Yakuzine behind the scenes

Genius nuggets about making Yakuzine, a Ryu ga Gotoku / Yakuza video game series zine.

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After re-reading my own copy of Yakuzine (autobio + Ryu ga Gotoku/Yakuza video game series zine) I felt inspired to share some of the ideas behind the project/execution! The (sometimes) nice thing about self-pub is that you can put in so many easter eggs, but of course, the labour...

The digital version is FREE to read/download on itch!

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The rest of this post may have SPOILERS.

The cover

The concept for the cover was by PowersWithin. The precise convo was as follows:

Me: Do u have ideas for the zine cover

Powerswithin: maybe it can be a troll ver of a physical game cover ....

Powerswithin: (sends Kiwami playstation game box art)

Powerswithin: And everyone is just crying

Me: Ouuuu

Me: I mean this isnt a lie

Powerswithin: it's tru they all cry

Powerswithin: (sends image below)

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Me: Is our zine PG 😂

Powerswithin: Questionable....

Me: We only played on PC!

Powerswithin: THE IRONY

Me: Ty for this inspo

Since the Kiwami 1 cover became the basis, I tried to keep as many elements as the original as possible, but with "deviations" as necessary. My first pass before futzing with the copy.

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After sharing with Ittybeatty and PowersWithin, we refined it into the final version. Diving back into using vectors for certain elements reminded me of how out of practice I am.

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Back cover

I also riffed off the marketing copy on the original, but changed it to be more descriptive of what's in the zine.

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I haven't used this many emboss/deboss gradient text effects in a long time.

Title and credits pages

The beginning and ending of book has decorative morning glory and sunflower elements, based on the orphanages in the series. Bless Clip Studio Paint (CSP) default decoration brushes for having them...

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Because we love Majima Everywhere, so snuck him in...

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The book was a beast to put together because of its multi-series-ness and the mix of content that is autobio and headcanon. I personally tried to differentiate by drawing them differently.

Autobio (left) uses hard lines and is manually lettered. Headcanon (right) uses a grainier line and lettered with a font.

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After trying to draw Movie Majima I realized something that I couldn't unsee.

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Weird conversations

We had many conversations about Yakuza that didn't make it into the zine, but here is a sampling of our fever.

Tummy paddies

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Rubber toger

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If Etsuko can join, maybe I can too???

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I'm glad I got to make this super indulgent zine with IttyBeatty and PowersWithin. Hope Yakuza fans will also enjoy and feel our overflowing love for the series!

Now if only I had more time to play Yakuza...

TCAF 2022 report

Perhaps my last time tabling at Toronto Comic Arts Festival

Leading up to TCAF I wasn't sure if all my books would make it, but they did! Ah, supply chain issues. Big thanks to PowersWithin for helping carry books to setup on Friday and Linda who helped SOOOOOO MUCHHHHHHHHHHH the entire weekend!

I was at my table 95% of the time, except for 1 bathroom break/day, and maybe 15 minutes where I went to do my rounds very quickly on Sunday (aka visited POME mag, NobleComix, and Steph Blakely). I didn't take my mask off the entire time I was there. I was bothered by my glasses steaming (because it obscured my vision and also meant the seal around my nose wasn't as flush as it should be; it got better on day 2). I'm used to 2 meals/day now. Con tabling life is not an easy life, and only gets worse as you get older.

As expected, the show floor (on the 2nd floor at least) wasn't as insanely packed as past years, which felt appropriate given the circumstances. The stamp rally was an interesting addition to the mix. Everyone had very beautiful stamps! I didn't get to collect any and ran out of stamp rally prizes late day 1!! Thank you to Peow Studio / Patrick for organizing and letting us take part. I'm 100% sure that someone only bought stuff from our table because they said "if Peow has them in the stamp rally they must be good" hahaha.

I was glad that BLTease and HWA finally got their convention debut (originally meant for 2020). Two zines, Martial Spirit and Shrimperific are out of print now (I've put my contributions up online). The handful of copies of Cat Block by Wai also sold out! It was good to give our older anthologies (SLOTH, Human Plantation, Cry to the Moon) a final hurrah!

