Wired Taps Japan for 'Hot, New' Manga Cover
Only days after the November issue of Wired hit newsstands Monday, two videos appeared on YouTube featuring the magazineâs cover and cover story, âManga Conquers America.â What exactly is manga? And why all the hype about the issue?
âWired is the first major American magazine to publish an authentic manga on the cover,â explains Wired creative director Scott Dadich. Manga is the term that refers to Japanese comic books, which are typically printed in black-and-white and range from 100 to 300 pages in length. Like traditional Japanese writing, manga reads right to left.
âManga is increasingly becoming more popular in the United States,â says Dadich. âItâs something that tech geeks who read Wired can relate to, but is something many of them may not be familiar with. Plus, our editor Chris Anderson is a big manga fan. Manga is completely in the appetite of smart, curious geeks, and we knew we wanted to cover it in the magazine and give the topic a pretty big treatment.â
For the main story, the Wired editorial team sent contributing writer Daniel Pink to Tokyo to apprentice with a manga master. âDanâs story ( Japan, Ink: Inside the Manga Industrial Complex) came in and we really loved it,â Dadich says. âWe decided we wanted to tell the story of manga in America, so we assigned a ârealâ 10-page manga project to accompany the main story. We wanted to find a real manga artist to do it, and another to do a cover.â
For the cover, the Wired team wanted to find an âauthenticâ manga artist. Art director Carl DeTorres âspent a week in Tokyo, burrowing through the manga underground, talking to publishers and sleuthing around for the hot new manga artist,â Dadich says. âHe found Yoichiro Ono, who has about 20 mangas to his name. He was perfect.â
Over the next three weeks, Ono and the Wired creative team drew up about 40 versions of the cover. âWe started with the initial sketches, then tighter sketches to tighter pencils to tighter inks, to using features to using posture, then from using two figures to using one,â Dadich says. âWhen manga artists are working on their covers, quality is an issue but theyâre so used to producing in volume. Looking for the quality of line work and form that we demand on a cover, it was tougher to communicate that. Thatâs reflective of the amount of revisions we made, but Ono was amazingly cooperative. I think he learned a lot about American magazines in the process.â
For the 10-page âauthentic mangaâ comicâa visual history of manga in AmericaâDadich went with artist Atsuhisa Okura. âHaving an illustration on our cover isnât a huge departure for us, but manga is something weâve never done before,â Dadich says. âWe always try to do things either first or best. I think weâve accomplished that here.â