Sean Michael Wilson
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|Sean Michael Wilson|
|Area(s)||Writer, graphic novelist|
|Awards||2010 Harvey Award nomination, 2013 Stan Lee Excelsior Award Winner.|
Sean Michael Wilson is a comic book writer from Edinburgh, Scotland, who lives and works in Japan. He has written more than 20 books with a variety of US, UK and Japanese publishers and has been nominated for both the Eisner and Harvey book awards, and won a medal in the Japanese government's 'International Manga Award', 2016 (the first British person to receive that award).
Growing up in Edinburgh, Wilson was deeply inspired to create comic books at an early age by the comic 2000 AD. He largely focused on writing poetry and short stories while studying sociology and psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University and Edinburgh University, graduating as a lecturer in those subjects from the University of London. He mixed teaching with working on documentary films for British television until deciding to return to focus on his first love, comic books. In 2014 he was listed among the 'Ten Great Scottish Graphic Novel Creators' by the Scottish Book Trust.
Wilson's first published comics story came out in 1998 in a book and display of an exhibition of comic art in London. Although around half of his books are 'western' style graphic novels, he often works with Japanese and Chinese artists on manga style books, being ideally placed to do so as he now lives in Japan. He is influenced by the Gekiga movement writers, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Yoshiharu Tsuge, Matsumoto Masahiko. His first Japanese language work came out in Summer 2008 on the Japanese keitai manga network (comics on cell/mobile phone). Making him perhaps the first British comic book writer to have his work available on Japanese mobile phones. He is also the only British comic book writer, so far, to have a multi-book deal with the Kodansha publishing group in Japan. He edited the groundbreaking collection of indie style manga, 'AX: alternative manga', for Top Shelf Publications - which was highly praised by critics ('Top ten books of 2010' of Publishers Weekly, nominated for a prestigious Harvey Award) and noted as the most important such collection of manga yet published. But his main influences remain British and American comics, such as creators Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Eddie Campbell and Harvey Pekar.
Wilson's work is equally split between original stories and adaptations of existing work into comic book form. Several of his books have been adaptations for the UK publisher Classical Comics. This has involved working with a range of well-known artists adapting 19th-century novels into comic books that stay close to the original in plot and historical accuracy. Including his best selling book so far, at 20,000+ sales, 'A Christmas Carol' (with Judge Dredd, Wonder Woman and Dr Who artist Mike Collins) and 'Wuthering Heights' (with well-known artist John M Burns of 2000AD, Look and Learn, etc.).
Wilson has attempted to do comic books that are different from the normal superhero/fantasy brands, working with a variety of 'non-comic book' organisations in the process, such as a British museum, the UK arts council, colleges in the USA, the Global Institute for Tomorrow, Bristol University, Asia Literary Review, the Norwegian People's Alliance, the British and American Humanist Associations, Basic Income groups and the activist charity War on Want. His book with War on Want, 'Iraq:Operation Corporate Takeover' was reported on by a variety of mainstream agencies across the world, such as Reuters, CCTV in China, Austrian Radio and several middle eastern magazines. His book 'Parecomic' has an introduction by Noam Chomsky, who is also in the book several times - Chomsky's first official connection with a graphic novel. His book contrasting science and religion, Goodbye God?, was made with the participation of English philosopher Stephen Law of the University of London and an introduction by Prof. Lawrence Krauss. His work has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish, Croatian, Indonesian, Turkish, Swedish and Italian.
Recent or current projects include: a manga version of 'The 47 Ronin'; 'Fight the Power!', a history of 200 years of protests (with an introduction by Tariq Ali); The Book of Five Rings, a 140-page historical manga with Chie Kutsuwada for Shambhala Publications; The Demon's Sermon, a 150-page historical manga with Michiru Morikawa for Shambhala Publications; Parecomic: The Story of Michael Albert and Participatory Economics, a 220-page graphic novel with Carl Thompson for Seven Stories Press; Cigarette Girl, a 250-page manga from gekiga great Masahiko Matsumoto for Top Shelf Publications; and Once Upon a Time in Morningside, an 115-page autobiographical comic set in the Edinburgh of his childhood, with Hanna Stromberg. Wilson lives in Southern Japan but is a regular guest at comic book festivals in the UK and US, where he has given talks about gekiga and alternative manga.
Awards and recognition
- 2008 Wilson's version of A Christmas Carol, with artists Mike Collins and David Roach, in The Sunday Times 'Ten Best Books of the Year'
- 2010 AX: alternative manga, edited by Wilson, nominated for the prestigious Harvey Award.
- 2012 Wilson's version of Wuthering Heights, with John M Burns, nominated for the 'Stan Lee Excelsior Awards' in 2012, by over 170 schools in the UK.
- 2012 Wilson's version of A Christmas Carol, with Mike Collins and David Roach, won gold medal in the 2012 'Language Learner Literature Awards'.
- 2013 Wilson's version of 'Sweeney Todd', with Declan Shalvey, wins the JABICA award of the 'Stan Lee Excelsior Awards'.
- 2014 Wilson listed among the 'Ten Great Scottish Graphic Novel Creators' by the Scottish Book Trust.
- 2015 The anthology of stories about WW1 Wilson was part of, 'To End All Wars', was nominated for 'Best Anthology' in the 2015 Eisner awards.
- 2015 Cold Mountain, with Akiko Shimojima, won an award in the national 'China Animation and Comic Competition' (in the category of 'Best Overseas Comic').
- 2016 Lafcadio Hearn’s "The Faceless Ghost", with Michiru Morikawa, on recommended reading list, 'Great Graphic Novels for Teens', of the library association,USA.
