Some photos of the very plush, oversize-hardcover of Bartkira: Nuclear Edition, now in print and available from your friendly local comic shop!
Here’s some of my art in amongst some amazing work from industry veterans and trail-blazing newcomers, the perennial AkiraRalph spread!
So Bartkira‘s a whole thing, you know. Here’s an outstanding mural by Erik Veldmeijer and Frans Boukas at the Incubate festival in Holland. (Photo by William van der Voort.), some Mulhouse / Tetsuo cosplays, memorabilia and a Bart / Kaneda tattoo(!)
The title page with Bart / Kaneda and an interior spread with Milhouse / Tetsuo by project co-editor James Harvey:
Due to the grey area/public domain spot the work exists in legally, all profits from the sale of the book go to charity; OISCA Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Miyagi Prefecture and Save the Children, as chosen by Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon. So you can know your pennies are going to a good place in return for you being able to put a slice of buzzing pop-culture madness on your bookshelf.
The Bartkira project (pop culture mash of the Akira manga redrawn with characters from ‘The Simpsons’, here’s the tag to check everything about it on the blog so far) just keeps getting better; there’s been gallery shows all over the world – including Tokyo – tons of press and Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo’s even looked it over, apparently. Now there’s going to be another print version (the first was an exhibition companion from Rotten Oak) out through a mainstream channel, which is cool:
Published by Floating World Comics and Nucleus, Bartkira: Nuclear Edition is a full-colour, hardback book with just some of the 6-volumes-worth of comic pages reproduced inside, including some of mine from the project! Like, ohh, this kind of thing:
The book will be out in comic shops worldwide on the 30th of March. Here’s the Previews listing for it. If you’d like a copy, please get in touch with your friendly local comic shop (preferably an independent one like Gnash Comics or OMG Comics near me) and let them know. It might speed things up if you give them its code – JAN161028 – but that’s not essential.
As part of the launch there’s going to be an exhibition at the Nucleus gallery in Los Angeles that runs from the 9th-24th of April, with an opening shindig on the 9th from 7pm-10pm, if you’re in California!
So if you’ve not seen anything about Bartkira creep into your feeds yet, do seek it out, you can read it online for free, check the twitter hashtag or check the tumblr tag. It’s a truly amazing… Happening; it really makes you realise just how good a shape comics, illustration and the dizzy sense of genuine community are in these days. It’ll only get better too.
You can recap my artwork for the project here. My pages run on p251 – 255 in the third volume, but don’t go skipping to them because there’s just so much fantastic art bursting out of this thing. Will there ever be a print version? Probably not, because of many different teams of lawyers in different countries would have so many problems with such an object existing. The internet helps us get it available in the ether though, and you can read the fruits of hundreds of artists’ labour online at your leisure.
Also, there’s an online map compiled by Alex Jaffe here of where on – and all over – the globe all of the hundreds of contributors are!
As if gallery shows in different countries, including Japan, the US and the UK, loads of press coverage – including me seeing one of my spread pages turn up in a ‘Best Fan-Art on the Web’ article on Buzzfeed – weren’t enough, the project’s now followed Akira’s jump from manga to cinema and has gone into the realm of animation! Another gang of amazing, talented people have now produced a re-animated version of the original Akira theatrical trailer with Simpsons characters set in Neo-Springfield!
Sweeter than a squishie drink from the Kwik-E-Mart laced with government brain pills!
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…