I will be utterly gutted if Ulysse Malassagne’s comics don’t get released in English. Still probably won’t stop me buying it in French, because good comic art is to be appreciated translation be damned!
RIP TOREN SMITH.
For all of you nerds out there who like Japanimation, let’s be real for a second.
Toren Smith was a translator and comics writer with a deep appreciation of Japanese comics and animation. He’s most known as the founder of Studio Proteus, which put out tons of translation work for manga.
Why should you care? This dude was the first person to go to Japan and try and distribute manga in the United States, which means that if it wasn’t for him, we’d be missing out on a lot of great works, and a lot of comic artists, illustrators, writers, and animators might not have gotten interested in the mediums they now work in today.
Toren took a literal gamble on whether Americans would have an appreciation for foreign comics by going over to Japan and pretty much living in terrible conditions just so that he could try and secure the contacts he needed. That’s passionate as hell! What comics publisher does that?!
He also lived with/worked alongside members of STUDIO GAINAX, which is why there’s a character based off of him in GUNBUSTER.
Toren Smith was also an advocate of translating works entirely, and not relying on the lazy “weeaboo language” that has recently cropped up in fansubs, and for that I also appreciate him.
Toren Smith was the reason I first got into shojo manga and BL, and I always loved reading his blog posts and columns. Even though we never met, I owe him a great deal. RIP.
Hiroyuki Imaishi (Character designer for FLCL and director of Gurren Lagann) does fanart for Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. and The Umbrella Academy. The link above leads to more scans taken from a doujin artbook featuring superhero related art done by various animators/illustrators, most of whom are/were members of Studio Gainax.