Tag Archives: manga

The making of mayamada – journey into manga

We’ve got an amazing event on Saturday 5 August, 1.30pm at Westminster Reference Library : ‘The making of mayamada – journey into manga’.  More info on our website

mayamanda founders, Nigel and Lao have written a guest blog post to tell us more –

The story of mayamada starts with failure, also known as a “learning experience”. We’ve had a few of those along the way…

mayamada founders Nigel and Lao

In the beginning, there was just an idea between a group of friends with a love of Japanese culture. We wanted to make cool t-shirts and sell them to an adoring fan base.

Unfortunately, the cool t-shirts never came, and neither did the fan base!

So once we admitted our plan was working we had a rethink. The group became a duo and me along with co-founder Lao set about working on a real brand to build.

As well as an interest in anime, manga, and cartoons, we also had a passion for storytelling. So after a brainstorming session (or two) we put those things together and came up with a whole universe of characters and stories. A brand was born.

mayamada became a universe; a television network with an all star cast of anthropomorphic characters. We started designing characters and writing manga-style comics to tell the story of the shows on the mayamada network.

mayamada manga

Even with the idea sorted, it still took a while to get our first title released. Two years. In 2013, we were able to self-publish Samurai Chef Volume 1 thanks to a successful Indiegogo crowd funding campaign.

Samurai Chef

Since then we’ve released the complete edition of Samurai Chef along with Hot Lunch: The Outer Circle and Serious Volume 1.

mayamada manga titles

We even managed to create some cool t-shirts featuring our characters. The fan base started to come too. It’s been great to see people respond positively to our stories, characters, and clothing.

mayamada clothing

We’ve been able to take our brand to comic conventions across the country where we get to meet new fans and people who have been supporting us for years now.  The support has allowed us to build the mayamada universe through new characters and stories.

Hyper Japan Summer 2016

But it hasn’t stopped there. We’ve also been able to launch our own social gaming event, GamePad. With the aim of making gaming more inclusive, we work with gaming companies including Ubisoft and Nintendo to put on a fun day of gaming for everyone. We’re glad for that initial failure, we never would be here without it.

mayamada GamePad Highlights

This is still at the beginning of our story though. There are lots more mayamada stories to write and characters to meet. No doubt there’ll be more learning experiences too as we keep building our brand – it’s all part of the journey!

mayamada brand


Many thanks to Nigel and Lao for sharing their story with us; don’t forget if you’d like to meet them on Saturday 5 August – book your free place on Eventbrite


Free Comic Book Day in Westminster Libraries!

Free Comic Book Day 2015Celebrate and discover the amazing world of comics on Free Comic Book Day!
Taking place annually on the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialist shops around the world give away comic books – and this year, for this first time, we are very pleased to have some free comics from Forbidden Planet to give away.

Participating libraries will have a poster advertising they are taking part. It’s first come, first served, so if you are an avid comic fan, visit one of the participating libraries – Charing Cross, Church Street, Maida Vale, Marylebone, Mayfair, Paddington, Pimlico, Queen’s Park, St John’s Wood or Victoria – on Saturday 2 May to pick up your special free copy.

Free Comic Book Day 2015 - DC Comics: DivergenceWhat are we giving away?
DC Comics: Divergence

A first look at upcoming storylines, featuring three 8-page previews for the June releases of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, as well as Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s launch of the “Darkseid War” within Justice League featuring the biggest villains in the DCU – Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor, and Gene Luen Yang’s DC Comics debut with celebrated artist John Romita, Jr on Superman.
Rating: Teen

Why not join the library and check out the graphic novel collection at the same time? All of Westminster’s lending libraries have a comics section which is constantly being renewed and added to, so visit your local library and see what’s in stock.  Marylebone Library, being the home of the Graphic Novel Club [read more], joins Pimlico and Victoria libraries in having the largest selection of titles.

If there’s something in particular you’re looking for, check the catalogue in advance to find out where it’s in stock. We have lots of Marvel comics, the DC 52 reboot titles, Robert Kirkman’s ‘Invincible’ and reprints of classics such as Ex Machina and manga titles Naruto and Dragonball…  to name but a few!

[Rachel and Nick]

From FanFilm to Nobrow – Comic Club update

We’ve not posted a comic club update for a while, but that doesn’t mean the Marylebone Library Graphic Novel Group has been inactive. Far from it! Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve been doing in the last few months:

July: Breaking Into Comics: The Art of Self Publishing

Breaking into comics: the art of self-publishing This was a fantastic event, perfect for anyone with an interest in the creative and marketing processes behind comic books, sequential art, and creative literature. Our panel of writers, artists and sellers discussed challenges and solutions for creating, self-publishing and marketing based on their experiences and knowledge as specialists in the field.

MangaAugust: What’s the Manga with You?

Our group has a history now of focussing our attention on western titles and western topics, yet illustrated narratives have a long history across the globe. In the hope of expanding our reading palates, we considered why Manga comics are so widely accepted across East-Asia when compared to graphic novels in the west.

Crying FreemanSeptember: Comics Of My Youth

We took a looked at comics that influenced us and our reading when we were young. Whether it was Archie, Crying Freeman, Superman or Book of Magic, we welcomed all contributions.

October: The FanFilm Edition

October’s meeting was a fantastic social with film views reminiscent of an Everyman Cinema. Our group watched three “fanfilms” inspired by comic books.

November: Nobrow and other Indie titles

Last month we took a look at some independent titles with Nobrow acting as a catalyst for our discussions. Nobrow Magazine is a biannual textless publication released in May and November of each year. The artists and illustrators in each issue are carefully selected and invited to contribute work based on a theme.

