When Canadian artist Nina Matsumoto first drew a manga-style illustration of the cast of The Simpsons, she did it as a lark, just something fun to show her friends. But almost overnight, her manga-style remix of Bart, Homer, Lisa and the rest of the Springfield gang became an Internet sensation. Matsumoto's illustration was favorited, forwarded, blogged about and posted all over the Web. This flurry of attention eventually earned Matsumoto an offer from Bongo Comics to create new manga-style Simpsons stories. But it didn't end there.
Her "Simpsonzu" illustration caught the attention of Del Rey Manga Associate Publisher Dallas Middaugh, and from that, an offer to pitch an original manga story for possible publication. The result is Yokaiden , a hilarious shonen manga adventure about an ever-cheerful boy and his adventures in the world of the yokai or Japanese spirits / demons.
With Yokaiden Volume 1 earning rave reviews (it's my pick for the best original English language manga of 2008) and Yokaiden Volume 2 on the way later this year, I caught up with Matsumoto and asked her about astonishing comics Cinderella story, the inspirations for Yokaiden and her beginnings in webcomics. Check out my interview with Nina Matsumoto, and check out this spotlight gallery, featuring some of her illustrations and sketches from Yokaiden, The Simpsons and much more.
Also, stay tuned -- there's more yokai fun to come!
Image credit: © Nina Matsumoto