Comic Boom - Comics in Education

Comic Boom - S2 Ep.4 Exploring Manga with Lucy Forrester

May 10, 2023 Lucy Starbuck Braidley/Lucy Forrester Season 2 Episode 4
Comic Boom - S2 Ep.4 Exploring Manga with Lucy Forrester
Comic Boom - Comics in Education
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Comic Boom - Comics in Education
Comic Boom - S2 Ep.4 Exploring Manga with Lucy Forrester
May 10, 2023 Season 2 Episode 4
Lucy Starbuck Braidley/Lucy Forrester

A double Lucy episode! This week Lucy chats to specialist Manga librarian from Peters the bookseller, Lucy Forrester.

Lucy Forrester has been a children's librarian since 2006, and a comics fan since she can remember. Working for Peters Booksellers, she has made comics and manga her specialist field, and has taken part in conferences, conventions, and book awards to promote and increase understanding and appreciation of the graphic format.

Lucy shares just a fraction of her expansive knowledge of comics and manga in this episode - there are a whole lot of recommendations and some facinating insight into the history of manga and the industry that surrounds it.

Links to everything  discussed, including Lucy's recommendations  can be found on the podcast padlet.

 
Producer and Host:
@Lucy_Braidley
Contact: comicboompodcast@gmail.com


Music by
John_Sib from Pixabay

Show Notes Transcript

A double Lucy episode! This week Lucy chats to specialist Manga librarian from Peters the bookseller, Lucy Forrester.

Lucy Forrester has been a children's librarian since 2006, and a comics fan since she can remember. Working for Peters Booksellers, she has made comics and manga her specialist field, and has taken part in conferences, conventions, and book awards to promote and increase understanding and appreciation of the graphic format.

Lucy shares just a fraction of her expansive knowledge of comics and manga in this episode - there are a whole lot of recommendations and some facinating insight into the history of manga and the industry that surrounds it.

Links to everything  discussed, including Lucy's recommendations  can be found on the podcast padlet.

 
Producer and Host:
@Lucy_Braidley
Contact: comicboompodcast@gmail.com


Music by
John_Sib from Pixabay

Lucy SB:

Hello and welcome to Comic Boom Lucy.

Lucy Forrester:

Lucy.

Lucy SB:

Now, our starting point for the podcast is always to ask people about their personal journey into becoming a comics reader. Can you cast your mind back? When did that all start for?

Lucy Forrester:

Uh, very, very young. Um, I think pretty much as soon as I was reading independently, I started reading the Beano and The Dandy, which were, kind of ubiquitous when I was a kid, or at least I felt that way. my mum was, uh, a reception teacher and she was also the school SENCO and, she. Recognized when I was very young that I had, uh, some of the signs of dyslexia. So she would, I, I was really fortunate actually. She would coach me and encourage me to read all the time. And even though I think she didn't see the value in comics at that time, she was just really glad that I was willingly and enthusiastically reading. So I had all the beanos and the dandies, all the. I got the, annuals every year for Christmas, and I think my mom's attitude towards the comics started to change when I was, I think about eight years old, and I got my little grabby hands on a copy of Marsha Williams, Greek Myths and Legends. So, I dunno if you've seen any of the Marsha Williams books, but they were fantastic. They were quite revelation recently because here was, a subject matter that was well regarded by my teachers and it's in a comic strip. And also my, my morbid phase was in. Uh, sort

Lucy SB:

We all have

Lucy Forrester:

we are, we do, uh, mine lasted quite a long time. Uh, it was in fore flow and of course Marsha Williams, she doesn't stint on sort of characters killing each other and throwing each other off mountains and things. So, I thoroughly enjoyed it

Lucy SB:

and did you find validation from your teachers that you then, you know, when you knew you could talk to them about things that they were also interested in or teaching in the classroom, like myths and Legends, that, um, that,

Lucy Forrester:

