For as long as he can remember, our spotlight creator this week has been passionately drawing comic after comic. Armed with his tried and tested ‘old school’ approach to manga creating, ‘SMA9 Grand Prix Runner Up’ and ‘SMAC! Editor’s Award’ winner João Eddie, spoke with us all the way from his native Brazil, (his first ever interview in English no less!) to tell us how his entries REELED in the judges hook, line, and sinker!
“I don’t write notes or anything!”
Hello João! Thank you for joining us today! How’s things?
Hello! I’m fine, though it’s raining and very cold here in Brazil right now!
Yikes! Well let me bring some sunshine by firstly saying a huge CONGRATULATIONS on your recent SMA9 award win! How does it feel?
Thank you so much. I’m so happy!
I bet you are! Your manga entries were very well received indeed! So then, let’s get straight into it by asking how you began creating manga?
Sure! Well, I’ve always created my own comics since I was a kid. I enjoyed watching cartoons on T.V. and then create new stories based on my favorite characters. I didn’t decide on becoming a manga artist until I learned more about the industry some years later.
Oh really? I used to draw my favorite cartoon characters as a kid too! What kind of animation were you watching back then?
Growing up in Brazil, I would watch Saint Seiya, Yu-Yu-Hakusho, and Dragon Ball so I would often draw those characters. Actually, I was also a big Tokusatsu fan so Kamen Rider, Chōjin Sentai Jetman, and Star Commando Flashman also had a big impact on me.
Wait, you’re into Tokusatsu too!?
Of course! Tokusatsu is HUGE in Brazil! My favorite is Kamen Rider Black! I really dig Kaiju movies too, like Godzilla and Pacific Rim.
Do you ever find yourself drawing Kaiju manga?
Funny you should ask that, I used make my own Godzilla comics believe it or not!
Wow!! I’d love to see those someday! Talking of creating manga, how do you go about creating yours?
First, I think hard about the theme, then I ponder all the events and situations that take place in the story. Then, once I’ve got a clear idea in my mind, I sit down and design the characters and storyboard.
So you order everything in your head before you start drawing? You must have a great memory!
That’s right! I don’t write notes or anything! Hahaha
What is your work environment like? Are you more of an analog person or do you prefer digital?
My studio is a small, but very welcoming place. I like to work surrounded by the many materials that inspire me, including my 3 dogs who are always on hand to offer their support! As for equipment, I’m very much an analog person! I just can’t forsake my pen and paper!! Hahaha!
Oh, you don’t use a computer at all?
I use a computer for adding tones and touching up stuff but aside from that, I’m pretty much a pen and paper guy. I’ve tried drawing on my computer in the past but, for me, drawing on paper just feels nicer. Seeing videos of manga greats like Naoki Urasawa doing the same kinda inspires me too.
ABOUT YOUR PLACE
“It’s definitely a great time for comics in Brazil!”
Let’s talk a little about your hometown. Care to give us an insight?
I live in a small country town called Camaquã, which is located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. There are approximately 70,000 inhabitants here, and we are Brazil’s largest producer of grain, soybean, wheat, corn, and rice. Rio Grande do Sul is famous for it’s strong cultural traditions, delicious barbecues, and for being the coldest state in Brazil!
Sounds like a very peaceful place! Is it easy to buy manga in Camaquã?
There aren’t many locations to buy manga here, but I can easily find the titles I like so I’m happy.
Do you have any favorites?
Ah, that is the hardest question for me! Hahaha! I constantly change my mind so my favorite isn’t fixed but, Yu-Yu-Hakusho is probably my favorite since Yoshihiro Togashi was a huge inspiration for me when I first started creating. I’m also a huge fan of Daisuke Igarashi, Taiyō Matsumoto, Jiro Taniguchi, Inio Asano, Junji Ito, and of course Tetsuo Hara. I’m constantly learning about new manga since it’s very popular in Brazil now. It’s definitely a great time for comics!
Oh that’s awesome to hear! Which titles are most popular in Brazil right now?
A broad variety of titles are proving popular right now. For example works like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and the spectacular Hokuto no Ken of course! Works by Jiro Taniguchi (The Walking Man, Samurai Legend) or Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk, Vagabond) are also popular.
It’s heartening to hear that Brazil has such a vibrant manga/comic community!
I know right? One of our comic creators, Marcelo D’Salete, recently received the Eisner Award in the United States for his work ‘Cumbe’, and we even have comics being made into movies now such as ‘Turma da Mônica’ which is Brazil’s most famous comic.
Not to mention the increasing number of SMA award winners from your country!
Exactly! Those stories always get reported by major Brazilian news sites too!
They do!? That’s amazing! Do you know any of your fellow Brazilian creators?
