It’s Q&A time again! In the second half of 2014, we’ve got an incredible line-up of books by new & classic Jonathan Cape illustrators. Nina Bunjevac’s Fatherland, is an autobiographical graphic novel about terrorism, family and Serbia’s dark history.
What was the first comic you wrote? Opportunity Presents Itself, a 24-page novella based on Kafka’s America, which follows the adventures of Selma, a beauty-school graduate from the Balkans who travels to North America in pursuit of the American dream.
Nina Bunjevac started her art training in Yugoslavia, at the Djordje Krstic School for applied arts; in 1990 she moved to Toronto, Canada, where she continued her studies in art at the Art Centre of Central Technical School. In 1997 she graduated from OCAD in the Drawing and Painting department.
Formerly a painter and a sculptor, Nina found her calling in sequential arts, a form that seemed to naturally evolve out of the narrative component in her sculpture installation work. Pen and ink became the medium of choice. Her comic strips were published in a number of international anthologies of graphic fiction and literary magazines all over the world: her debut, Heartless, was published in 2012.
What was the inspiration for your book, Fatherland?
My family (particularly the women) and the history of the Balkans. The story of my family is a story of two opposing factions, paternal: royalist and nationalist, and maternal: Titoist, socialist. Somehow, sandwiched in between, I have managed to find my own path.
Fatherlandby Nina Bunjevac is published by Jonathan Cape on 28 August.
You’ve probably heard of the Eisner Awards by now and if not, suffice to say they’re about as high as you can get in the comics world.
So you’ll understand why we’re over the moon at the news that The Propertyby Rutu Modan just scooped the Best New Graphic Novel award this past weekend. Hurrah!
Writing in the Observer, Rachel Cooke said, ”I know it’s only July, but I feel certain this will end up being my graphic novel of the year. Modan has it all. Her drawings are fantastically expressive, with the result that her characters are as many-layered as those you’ll find among the pages of a traditional novel. She is witty and wise, cool-headed in a world of feverish opinions. Most impressive of all, though, is her technique when it comes to matters of pace and deep emotion.”
The lovely people over at Emerald Street have just reviewed Fumio Obata’s Just So Happens. Here’s what they had to say:
The artwork sticks to a small palette of watercolour shades and the varied panel size allows for different perspectives and a fluid change of pace within the story. The street scenes are particularly well observed, but Just So Happens is far more than an exploration of two cities and their cultures. It’s gentle and beautiful and deals well with the subtleties of grief. There are delicate emotional punches: Yumiko repeatedly checks her phone on the way to the airport, hoping for a call saying it was all a mistake. The absurdity of funeral admin is also captured, with impersonal burial catalogues and well-meaning aunts pestering about religious figures. Floating through it all is a dancer from the Japanese Noh tradition, adding an otherworldly sense of spiritual symbolism.
Just So Happens is, more than anything, a careful and humane look at relationships, people and love.
We’re reviving our Q&A series with this one from Fumio Obata, author of Just So Happens. Fumio Obata is a comic book author whose work and inspiration come from cultural differences and social issues in his surroundings.
If you’re in, or within easy reach of, London make sure you come down to the Just So Happens launch party at Gosh! tomorrow. More details here.
1. What was the first comic you wrote? 11 robots fighting for peace on earth. I was 10.
“This is incredible. It is fantastic. He is showing you far more than a film or photographs could. It’s just drawing – it’s a superb example of what art can do.”— David Hockney praises ‘The Great War' by Joe Sacco