Uh,

Lucy SB:

access those subject

Lucy Forrester:

not really, unfortunately. Well, it did help me too. but if I mentioned that I'd learned about those things from a comic to my history teachers, it was immediately what now you're going to learn about them properly from a proper book. There was a lot of resistance to comics. I, I dunno if it's the. When I was going to school, sort of the late eighties and the early nineties, or if it was the schools or if it was the teachers, but, yeah, they, they very definitely weren't seen as valid reading options when I was a kid. And I was, I remember it feeling really disappointing because I found them so very easy to engage with and I think it, I always had quite good reading comprehension. Thanks quite a bit to that before mentioned coaching for my mum, so I think I would potentially get a bit more out of them than I was supposed to. I would try and sort of read between the lines of the comics and you know, figure out Dennis the Menaces inner motives and, and the, the ethics of desperate ban throwing cows down a hill and really get into it in a way I probably wasn't supposed to. And, then it, it, if I ever brought it up to a lot of the adults in my life, it would just kind of get trashed so I wouldn't make the attempt ultimately. And then when I was 16, I got very lucky and got a Saturday job in the local public library. And our reference librarian, though it wasn't really his department, he was a big comics fan, so he, he took on the buying of the comics collection for this branch and they only had quite a small collection, but it was great stuff. And so every, every week I'd go into work and borrow something from the collection and bring it back the next week and spend sort of 20 minutes of my lunch break nerding out with a reference librarian about whatever it was I'd read. And, uh, that's how I read my first manga as well, actually. Um, it was a Ranma one half by Rumiko Takahashi. We had, think about the first four or five volumes of it. I'd never really seen anything like it. It manga wasn't really very common back in the late nineties yet, or if it was, it would be in the form of anime that was shown on more obscure channels or inaccessible times, or you would have to go to a specialized shop to find it. So of course, I'd, I'd never really encountered it in a serious way before. In there it was, there was five nice, shiny, new volumes on the shelf waiting

Lucy SB:

That does sound exciting. And is that your main interest now in terms of what sort of comics do you read now as an adult? Are you, I know you mainly through your expansive knowledge of manga, but do you have quite a variety of comics, reading diet now? What kinds of things are you into?

Lucy Forrester:

I do, I think, I mean, I've always had a great love for mystery stories and stories with the Twist and the Tale, and besides those sort of. Preferences, the format of the story and the style of storytelling don't matter. I'll give them a try, whatever it is. So, yeah, I, I try to go into comics with a fairly open mind. I know where my tastes lie, you know? so I've kind of made manga my professional specialty, not because. It's sort of my main field of interest as a reader, but because there's been a gap that I saw that I would be able to, to fill in. and that's been from my first job back in the mid two thousands when I, I worked for public library and we were given some money to, sort of refresh our graphic novels, collections and buy some. And nobody knew what to do. And I'd been in the job less than a year and was sort of the most junior librarian in the county at that point, going just sort of gingerly putting my hand up and saying, uh, I could, I could do this. so I would write sort of guidelines and I did a kind of little lexicon of manga and comics terminology that, that got frequently used so people could, understand what they weren't getting when they were looking at the supplier's websites and things like that. And I, I passed around the county and people would, come and talk to me about what was in their collections and what they needed and, what publishers they should be looking at and things like that. And I realized I actually had. Some kind of knowledge that was needed and that was unusual. And as a person starting out on your professional career, that is quite exciting to, to feel like you've got an opportunity to make a niche. I found myself just continuing with this and gathering more and more information and improving my understanding of manga and how it could be used and what the good points and what the bad points are. And yeah, I've done all kinds of things with that. I've been asked to speak at conferences and conventions and webinars. On what Manga is and how to approach it for, for teachers and librarians and school librarians. And it's been really interesting. I mean, I, I still find it very interesting. Every time I do one of these, uh, presentations, I discover something new that I hadn't known before.

Lucy SB:

And so in terms of manga, I just think it would be really useful just as a starting point because there is a bit of confusion around what manga is. Sometimes it's referred to as a genre of comics.

Lucy Forrester:

Yeah,

Lucy SB:

Which I know a lot of people object to and cuz they're actually lots of genres within Manga and how do you define that and parcel all that up in an easy to understand way.

