The tribute to our esteemed Saturday AM Annual artists rolls on! Today, we’re highlighting the gifted Piggy Hammer. A standout from #summerofmanga, she’s since joined the Saturday AM family. Her series “A Mighty Sword” notably captivated both readers and our team in the 2022 Summer of Manga, Issue 151. We were fortunate to chat with Han about her journey and her contribution to this year’s annual – working with Oscar and Frederick to craft a unique story within the world of MMWOG. Here’s what she shared:
How was your experience crafting content for this year’s edition of the Saturday AM Annual? Were there any moments that stood out to you?
“I had a lot of creative freedom in creating the story and storyboarding. The goal from the beginning for me was to create a story that has clear conflicting themes: helping the world vs putting family first, close-knit community vs influence from outside, preserving vs decimating traditions, within a very limited page count of 20. I really appreciate that when it comes to storyboarding and inking, I was left to create my own magic. Both Fredrick and Oscar, the series’ original creators, were a delight to work with despite time differences. A moment that stood out for me was seeing Oscar at 8 in the morning while it was midnight for him, and wishing him a happy birthday!”
What message or emotion do you hope readers will take away from your contribution to the Annual?
“I hope readers enjoy the story and also the Vietnamese cultural references. I specifically wanted a character who is a chef who wears ao dai (national costume) so I can mention Vietnamese food, and show off our beautiful dress. There are also imagery of the national trees (bamboo) in the story.”
Can you share any behind-the-scenes moments or challenges you faced while developing your story?
“I really love the series MMWOG, it is one of my favourite Saturday AM series, so to be able to create a spin off and work with the creators was a real honour. One memorable behind-the-scene secret I may share is that the design for the antagonist was originally very different, but Oscar Fong adapted it so I didn’t have to modify my storyboard too much, which I am very appreciative of.”
For those who worked on preexisting Saturday am titles How did you balance paying homage to the original character’s essence while also imprinting your unique style and voice?
“That’s a great question. I think it is very important to ensure the first stage of drawing the story is to get the original creators’ approval. I did a lot of research as soon as I know I would be creating a spin off of MMWOG to ensure I get all the distinctive features of the character design and personality. I questioned the original creators about the character’s values, hopes and dreams and what they would do when facing a difficult situation. I also study Oscar’s art by recreating the character in my sketchbook several times. Then I created a draft of the original characters in my own style and shared it with Frederick and Oscar for feedback before I even started to storyboard and very luckily they approved!”
Are there particular artists or illustrators, whether from Saturday AM or elsewhere, that have influenced your work?
“Yumiko Takahashi, ONE, Atsushi Ohkubo, CLAMP, Eiichiro Oda, and Fujiko Fujio are among those who have the biggest influence on me as a reader and now a creator of manga. I also see WhytManga as a personal inspiration, as he was the first manga artist to ever share my work on social media. This small action at that point in time helped me believe in myself, and it has really paid off because I am still creating today.”
A big big thank you to Han for the interview! We can’t wait to see the end result of all her hard work. If you want to check out her short story and many more don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of Saturday AM Annual 2024, releasing TOMORROW!