Matsuri Volume 1, by Michael Ayres, is a work in progress. Matsuri is an open-ended novel set in a world where gangster clans effectively rule much of the sprawling city of Korin. A new drug, “F”, or “Fable”, has swept through the population, and its users enter euphoric states in which the linguistic and narrative centres of the brain are massively enhanced, resulting in a high in which reality breaks down, and addicts vanish into the labyrinthine bliss of their own stories. Highly stylised, expressing a distinctive aesthetic mixing Japanese manga and anime tropes within a “hard-boiled” American detective fiction, Matsuri is a violent, hallucinatory journey through a society of dream-like mystery and colour, and follows the story of the young teenager Ru Myoni and his role in getting vengeance for the death of his murdered brother, Ky.

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Each of the four versions displayed here were created using both traditional and digital techniques. In typical manga/anime style, a graphic contrast was created between the line-drawn character and the various backgrounds. Certain abstract motifs were also used to reflect some of the more surreal aspects of the plot.

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