Lucy Forrester:

I would say it's a type of graphic novel that's coming from a particular place and a particular history. So obviously the place is Japan and the history. It's quite interesting actually. manga has been a term that's been used in, in Japanese media for a very long time, hundreds of years, and it often translated into English as meaning whimsical imagery. But that could mean a lot of things. And sort of the late 19 hundreds, early 20th century, it was often used to mean, cartoons. So political cartoons and the sort of amusing cartoons you'd have in newspapers, maybe illustrations of, amusing moments in novels, that kind of thing. And it, it came to me in the more familiar form of comics. The mid 20th century. It's an unusual way in which it's grown up really, because unlike a lot of forms of art or literature, it can be traced back to one person. Have you heard of Osamu Tezuka?

Lucy SB:

I have, what can you tell us about.

Lucy Forrester:

he's known as the God of Manga. He was, a medical student. Tokyo in the forties and he began writing and drawing comics as a hobby And he pioneered not only the visual style of manga, but also the sort of popularist way of approaching comics, with the voice bubbles, with the sort of serialization friendly format. And you can still see a great deal of his influence in the way that Manga is produced today. his art style. I think a lot of people do think of manga as an art style rather than a storytelling style, and it does tend to have a very distinctive art style, but that's not really what defines Manga. I, I do find it very interesting to try and understand where the distinctive art style is coming from, cuz again, it does come from Tezuka's, original forays into comics.

Lucy SB:

Now I, I was told at one point that Tezuka's art style with a kind of large eyes, and the kind of focus on the emotions was in turn inspired by.

Lucy Forrester:

American cartoons.

Lucy SB:

like Betty Boo. Yeah. Which I find fascinating.

Lucy Forrester:

is, he was a big fan of Betty Boo and also of early Disney films like, snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. So I would tell this to people when I was giving presentations and they would look at me blankly as if they thought I was talking. Absolute nonsense. Cuz you put Betty Boop and a character from a modern Manga side by side, it's like chalk and cheese. So I use where I've got a picture of Betty Boo and a picture of a character from a modern manga side by side. I think it's the female main character from twin Star Exorcist that I usually use cuz they're sort of this slightly cyber punky looking teenage girl character. I'll put them side by side and they're not nothing like each other obviously. So then I, I do the same slide with those at either end. And in the middle is, one of Tezuka's most famous characters, princess Knight. And she does look a little bit like Betty Boo. And she's a bit more distant from the modern character, but there's some resemblance in that. And then between Princess Knight and the modern character, I put Sailor Moon With all those pictures lined up, you can see a sort of progression of style through the four of them. So from Tezuka's inspiration to Tezuka's own personal style to a sort. Intermediate modern manga image to the current day. It, it's almost like that, you know, that illustration? I think it's called the March of Progress, where the, the apes are gradually evolving into human, except the apes started out as Betty Boo, evolved, and you can really see the, the development of it through the ages of manga. So that's, that's where the characters with the very exaggerated facial features and the sort of mis proportion bodies. That's where it all come from. And to my mind, the point of the characters having that style of design, it's about expressiveness. So when you've got the face with the giant eyes and the G, usually the hair's doing something crazy to sort of reflect their emotions. And you've got the bodies with a very long limbs and the sort of mis proportionately large hands. Always gesturing, always looking like they're emotion. It, it expresses the character's emotional state and what they're doing very, very clearly. I mean, if you compare it to a lot of Western comics, like the sort of mainstream superhero comics and things like that, I'm quite often reading one and I don't know what the character's doing until I read the voice bubble because. the frame is set up in a way that they're quite far away from you for, so their facial expression isn't very detailed and is, you know, is Deadpool happy? Is he sad? Is he angry? I dunno, until I've read the text. But if it was a, a manga and far away, you know, they're happy or sad or angry because their limbs are flailing about and their hair's sticking up in the air and you can see their giant eyes looking at something at crying or, or whatever it might be. I really do think that's some of the appeal to it. It's a very, very visual medium

Lucy SB:

And there's lots of different styles within Manga and the two that are the two series that I've read of, Isadora and, the Girl from the Other Side. which are completely different. I mean, couldn't be more different. And actually the girl from the other side was a recommendation from someone who came on the podcast from Lucas Maxwell. And I really, really enjoyed getting into that. If we had that scale of different styles within Manga how would you sort of describe that? What could people expect to find if they hadn't really delved into the,

