Comic fans may have heard of Avi Arad, the Israeli-American businessman who took control of Marvel following its 1996 bankruptcy, helped turn around its business and bring its superheroes to Hollywood. He resigned from Marvel in 2006, but is still involved in producing upcoming projects like The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man.
In 2010, Arad was named the chair of anime studio Projection I.G's American branch, where he's working on projects like paving the way for a live-action Hollywood Ghost in the Shell. He recently discussed working with I.G's chief game director and game writer, Junichi Fujisaku (director on Loups=Garous, writer on the xxxholic/Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle movie and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex spin-off novels), on The Innocent manga - (by Arad, scripted by Fujisaku, with art by Redrum 327 and Under the Glass Moon's Ya-Seong Ko, published in Japan in Comic Blade and in North America on Yen Plus Online).
From GraphicNovelReporter's interview with Arad:
Why did you want to do a manga story?
I’ve been in the world of comics all my life, and specifically into Japanese comics in the early days, before manga attempted to penetrate this market. I wanted to do The Innocent a long time ago. It stayed with me quite a while. Once I got out of Marvel Comics, it was one of the things on my bucket list to do a manga. I had an idea and I followed it, and here we are.
Did you grow up reading manga?
I discovered manga later, really when I came here. I came to the united States in 1970 and it became one of the formats of comics that I really liked, but we couldn’t get going here. U.S. publishers have had a really hard time with publishing them. I’ve been involved with many publishers in Japan, and still am— I’m now making movies based on Japanese video games, translating them to American movies that will play around the world—and I thought, Let’s give it a shot!
How did you get involved with writer Junichi Fujisaku and artist YaSung Ko?
Well, I have a relationship with Production IG; I’m quite involved with them. And they found the writer. The artist I picked up by looking at some pieces of art from different artists in Japan. I liked her cinematic feel and expression drawing style. It’s magnificent. And actually one thing that influenced her is she knew that I come from the world of movies, and she was thinking in terms of movie scenes. She had this romantic thing about the drawing and at the end of the day I felt that one of the things we were attempting to do here is tell a movie-like story. Also, The Innocent is kind of a love story: Ash’s love for his sister, and his love for the woman that is no longer around. He turned out to be a really great character.