Interview with Kiseki Magazine

by Jon Hayward, Nov 19th 2009

Raining Flowers Illustration by W.Nitivoranant (Sai)
We love comics here in Australia, there's a nice niche settled dealing mostly in American, Japanese and European comics. But what about the humble Australian comic? Issues of the Phantom line our newsagency shelves and sell like there's no tomorrow and we have several notable examples of independent success like Tank Girl, Platinum Grit and Hollow Fields. But what about manga? We have seen several excellent attempts at getting a regular manga collection such as XuanXuan and Oztaku and now we have a new collection, Kiseki! I had the chance to catch up with Jonathan Liong and Anthony Spark, the creators of Kiseki and ask them a few questions.

ANNAU: Why did you decide to release a manga magazine in Australia?

Kiseki: It was the obvious lack of opportunities for artists in Australia to get their work out. When we started there was Shin Magazine and Animavericks. Shin had just disappeared and Oztaku had just stopped producing their collections so we came along and started doing our own thing. The other reason why we started is because Jono draws his own stuff so he's featured in the books.

ANNAU: That's excellent! So it's all locally produced?

Just in Time! by Jonathan Liong © Kiseki 2009
Kiseki: Yes, as we were trying to get Jono's stuff out there and in publishing his stuff we thought we could help out other people. We know artists like Shanti Tirtajayawati (Artist of Omega) and Cecilia Jin (Artist of Hokori) and illustrators who became part of Kiseki like Sai and Jessica Ng. We had two new illustrators Einlee and Chung Nguyen recently join our team. We also have a new story by Raymond Lau and Sam Ma starting in issue 3 called Death and Fairy, it's a comedy manga so I think our readers will enjoy it.

ANNAU: Actually I just sat down and read Hokori last night, are you going to be publishing collected editions?

Kiseki: Hopefully, we obviously have to publish enough chapters and then we can create volume editions.

ANNAU: When will issue four be out?

Kiseki: Issue 4 should be out late November around Australia. This issue will be definitely something to look forward to.

ANNAU: Two issues in you seem to have improved a large amount, where else do you want to improve on?

Hokori by Cecilia Jin © Kiseki 2009
Kiseki: Obviously issue two is a massive improvement on issue one and there's always room for further improvement. We want to improve the design, the quality of the pages, the art. Most things can be improved in some way. We're looking to get better with each and every issue.

ANNAU: Any particular things about your published issues that niggle you?

Kiseki: We're quite content with each issue as it's the best of our ability at that time.

ANNAU: So you're incredibly happy with every issue you're publishing, that's excellent!

The other thing I have noticed is that there's a fair bit of other content in your magazines, you're looking to expand on that.

Kiseki: It's kinda hard at the moment to gather all this content but we're definitely looking at expanding within each issue.

ANNAU: At the end of each chapter I noticed a Shonen Jump style chapter image on every story. Is that a direct reference to those kind of magazines.

Kiseki: Yes, both Morning Magazine and Shonen Jump use those chapter images. We're trying to make a Australian version of those kind of magazines where each manga will eventually be serialised. We're also planning on doing character polls for each manga in the future.

Omega by Shanti Tirtajayawati © Kiseki 2009
ANNAU: What other media are you planning on using to get your content out apart from printed magazine?

Kiseki: We have a deviant art site (kisekimanga.deviantart.com) that's quite popular and we're getting many inquiries from people overseas that would like to submit manga but we can't accept those submissions. We do however we accept many illustrations. And of course we have our website and our forum.

ANNAU: You're getting a lot of people inquiring if they could be paid for their manga?

Kiseki: Actually most people volunteer as many people on deviant art love kiseki!

ANNAU: Out of curiosity, why can't you accept overseas submissions?

Kiseki: It's due to the Australian style and it's very hard to keep track of overseas people as we want ongoing series.

ANNAU: You have Hokori, Just in Time and Omega, how many issues do you already have in the can?

Kiseki: We have another issue ready but we tend to only keep one chapter ahead and we don't have a backlog.

Thanks a lot for speaking to me, I hope to see much much more from you and Kiseki magazine in the future. If you would like to get your hands on a copy of this excellent manga collection please visit www.kisekimanga.com where you can purchase copies online, see new work on their deviantart or follow them on facebook.

You can see higher resolution versions of the pages in this interview in the gallery below. And after you're finished click on the Kiseki banner to go and purchase a copy, it's brilliant and well worth reading each and every issue!

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All images in this interview are © Kiseki 2009

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