Lucy Forrester:

well, I think up to a point. It depends on who the manga is being marketed to. If you look at the way that Manga is sort of produced and, commissioned and sold, it's split up very distinctly between who the publishers are expecting to market it to. And this is partly due to. The way in which it's published in its original form, so the books that we get translated into English, those books, called Tank They're not how it's originally produced in Japan. The first publication of mangas is in the form of a magazine and they're serialized, so you'll buy a huge magazine. Some of them are, are absolutely massive. They look like a phone directory. That'll have a single chapter, which chapters are usually about eight to 12 pages of maybe anywhere from about 10 to about 20 different mangas. And then once enough chapters have been published, it'll get bound up into the smaller, better quality Tankoban volumes, which is what gets translated into English and that we. So very few of the magazine format of mangas are ever available in English, which is a shame. but the publishers will gather together, mangas that are on similar themes that have appealed to the similar audience and put them all in one of those big magazines. So from the very beginning, when they're conceptualizing the stories and looking for a suit, authors and authors, assistants and editors to match together, they've already got an audience in mind that they want to be able to pitch it to. So I think that does come into every level of how man is created, including the illustration style. So, most Manga publishing is split primarily by age group and then further by gender. And you don't get an awful lot of manga series. That aren't distinctly pitched to either male or female. Which is kind of a shame really. And you also get, Shonu ad Shoju Manga, which is aimed at teenagers, and you get Seinen and Josei Manga, which is aimed at sort of young adults and. And you even get gek manga, which, uh, Gekiga means, I, I think it's usually translated as dramatic images. And it's a term used by manga creators who reject the word manga because it implies sort of lighthearted, whimsical, and they want to tell more serious stories through their And so you've got these different, niches into which the mangas fit, and they tend to have an associated style. So for the younger readers, they're more cartoony. There's more detail, uh, applied to things like the characters clothing and, they tend to use those rather fluoride backdrops things like, uh, somebody will have a romantic thought and suddenly be surrounded by flowers. They'll have those sort of screen effects on them. And then with, Seinen and Josei, which is a slightly older audience, the art gets a little more realistic. And then even more so again for the Gekiga. And then at the other end of the scale, you have things like chibi style illustrations, which. Extremely stylized. Very, very cartoony. And they tend to be associated with, manga for younger children, but they're sometimes used in, other mangas to show that something ridiculous is happening or to sort of indicate that a character is behaving, in a weird or childish way.

Lucy SB:

Yeah, that's something that I associate with manga. Which is that, that real shift within a comic of the art style. And you're like, oh, hang on a minute. This is not the style that I was just reading a minute in order to sort of communicate some, an emotion. But it's quite, when you're not expecting it, like, hang on, on why, why is this someone else just drawing this picture? What's this random? Um, it's, it's quite surprising.

Lucy Forrester:

is, and I think it, it can be really effective when it's used sort of sparingly. So you get that, oh, what the heck? Kind of surprise of it. But yeah, sort of, sort of drag myself back around to your, your original question, the, the different art styles within the Mangar art style. I, I, I do think. A big part of that is to do with pitching towards a particular audience or towards a particular genre. So a sort of romantic comedy tends to look a little bit different to, a supernatural adventure. the romantic comedy's probably gonna have sort of a lot less. Heavy shading and a lot more detail in character's faces because they're needing to portray emotion. Whereas the fantasy adventure, there's gonna be a lot more, screen tones and, uh, graded shading used to, make big fantasy landscapes, there's gonna be more attention paid to the silhouette of the different characters rather than the smaller details, so that if there's a fight scene or something with masses of people involved, you can easily pick out which character is which. So there is, there is sort of practical purpose behind the different styles as well. and on top of that, you've just got individual artist preferences. I don't. If manger artists, when they're setting out, ever get told that there is a right or wrong way to do manga. But I think it's certainly easier to get publisher attention and to gather a fan base if your illustration style is closer to a conventional manga style. But there are plenty who kind of push against the edges. Of that convention a little bit and really make the style look like something that's their very own. I mean, as a couple of examples, I dunno if you've ever heard of, uh, a man creator called one who, is responsible for a recently really popular one called, one Punch Man, which is, it's sort of a superhero comic, but also a parody of superhero comics. It's very good. And he's also done this great one called, mob Psycho 100. So his art style, is quite simplistic. it's still very expressive, but it doesn't have the finer details that are, are really common in modern day manga. And in Mob Psycho 100, it's sort of used a very good effect because, It's about people with psychic powers, and this sort of sinister organization trying to seize control of, of the world. And this little kid who has about three facial expressions in total and, amazing psychic abilities and doesn't really know how to use them. Uh, so you've got this, these sort of quite creepy confrontations, these. Sinister figures going on, and he uses just very flat shading and, quite stayed body language and things for his characters. And it really does set the tone of the story really well. And it's not entirely within the field of conventional mango art, but it's still very eye-catching. And actually when he first produced One Punch Man. It was as a web comic with his own illustrations when he got published, as a more formal manga, they got another more conventional styles illustrated to work with him on it, which I really love one punch man. But if anybody listening to this is a fan of it, do go and have a look at the web comic cause. It just has a whole different tone, a whole different level to it. It's great. so yeah, and there are also manga illustrators who I think, adjust their style slightly to suit the genre and the type of story that they're, they're working on.

