To celebrate the upcoming release of Marvel's groundbreaking series STRANGE TALES, in which some of the brightest stars of alternative and indie comics present their takes on the Marvel Universe, Marvel.com will be showcasing the contributors in an expansive series of exclusive interviews. And don't forget to pick up STRANGE TALES #1, on sale September 2!
by Sean T. Collins
As adorable as Hello Kitty but as strange as David Lynch, manga-ka Junko Mizuno's inimitable style has made her the toast of the art and comics worlds on both sides of the Pacific. In a series of high-profile illustration gigs, art shows and graphic-novel adaptations of famous fairy tales, Mizuno's combination of angel-eyed girls, dark and demonic imagery and a psychedelic color palette unlike anything else in the manga scene have made her one of today's most sought-after artists. Fortunately, Marvel was able to snag her for STRANGE TALES, to which she contributed an adorable, yet intense Spider-Man & Mary Jane story. Mizuno took a few moments to speak with Marvel.com about why she digs the wall-crawling couple and how she bridged the gap between manga and Marvel.
A page from Junko Mizuno's contribution to STRANGE TALES #1 Marvel.com: So what's your STRANGE TALES story about?
Junko Mizuno: Spider-Man and Mary Jane move to a town inhabited by Spider-People. In a town where everyone has the ability to web, Spider-Man finds it hard to be a hero and MJ makes every effort to help him stand out.
Marvel.com: So is Mary Jane the real hero of the story?
Junko Mizuno: I don't think so...There's no hero in the story. You'll see when you read it.
Marvel.com: Why'd you select Spidey and MJ to work with?
Junko Mizuno: I picked them because I like drawing spiders and redhead girls.
Marvel.com: You grew up in Japan—did you have much exposure to Marvel comics there?
Junko Mizuno: I'm sorry, but I've never read Marvel comics! As I grew up, I mainly read Japanese comics for girls, but not the romantic ones. I always preferred comics with fantasy, adventure and action. They might have something in common with Marvel comics. I enjoyed reading the long character bios [for Marvel's characters] before I started working for the anthology, though. It was very surprising for me to learn that the universe is so complicated and elaborate.
A page from Junko Mizuno's contribution to STRANGE TALES #1 Marvel.com: Any other Marvel heroes or villains you'd like to tackle someday?
Junko Mizuno: All the female characters look tempting to me...
Marvel.com: What do you recommend to readers who'd like to see more of your work?
Junko Mizuno: Pure Trance, my first graphic novel from 1998. The English version is available from Last Gasp. I'd also recommend Flare, my latest art book from Editions Treville.
Marvel.com: What else have you been working on lately?
Junko Mizuno: I'm working on a picture book with a story that will come with a toy for a French publisher now. After that, I'll start working on my art show that will start in December at Roq La Rue gallery in Seattle.