Interview with OEL Manga Writer Gabrielle Gniewek

As I continue my week long series on Christian OEL manga, I had an opportunity to posit some questions for Gabrielle Gniewek.  Gabrielle is a writer for Manga Hero.  Her works include Judith: Captive to Conqueror and Many Are Called.

TWWK: From a young age, was it your goal to write original English-language manga?

Gabrielle: I’ve always been interested in creative hobbies like drawing, writing, and filmmaking while I was growing up. I knew by the age of 13 that I wanted to be a writer/director, and it was around that time I was officially addicted to manga and anime. Every new series I read or watched was like eye-candy that fed into my own style of story-telling until I narrowed down my career-goals to being a writer/director of anime series. So if you consider 13 a young age, then yeah, sure.

TWWK:  How did you get into the manga/graphic novel industry?

Gabrielle: I came to JP Catholic in 2008, and soon after was labeled “the anime-girl.” So when a classified ad for ATIQTUQ was getting passed around the university , it wasn’t long until someone forwarded it to me, since “Catholic Manga Writer” seemed right up my alley. I wrote an email, expressing my interest, and after sending a segment of a sample script, met my future boss, and got the job.

TWWK: Your blog posts on Manga Hero outline some of the struggles in the process of creating manga.  What are some of your biggest challenges in writing manga?

Gabrille: Oof, the biggest obstacle by far is making the symbolisms and analogies in your story sync with what you really want to say. When dealing with themes, meanings, morals, and messages, you really have to scrutinize every word, action, and direction your story takes to make sure you aren’t accidentally promoting something you didn’t mean to, saying something that’s not true, or sending a misleading message. Sometimes it’s how a scene plays out, sometimes it’s a particular character’s arc, and other times it’s something as small as re-wording a single line of dialog. You can literally scrutinize for hours over this stuff.

TWWK:  Could you share with us your future aspirations – personally and career-wise?

Gabrille: Your guess is as good as mine. A lot is still up in the air now – but that’s what the discernment is for, right?

On top of continuing to write manga, I’m hoping I’ll master the Chaldean language (Surath), help get the Chaldean Media Center up and running (including a TV and radio station with 24 hours of fresh content for each), produce content for the website and TV station, etc. But before I can do any of that I have to figure out a few quick inventive ways of paying off a crap-ton of student loans before I can officially enter in November (if you happen to know any really rich and generous manga-loving friends, by all means, point them my way). Most importantly though, I’m aiming to figure out what God wants from me in life, and hoping I grow ever-closer to Him in conforming to His will.

TWWK: Finally, could you give some advice for Christians considering working in anime or manga as a career?

Gabrielle: I have two important pieces of advice for anyone open to hear them. You need both of them to succeed at anything in this world.

  1. Pray. Never forget that your talents were given to you, and you’re going to be held accountable for what you’ve chosen to do with them. Even if you get the job, the second you start considering yourself a big shot means you’ve forgotten who you should really be doing this for.
  2. Work your butt off. No really. I’m talking to you. Don’t “yeah, I know, I’m not like everyone else – I work really hard” me. 99% of people today are weak, under-achieving people who want the world handed to them on a silver platter. I’ve spent time with so many other “writers” that moved out to CA to make it big in LA. All they have to show for 2+ years of living here is a dozen half-conceived loglines. Maybe one or two incomplete scripts (they scarcely ever break the midpoint). And about five million excuses as to why they think they should abandon their current script and start on their newest idea which is “even better” than the last 50 they half-heartedly attempted to write before. If you want to get anything accomplished, you’ll shut up and start working.

Head over to the Manga Hero site for more information about Gabrielle and her works.  And come back tomorrow an interview with illustrator, Sean Lam.


One thought on “Interview with OEL Manga Writer Gabrielle Gniewek

  1. Le Livre de Judith en Manga singapourien

    Vient de paraître en français et en deux tomes, format manga, avec sens de lecture japonais, une version romancée du Livre de Judith, un de ces textes deutérocanoniques (ou apocryphe) de l’Ancien Testament, appelés ainsi car leur plus ancienne version n’est connue qu’en grec. Ainsi les traducteurs protestants de la Bible, comme Louis Second (1910), ne les prennent-ils pas en compte. Ce Livre, aux accents guerriers, qui se termine par un meurtre, n’est pas familier des fidèles catholiques. Il est cependant connu par les peintures célèbres du Caravage et de Boticelli, mais aussi en BD par des chapitres importants de « L’histoire du Peuple de Dieu » (texte du Père Thivollier, dessin de Xavier Musquera, éd. du Bosquet, tome 21, 1981), de « Découvrir la Bible » (texte d’Etienne Dahler, dessin de Raymond Poïvet, éd. Larousse, tome 6, 1984) et de « La Fresque Biblique » (texte d’Olivier Cair-Hélion, dessins de Jean Torton et Claude Lambert, éd. du Lombard, tome 7, 1988).
    En 2011, les éditions de l’Emmanuel à Paris, traduisent de l’américain (Manga Hero, San Rafael, California) deux volumes sur Judith, dessinés par le mangaka singapourien Sean Lam, sur scénario de Gabrielle Gniewek. Ils n’en resteront pas là puisqu’ils prévoient 3 mangas sur St Paul et un sur Benoît XVI, destiné à être distribué aux JMJ de Madrid. En page de garde, l’éditeur annonce que « ce manga reste fidèle au récit de la Bible ». Et c’est vrai ! Recherche des costumes et de l’architecture, respect de la personnalité des personnages : Judith et sa servante, Holopherne et son serviteur eunuque Bagoas, Manassé défunt mari de Judith, Achior chef des Ammonites, etc. Ce qui peut être déroutant pour le lecteur, ce sont les rêves, signalés cependant par des espaces intericoniques noirs : Judith dialogue avec Manassé, Holopherne revoit sa triste enfance, etc. Cela donne de l’épaisseur psychologique aux personnages tout en évitant les discours grandiloquents du texte biblique. Sont respectés : la mise en avant de la chasteté de Judith, son jeûne 6 jours sur 7, sa prière de nuit, sa détermination à séduire Holopherne sans lui céder et de lui trancher la tête quand il sera ivre le 3ème jour. Happy end : les habitants de Béthulie repoussent les Assyriens, Achior se fait circoncire.. et demande en mariage la servante de Judith, le trésor d’Holopherne servant de dot !
    Entrez dans la dimension manga et (re)lisez les 16 chapitres du Livre de Judith.
    Roland Francart sj, Directeur CRIABD, 24 Bd St Michel, BE-1040 Brussels, Belgium

    « Judith, de captive à Conquérante », dessin Sean Lam, scénario Gabrielle Gniewek, traduction Marie Chatagnon, vol. 1 et 2, éd. de l’Emmanuel, 20 rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 75009 Paris, 2011, 2 x 160 pages noir/blanc, 7,95 € pièce et

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