Lucy SB:

And do you think because of the nature of us having to go through the translation process, having to presumably a, certain, number of sales expected means that we are actually not getting more of those, kind of more on the outskirts. More pushing the boundaries kind of titles translated into English. That, that, that there's sort of more breadth going on in the Japanese scene that we are, we are missing out

Lucy Forrester:

I think so, definitely. There's a lot that doesn't get translated. it's sort of a vicious cycle of publishing and marketing. So I think. the publishers have gone well, we wanna publish things that are gonna have teen appeal and young adult appeal. And so that's what gets translated. And it's read by teens and young adults, so that's the fan base. So they wanna publish more for that fan base, and it just goes round and round in a circle. And it's, it's not really a vicious cycle because it's not sort a bad thing in itself, but as you say, we do, I think, miss out on the full breadth of what's published. But now I think, more publishers are starting to pick up manga again. I mean, over the last few years, dark Horse, which are famous for publishing a lot of sort of quite adult gritty, moody. horror and, science fiction comics. Uh, they do Hellboy and a lot of things like that. They started doing more and more manga and a lot of the materials that are on their list are things that I wouldn't have expected. The sort of the better known manga publishers like Viz or Kardia to be interested in the dark horse, picking them up, and that's fantastic. a few years ago, I, was handed some copies to review of, a series I think it's called With the Light, and it's about a modern day Japanese couple whose first child is. quite severely autistic and it's about them trying to find support and trying to figure out how to communicate with their son and what it means for their hopes of having more children and a sort of progressing both parents' careers and it's very emotive, but also it's clearly intended to be informative and supportive for parents of autistic children, and that's fantastic. It's wonderful. I. Don't know anything else like that in comics, but it went out of print after only, I think the second volume just because there wasn't a big audience for it. I do sort of think of what if, what if that had been picked up and really well, marketed if you could find just the right niche to market it to. But of course it's always gonna be a. And that's never gonna sell that. Well, unfortunately,

Lucy SB:

The benefit of be of web comics, I suppose, um, comes in because then you don't have to have such a big readership. You've not got those sort of overheads and you, can actually reach

Lucy Forrester:

yeah, you, you don't have all the big printing costs and the distribution and everything like that. It, it, it does have its advantages. Definitely. And then of course, the other end of the scale, you also have, Kodomomuke comics, which are comics aimed at young children,

Lucy SB:

Well, that was actually what I was gonna ask you about. That was my next question, was about comics for younger children. So yeah, I'd be really interested to hear about

Lucy Forrester:

there are quite a lot of them in Japan. I mean, mangas, a popular format across all sorts of different age ranges to quite young. And there are, mangas that are very distinctly aimed at young children, including some that are, are wordless comic. And they're published in much the same way with the sort of serial magazines and then into this collective books. But, I think the, the main reason so few of them get translated into English and there is a demand for it. Let me, let me tell you that I'm always getting asked if we have any that are suitable. The main problem, I think is the cultural differences because as an adult it's difficult to look at a. Or any piece of media, really a TV series or a film and say, okay, if, if I'm five years old, am I going to understand what's going on here? Because it's very difficult to sort of step out of our experiences of the world and stop taking for granted that a child's gonna know certain things. And that sort of goes double for manga because it's, it's from such a very different culture. And I think a lot of things remain in the manga, no matter. How well it's translated that are going to confuse somebody who doesn't have the context for it. So it can be quite obvious things like people greeting each other by bowing, in Japan. Public display displays of affection are a bit taboo. So, or at least more so than they are here. Even with the text, the actual language translated it. There's no way to neatly translate those little cultural references, and they're so easy for an adult to miss. Picking up on the fact that you need some explanation for it.