I was delighted to see fellow poss and shrimp lovers. You could always tell when someone was a shrimpkeeper because they would eyezoom to Shrimp Goss immediately. I wasn't sure how Yakuzine would do, but we ran out of the handful of books we brought.

My other memory is having a brief chat with Michael Deforge on Saturday morning. He gave me a $5 bill that had a strange chunk missing in the bottom middle. It felt like the perfect bill for him to hand to me. IDK if he actually knows who I am or if he was creeped out that I recognized him.

It was great to see familiar upper-half faces again IRL—ones that I haven't seen in so many years. Linda, Saicoink, Jade, Jade, Keelin, Lis, Nozmo, Mimmy, Yeti, Miguel, Christine, Elissa, Fawn, Gary, Peter, Miles, past patrons, and so many more (I'm sorry if I missed your name). Had a nice chill dinner with Jade and Alex on Saturday, then bone soup pick-your-own-ingredients (?) with POME mag Rachel, Jenny, and Ashley.

It was nice to be reminded of how much people love and support comics and their creators.

Thanks to everyone who supported us all these years. I appreciate everyone who came by and for all the sweet conversations, small or large.

The comic I wrote was announced! I had a lot of fun writing the story and it will be brought to life with fantastic art by KAIfee.

Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red: 4⭐Town 4⭐Real: The Manga.

Published by Viz Media (see their social media post, which has KAIfee's b/w artwork). Releases in Spring 2023.

From Variety—Official synopsis

4Townies are hyped to see 4Town performing their favorite hits live, but how will Canada’s greatest boy band spend the day leading up to their epic Toronto concert? Hang with Robaire, Jesse, Tae Young, Aaron T, and Aaron Z as they enjoy a rare break in their busy schedules! Jesse and Tae Young embrace their artistic side and visit a ceramics museum, Aaron T gets his fashion on at the mall, and Aaron Z and Robaire stay in the dance studio to master their moves before the sold-out show. Only the realest fans deserve to get this up close and personal with Tween Beat Magazine’s Hottest Band of the Year!

It's all about 4*Town from Turning Red!! I can't say much else beyond what is already revealed, but glad that this is no longer a secret! I was wondering if my fanart was too leading (since I rarely draw fanart except for...Yakuza). I hope people will enjoy it when it comes out! My favourite reaction(s) to the announcement so far is this person who assumes I'm a ghost writer and the social media manager of Viz who is being appropriately cheeky to replies who aren't into the announcement, hahaha.

Thanks to everyone who for being kind and supportive! I owe many replies. I could freetalk so much about this project. Please support KAIfee too!

Tabling, conventions...

Trepidations about being part of the real world again

It's weird to think about "con season" again, after so many years of not really thinking about it. I don't know how I ever did 1 con/year, let alone 2-3 a year. I thought through whether I was really ready to go to a possibly crowded event. I still don't feel that ready, but I don't know if I ever will! Trying to adapt.

Ordered N95 masks, gloves, etc. Found out they didn't fit unless I used an ear saver hack. I counted my float—was appalled at how many different currencies I had from going to past cons in at least 4 different countries. Luckily my lack of diligence with depositing small change (from previous con tabling) meant that I had enough float for what is probably (?), my final convention/festival tabling...Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) 2022.

I'll be representing Love Love Hill at TCAF 2022 on June 18-19, at table 230. We'll have some stock at the TCAF digital marketplace, and then through our online store afterwards. We're next to POME PRESS so we'll have our miniature shoujo row :).

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As a part of the lead up, I was able to finish/contribute to 3 different books:

I'm very proud of all of these and felt like I did some pretty genius things for all of them. They all have smaller print runs (20-40), which reflects my slow exit out of the in-person convention circuit. It would be nice to move to a model where it's more "made to order" as much as possible. It cuts out the excess stock that I'm used to having under my bed (forever). I still plan to make comics, even if I won't be a serial tabler like before—I'm more interested in offering scrappy physical books/zines to people who will really appreciate them.

