Talent Runs in the Family

Brian Fies is the author of the acclaimed graphic novel Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow, and the Eisner-award winning Mom’s Cancer. This week his daughter, Laura Fies, gave me an autographed copy of her first prize-winning manga, “Talbot.”

Laura, a student at UC Davis, entered a manga contest hosted by SacAnime, Sacramento’s annual anime festival. The guidelines were to submit a 12-page story drawn in manga style.

Laura won! First prize was publication in the convention magazine and a stint at a book-signing table. The top three stories are printed in the ‘zine, and Laura, of course, got the cover because she was the winner.

The magazine interior is printed in black and white (to save money obviously). Laura worked as a colorist for her dad last spring so it would have been interesting to see her color use here. Her artwork is fresh and graceful. She suggests backgrounds, whether it’s a busy locker room or a school athletic center, with economy. The story, about a stranger who shows up at Cassie’s school, a stranger no one else notices, is chilling, and could be told around a campfire or read on a dark and stormy night. I had some idea where the story was going and I still got the frission, the shiver-at-the-back-of-the-neck-and-down-the-arms thing at the end.

Laura’s book goes next to her father’s in my little group of first editions, and not just because they have the same last name.

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