Old Interview with Italian Manga-kas Dany & Dany
Japanreviewer: The Lily and the Rose is your most recent novel, what were your influences for this?
Dany&Dany: In every work of ours there are many different influences. As for "The Lily and the Rose", first of all there was the desire to realize a period graphic novel and to emphasize the absolute value of Love among anything else. Enlightenment and French Revolution period seemed the perfect background to us, both because we adore drawing Eighteenth century costumes and because, as Italians, we feel very sensitive to a certain obscurantism and hypocrisy of some catholic circles in matters of love. "The Lily and the Rose" is a yaoi, so of course the kind of love we're talking about is homosexual. As for the our sources of inspiration, we can mention Hesse's novel "Narcissus and Goldmund" and Laclos' one "Dangerous Liaisons".
Japanreviewer: Your characters of Alain Mauriac and Christophe Laurent in your recent manga are very endearing and enigmatic people, and there is a tinge of good natured humour in the book the readers will be able to appreciate, but what made you give Alain such a strong and persistent personality?
Dany&Dany: Maybe because we have a strong and persistent personality too. :) You need to have one if you want to be a western manga-ka. You have to fight against many prejudices: the first one is that western manga creators can't be as good as Japanese ones and the second one is that your work can't be
but a mere copy of Japanese syle without any originality. On the contrary we firmly believe that western manga has a lot of potentialities and that it represents the new frontier in comics market.
Japanreviewer: Your characters all have a distinctive original style to them. How long did it take you to develop that style?
Dany&Dany: Well, we've been creating manga since we were children so we can say that our style is the result of a whole life of practice. :) And of course, we'll keep on developing it always.
Japanreviewer: You could have both done standard manga, what made you decide to write and illustrate your Yaoi manga novels?
Dany&Dany: It simply happened. When we decided to turn our passion for manga into a profession and submitted our work to some publishers here in Italy, they told us that we were good but that we needed to change our style because it was too much japanese-like. Of course we refused. Some months later, after viewing our vampire chronicles fanart on our website, a new italian publisher proposed us to collaborate with its "BoyXBoy" project and create two yaoi graphic novels. We realized "La luna nel pozzo" and "Eikon". Then, an american publisher, Yaoi Press, asked us to license them in the States. They've been published with the titles "Wishing for the moon" and "Idol" in 2007. Since then, we realized two new graphic novels for Yaoi Press ("The Lily and the Rose" and "Anima") and the artbook "Dark Dreams". All our yaoi titles are also published in German language by The Wild Side.
Japanreviewer: I liked I.D.O.L. a great deal and with it being such a great manga to read, was there ever a time when you had to put on hold a certain manga idea until you got the character's personalities right?
Dany&Dany: Thank you for your appreciation. :) By the way, till now we've always had a clear idea of how our characters profile needed to be, since the very beginning of our projects. But we used to work a lot on their psychologies because we don't like the stories where the characters are just an excuse to make the plot develop.
Japanreviewer: What was the first manga you ever read?
Well, as far as we remember, the first one was Candy Candy. We were 8 years old, more or less. :)
Japanreviewer: What propelled you to write and draw manga books?
Dany&Dany: That's a good question. Maybe people out of Italy don't know that our country's tv channels were litterally invaded by tons and tons of anime since 1978. We guess that's a unique case in western countries. The result was that many italian generations grew up having more familiarity with anime and manga than with any other kind of cartoons and comics. We two can be considered as "daughters" of that invasion: it's been the most natural thing in the world for us to develop a manga style of drawing. As we told you, we've been creating our own manga since we were very, very young.
Japanreviewer: You made your first US convention appearance at YaoiCon in 2007, where will you be appearing next?
Dany&Dany: We've just been guests of honour at Anime Central in 2008 and we'll be in the States again in 2009 for sure to promote our newest manga "Anima", but we still don't know exactly where and when.
Japanreviewer: According to the Biography on your website you mention you are Instructors in two comic schools in Cagliari. What made you want to branch out into teaching?
Dany&Dany: We love the idea to transmit our passion and experience. You know, it's very gratifying seeing that we can be of some help to the young artists of our town that are interested in drawing manga. Many of them feel like "orphans" because the italian market of comics is not ready at all to accept western manga. So, we represent a sort of reference point to them, because we managed to realize our own manga in spite of all the difficulties, even tough we have to do it only outside of Italy now. For the truth, we wished we could have had a reference point too at the time we begun drawing, since we're totally self-taught.
Japanreviewer: Could you tell the fans a little about the next novel you are working on as I know they will be itching to know?
Dany&Dany: The title is "Anima", which is a Latin and Italian word meaning "soul". The story has a retro-futuristic setting, with a touch of Victorian gothic in it. The main characters are a cynical reporter, Patrick Owens, and a ballet dancer, Danya Arseniev. Well, we can do even better than that... You'll find a huge free preview available on Tokyopop website:
The book will be published by Yaoi Press on November 25, 2008. We're very excited about this new manga's coming out and also very curious about the audience response.
Japanreviewer: What kind of advice would you give to budding manga Artists and Writers who want to take this kind of profession up?
Dany&Dany: The most important thing is to be very determined. That may seem a banal advice, but you can't imagine how many people think that creating comics (or manga, in our case) is like a joke and don't take the thing seriously. You can be talented but if you're not of the idea to work very hard always and, especially in the beginning, to not have many satisfactions in exchange, then you lose. It's like there's a sort of natural selection. If you wish to be a manga-ka and you're not Japanese, your path is even harder, because of the prejudices we told above. That's what we always say to our students. We need to be realistic with them, otherwise they'll be disappointed by reality.