Mar 7, 2012

Inspirations: Appleseed (the manga not the movies)

I wanted to change it up a little from silly post about how far I'm along in colouring pages for the next issue or what ever and actually post about something that is also a part of my creative process. 
my inspirations. 
i have quite a few that you may notice by looking at this influence map 

(a meme) that i put together on my dA page.

one of my biggest influences in comics creation is the Appleseed series from Shirow Masamune.
I know, you're wondering why i didn't say Shirow was the influence... and that's because this particular series had a greater impact on me than any other work he has ever created.

an Art Adams cover for the US release
I first came across Appleseed in 1991 in a random comic book store, 
and the only reason i picked it up was 
1. it had an Art Adams cover (the Eclipse comics version) 
and 2. I couldn't read the title font initially and thought it said DippSpeed. 
I thought that sounded soooo cool. 
and the interior art blew me away even if it wasn't Art Adams.
i immediately started collecting and devouring all the issues i could find 
(which wasn't many, they were a bit rare at the time)
within months my friends were complaining about how my style was changing, 
and not my art, but the way i wrote stories.

Appleseed taught me even in a visual medium like comic books, if you want to have a good book that will stand the test of time... STORY IS KING.
it showed me you can have a really great balance between action and dialog.
i suddenly wasn't afraid to use words, and it made me enjoy the art of conversation between people, even in the most intense of scenarios.
the pacing of Appleseed gained it a reputation in Japann as being an American-ish manga, because of it's very atypical (by manga standards) pacing and layout.

the maddening degree of layered political intrigue in this series 
created a need to get a better understanding of global politics in the real world, 
and how it has affected the world through history.
I took that knowledge, adapted it to my own needs, and  injected it into my stories to make the worlds seem more robust.

and then the art.
i never tried to replicate the actual people in the pages, but everything else.
the amazing architecture in many of the rural areas of the city where the story mainly takes place, had a wonderful organic feel to them. I had never seen anyone draw houses that looked like rotting mushrooms and moldy fruit before... 
but it instantly made sense to me from an spacial stand point.
use the surrounding natural shapes and carve out the land.

Appleseed taught me not to fear drawing a crowd scene, 
and to use it as an excuse to explore character designs.
Sometimes when I'm dreading a crowd scene, 
I think about how much Appleseed's crowd scenes informed me about 
the world the main characters existed in. 
suddenly everything felt real, the cities and neighborhoods were alive with activity.
and quite possibly the biggest and longest lasting influence Appleseed has had on me is rocks.
beautiful crumbling and jagged rocks.

i had never seen damaged, war torn, concrete and erosion depicted like this before, 
it all looked so organic and captivating in the level of detail. 

Appleseed is an AMAZING manga series through and through, and has set my imagination going for all these years. I highly suggest going out and buying a copy of all four collected volumes. 
but if you can't afford to buy them right now and still want to read them as soon as possible go over to the Appleseed section of and read them.
i guarantee it will be well worth it if you do.

that's enough gushing for today.