to my midlife crisis!
Before we get started, a few words of explanation.
spent the summer of 2001 turning 50. I celebrated by contracting one
sinus infection after another.
is my month for personal reading and writing projects. My plan for
2001 was to flesh out a couple of short stories, finish a longish
essay I've been working on, maybe polish up some poetry. Instead,
I spent the summer alternately working my day job and lying on the
couch, too sick to do anything fun or complicated. By the time we
hit August, and a long night in the emergency room, I couldn't muster
enough concentration to read anything without a lot of pictures.
daughter Emily, the Japanimaniac, had been trying for months to get
me to read what Viz Comics calls Inu-Yasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale.
I'm a Rumiko Takahashi fan. I love the zaniness of Ranma 1/2,
and I surprised myself by getting hooked on Maison Ikkoku,
which is a combination of romantic comedy and soap opera. I'd seen
sporadic issues of Inu-Yasha, but was too confused to get into
it. ("Who the hell is the guy with the black hair?").
I sat downrather, I lay down on the couch where I was living
by that timeand started with Viz's Volume 1. By Volume 5, I
was hooked. Eventually my husband, John Murray, pointed me to Chris
Rijk's InuyashaSengoku o-Togi Zoushi web page, and I started
reading Chris's translations of the later volumes.
is a virtuoso piece: quest saga, comic romance, tragic romance, adventure
story, and gothic horror comic, all rolled into one. It's an incredible
balancing act, and it nearly always works. It's impossible not to
care about the charactersand, given that this is a quest saga,
virtually impossible not to speculate about How It Will End. At the
climax of the quest, Inuyasha will be holding the Shikon no Tama in
his hands, and he'll have to make a decision: to be human, or to be
daemon? At the same time, there'll be another decision, to be determined
by somebody: Kagome or Kikyou?
the middle of August, I projected that the "best ending"
would have Inuyasha with Kagome at the turn of the millennium. Given
that Inuyasha would be an uneducated young man with few marketable
job skills living with his beloved in an old house in modern Tokyo,
I told my husband that the last page of Inuyasha would look very much
like the last page of Maison Ikkoku, but with the proud parents
showing their new baby a great big tree when they say "This is
where Mama and Papa first met."
he said, "Nope. I'll tell you how it's going to end."
I said, "Noooooo!"
But I thought he was right.
then I started thinking what would have to happen to make me like
soon I found myself coming up with little bits of dialogue. And then
snatches of plot. And then I started doodling. Then I started writing
up a couple of scene descriptions, but it was easier to do storyboards.
By the time we got to September, my children were chortling, "Mom's
writing a fanfic!"
done some amateur cartooning over the years, and even published a
few cartoons. Years ago, I did a very-small-circulation comic book
(that is to say, it was photocopied and passed around among some D&D
players in Chicago and Wisconsin) called, for reasons too obscure
to explain, Hibernating Bats. That was the project that made
me swear I'd never do another comic book. Except...as hard as it was
to draw and I'm a writer, not an artistI began seeing
this fanfic monster I had created as a graphic project. Finally, I
went out and bought a newsprint pad, some bristol board, pencils,
and ink, and at 1:00 one morning I started drawing. I roughed out
60 pages in five hours, went to bed for a half-hour's sleep, got up
and went to work, and because it was September 11, 2001, an hour or
so later a co-worker came to my office and told me to turn on the
radio. I had just spent the whole night writing a graphic novel about
being a hero in an era of peace and prosperity. I went home after
work, turned on CNN, watched that plane crash over and over, and kept
here it is, or will beone "book" at a time, at least
400 pages in the works right now, 100 of them inked, another 40 or
50 roughed out, the others in my head and mapped out. It's funny,
it's sad, it's bawdy, it's horrific, it's not much like Takahashi,
it's based on The Story as of 9/11 (I'll incorporate some modifications
as I go along, but basically that's where the original storyline is
frozen for the purpose of this fanfic), it's written much better than
it's drawn, it's strictly a not-for-profit fanfic, and I'm having
a terrific time with it.
hope you enjoy it, too.
note: May 2002
looking more like 1,000 pages, guys. Approximately 40 books.
Comic Pages Table of Contents