Evergrey Article

December 14, 2006

The following is a translation of a Swiss article about Evergrey, a new series by Lime Manga. It’s being published by Tokyopop. The article was originally published in Die Berner Zeitung.

No infringement is intended.

First Swiss manga – Vampires, Witches, Kidney Failure

Normally, manga come from Japan. Now, for the first time, a Swiss has worked in this artistic comic genre. The fantasy story Evergrey, however, came into being under dramatic circumstances.

At first sight, Evergrey doesn’t look any different from Japanese comics. But this manga is not from the homeland of sushi. Evergrey is drawn by a Swiss, written by an American, and published in Germany.
Artist David Boller, who emigrated to the USA in 1992, was a manga fan long before comics from Japan were translated into German. It started in primary school [dm: ?]. “My best friend was Japanese. He always had manga lying around at his place,” says the artist from Zurich.

From superhero to vampire
In the USA, the 38 year old made a name for himself as an artist of superhero comics for the big publishers Marvel and DC. But then, suddenly, the manga-fever broke out. So Boller reestablished contact with his old acquaintance, Joachim Kaps, head of the German manga publisher Tokyopop. Mary Hildebrandt, Boller’s wife, developed the story about the impossible love between the vampire Szandor and the witch Kyrania. Evergrey tells the story of two tribes that have been foes since the beginning of time. The title refers to the futile hopes for peace. The only glimpse of light is the the child of Szandor and Kyrania, Danika.

Autobiographical Traits
Danika grows up with foster parents in the human world. Shortly after her 16th birthday, she dreams more and more about her true heritage. But because no one understands her, the student feels excluded.
This could be read as the psychological profile of any teenager, but does have autobiographical traits as well. The author felt like an outsider in her childhood and youth due to her diabetes.

The Kidney of the Husband Fits
During work on the first of three planned volumes, her health worsened. Hildebrandt had to get dialysis. A kidney donation became necessary. Chance had it that of all tested friends and relatives, her husband, David’s kidney was the best match.
What sounds like a kitschy Hollywood movie is true. And even more: the experience influenced the story as well. Mary Hildebrandt: “Vampires and witches have always fascinated me. But when the kidney situation become truly dangerous, the topic of mortality forced itself upon me. There I was on dialysis, feeling miserable, but having to find the strength to get through it. Writing was one of the reasons I didn’t give up.”

Understanding of the Publisher
When publisher Joachim Kaps learned about the dramatic circumstances, he pushed back the planned publication of Evergrey. Boller and Hildebrandt, who live about a 45 minute drive West of New York, both stress how important the support and motivation from the side of the German publisher was at that time. The collaboration went so well that the two are already working on a second manga for Tokyopop. Yaru, a supernatural fantasy-adventure with a touch of comedy, is supposed to appear next spring — again, under Boller’s and Hildebrandt’s pseudonym Lime.

The Course of Work
David Boller describes the creation of a manga like so: “Mary comes up with an idea, and we discuss it. She sketches the plot, and together we work out layouts. When Mary has specific pictures in her head for how something should look, she doesn’t hesitate to act them out for me.” Then she writes the final version of the script, which he translates into German. In the end, he draws with ink and fills in tones.

Foreign Art, Real Style
The result is a black and white comic that looks like a real Japanese manga. Still, David Boller’s personal style is very distinct. As in the fanzine Shadow, which he published at the end of the 80s in Switzerland, Boller’s approach is of a more aesthetic than realistic nature. Art Nouveau-like ornaments wind through the heroine’s flowing hair. That works very well with the story, which, despite the vampires, is not scary, but romantic.
Reto Baer


One Response to “Evergrey Article”

  1. […] Deutsche Mangaka crosses the border to translate a Swiss article about Lime, the studio that produces Evergrey. […]

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