Hiroki Otsuka: Artist in residence

The Japan Society of New York is featuring the works of Utagawa Kuniyoshi in their gallery at the moment; Kuniyoshi was a 19th-century printmaker whose style and imagery are a big influence on today's manga artists.

To show that influence in action, the society brought in Hiroki Otsuka, best known as the artist of The Boys of Summer, to be their artist-in-residence through mid-June. Otsuka's workshops are sold out, but you can read the manga he is creating, Samurai Beam, online; the first chapter went up and others will follow.

I'll admit to not being super impressed with this manga—the story is looking pretty standard so far, and there are some typos in the dialogue—but Otsuka has a nice line, and his use of limited colors is interesting. In Japan, he does mostly ero-manga, and Japanator's Brad Rice talked to him about that line of work a few years ago (images may be NSFW). The Japan Society's interview with Otsuka is more serious (except for the title) and talks about his process and influences. There's more at his website, including the hottest artist photo in manga.

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