Good news: the Forums are working again! But as you can see the interface doesn’t look all Leviathan-y anymore, which is sad. We’re going to get that fixed, but I figured it was more important to make them work again before making them boo-tiful.
That was not scheduled maintenance, by the way, just a tech’splosion followed by some updates that we had to do anyway. Sorry for your withdrawal symptoms! I hope you spent the extra time learning French or something useful like that.
Better news: the paperback of Behemoth is officially out today! You may purchase it at better bookstores everywhere.
Okay, now for your manga questions! (All taken from the last comments thread.)
Do you know where you will be going on the Goliath tour yet?
It’s almost confirmed. I will be posting the tour dates soon! Most of you will hate me, but that’s the way it works, because you outnumber me and are widely distributed. (You should, like, all clump together.)
People on the west coast will certainly be happy, and some people in the middle too. No plans for anything outside the US yet, but I will be doing something in Australia this next southern summer. (If you’re Brazilian, write my publishers and demand me! I want to go to there.)
Any particular reason you chose left to right instead of right to left?
This is original-English manga, which are usually read from left to right, cause that’s how we English speakers roll. I read both ways without much bother, as I’m sure most of you do, so I didn’t actually think about it.
Regarding the Uglies light novel in Japan- did you try to branch out and make the characters look different from that one?
My artist never saw those editions (even though he’s in Japan), so we weren’t starting with those characters at all.
Where can we buy this manga?
AT ALL THE STORES (that sell manga or graphic novels) and on the usual internets. The publisher, Del Rey, has very wide distribution in stores, schools, and libraries, so it should be pretty easy to find.
Do you know when they’ll be available in stores?
May 2012. That’s as specific as I have so far.
You should, like, give us a slight sneakity-peakity every so often. Just enough to make us want it more, you know?
Yes, I do know. And I WANT you to want it more.
Luckily, there are lots of pages to show.
How, if at all, do you think the creation of this manga will influence the making of the movie? Do you think the casting director will try to chose actors based on their appearance in the manga, etc.?
Casting directors will probably pay no attention. With actors, it’s more about stuff like fame and chemistry and salary. But I have sent manga pages to Lola (the vfx company involved with the Uglies movie), and they’re doing “pre-visualizations” now, so it’s possible that the architecture and tech in the film will be influenced by Steven’s work.
There’s no concerted effort at consistency, however.
So….which big announcement was the Croy project?
The manga! As one of the original Crims, he’s in volume 1 quite a bit. Do you want to SEE HIM?
Anyway, will any pages be in colour, or is it all going to be in black and white?
Just black and white and shades of gray.
I honestly pictured dorm uniforms having a plaid kilt EXACTLY like the one in the illustration! Maybe someone important read my fanfic…JK LOLZ.
Yes. We ALL read your fan fic. And, yeah, manga is all about school uniforms.
What IS manga, anyway? What sets it apart from plain old comic books?
Well, as someone pointed out in the comments, “manga” is just the Japanese word for “comics.” Here it means, of course, comics in a style that started in Japan but that has become global in reach and influence.
Steven has done both manga and western comics, and co-created Tokyopop’s Pantheon High with his wife, Megumi. (He pencils, she inks.) And like I said, he lives in Japan. And our toner, Yishan Li, hangs out a lot in Edinburgh, but does loads of manga for Yaoi press in the US and has been published in China as well. (SINO-SCOTTISH MANGA!)
But the reason I thought manga would make sense for Uglies is simple: manga has a set of codes for dealing with beauty that western comics do not have. And most of these codes match up with the pretty operation in the books.
Like, big eyes, anyone?
Pretty! (Whether or not you’re into purple hair.)
There’s a wonderful thing about text-only novels: you make things happen with words alone, so you can convince your audience of all sorts of things that would be hard in a movie.
For example (*SPOILER ALERT*), in the The Last Days I write about a band that rocks so hard that they can call up giant monsters from the underground. Now, if you adapted a film of that novel, the band would have to ACTUALLY ROCK THAT MUCH, or it would be stupid when the giant monsters arrived. And even if the band rocked a lot, some people would still hate the film because they simply don’t like that sort of music.
But in a novel, you can just declare things and they become true (if you can write well enough, that is).
The same problem obtains with Uglies. In text, I can make you and your friend both think pretty Zane is wicked hot, even though you both have totally different tastes in lanky emo dudes. The power of the word!
On the other hand, when the movie is made, if you think the main actors cast as pretties are totally not pretty, or were way hotter back when they were “ugly,” it sort of messes up the reality of the story. (This is why I’m working with a facial visual effects company as a financial backer, so they will have a real-world motivation to get that stuff as right as possible, and we can do computery tricks with people faces.)
But back to manga. In most manga, “pretty” is a style: big eyes and sparkles. (Not that we’re going with sparkles, but you see what I mean.) Manga comes with a pre-existing package of ways to communicate beauty, even if your audience doesn’t all agree on what’s beautiful!
Remember when Hollywood used to do “ugly” by putting a fantastically pretty woman in chunky glasses with her hair in a bun? Her being unattractive was signaled by codes rather than actual unattractiveness, a polite fiction. (This, of course, created a generation who react to chunky glasses and hair-in-bun by saying, “Whoa. Hot!” But I digress.)
Anyway, that’s where I started from. We’ll see if this works.
And just so I don’t look dumb, let me say that I do realize that western comics have beauty codes as well. But they’re mostly kind of like this:
And I didn’t want to go there.*
*Yes, literal-minded denisons of the internet, I KNOW that manga has sexy girls and boys as well. But I think the codes are genuinely different, and the manga ones line up better with the Uglies canon. The proof will be in the pudding.