Would you believe this is all hand drawn by one woman? I’m currently reading a Japanese comic called Otoyomegatari, which translated into English means A Bride’s Story.
It’s set on the Silk Road in Central Asia (Persia?) during the early 19th century, and tells the story of a 20 year old bride, Amira, and her younger groom, 12 year old Karluk. The premise of such a disparate age difference threw me off at first, but I had to remind myself that prior to the advent of industrialization one CAN be considered a man as early as that age in most cultures.
The story is incredibly sweet, as the husband & wife grow to know each other gradually and to love each other deeply, and the work is full of wonderfully detailed scenes like a breathless rabbit hunt or the women of the household teaching the youngest girl about the history of their families’ linen patterns through their respective trousseau’s (dowries).
There’s also the character of Mr. Smith, an English scholar, who fills in as an audience surrogate. This allows the author, Kaoru Mori, to show off how much research she’s done into Central Asian cultures as Mr. Smith is taught about local customs and traditions.
But my god, that artwork is astounding. That is what first brought me to this, and that is what caused me to read 400 panels in one sitting. Every single panel is stupefyingly beautiful, and the love that the author lavishes onto her work is evident as she paints in the corners. As her reader, I am MOST grateful and eagerly await more.
Yen Press is releasing the 1st volume in a hardcover edition on May 2011, and I’ll be scrambling to buy myself a copy.
edit: I first heard of this manga on 2DTeleidoscope’s blog.