I’m the only mangaka in my city that I’m aware of, but there are other excellent creators living in my state. Marcel Ibaldo who made “Brothers in Arms” with me is also from my region.
ABOUT YOUR ENTRIES
“I’ve never been fishing in my life!”
Thanks for the excellent segway João! Let’s talk a little about your two entries. How long did it take you to create each?
For Fisherman Tales, it took me a week or two to create the story and about 6 weeks to draw.
Where did you draw your inspiration from when creating your entries?
I remember thinking that I wanted to use all three themes for SMA9 and create a competition in an unusual way. I actually came up with the idea of doing a fishing manga after seeing an image of Takao Yaguchi’s ‘Tsurikichi Sanpei’. Takanori Kanno’s depiction of fish in his manga ‘Crimsons’ also inspired me a lot.
It sounds like you really wanted to go fishing this time!
The funny thing is I’ve never been fishing in my life! Haha! I just really like slice-of-life manga and felt that drawing a story about fishermen would be a fun challenge.
You mentioned working with Marcel Ibaldo on your other entry “Brothers in Arms”. What was it like working with another creator?
Yes Marcel wrote the story and I did the artwork for that one. Though he lives in the same region as me, we’ve never actually met in person. He’s a very cool guy and has actually worked with SMA MasterClass member Max Andrade.
Did you face any creative challenges working with Marcel?
Not at all! We share a similar creative approach so it was actually very easy. Drawing all the different BMX angles was a challenge though!
I noticed that the rider crossing the finishing line, and the fish pulling the fishing line in the double spread page were drawn using the same angle. Were those moments difficult to illustrate?
Yeah that double page spread in ‘Fisherman Tales’ was a blast to draw! I love drawing emotional scenes like that. I was actually listening to some really heavy metal when I drew that scene!
Let me rephrase that, you were listening to the “greatest genre of music in the world ever”?
Hahaha!! Yeah man, I was belting out some Metallica, Linkin Park and Sepultura!
Impeccable taste in music there João! I also liked your use of kakimoji inside the speech bubbles. It was quite refreshing to see that!
Yeah, I was actually inspired by the fishing scene in the first chapter of Yoshihiro Togashi’s ‘Hunter X Hunter’ so that’s where that came from.
Did you find the theme for SMA9 difficult this time?
At first I found it very challenging but once I figured out a story that could incorporate all three themes, everything fell into place so it was a quite an easy process.
Which of the other SMA9 entries did you like?
There were so many incredible works but ‘Sorry Mr. Bear’ surprised me a lot.
That one surprised us too! It was done by a 14 year old!!
I know!! That really blew my mind! I really enjoyed the plot of that manga. Paco Puente’s ‘Sleepy Rock Z’ made me chuckle too!
ABOUT THE FUTURE
“I couldn’t be happier to be part of this ongoing story!”
Looking ahead, is there anything you’d like to take a stab at?
I’m actually already working on a new manga as we speak! Hahaha! I’m usually working on something, but this project is called ‘Joy Comet’ and it’s a space adventure comedy in the style of Akira Toriyama’s ‘Dr. Slump’. The main protagonist is a girl who has regular dealings with the space police!
Wow! That sounds like a lot of fun! Many people have difficulty writing comedy but I’m guessing it comes easy to you?
Yeah I find it easy. It’s a lot of fun too! Dr. Slump is one of my favorite comedy mangas so I’m enjoying the project very much!
Is there anything you’d like to achieve now that you’re part of the SMAC! community?
I just hope that I can continue telling my stories, and show my passion for this incredible culture through my work. Having my manga recognized by big names within the industry is an incredible feeling. Words can’t express how much of an honor it was for me to have Tsugihara-sensei comment on my work! If I can contribute to manga history in some way though my work, I would be over the moon!
Keep up the great work and the sky’s the limit, João! Is there anything else you would like to share with the community before you go?
Thank so much for the award – it means the world to me! It’s impossible to not feel forever grateful for what SMAC! has done for so many creators around the world. It’s something really revolutionary, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of this ongoing story! Thank you so much for the opportunity to show my work, and I hope to continue contributing more and more manga! Good work everyone! Let’s keep giving it our best!!
Thanks so much for your time and kind words of encouragement, João! It’s been a blast!!
And as we leave João to continue working on his next masterpiece throughout the cold, rainy night in Brazil, Penmaru has his eyes firmly fixed on YOU, the next award winning manga creator!!
So what are you waiting for? Make manga your language too by taking your first step into the world of manga creation by joining SMA X! You have until September 30th, 2018 to say “HELLO” to your new friends! Click the banner for more details on how to enter…
Also, don’t forgot to check out João’s Tumblr page for more manga goodness!