Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Entry 114: My Favorite Things- Part 3: AKIRA

After my last post, I thought it was time I did a "favorite things" post about the AKIRA manga series.

This is my third "favorite things" post, but the other 2 posts were really just warm-ups for this post, because my favorite thing, truly my very favorite comic ever-- there are a couple contenders but I'm pretty sure this one is the winner-- is Akira.

I first read an Akira comic in 1995 I think. I was in a comic shop called Bosco's in Anchorage, Alaska with my buddy DJ when he suddenly pulled down an issue of Akira from the shelf. We were both big fans of the movie, but I had no idea there was a comic. We were pretty excited about the find. Since he found it, he bought it, but I was able to read it before he took it home. It was one of the Epic Comics issues colored by Steve Oliff. I can't actually remember which issue it was, I think it might have been 29. Whichever issue it was, it blew my mind. It was clear to me that the story went far beyond what was in the film. I was so intrigued to know what was going on and I had this urgent need to go out and buy up every issue I could find. This was some of the most fun I've ever had collecting anything. I'd end up getting 1-3 issues each time I visited a comic shop. I read the series almost completely out of order. Each book I got filled in some hole in the story and each, without fail, rocked my world. I was so amazed by the consistent quality of both the art and the story and  the epic-ness of it all. I can remember finishing each issue and sort of sitting there stunned. I was inspired, energized, even giddy. It changed my idea of what kind of comics I wanted to make.

Jesus Christ! just look at that spread!

This is just one of many iconic images in the series. From Kaneda's bike to the grotesque bloated baby Tetsuo, to Akira sitting on his broken throne, this book is filled with iconic imagery.

If you haven't read the manga series, you're probably at least familliar with the Akira film. You probably know the basic premise of the story. And the film and the manga both start in almost the same way, so I'm not going to get into explaining any of that. I'm just going to show you pages.

These scenes are ones I picked almost completely randomly. It's impossible to find stand-out scenes in Akira because, literally, everything in it is good.

Akira is known for its amazing cityscapes and scenes of epic destruction, but a lot of the scenes I like are the smaller ones. 
Here's a really fun action sequence.

I really like how Otomo does action sequences. This is kind of a complicated bit of action to try and depict but he does it by taking his time and telling you exactly what you need to know.
Here's another cool scene.

I like how he cuts to Kei's point of view outside the window.
Speaking of cuts--

I love the cut away to the guy sneezing outside.

God damn it! I'm not even showing you how amazing this series is. You know that this book has the most amazing explosion sequences ever depicted EVER? That a satellite crashes into an aircraft carrier? That even the moon suffers massive destruction? You know that it's loaded with action, big and small? That it's crazy good?

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