Lucy SB:

And do you think that's why maybe the ones that we do have for younger readers are associated with other kinds of media and things like Pokemon, which obviously got lots of computer games and TV series around it, which kind of support the reader in understanding that that.

Lucy Forrester:

absolutely. And also because they're already aimed at a young audience, the manga, I, I think people buying them for children feel relatively safe. Getting them, knowing that the content level is gonna be, yeah, is gonna be appropriate. And so you've got things like, Pokemon and Digimon and Splatoon that are based off those, easy to access computer games and TV series and things like that, and you know, they're safe. But also I'd say the main readership for that kind of comic is probably sort of key stage two and older. But with the actual Kodomomuke manga that's published in Japan, it goes even younger than that. I mean, you get sort of. There's a series called Hamtaro, which was quite famous, which is this wordless comic about this little girl's hamster who's escape, who escapes and goes on adventures. And it's, it's aimed for probably seven and eight year olds and it was very sweet. But of course it's set in a quite typical Japanese village where there's a lot of sort of traditional. Uh, activities, traditional clothing, traditionally made houses that are gonna be very difficult to, to recognize for a child of that age who doesn't know anything about Japanese culture. So, I think that for a younger reading age, it is really difficult to find suitable materials. In fact, I get asked about this a lot by, by primary school librarians and teachers mainly. The, the children are interested in, man, they'd like to start reading it. What can I get? And what I tend to recommend is, like we've said, the Pokemon and the, Splatoon and things like that, but there are a lot of themes and styles of, of storytelling and approaching stories that are quite common in manga, which you can find. Western comics. So I have my little cheat sheet, of comics that have a sort of mangaish feel to them, even though they're, they're Western comics, even though they were published in, the UK or America or maybe South America. And that work really well for a fan of the kind of storytelling that you find in manga and in Anime.

Lucy SB:

Can you give us a couple of those titles that are Western, but very influenced by by manga. That might be good starting points for people.

Lucy Forrester:

I'd recommend off the top of my head. Mega Robo Bros by Neil Cameron, who I think was one of your interviewees, wasn't he?

Lucy SB:

I love Mega Robo bros. yeah, he's been on the podcast. If you haven't listened to that episode, people listening, listen in. It's very good.

Lucy Forrester:

The Phoenix does some fantastic ones actually, and they've got a, a good broad age range of the types of stories that they produce. Another quite good one for an even younger audience. Are those Dav Pilkey, Dogman ones? a lot of manga. A main theme of it is sort of friendship and fellowship and how the different characters come together. And I think dogman does that really nicely, even amongst all the typical Dav Pilkey silliness.

Lucy SB:

In terms of secondary librarians, have you got any more broad recommendations of good starting points or secondary teachers if they were looking more at that kind of key stage three, starting points for.

Lucy Forrester:

