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From Korea to Conquering Europe – White Space

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More than three years after it first appeared in Italy, Yodori come back to our country with Heaven opened. The Korean artist was a guest on the XXX edition of Romantics and we took the opportunity to meet her and ask her some questions.

We are so glad to have you back in Italy again, Yodori! Thank you for coming back to us. Bring your new story with you Heaven opened, the second long work of your career. What readers who have already liked you can expect Pandora’s Choice?
The main difference with Pandora’s Choice Is that this black and white comic is closer to my origins, since I grew up reading manga. Apart from that, the two stories share some themes and facts He is Both are placed in the past.

Effective way Reading your stories, we note, as a common point, the need to represent specific female characters. also ne Heaven opened You took on the concept of Pandora’s box understood as revealing and revolutionizing roles: what would you like to evoke in those who read your work?
Although I am not in a position to give advice, what I would like to say to my readers is not to be afraid of failure, because it is part of our lives. be me Pandora’s Choice that no Heaven’s Conquest, the protagonist fails or decides to fail. That doesn’t make them any less worth living, and that’s true in the real world, too.
Without being too moral or explicit, it is important to convey these themes through imagination and artAnd. cI think it’s more effective than the activist approach, which often risks guilt dependency. With stories, on the other hand, it’s easier to get people thinking, in my opinion.

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Let’s talk about your narrative style: tabular Heaven opened They have a lot of manga influence, to the point where at one point we felt like we were reading a comic book about Moyoco Anno. Would you like to tell us more about your artistic influences and where it fits your style?
I was definitely inspired by moyoco anno in building the boards as she is one of my favorite authors, so…thank you very much! It is a great honor for me to be associated with her. As I said before, my style is heavily inspired by the manga, and in particular by Hitoshi Iwaki (Kisigo – Unwelcome guestAnd date) and by Ryoko Ikeda (Roses of Versailles – Lady Oscar, Orpheus’s Window), which instead influenced me in the historical narrative.

table from "Heaven's Conquest" (BD releases, 2023)

Speaking of manga, in Italy for some time it was considered a B-series type of comic compared to the more popular graphic novels, have you ever noticed inequalities of this kind in the places where you brought your work?
It doesn’t surprise me that the manga is considered secondary, it also takes place in the US unfortunately. I’ve been living in America as a Korean since before the K-Pop phenomenon, so I’m used to being marginalized. I studied fine arts in New York and do cartoons which they told me was not real art, certainly not the same as painting and literature. But overall, this thing put me at easeAnd Because you are at the bottom of the pyramid of consideration, you also have lower expectations, ha ha! What distinction actually takes on almost amusing undertones for me, so much so that I never introduce myself as a cartoonist or mangaka but more directly as a cartoonist, a bit of a protest against those who outshine me as an artist.

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According to youAnd Has the situation improved over time?
I think there has certainly been a growth in appreciation and interest in manga, linked above all to commercial success.

Yes, even in Italy from the first lockdown onwards, manga sales have exploded…
that is great! However, I get the impression that the consideration of Japanese comics throughout the West is still subservient to graphic novels and comic books in general, despite the increase in sales.

table from "Heaven's Conquest" (BD releases, 2023)

Going back to your stories: both are set in the past, is there a specific narrative reason or is it just personal taste?
History is told to us from the western perspective, that of the victors, and I always wondered if there wasn’t another untold story, which has been crushed and reworked over time by those who have brought it down to our days. From this thinking arose the need to use the past as a narrative key and as a provocation. Reflection and development of a new perspective on historical events has been very inspiring to me.
Hence, it is a great excuse to design lavish and baroque dresses. if directed Heaven opened With the same plot, but with T-shirts…it could have been less fun! (He laughs)

So your next story will also be in the past?
I’m already working on the next comic and… yeah, it will be put in the past! Specifically, in the 1920s South Korea, a period that is remembered as a kind of “dark age”, or when the country was under Japanese colonialism. On the other hand, I would like to highlight the positive aspects of that period and say, for example, the international position of my country in those years. Being under foreign rule, dozens of different languages ​​were spoken in Seoul, he happened to meet on the street people in kimono next to those in traditional Western or Korean clothes. This, evidently leaving out all the hardships and dramas of war, is an aspect that most struck me and inspired my new story.

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And when will he arrive?
It is definitely too early to tell!

We look forward to that. Thank you Yudori for your time, and we hope to see you soon in Italy.

Interviewed during Romans on April 2, 2023


Born in 1991, Yodori is a cartoonist, illustrator, and screenwriter of Korean descent. After a few short works, he found success in 2016 with his first feature-length work Pandora’s ChoiceHeaven’s Conquestpresented the following year at Romics.

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