i-will-breach-the-ridge...-wait
alt_bar

CROSS-FERTILISATION

27 October 2004

I went to Abunai this weekend; a convention concerned with all things manga, anime and Japan. It's one of the two major conventions on Japanese (pop)culture in the Netherlands and what's more: it's the affordable little brother of the big & expensive 'AnimeCon200currentyear'. Granted, it's somewhat less luxurious in scale and execution and it doesn't feature enticing exclusive shows with Japanese directors coerced to fly all the way to our flat little country. But all that stuff comes at the price of tickets ranging into the absurd. It raises a few questions in my head whether they may have lost all contact with the reality that most of the people attending conventions as these are financially ill-equipped students.

That's why Abunai was such a pleasant experience. Yes, I had to sleep in a tent, and little amount of spiffiness was shot into my retina like fireworks onto the nightly sky at newyear's eve, but it was cheap, dammit! The atmosphere was pleasant and good, and not for a second did I feel I was missing something that I would have gotten if this were the coin-demanding other con.

But I don't mean for this rant to be a con-bashing, not at all. Both cons have their vices & virtues. I'd rather talk about what I did there. You see, for the most part I was in the infamous dealerroom, selling beautiful wares. You may or may not know yet that I'm part of a circle of graphic comicartists called Goldfish Factory. We make doujinshi; amateur manga. So far we've published a range of books, and conventions such as Abunai are always a big event for us. It's virtually the only place where we can have direct contact with our main audience; fans of manga. And more often than not we prepare heavily for said cons, straining ourselves to produce a host of books to appear there for the first time, and merchandise.

This time we had no less than three new books to present, one of which was Random Encounter, a parody on the Lord of the Rings movies. For this book I made the introductory seven-page story, and the rest was filled with yonkoma: traditional Japanese four-panel gags that read from top to bottom. The book was a resounding succes on the con, not in the least because it was a(n unauthorized) tie-in with Peter Jacksons excellent movies. It's a funny little book. Nothing substantial, nothing that you can really sink your teeth in, but adequate fun for a competetive price.

So we sold our way through the weekend and I had loads of fun spamming Captain August all around the grounds and drawing pictures of him in the books I had to sign. I do, however, have to be carefully though. You see, I don't want to give way to the misconception that Captain August has anything to do with Goldfish Factory. They are completely seperate things, August is a stand-alone project of mine that has nothing to do with manga or cons or self-proclaimed otaku. Just because I'm a part of GF, doesn't mean everything I do is under their wing. But still, it was the ultimate chance to spread the Good Word about August in a non-threatening and wholesomely consumable way.

Allow me to pimp my goods. If your curiosity has been aroused by my wishy-washy recollection of the convention and you'd like to have a look-see at one of the books GF produces, visit the Goldfish Factory website. If you'd like to read something that's a bit more closer to me, take particular interest in the book called Blighted Sun, which is a gothic anthology I produced. It's full of dark romantic tales, made by me and two other talented artists. Now this is a book you can really sink your teeth in. And if you don't feel like spending your money on anything, you can just keep following Captain August, 'cause it'll cost you nothing. But you'll receive so much love for it.

Roderick.