I moved my stationery list to my main website. I like the idea of my website becoming a personal weird collection of stuff that I like, in addition to just comics/drawings. I've been making updates there at my own whimsy!

Today's music post: anything by Louie Zhong!

May 2022 media round-up

What I read/watched in May 2022.

I keep surviving but I'm not sure how. One of my colleagues commented on how I'm still smiling despite how screwed we are with work matters!

The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún #1-2 by Nagabe

Adrienne Beck (translation), Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane (adaptation), Lys Blakeslee (lettering and retouch), Karis Page (logo design), Nicky Lim (cover design), Shanti Whitesides and Jocelyne Allen (proofreader), Lissa Pattillo (production manager), Adam Arnold (editor-in-chief), Jason DeAngelis (publisher)

Interesting how the outsider is the most humanized thing because their eyeballs are shown and expressively, while most of the other humans do not. I still feel like they're too close in contact for comfort re: curse transfer possibility...

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Such cute moments and then such dark ones...

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Vol 2 had a lot of dark art and it was a bit harder to figure out what was happening, but overall there is a very plesant storybook illo quality to how the comic is done!

The Ancient Magus's Bride #1 by Kore Yamazaki

Adrienne Beck (translation), Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane (adaptation), Lys Blakeslee (lettering and layout), Nicky Lim (cover design), Shanti Whitesides and Lee Otter (proofreader), Lissa Pattillo (production manager), Adam Arnold (editor-in-chief), Jason DeAngelis (publisher)

IMO the cover doesn't do the interior linework justice! It's a strange story because the premise is quite terrible. It's about a girl getting...sold as slave and forced into a marriage with some creature—but she's just rolling with it? Definitely one of those stories where you have to suspend what you know of reality and accept stuff in their fictional world, where these practices are the norm.

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This lady seems very cool and I hope we see more of her.

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Cute dragons!!!!!!! The dragon tree scene made me cry.........................

Jujutsu Kaisen #2 by Gege Akutami

Stefan Koza (translation), Snit Ahaton (touch-up art & lettering), Shaw Carrico (design), John Bae (editor), Erika Onabe (consulting editor)

The author attempts to explain Gojo's infinite moves in freetalk so many times but keeps failing.

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Into this bear

Cats of the Louvre by Taiyo Matsumoto

Michael Arias (translation & english adaptation), Deron Bennett (touch-up art & lettering), Adam Grano (cover & graphic design), Mike Montesa (editor)

I feel like this is one of his stories that I actually felt like I had any grasp on. I was surprised that the cats were personified and thought they were all a bit creepy, like the stage show Cats, but overall I enjoyed this book. It felt very endearing.

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Haikyu #11 by Haruichi Furudate

Adrienne Beck (translation), Erika Terriquez (touch-up art & lettering), Fawn Lau (design), Marlene First (editor)

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Delighted at shrimp shirt

Always such good stuff happening in the the BGs.

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Perfect World #1 by Rie Aruga

Rachel Murakawa (translation), Thea Willis (lettering), Sara Linsley (additional lettering), Jesika Brooks and Tiff Ferentini (editing), Phil Balsman (cover design)

I picked this up because it's romance between a person who uses a wheelchair due to paralysis/injury and a person who is able bodied. I was a bit shocked that they went right into bed sores, but I suppose that was what they were going for. The main character is checking their own biases and rethinking the world, but I hope we get more of the guy's POV in later vols. I don't fully know why the gal is so into the guy yet!

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Venom: Let there be Carnage (2021)

I heard that they leaned into train wreck garbage man and alien bickering married couple, and indeed, it was exactly that.

Spiderman: No Way Home (2021)

I only watched 75% of this because I had to go do something else. It became like...Spidermen giving each other counselling. Dr. Strange is also becoming a mess.

Spy x Family #1 by Tatsuya Endo

Casey Loe (translation), Rina Mapa (touch-up art & lettering), Jimmy Presler (design), Amy Yu (editor)

This series is very up my alley, in that the characters have an exaggerated cool/proficient side to them and another side of them that is utterly stupid and kind of useless! The duality...yes...

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Anya is too precious

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