Back in 2000, I was asked to do a Anipike Web Picks. Back then, it was a relative honour to be chosen to do this. I don’t know exactly who recommended me or why, I didn’t think I had any real influence on the anime community at the time, but I guess I did. When I was asked, I thought it would be interesting to tie in the comic somehow, make a special “Anipike Edition.” The whole point of the strip would be to show the various characters, but have everything be fairly innocent to people who have never heard of the strip before, but understandable to people who did read the comic (e.g. readers would know about what Mike made a mess with, non readers remain clueless). It was a fun strip to do, kind of a fourth-wall breaker, with me at the end and cutting off the heads of my characters and pumping them up with a tire pump, hoping to make “deformed heads.”
It was a jab at a previous Anipike Web Picks by Ian Kim. For those of you who don’t know who Ian Kim was, Ian Kim was the author of the online comic book Emiko’s Genesis (there was a time when many online comics had to have the words “Genesis”, “Neon” or “Neo” because of THAT anime). I disliked the guy. Let me explain why.
There are several online comics that came out of University of Waterloo graduates. The ones I know of for certain are mine, “The Parking Lot is Full” and “Emiko’s Genesis.” University of Waterloo had a very active anime club, and Emiko was its mascot. So walking through the halls of campus, you’d see Ian Kim’s art everywhere. And in true western fashion, everything that gets overexposed you learn to hate. Well, hate is a strong word in this case, but it was a bit annoying. I will say that Ian Kim was a good artist, regardless of the fact that everything he did seemed like a pink version of that girl from “Ah! My Goddess.”
If you went to his website, you’d see his characters talking to each other in the form of talking deformed heads (much like the kind you see on his website), using “WAAII” “BAKA” and “KAWAII~~” much more than was necessary. The guy was not only an artist, but a tremendous fan of anime. His site was very popular, but unfortunately it went right to his head.
There are many “Ian Kim” stories on the web. I’ll stick to the ones that involved me.
In 1998, a lot of the Toronto area fan artists were going to show up at Anime North 1998, an anime convention. This was suggested by Ian Kim, who set up a mailing list. He was going to have a booth there, selling his Emiko’s Genesis doujinshii and art. He invited us to come down and say Hi, then afterwards, we’d have dinner together. About 10 artists said they were going to be there, and it sounded like a real fun time.
A week before the meeting, however, he changed his tune. First he sent a letter saying that he couldn’t make the dinner, but we’d be welcome to come and talk to him at the booth. A couple of days later, he changed his mind about that — asking us not to “loiter around” his booth, but we were welcome to stay “if you buy something.” Well, this certainly soured the mood. We quickly found we weren’t really wanted by the man who invited us! And he was telling us not to loiter even before we got there!
When we did arrive, our conversations were short. Few of us had seen each other before, so the instructions were to meet near his booth (in front of it was out of bounds). When I met Ian Kim, my conversation was this:
“Hi! I’m looking for the FAHQ artists”. 1
Without even as much as looking up from counting money (seriously), he said “They’re over in the corner.”
I met everyone in the corner of the room, and soon we were asked to leave. We found a cafeteria level and hung out there. That was the last we saw of Ian Kim. He didn’t join us for dinner, but his ears were surely burning from our dinner conversation.
Since then, Ian Kim did a lot of things that did not betray his sense of self-importance. One of the things he did was his Anipike picks, which was so self-absorbed that it really annoyed many members of the fan art community. The purpose of the picks was for the author to list some of his favorite places to go on the web. In this case, he plugged his site TWICE before getting to the list, and his number one favorite place to visit on the web was — you guessed it, his OWN SITE.
Incredible. He did a number of other things as well, but for the sake of the length of this commentary, I’ll stop there.
So when it came time for my anipike picks, that whole “deformed heads” thing was a knock directed at Ian Kim, as well as the title.
Yeah, I know I’ve spent my commentary bitching about one person who probably doesn’t even know who I am. He might even be a changed man, a person who has a sense of humility now. But in any case, commentary doesn’t have to do what is going on right now, it talks about what was happening back then.
1FAHQ (said like “fack”) stood for Fan Art Head Quarters, which was a site dedictaed to people interested in anime style art, and it was also home to Impromanga. It has long been defunct.