certainly. But I think there's a few things to try and keep in mind. One of which is that, A lot of manga publishers will put age guidance on the backs of the books, which is so very, very helpful. Now the age guidance is for content rather than the actual audience that the story is designed to appeal to. So you'll occasionally get stories that are aimed at adults, but they've got a low age guidance rating because they've not got, they've not got any sex or violence or swearing or anything like that in them. They're just aimed for adults because it's a sophisticated story. So don't just go purely by those age guidance things. But if you're actually, if you go in a comic shop and look at the back covers of the, the manga books, you'll see usually down by the, the barcode, a little logo that'll say something like, suitable for all suit for all the teen, mature rated. And some of them will even tell you why they've been given that rating. Yen Press do that actually. They'll put letters on, so sort of. Uh, N for nudity, L for strong language and things like that, which is very helpful of them. Um, so that's a, just a good thing to keep your eye out for. Also what I tend to tell people is start with your audience. I think at that age range, you're bound to be able to find a few of your readers who already have some degree of interest and are gonna be able to tell you what series they're looking at, what they're interested in. And I always find, when you're having that sort of conversation with a teenager, it's a really interesting question to ask them. If you had a friend with really different tastes and stories to you, what manga would you recommend for them? And you can get some really fantastic list of books just by having these conversations with a couple of readers. Manga doesn't tend to stay in print for very long, unfortunately, which is a real stumbling block on trying to make recommendations of books for somebody. I could give you a really long list of mangas that have done well, and that I personally like but honestly, I, I think you'd go through the list and find a lot of them weren't available Whereas if you start from a point of talking to your audience, I know it's so much more work that so few of us have time for, but it's gonna get you a better used, better appreciated manga collection.

Lucy SB:

I did have that problem, so when I I was looking to try and get hold of the girl from the other side I couldn't actually find the first, I had to get a secondhand copy of the first, one in the series because I guess that one, was maybe has gone out of print or just in low stocks in, in the country at the moment. But yeah, I couldn't find it through sort of the usual avenues had to, to get a hold of a secondhand one, which was fine. Um, but, but yeah. Uh, now I'm panic buying the rest. I can't

Lucy Forrester:

No, I, I absolutely feel that I know exactly what you mean. They're so hard to source at the moment. And part of it is purely practical. It's almost all manga is published in the US and it comes to the UK as imports. So the publishers and distributors, they favor us buyers first and then us. And once it comes to the uk, they favor typically the sort of bricks and mortar comic stores cuz that's, That's kind of the bread and butter, and then everybody else gets dibs and out of a practical perspective As a comic lover, I absolutely get it. I do think that's, a practical way of doing it. But also I, I, I want my comics. Give me some, give me some flipping mangas, please.

Lucy SB:

Yeah, completely. so we are coming to the end of our conversation now. We promise you we will not blame you if we find it to be out of print or difficult to get ahold of, of, it anyway. You wouldn't have people knocking down your door. If you were to leave us with one recommendation, something, just a personal recommendation, could be for any age group, but if you let us know who you sort. Suitable for could be just for adult readers, but one title that you would like us to add to our ever lengthening to be read piles.

Lucy Forrester:

I would like you to add to your pile Full Metal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa. It's one of the most popular mangas of the last 20 years. It's a fantastic adventure story with a lot of comedy and a lot of really well-written, emotional, uh, sort of foundation. All the way through it. It's sort of an alternate history, early 20th century adventure story about a society in which, military might have. Nations comes from alchemy users. And it's about these two young brothers who, have been raised as alchemists and have joined. The military to try and find answers to questions that have been plaguing them since their mother died, and they almost, lost their own lives trying to use alchemy to bring her back. It's incredibly well written. The art style is, it's one of those ones I mentioned earlier where the artist has their, it's very definitely a manga style, but the artist has her own take on what she wants to do, and it's a really distinctive personal style that works so well for the story. It's wonderfully written. The story is complete, so if you can find it, you can buy the whole story from start to finish and have the whole thing there on your shelf, which is a thing. Good beauty.

Lucy SB:

Yeah, that's very

Lucy Forrester:

It's just a wonderful comic, and if you can't find it, Or even if you're not too keen on reading Manga, but you would like to know more about it. The anime is excellent. It's called Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood. It's really closely based on the comic comic

Lucy SB:

Excellent. That sounds like a brilliant recommendation. I'm is another one of those ones where I'm aware of the name but have not read it. I think I've seen it. Is it on Netflix? I feel like it might.

Lucy Forrester:

I believe it is. It has been. I think

Lucy SB:

Yeah, I, I feel like I've added it to my watch list, but haven't started, watching it yet. But, that sounds really good. I'm very intrigued to find out more about that one. So thank you very much. Is there anything else you want to talk about or say before we end our recording?

