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Kazu's Interview on the New Rage Order

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:25 pm
by Frank Stockton
Hey guys,

I just wanted to mention that Kazu's video interview on the New Rage Order page is really inspiring if you haven't checked it out already.

A quality that Kazu has that 99% of talented artists lack is his drive to get things done. I know a lot of really amazing artists but I don't know a lot of people who are disciplined and persistent enough to do what he's done.

Everything from the putting Flight together, to getting his graphic novel deals, everything-- proves that he's the type of guy who really deserves all the press and attention he gets.

Anyway, just wanted to mention that on the forums. He's an amazing guy, I'm inspired.

that's all,


Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:16 pm
by Kazu
Hey thanks, Frank! :D And just as you posted this, I was playing Halo 3. Heheh.

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:50 pm
by Frank Stockton
I take it back.

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:07 pm
by jshamblin
HAHAHAHA! Just what I wanted to hear, Copper in print!!! :D

Here's the link Frank mentioned:

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 2:14 am
by gau dog
Five Amulet books, that's crazy. That'll like take up the next ten years of your life? A career defining series. Plus movie producing, that's so much work.

Listening to the panel, it makes me concerned over what sort of comics to make and how to make them. I wish I knew what strategy to follow. I've been thinking that it'd be good to work manga sized black and white because it's a format I feel many readers already embrace and is more practical to churn out. But as an American comic, I'm not so sure how it would be institutionally accepted. Do publishers give preference to color standard sized graphic novels? I'm actually thinking of making an informational "textbook" comic on a certain subject, presented like Understanding Comics was. One worry is if manga size is too small for such a thing.

On narrative story comics, I've thought about a more episodic presentation instead of a single complete story. I think most mangas are like this. But again, as an American comic, I'm not sure if it would affect it's sellability when pitch time comes (unless it's like Tokyo Pop who seem to have strict size reqs of their own). Not what most people think when it comes to graphic novels.

On comics for kids or "all ages", newspaper comics comes to mind but I don't get any feeling of growth there. And when it comes to manga, actually I find it kind of strange not to find any of the popular kodomo comics available. Comics like Doraemon or Chibi Markuo Chan haven't been picked up in America as far as I know. I wonder why.

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:37 am
by Kazu
James > I'm actually on a schedule of one Amulet book a year, and I'm finding ways to speed up the production so that I can aim for doing a book every 6 months. The two years it took to put together the first book can be mostly attributed to developing the story arc for the entire series before setting out to do the first chapter.

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:56 am
by pH
Great Job, Kazu.

That's so exciting.

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:11 pm
by gau dog
Wow Kazu, six month's 75% more efficient than your first book's production. I'll never understand how you get the sort of work you're doing done so fast. It usually takes me like 4-5 days full time to pencil, ink, and color a single page and that's after the writing and thumbnailing. The only ways I can think of speeding up are lowering the drawing quality and working smaller. I can live with that, only I'm not confident readers would want to.

Anyone got any insight on my concerns? Despite feeling driven, I feel like the future of comics is like getting into a car and driving blindfolded.

LA Panel

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 9:15 pm
by Mario Estioko
Greetings Kazu and All,
I'm new to the forum. I've kept up with Flight since #2, but just recently discovered Bolt City for the first time and I stumbled upon the panel discussion down in LA. It was very eye-opening to get the inside scoop from you, Kazu, and your peers in the industry. I'm working on a graphic novel as well and it was good to get the different perspectives on doing it as serial installments vs. the whole shebang. My thanks to you for sharing the knowledge, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot more taking part in the interchanges on the forum.

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:25 pm
by Cities
Watching that panel was amazingly cool in the same way that music school is cool. When I go to a music theory class, they show me why and how the music works the way it does. In the same way, watching that panel was immensely illuminating. I know that I am in love with graphic novel/comic book story telling, but I have no understanding of how it works on a functional/theoretical level.

Very cool stuff :)

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:42 pm
by thirdeyeh
This is a great little interview. Kazu, I recently bought Daisy Kutter and I gotta say your work continues to inspire and push me. Are there any plans for some sample pages of Amulet to hit the web soon? I'm so anxious to finally see some of it. Me thinks the hardcover edition will be pre-ordered soon.