- 2016 Lafcadio Hearn’s "The Faceless Ghost", with Michiru Morikawa, won a medal in the 2016 'Independent Book Publishers Awards', USA.
- 2016 Lafcadio Hearn’s "The Faceless Ghost", with Michiru Morikawa, nominated for an Eisner Award, the top award for comic books in the USA.
- 2016 Secrets of the Ninja, with Akiko Shimojima, won a medal in the 'International Manga Awards' of the Japanese Government.
Bibliography (earliest books listed first)
- Angel of the Woods (with Jorge Heufemann, graphic novel, 84 pages, Boychild Productions, December 2003, ISBN 0-9546596-0-0)
- "Chimpira" (in Manga Mover, Boychild Productions, September 2004, ISBN 0-9546596-2-7)
- Beautiful things (with Neill Cameron and other artists, Boychild Productions, June 2005, ISBN 0-9546596-1-9)
- The Japanese Drawing Room (with artist Sakura Mizuki, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museumm May 2006, ISBN 0-905173-80-5)
- "Gang of Love" (in Yaoi, Volume 1, Yaoi Press, April 2007, ISBN 1-933664-15-0)
- Lafcadio Hearn's Japanese Ghost Stories (140 pages, Demented Dragon Books, 2007)
- Iraq: Operation Corporate Takeover (with Lee O'Connor, War on Want/Boychild Productions, June 2007, ISBN 0-9546596-3-5)
- "The Story of Lee" (with Yishan Li, in the Mammoth Book of Best New Manga Volume 2, October 2007, ISBN 1-84529-642-7)
- A Christmas Carol (adaptation, with pencils by Mike Collins and inks by David Roach, 132 pages, Classical Comics, October 2008, Original Text, ISBN 1-906332-17-7, Quick Text, ISBN 1-906332-18-5)
- Lafcadio Hearn's Japanese Ghost Stories (120 pages, Keitai/cell phone version in the Japanese language, Tokyo Shoseki Insatsu, 2008)
- AX (as editor, 400 pages, Top Shelf Productions, July 2010, nominated for the Harvey Award, 2010)
- Hagakure: the manga edition (with art by Chie Kutsuwada, 145 pages, Kodansha, Sept 2010 in Japan, January 2011 elsewhere.)
- The Canterville Ghost (adaptation, with art by Steve Bryant and Jason Millet, 144 pages, Classical Comics, October 2010, Original Text, ISBN 1-906332-27-4, Quick Text, ISBN 1-906332-28-2)
- The Story of Lee (with art by Chie Kutsuwada, 150 pages, NBM Publishing, Dec 2010)
- Yakuza Moon: the manga edition. (art by Michiru Morikawa), 190 pages, Kodansha International, Feb 2011 in Japan, June 2011 elsewhere.
- Buskers (with art by Michiru Morikawa, 130 pages, out spring 2011 in connection a film of the same name)
- Wuthering Heights (adaptation, with art by John M. Burns, 144 pages, Classical Comics, December 2011, nominated for the Stan Lee Award, 2012.
- Sweeney Todd (adaptation, with art by Declan Shalvey, 176 pages, Classical Comics, Spring 2012, Original Text, ISBN 978-1-906332-79-2, Quick Text, ISBN 978-1-906332-80-8,). Nominated for and won a Stan Lee Award, 2013.
- The Book of Five Rings: a Graphic Novel (art by Chie Kutsuwada), 160 pages manga, Shambhala, Nov 2012.
- The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts(art by Michiru Morikawa), 160 pages manga, Shambhala, Spring 2013.
- Parecomic: The Story of Michael Albert and Participatory Economics 220-page graphic novel with Carl Thompson. Seven Stories, May 2013. Intro by Noam Chomsky.
- Fight the Power! A Visual History of Protests Among the English Speaking Peoples, a history of 200 years of protests, New Internationalist, Oct 2013. Intro by Tariq Ali.
- The 47 Ronin A manga version of the classic Japanese tale. Art by Akiko Shimojima. English version: Shambhala, Oct 2013. Japanese version: Kodansha, Oct 2013.
- Musashi: a graphic novel A manga version of the life of Miyamoto Musashi. Art by Michiru Morikawa. Shambhala, Sept 2014.
- Cold Mountain, on the 7th/9thC Chinese mystical poets Han Shan and Shih Te, 130 pages, April 2015, Shambhala Publications.
- Goodbye God?: an illustrated guide to science V religion 120 pages, April 2015, New Internationalist.
- Secrets of the Ninja , historical manga, 150 pages, July 2015, North Atlantic Books.
- Story of Lee volume 2, a 150 page long manga with (art: Nami Tamura), November 2015 from NBM Publishing, USA.
- Lafcadio Hearn’s The Faceless ghost - and other Macabre Tales from Japan. Art by Michiru Morikawa. 130 pages, Nov 2015, Shambhala Publications.
- Cigarette Girl (as editor,250 pages, Top Shelf Productions, July 2016.
- Once Upon a Time in Morningside. Art by Hanna Stromberg. 115 pages, June 2016, BigUglyRobot Publishing.
- Breaking the 10 volume 1. Art by Michiru Morikawa.. 112 pages, July 2016, NBM Publishing, USA..
- Bushido: the Soul of Japan. Art by Akiko Shimojima. 125 pages, Aug 2016, Shambhala Publications.
- Portraits of Violence. Art by various. 115 pages, Nov 2016, New Internationalist.
- "Dream becomes reality for Scottish manga creator". Japan Times. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- "Alternative Manga Anthology: interview with editor Sean Michael Wilson". Asia Pacific Arts. 2010-09-16.
- Wilson, Sean Michael. "A Scottish comic book writer in Japan". Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- 2008 New York Comic con Guests at nycomiccon.com