Lucy Forrester:

I would like to talk about what manga you are going to read, because I believe I said I'd recommend you some things, didn't I? So tell me what, what kind of books do you like to read? Because we did touch on people thinking manga is a genre and it's not. It is a, a way of storytelling. It's, it's a format or a technique that is distinct in and of itself, but it's also just another way of storytelling. So tell me what kind of stories you'd like to read

Lucy SB:

I do like a real mix of things. I really like, quite slow stories. where there's things happening in the silence. I think that's why I quite like girl from the other side, But I do like, I, I do like adventure stories as well

Lucy Forrester:

So something where the Yeah. Sort of the atmosphere is part of the storytelling.

Lucy SB:

Yeah. that's it.

Lucy Forrester:

Ooh. I think you could try 20th Century Boys by, Naoki Urasawa. Urasawa is massive in Japan. And I think his story are very complex and layered, so it's maybe not as widely popular in translation as some more mainstream kind of Shojen and shonen manga titles, but they're beautifully well-written. 20th Century Boys is this very slowly unfolding complex. About, a group of adult friends who've known each other since childhood, who have sort of stumbled upon an attempt to manipulate the fate of the human race, which seems to keep linking back to this seemingly innocuous events of a childhood summer.

Lucy SB:

Oh.

Lucy Forrester:

very sinister and really absorbing. I think you quite

Lucy SB:

That sounds really good. Yeah, I'm definitely intrigued by that. That sounds really good. Okay. 20th Century boys. I will look, look it up. Thank you. Oh, I liked that personal reading recommendation. That was brilliant. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for your time. It's been really interesting. I've learned

Lucy Forrester:

You're very welcome, and if you ever wanna do this again, I've so much more material to talk about manga. I mean, just, just tell me you wanna listen to me talk about Manga and I'm on my way. I'm off there.

Lucy SB:

Well, you can be, you can definitely be a repeat guest. I would love that. Thank you. This has been a really good starting point, so thank you very much for your time.

Thanks so much to Lucy for her time and so much expertise and the alleged. I'm thinking I'm gonna have to listen back to that one a couple of times to get all of that information on board. on that note, if you have a look on the website, www dot comic, boom dot. Peter at UK. Alongside the recording of every episode, you can also access a transcription of the episode. It is not grammatically perfect. I do not go through it with a fine tooth comb, but what I do make sure that I do. For every episode is make sure that all of the titles and creator names are correct. So if you don't manage to catch what somebody is saying on an episode, you can always go back, scan through and pick it up there and it will be the correct spelling. and also I. Have made sure in today's episode that all of the manga terms are creates in that transcription. So if you do want to look anything up, you can check it out on the transcription on comic boom.co.uk. I have bought 20th century boys. How could I not by 20th century boys, when I had a bespoke personalized recommendation from Lucy Forrester, it is an amazing book. I haven't got too far into the narrative yet. The artworks incredible, the characterization I'm loving. it's really thick as well. Like a nice quality. It's a good chunk of book and it's a really beautiful edition. I've got as a special edition, really, really pleased with it. And I am definitely enjoying it so far. So thank to Lucy for giving me. A little bit of a personalized recommendation. Thanks so much to everyone who shared and reviewed the last episode featuring Natalie Scarlet and the national literally trusts Afro manga book club. I, it was great to see that a little bit of a different format of the podcast was really welcomed. And you liked to listen to something a little bit different than hear about community action project. So definitely look to do more of that in the future. If you've got something going on. Near you. Let me know if you think your participants would be interested in. Being part of the podcast and we'd love to have some recommendations. from young people, hear what they're reading out across the country. So that would be brilliant. Do like share subscribe this episode. We're really picking up steam on. Season two and it's great to be definitely. We reaching new listeners. So please do carry on sharing that. You can find me on Twitter on at Lucy underscore Braidley, the podcast has also branched out onto Instagram very early days. I think we've got about two posts and just as many followers. But if you would like to find us on Instagram, you can find comic boom podcast on Instagram. At comic underscore boom underscore podcast, and the little excerpts of each episode that I do are finding their way slowly but surely onto that Instagram page. So if you are on Instagram, please do follow and you can keep up to date with the episodes on there as well. Thank you so much. Everyone have a good week. I haven't quite decided what episode we're going to have next week. So that will have to be a surprise. But, keep listening and I'll see you next week. You've been listening to comic boom.