Parsons Illustration Alumna Abby Denson’s graphic novel Dolltopia has received a Bronze International Manga Award!
The International Manga Award – the “Nobel Prize of manga” was created by Former Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso to encourage non-Japanese manga artists the world over. The Committee comprises the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the President of the Japan Foundation, and the members of the special committee for pop culture of the Council on the Movement of People Across Borders.
This honor, coming closely after Dolltopia’s win of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, drives home the universality of Dolltopia’s themes. Abby’s comics explore issues of identity, individuality and making a mark within a society that seeks to sterilize and monopolize.
Dolltopia is the story of Kitty, a ballerina doll forced into a not-so-happily-ever-after living arrangement with a male jock toy. Filled with discontent, Kitty takes it upon herself to escape her human-imposed domesticity and create a new life and a new image for herself away from the persecution of the human world. On this mission, she finds not only a host of like-minded individuals, but a safe haven for the unique doll: Dolltopia.
The 4th International MANGA Award Winners
Gold Award winner:
Si loin et si proche…（Belgium) Xiao Bai
Silver Awards winners:
Face cachée(France) Olivier Martin , Sylvain Runberg
La Isla sin Sonrisa(Spain) Enrique Fernández
“The story begins with …”(Thailand) Verachai Duangpla
Bronze Awards winners:
Dolltopia(America) Abby Denson
Kylooe (Belgium) Little Thunder
Pandora Book(Thailand) Akekarat Milintapas
The Little Polar bear(Taiwan) Chang Fung-Chih
The Passionate Sword(Taiwan) Yeh Yu Tung and Syu Shu Hao
Samurai(Belgium) Frédéric Genet and France’s Jean-François Di Giorgio
Saturday, October 3, 2009, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Giant Robot is proud to celebrate the release of Dolltopia with a signing by writer and artist Abby Denson (Parsons Illustration Alum!).
A natural follow-up to Denson’s critically acclaimed, self-published, yaoi-influenced comic zine about high-school love, Tough Love (which became a Lulu Award-winning anthology in 2007), Dolltopia is a highly stylized depiction of dolls trying to bust out of the stereotypical boxes that they are packaged in. Will the protagonists, who resemble Barbie and G.I. Joe, liberate themselves from their suburban and he-man trappings? The art is disarmingly simple and the raw storytelling has the rare quality of being able to tap into a reader’s recollections of youthful confusion and feel genuine to young people themselves.
In addition to Denson signing copies of her work, there will be cupcakes and a doll makeover contest. Whoever brings the best made-over doll will receive a signed copy of Dolltopia!
Denson will be signing the long-awaited graphic novel from 6:00 to 8:00 on Saturday, October 3.
Giant Robot Gallery
437 East 9th Street
Between 1st Ave.& Ave. A, in the East Village
New York, New York 10009
(212) 674-GRNY(4769) | grny.net
Parsons Illustration Alum Abby Denson was recently written up in the New York Daily News. She talked about her own work, as well as the education value of comics. Here’s an excerpt:
Daily News: When did you get into comic art and comic writing?
Abby Denson: Well, I’ve been reading comics ever since I was a kid. The early comics I would read were the “X-Men,” and “Alpha Flight”, also “Uncle Scrooge” comics and things like that. When I got into college or when I was in high school getting into college I was more into “Love and Rockets” and reading “Ranma 1/2” by Rumiko Takahashi. Those were some pretty big influences. When I was in college, I pretty much ended up strictly reading black and white comics, whether it was indie comics or manga. I also liked Andy Watson, whose stuff is always great.
At first, I didn’t think I would be into drawing [comics]. I mean, I went to Parsons School of Design for illustration but I really wasn’t into the idea of doing my own comic until I had a concept for a comic that kind of drove me through it. [Creating a] comic is a lot of work since you have to write it and then draw it. It’s double the work of just being a novelist or just being an artist, and usually not as well compensated (laughs). You have to have an idea to propel you to do the work; you really have to be passionate about the concept.
Read the rest of Abby’s great interview here. Currently, Abby is hard at work, writing a dessert column for L Magazine, illustrating, and getting ready to teach a class here at the New School. Way to go, Abby!
[art from Abby Denson’s Dolltopia]