s unsuspecting, dome-like mug.
I think my favourite character drawing in these pages is the little Principal Skinner / Colonel at the top of the last double page spread. The amazing thing was that the pages I was assigned were the very same ones I read in the UK’s ‘Manga Mania’ magazine in 1994 that completely blew my unsuspecting mind and reformatted it into manga-loving jelly. I’d never seen – or could even have imagined – comics like this existed before I’d seen them with my own eyes. (And never mind what seeing the Akira animated film late night on BBC television did to my – once again – unsuspecting mind…)
Up next, these are Otomo’s original pages below. The man is clearly a genius of penmanship (among other things) so these were pretty intimidating to work over the top of. I only had to come up with a more fat, basic, Simpsons style line over his frenetic panels though, so I got off lightly. I’d like to think I’ve learned a little bit in poring over just a handful of this guy’s pages.
My favourite Bartkira pages that I’d seen before I started drawing mine were the ones that seemed to bring some Otomo, Groening and something of the artist’s own style to the table, so I tried to head off down that tangent. It had to be in colour too.
Here are some scans of the artboards I printed out and then started inking over the backgrounds of…
I drew the characters on a separate piece of paper so the Otomo and Groening anatomies didn’t clash too much…