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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
So. Anyone know if TOKYOPOP and Dale Peck are on speaking terms? 
6th-Mar-2008 11:24 pm
Those who have known me for the past few years may recognize the lovely icon to the left as something I've been using for almost as long as I've had this LJ, but I'll bet only a fraction of those dearly beloved know the gifted artist responsible.

Well, that will hopefully change soon because TOKYOPOP has licensed the series from which it originates: Park Hee-Jung's Martin & John (conveniently? misspelled "Martin & Jhon" on the Korean edition's cover).

There is a bit of a wrinkle, however. Those of you who are familiar with gay fiction undoubtedly recognize the title Martin and John...since it was also a highly-acclaimed 1992 novel by Dale Peck. Now, I've read the novel and seen the manhwa, and I don't think they're actually the same story. But both are about multiple pairs of men named Martin and John in various sorts of romantic relationships. I couldn't for the life of me tell if Park was paying homage to Peck's novel (which came first) or if she was *ahem* plagiarizing. >_< It seemed like too much of a coincidence.

Back in early 2004 when I first saw the manhwa in Korea, I was worried that the case for a possible copyright infringement might lead licensors to shy away from it. Also, there's Peck's pugnacious reputation (at least as a literary critic). Ah well. Whatever the case may in fact be, I'm glad it's coming over. I've been waiting a looooong time for the opportunity to read this lovely manhwa in English!
7th-Mar-2008 05:27 am (UTC)
Totally wondering the same thing over here! xD
7th-Mar-2008 05:50 am (UTC)
If you hear anything about this on the grapevine, do let me know. I'm dying of curiosity. ^^;
7th-Mar-2008 07:37 am (UTC)
We're 90% sure it's going to get a title change. I don't think anything has been decided fully yet, but yeah...

(I edited Fever vol. 1 though, and that was awesome, and we got our first copies of Hotel Africa 1 in recently, and those look super-cool, even though we didn't use the original cover art [it's got that as a color page instead, at least]! Hee Jung Park for the win!)
7th-Mar-2008 12:40 pm (UTC)
When I first saw the announcement the other day, I was expecting to read that it is going to be retitled, at least. Seeing the title + self-evident subject matter back when I was in Korea led me to think immediately that it was an adaptation of Peck's novel, but when I flipped through the book, no mention appeared to be made. And I thought, "...oh."

Have you seen her Siesta artbook?
8th-Mar-2008 05:04 am (UTC)
Oh, the Asians and their blase approach to copyright... Song lyrics in manga never fail to send us into an editorial panic. Random appearances by American celebrities and/or licensed characters (Spiderman is a prime offender) are always a nightmare, too. We'll figure something out.

Oooh, artbook?! I bet it's super-pretty...
8th-Mar-2008 05:17 am (UTC)
Ask Park to rename the title characters? XD (I know, I know...ri~ght.)

Well, pop culture references are a sort of modern mythology, so it doesn't set off so many alarms among the well-meaning. (Even here--look at all those "There Will Be Blood" references in the news media re: the Democratic primary race.) But randomly lifting a contemporary literary fiction novel's title and premise seems a bit extreme, even in Korea, where intellectual property was only ever taken into consideration rather late in the 20th century. ^^;

The Siesta artbook is quite lavish and lovely. It has a lot of the Hotel Africa color art. And the cover uses these electric shades of blue...so striking. Get your peeps to get a hold of it to drool over. ^_~
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