moby-dick-(or-the-whale)-94
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OPENMINDED

27 October 2007

The odd idiot savant among you might remember that in the distant past I once belonged to a circle of artists making dojinshi -amateur manga comics- called Goldfish Factory. Fun while it lasted, it spontaneously combusted somewhere last year and the game was up. Its legacy was the birth of a thriving small-press manga community in the Netherlands it singlehandedly inspired, and a portfolio of hit-and-miss quality titles.

I enjoyed my brief stint belonging to no group in particular, which enabled me (within the confines of my brutal graduation year) to make some pieces for other circles. A few weeks ago though, I was asked to join one of those, called Openminded. Yes, it is a somewhat pretentious and sanctimonious name, but the group is absolutely delightful and despite their books' often heavier themes and content; light-hearted and fun. They specialize in the particular Japanese genres of shounen ai, yaoi and yuri; being all about homosexual and intergender relationships. From the very mild to the very explicit indeed.

One might interject at this point that these are hardly my themes. In fact, rare is the case that I use anything slightly romantic or erotic in my work. This would be true. However, my special brand of themes fit the group nonetheless. My work is often seditious, exuberant, confusing and an attempt at dark humour. Apparently, this goes hand in hand with gay men sharing a box of chocolates. It makes perfect sense to me, so the slightest beep of objection won't exit my vocal chords.

My motive for joining this group -besides the fun there is to be had as regards social interaction- is that it brings once more the opportunity to see my work published. Openminded, more so than Goldfish Factory (though the comparison is faulty because the dojinshi scene as a whole has changed in this direction), has no qualms bringing out thick pockets printed overseas. A fabulous thing if one is planning to finally publish long-awaited Years of certain webcomics. One shivers with anticipation.

Roderick.