Drawn to Comic SuperHeroes

Nicole Moore’s first graphic comic novel is due out next month, and she believes a comic-book industry could boost Hawaii’s economy as manga has done for Japan. As our local economy spirals downward and tourism dollars dry up like the Ewa

Friday - January 23, 2009
By Chad Pata
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Nicole Moore at work on one of her comics

As our local economy spirals downward and tourism dollars dry up like the Ewa plain in July, one Leeward resident has an idea for finding our way out of the current financial reality through fantasy.

“I would like to see Hawaii build an industry in the comic-book field,” says local artist Nicole Moore, whose first comic book is due out in February. “I believe we are capable, and it would help offset what is happening with our economy because of tourism (being down). Graphic novel sales are steadily increasing even in these times. It’s a way to escape from everyday life.”

She has a point. Japanese historian and Princeton professor Ronald Morse cites manga, the Japanese version of the graphic novel, along with the cell phone industry as being the two biggest reasons for the economic turnaround in Japan.


 

Manga is found on almost every street corner in Tokyo, is as ubiquitous as ramen shops and represents 22 percent of all the printed material generated in Japan. The readership comes from all walks of life, and while the books sell for $2 to $4 a pop, they represent a $6 billion industry.

Even as the business has taken a hit lately in Japan with all the electronic hand-held entertainment available, manga has flourished in Europe and America as people are drawn to its dark tales of lust, greed and ultra-violence.

“Comics generate outside dollars, which we need right now,” says Moore, who sees the industry creating a lot of jobs.“It is one of those things you need a lot of people working on it - one person doing the layout, another the penciling, another the coloring. If you don’t have a bunch of people working on it, it would take forever.”

Currently, she has five people on her team at her new company, 1 2 3 Comics. They just produced their first comic book, a six-episode offering introducing us to the star-crossed lovers of Aegis. It involves the two characters on opposite sides of a 20-year war over a spy organization and a peace settlement that turned into a bloodbath.

The name Aegis comes from the mythical shield that protected Zeus in Homer’s epics. It has in modern times come to be synonymous with protection from a benevolent source, which the book’s heroes will need to survive.


Aegis has all the things you look for in a comic book: scantily clad women (think Aeon Flux) kicking butt, and men with chiseled muscles laced with scars who are too tough to love but yet somehow do.

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