Plot[ edit ] Set in an alternate near-future Japan, a young woman codenamed "Kabuki", acts as an agent and television law-enforcement personality for a clandestine government body known as "The Noh". The Noh is controlled by a renowned World War II Japanese military man known as the General, who has achieved much power and status for being a brilliant military tactician during his many years of service. Secretly the Noh also acts to maintain the balance of crime and order that ultimately benefits the national economy on both sides of the law and thus targets politicians, businessmen and certain underworld kingpins whose actions threaten this balance. Astonishingly, despite the high level of discretion surrounding Noh, Kai manages to infiltrate the agency, personally, by using its policy of masked operatives to his advantage. He manipulates Kabuki and her partners into eliminating the entire underworld hierarchy in Tokyo. Publicly Kai is a talented businessman with much stock and influence in the Japanese market, thus this move makes him indispensable and essential to the balance.
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I have admired his work since When it comes to creators who really push the boundaries of what comics can do, the name that automatically pops into my mind is David Mack. I have admired his work since a wise comic book dealer introduced me to Kabuki: Circle of Blood almost 20 years ago.
My original trade edition from Caliber Comics has since been loved to pieces. The irony is that Mack initially only considered himself to be the writer for Kabuki, despite his studies in graphic design, sculpture, art history, painting, drawing, photography, bookmaking, and typography. Those classes focused on art in a myriad of mediums, but none of them touched on the art of comics. Instead, they got to chatting about various inking styles, and Bendis helped get Mack a job as an inker.
Opportunities to contribute to various anthologies arose. The process turned out to be an excellent opportunity for research and development, something Mack recommends aspiring artists try out for themselves to gain an understanding of the many elements involved, such as the time ratio of converting text to image. The scenes Mack created for the anthologies were collected into a one-shot and shortly after, Mack jokes, he had tricked himself into drawing Circle of Blood himself.
Writes G. It is, in many ways, a primer on artistic creation and endeavor, not so much driven by external plot lines but by internal forces. Using his past instead of being used by it.
The Alchemy also incorporates contributions from readers and bits and pieces of correspondences Mack has had with his colleagues. My favourite piece of bonus material are the sample scripts. I was curious about how Mack turns these words into the final product. He explained that he works with several different layout ideas for each scene before finally choosing the one that visually communicates what the story needs to say.
His answer surprised me. The panel by panel digital view simply offers him an entirely new perspective with which to see his work. For now, my curiosity is sated, but I cannot wait to discover what further secrets and insights he will reveal within the fourth and final library edition of Kabuki. My bookshelf is ready.
David W. Mack