12.09.2011

Meeting Steve Oliff, And Acquiring The Original Color Art From Akira


My friends, I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Not 24 hours ago, I met a childhood hero of mine and a legend in the comics industry, Steve Oliff. He single handedly changed the way coloring in comics is done, and invented the processes by which digital coloring in comics takes place. And the very first book he did that with?

Akira.

As you well know, I'm kinda sorta a little into Akira. And I've been meaning to get out to San Francisco area and meet him -- so, when an opportunity to head out with my buddy Casey Edwards (the amazing dude doing my amazing new book cover -- which by the way, the book is a bit behind, but will still be done for Christmas gift-giving, never you mind that) came up, I called Steve and asked if we could finally meet. And he agreed. Thus began a series of jitters and 14-year-old-inside-me insanity that persists until right now.

First, we took a flight out to San Francisco:


Then, we took a nearly four hour drive North from San Francisco, to a little town called Point Arena, California. It's up the Pacific Coast Highway, which is an astounding curvy dip-filled stretch of road overlooking some of the most amazing scenery you've ever seen:





It took a few hours, but we finally got to Port Arena, home of Olyoptics -- the company that invented the process of digital coloring for comics, starting with the Epic (Marvel) release of Akira -- and the owner, Steve Oliff. Regretably, the one thing I failed to do in all my excitement during all of our talks was get a picture with Steve. But I did get pictures of all the artifacts remaining from the making of the Akira graphic novel... Which I now own :) (Well, will soon -- I couldn't carry it all on the plane and Steve is going through pieces he wants to keep for his personal collection, but the rest is going into the Art of Akira Exhibit and permanent archives:














It's unfortunate that our visit with Steve was so short -- we only had a day to hang out, discuss Akira, talk comics, dig through the archives, and so on. It wasn't nearly enough. But Steve did get to share with us the sunset at the cove in Point Arena, and then we had fish and chips and beer, before driving like madmen back to San Francisco to catch the 10:50PM flight home to Atlanta:







So, not only do I own the world's largest collection of original Akira cels, backgrounds and production artwork, I now own the ONLY collection of the original Akira color tests, proofs, layouts, and hand-colored guides from both the pages and covers of the Epic release of Akira, by both Steve Oliff and Katsuhiro Otomo himself (except the pieces Steve is keeping for himself).

 I have not slept. I am a giddy little boy.I will be posting scans and pics of the stuff I brought home (roughly 1/50th of the collection) very soon, and heading back out to pick up the rest next month.

Life is good.