Thanks for the hard work and responses you give us here. I know you've kicked me in the tail once or twice 8)

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:41 am
by Kazu
gau dog wrote:Anyone got any insight on my concerns? Despite feeling driven, I feel like the future of comics is like getting into a car and driving blindfolded.
I would worry less about what the market is going to do, and focus on what it is you feel is right to do. If I actually followed market trends when I got into this mess, I probably would not be doing as well (that is, if I am actually "doing well"), and I'd probably be completely confused. I came into all this knowing that I would draw a large fantasy graphic novel series whether or not I made any money doing it. When I read Nausicaa and Bone, I had that hot feeling in the stomach that said I had to do something like these books, and that people would read them because I myself would, and it was probably the one thing left in my career that had nothing to do with financial viability. So everything in my career was then bending towards my training for the day that I could tackle such a project. And now it's happening, and strangely enough, I have no doubts about my work. The only uncertainty is whether or not I will be successful doing it, and whether people will continue to support it. I'm not too worried since I have faith in the readers, but it is still a slight source of anxiety. If I based my decisions on what people wanted to read, that uncertainty would be all-consuming, and I couldn't possibly live like that.

Anyway, rant aside, you should just do what you want for now. When no one is paying you, just go nuts with your work. It's actually a good thing to not be contracted to do something while you're still discovering what it is you'd like to work on. Worry about the market when you have to cross that bridge, otherwise the worries can keep you from even getting there. Chances are, the market demands will only be an obstacle that you'll need to get around in order to accomplish your personal goals. In fact, I think that's pretty much the way it's supposed to be.

thirdeyeh > I imagine I'll be posting a lot of Amulet material on the web as the release date nears. In fact, there's a ton of material that got scrapped from the book that I would like to share as well...

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:20 am
by CameronCN
Kazu wrote:I imagine I'll be posting a lot of Amulet material on the web as the release date nears. In fact, there's a ton of material that got scrapped from the book that I would like to share as well...
Thats...beautiful. So...very...beautiful... :cry:

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:07 pm
by gau dog
Kazu- Thanks for your response. Where I'm coming from, I've followed the path of do whatever the heck I want and I still do but I'd like to package it right. Making a book of comics, it's an exhausting thing. It takes considerable time and effort. It's awful to feel the years spent in labor to have been wasted. Self integrity is important but I don't make comics just for self admiration. If market success is a factor, I feel that it's poor advice to say to people "do whatever you want". Anybody can be themselves, but not everybody will be equally admired or accepted. Publishers and fans aren't so kind. I have to consider making it good or appealing in the eyes of others in addition to my voice. I'd like to be certain I'm making the smartest decisions on format. Few can be so lucky to freely do their thing and have others just happen to love it. Graphic novels are gaining more in interest and popularity. But I don't get the feeling it's a bonanza gold rush. I know you're very careful about your stories, Kazu. Your Amulet blog tells how much revising, rewriting, even printing out the whole darn thing to make sure it reads right. You killed yourself to hammer out any self doubt. You also work with a circle of people who probably would tell you if anything isn't working. And you have an agent to make sure you're getting the best deal.

You know, I've self published my comic strip books and that took a lot of time and effort. I don't have many fans, didn't make any profit, and it didn't open any doors. It's like being encapsulated in a CGC comic vacuum with a poor grade. I knew I had to try something different. Luckily, the good things I gained from it are evident: it's made me a better artist, gave semi-fulfillment of voice, and it's made me meet cool people. I'm just missing the other pieces.

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:50 pm
by jdalton
The panel and the interview were great. I always walk away from stuff like this with lots of ideas.
gau dog wrote:Anyone got any insight on my concerns? Despite feeling driven, I feel like the future of comics is like getting into a car and driving blindfolded.
It takes me three and a half days to do an American-sized page, not including the writing and planning. Japanese-sized pages go quicker because they have less surface area. I don't think I'm likely to get any faster any time soon. My strategy, I think, will have to be to write shorter books. As much as I'd like to write the next Nausicaa or Akira, it's just not practical. In fact I find it encouraging that books like Bone and now Amulet don't seem to be topping the 200-page mark (at least per volume). 150 pages I could do in two years without completely quitting my day job. That's... for me... an achievable goal. In the long run at any rate.

I'm inclined to think that it's a good thing that so much is still uncertain about comics. It gives the creators more options to consider. We don't know what will work necessarily, but no one can say "that idea's not worth trying."