The Final Vision

A good artist borrows, a great artist steals.  If you took this statement literally, you’d do yourself a great intellectual disservice, and your work would inherently ooze of disgraceful plagiarism.  However, the presence of a continuous tradition in art has been a source of great scholastic work.  The continuous tradition, or the presence of recurring themes in all types of art, is the reason why originality in modern work seems so difficult to find.  However, I do believe that your work should not be valued by your subject, but by how you treat it.

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Character Development

When I sit down to create a main character for a piece of work, I first determine whether or not the narrative requires a main character.  If it is a fragmented narrative, like Last Exit to Brooklyn or I, Robot, it may not need a main character for the story’s continuity, as readers can pick up on even minor characters’ identifiable traits.  Stories like I, Robot or World War Z can use the trick of a narrator collecting stories within the book’s universe, but since the manga I wrote has a clear main character, I won’t cover those methods any further.  Once I have an idea, I bring the characters I’d like to see interact within my idea into being name-first.  I start from a name because it’s a great way to take inspiration in an everyday situation; we all use names every day, we read them, hear them, and speak them, so when you’re thinking about it, several names will strike your fancy throughout the course of the day and get you thinking.  Another reason I start with names is because I mentally ascribe certain personalities and types of people to certain names, so when I come across an interesting name, it’s not a huge leap to invent an interesting character.

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Abstract – “Researching Manga: The Interaction of Image and Language”

Mark Zuschlag and I are collaborating to create a one-shot manga.  Mark will illustrate the work, and I will write it.  Manga is a word for Japanese comics, the graphic novel form in the style of Manga/Anime.  A one-shot is a short story in Manga form, and is sometimes used as the basis for a Manga series, but often stand alone.  Like art theorist Scott McCloud asserts about comics in general, I assert that Manga is a rich art form that contains as much nuance as is contained in classical arts, and I intend to write a work that reflects the subtlety and power possible in this form.  Much of the ability of the Manga rests in the interaction of language and images, just as it depends on the interaction of a writer and artist.  Mark and I intend to study these interactions while referring to the work of great manga artists, art theorists, writers, and artists.