About - This is Where The Smoke Comes Out

When I came back from Japan in 2001, I thought I wanted to write a book called Zen and the Art of the Synthesizer based on my experience of growing up and working at Fairlight Instruments in Australia, then Roland in Japan and how that changed us.

18 years later I was working on a comic I was calling Zen and the Art of Random Memories, and that lead to an old Peter Gabriel reference, and that makes a better name.

Concept Art

So here it is, This is Where The Smoke Comes Out - A Collection Of Memories

I was very inspired by the MIZUKI manga SHOWA, A HISTORY OF JAPAN.

SHowa Manga
His 4 volume set combined recent history and Shigeru Mizuki's autobiographical events, which was mostly suffering. I found his life events really interesting. More so than the history which forms the background, and that started me on this. I am also using his page layout format of up to 12 panels a page.

Having done the Terraform and Heavy Metal Garage comics, I thought the use of Narrative Captions, and processed photographs would make it doable in a reasonable amount of time. It does have standard comic drawn panels with speech bubbles as well.

So why would anyone care what I worked on? Well, Fairlight Instruments changed music Technology in the 1980s with the invention of the Sampler and did it from Sydney Australia. I then designed the electronics of the one that sounded good. I then moved to Roland Corporation Japan, the synthesizer manufacturer, working in this mix of Technology and Art. But you will have to read the comic for that. It looks like this type of thing:

comic thumbnail

I posted some draft pages to a comic group on Facebook and received some interesting feedback on the mostly photographic panels giving a credibility that comic illustrations couldn't provide. So I have stuck with it.

So this is a comic, but it has no Superheroes or fantasy elements. Means you have to have an interest in the development of Music Technology, or just Technology, of that time, or what went on behind that, or lead to that, to bother to read this at all. The comments I have received from people with that interest have been:

I really like this
I really enjoyed your short comic
love your comic
This is really interesting
Fascinating stuff and great fun to read!
Thoroughly enjoyed it
This is fascinating !!!
Great read, thanks for sharing!
It's an incredible insight as to how technology develops

I have left out a lot, and is only 37 pages, so a fast read. Almost no mention of my wife and kids. No mention of the really negative things that have happened. No mention of the many people that really helped us. But additional pages can always be put between the existing pages if I felt it was worthwhile doing. Where there is smoke, there is also fire...

The Comic