Well, I still have head full of green stuff, but I do feel a bit better and have managed to read a few of my purchases from last Saturday's Comiket at The ICA.
My favourite of a generally enjoyable bunch of Indie goodies is Takayo Akiyama's charming tale: Love Story from Nation of Silence, Daisy and Violet Siamese Twins.
Clearly influenced by the likes of The Mighty Boosh (several of the stars from that show make cameo appearances in the comic) this is a quirky story about co-joined pub singers and a bar full of strange creatures. It's a surreal little comic, full of gentle jokes and beautifully detailed panels which only the most serious of souls will fail to enjoy.
There's some adult humour, (principally involving the efforts of one of the twins to get a Yeti into bed), but it's nothing that you'd call shocking, and while the book is aimed at the adult reader, there is much about it that I think children would enjoy as well. Indeed, I think Akiyama has the germ of a kids classic on her hands here. Sure it would need tweaking before any publisher would consider marketing it to a young audience, but there's enough to look at in this comic to keep most kids entertained.
Akiyama is a VERY talented artist who is able to pack her panels with a huge amount of detail. I spent a good time soaking up some of the scenes, and I'm sure that kids would return to the book to enjoy multiple viewings of panels like these...
Mr Benn or Bod or, like me, still get a kick out of reading Where the Wild Things Are, you'll love Akiyama's stuff, it's magical, crazy and a lot of fun to look at. She's clearly bursting with ideas and she has a special talent for loading up those ideas without making a mess of the page.
Some of her dialogue is a bit muddled and there are several spelling mistakes in the story, but with a judicious editor those problems could be ironed out easily enough. Even with the mistakes, the story moves along at an entertaining pace. The main characters, Daisy and Violet, are well fleshed out and, while they are meant to be adults, would work equally well as children. Yes, you'd have to get rid of the references to sex and alcohol if they were to be truly kid friendly, but that wouldn't compromise the comic in any serious way. In fact I think it would make it more enjoyable.
Perhaps I'm doing Akiyama a disservice here then, but I really think she should aim the future adventures of Daisy and Violet squarely at a younger audience. I believe she has a real eye for childrens storytelling and illustration and it would be a shame if some of the more adult themes in the book were to prevent young kids from getting their hands on Akiyama's stuff. As it is, I'd still be happy to give my son Love Story From Nation of Silence to look at, I'm sure that like me he'd get a lot of pleasure from it.
You can read a web version of the comic and order print copies from Takayo Akiyama's website. She also designs clothes! Check her out HERE