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My sincere apologies for the lateness of this blog. Server issues, gotta love technology. But better late than never! Here's Santa.
Manga. Sounds like an exotic fruit our fair pirate lasses may have come across while transiting through the South Pacific’s Cook Islands. Alas, not so my hardy wenches and deckhands. Manga is the Japanese word for comics. These stylized books have their roots in ancient Japan, but their images were said to have morphed from exposure to the comics American soldiers had with them during World War II. Here in the United States, Manga really began to reach the masses during the 70s and 80s.
I’ll tell you who knew – my 11 year old daughter. I’d heard about these books but had never seen one until she came home with one from our local library. Now, you can call me a snob but I never considered Mangas to be ‘real’ books capable of telling a story with substance. I was to be disabused of that notion in very short order by my daughter and that book she carried home.
You see, the book she’d gotten was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’. I’d expected it be populated with doe-eyed characters with little bubbles of modern verse escaping half-moon smiles. Instead I found Shakespeare – chapter and verse. Huh.
Still I hesitated and called my trusty Shakespearean whose son, close in age to my daughter, is an avid Manga fan. She assured me that exposing children to the classics in any format was a very good thing. Fair enough.
Well, my daughter raced through the book, fell in love with Romeo and Juliet, was quoting Shakespeare for weeks afterwards and asked what other Shakespearean plays I’d recommend.
So that got me to thinking. If Shakespeare can be transformed into a Manga why not other classics? Say – Jane Austen. Now, I can hear the gasps, so please bear with me. Until recently, I’ve been a Jane Austen purest. No novels about Mr. Darcy and any progeny he may have had. No Captain Wentworth for the 24th century. But what about a black ink rendering of Mr. Darcy emerging drenched from the pond at Pemberly? Or Mr. Knightly chastising Emma for her meddling ways? Or Elizabeth Bennett’s refusal of what has to be the worst proposal ever spoken between clenched teeth?
More news on the Manga horizon for me because it’s already being done. Jane Austen’s beloved ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is already in Manga format. As a matter of fact, one of our own lusty pirate lasses has a Jane Austen Manga as her avatar on the Eloisa James/Julia Quinn BB. Delightful. Looks like I can have my Mr. Darcy in ink after all!
What say you my pirate friends? I'm sure there are already Mangas straight from the classics lists. Can you see A Christmas Carol or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer retold?
And what of our beloved romance novels? I, for one, can see Christina Dodd’s paranormal series easily translated into this medium. My knees weaken at the thought of having Mary Balogh’s haughty Wulfric raising his quizzing glass at everyone. Mmmmm.
Friends, it seems I’ve been reformed. What of your own books or works in progress? There some incredible debut authors whose books will be out in the next few years. I think it’d be fantastic to see some of those books in this format. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb about my own manuscript, ‘Sweet Melissa’ as a Manga. I do have that scene under the pergola behind Melissa’s restaurant when Jake backs her against the post and begins to show her she is as delicious as warm peach cobbler drenched in vanilla bean ice cream.
What do you think, my pirate lads and lasses? Is Manga the wave of romance’s future or just another fantastic way to tell a tale worth retelling in another way? Come aboard and share your own thoughts. I’ll be popping in throughout the day to chat with you all.
Thanks, once again, for letting me aboard one of the best pirate ship blogs out there!