Japanese-born, UK-based comics creator, comics educator and animator Fumio Obata is at Gosh London tomorrow night (7th February), signing copies of his debut novel, It Just So Happens, published by Jonathan Cape.
The team at Gosh! are huge fans of the artist, who studied at the Royal College of Art, whos novel sprang form his four-page entry which was shortlisted for the ObserverCape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize.
Fumio, who is well known in France for his work, was born in Tokyo and grew up with the manga and anime cultures of the 1970’s and 80’s. Always fond of drawing, at school his exercise books were always full of cartoon sketches. In 1991, he moved to the UK and has been living on the British soil since.
Between 2003 and 2008 he worked with Duran Duran, Channel 4, and joined Red Kite Animation in Edinburgh in 2006. In Edinburgh, he worked on numbers of joint projects with DC Thomson, publishers of The Beano as well as many newspapers.
“His comics are a visual mish-mash of manga and bande dessinée styles, with the frequent theme of cultural differences, and his zines were the insider tip-off at Thought Bubble 2012,” enthuses one of the Gosh team.
Just So Happens focuses on Yumiko, a young Japanese woman who has made London her home. She has a job, a boyfriend; Japan seems far away. Then, out of the blue, her brother calls to tell her that her father has died in a mountaineering accident.
Yumiko returns to Tokyo for the funeral and finds herself immersed in the rituals of Japanese life and death – and confronting a decision she hadn’t expected to have to make.
Dealing with matters of life and death, with its careful staging and delicately unfolding storyline Just So Happens might not appeal to all, but it’s an emotionally powerful tale and beautifully drawn by Fumio Obata.
• Just So Happens Launch Party with Fumio Obata: 7-9.00pm Friday February 7th, Gosh! Comics, 1 Berwick Street, London W1F 0DR. If you can’t make it but would like a signed copy, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Just So Happens is officially on sale from 13th February 2013
• Read all about Fumio’s first Italian publication with the Magazine Internazionale. Also featured is the background story to Fumio’s comic series Internazionale Fukushima, Quake News From Elsewhere.