Further to our discussion, the group considered the qualities and features that attracted them to a specific comic book title as well as how our selection processes may have narrowed our scope of reading pleasure or blown it wide open to a world of bad art and poor writing.

This topic was a refreshing revival of some more independent titles from our youth that can still be found across the library service, and although it was a challenge to get our hands on the independent series, Nobrow will be arriving on our library shelves in the next few weeks.

The Walking Dead by Robert KirkmanThe Graphic Novel Group meets monthly at Marylebone Library. The next meeting is tonight, 3 December, discussing ‘Comicbook to TV’. On 7 January 2015 we’ll be talking about ‘The Walking Dead’ by Robert Kirkman (there will be spoilers!) and then on 4 February it’s ‘Breaking Into Comics: Volume 2’. See you there.


Queen’s Park marathon!

Manga Mania workshop at Queen's Park LibraryOn Saturday 17 March, sixteen teenagers gathered at Queen’s Park Library to take part in Manga Mania, a drawing workshop with a professional artist. Many of the participants were already dedicated manga artists, or mangaka as they prefer to be known, and were very pleased to get tips on some of the more technical challenges including perfecting hands, creating striking action poses and getting that over-the-top manga hair just right.

Manga Mania was the first instalment in the library’s Community Events Week and launched seven days of activities aimed at people of all ages. Many of the events have been run with support from local individuals and organisations, including Monday’s brilliant graffiti writing workshop and Chill-Out Tuesday, one of the busiest days of the week…

Chill Out Tuesday at Queen's Park Library

An air of tranquillity descended on the library as people enjoyed free massage and reflexology tasters courtesy of volunteers from the local Timebank.  Demand was huge but advice on meditation and alternative therapies kept people entertained while they waited. As their parents relaxed, children sampled a half-hour family yoga session run by a local member of the British Wheel of Yoga. The teacher was impressed by the youngsters’ focus, and the participants commented that they felt ‘very calm’ afterwards – the children’s library certainly hasn’t been so peaceful for a long time!

The 'Smoothie Bike' at Queen's Park Library (spot the smoothie)The atmosphere changed quickly on Wednesday with the excitement generated by Canine Culture’s Crissie Chambers and her friendly rescue dogs. Families were thrilled to meet these cute canines and share advice on responsible dog ownership and dealing with a fear of dogs, a significant issue in the local area.

On Thursday the energy levels in the library increased again when the Beethoven Centre set up their wonderful smoothie bike. Children (and quite a few adults) chose fruit for their smoothies then pedalled frantically to blend the ingredients; this was ‘hard work but good fun’ and lots of the children learnt a bit more about healthier eating along the way. There were so many eager participants, it was difficult to get a shot of the contraption!

Five days of children’s after-school activities ended with Pop-Out Penguins on Friday, a Photoshop workshop which showed older children how to create eye-catching 3-D digital effects.

The youngest library members weren’t left out and enjoyed special Under Fives sessions on Wednesday and Friday.

The BookStart Bear at Queen's Park Library!Parents signed up to the ‘Bookstart Bear Club’, a free reading scheme for pre-schoolers, before a very furry guest arrived:  Bookstart Bear joined the group for some songs and lots of paw-shaking, prompting awestruck silence from some toddlers but smiles from most.

The week drew to a close on 24 March with two very well-attended events, a Family Learning Workshop provided by Westminster Adult Education and ‘Up and Down the Avenues’, part of the Westminster Healthy Walks season. Twenty-one children and parents crafted beautiful spring flowers in the children’s library while eighteen adults made the most of the warm weather in the company of a City of Westminster Guide. This leisurely local history tour was described as ‘brilliant’ by the walkers and made a fitting finale to a great run of events. In total over two hundred and fifty people attended the events week and it was heartening to see such a range of community organisations step up for their local library – we couldn’t have done it without their help!


Helen McCarthy on Manga

To conclude the Graphic Novel Season, academic and author Helen McCarthy visited Pimlico Library to give a special talk on the evolution of manga.
Please note: the reference links given in this post  will lead you to some of our subscription databases. Just enter your library card number for free access.

Graphic novels are kept in their own section, with 'GRA' on the spine.

Far from being esoteric the talk was accessible to both seasoned manga readers and newbies. Helen began by looking at the history of the medium, tracing its (rumoured) origins to drawings by the Buddhist priest Toba Sojo in the 12th century. However the general consensus credits the creation of manga to Katsushika Hokusai circa 1814.

Interestingly, although manga is considered a purely Japanese graphic narrative form, it has had a lot of western influence throughout its history. In 1862 just after the Edo period (when Japan was placed in total isolation from the outside world) a British Army officer Charles Wirgman launched a political cartoon called Japan Punch, which inspired Japanese artists to rebelliously poke fun at politicians.

Then in the early 20th century Japanese artists were influenced by European multi-panel comic strips published in magazines such as France’s Le Rire and Germany’s Münchener Bilderbogen.

The next wave of western stimulus came in World War 2 in the form of animation and silent film. In fact early Disney cartoons would provide the impetus for Osamu Tezuka, a young medical student to eventually become the “God of Manga”(Ode to Kirihito, Astro Boy and Black Jack).

Helen McCarthy at Pimlico LibraryWith Helen being an aficionado of the uber-prolific Tezuka, his life and work formed the crux of the talk. However, she also referred to other manga pioneers. Discussing Tezuka in great depth she used his influence on future manga artists as a platform to discuss the current state of manga. She stressed its importance in not only broadening the graphic novel medium but also progressively pushing forward animation (anime). Referring to key titles such as Lone Wolf and Cub, Death Note, Naruto and Bleach she concluded by observing that manga is not only integral to Japanese culture but also to global culture.