What follows is a short opening text penned by yours truly and first published in Issue 3 of the magazine (pp. 2-3).
Making a magazine is exciting. To resort to a common but apt metaphor, one may think of it as putting together a jigsaw puzzle without referring to its guiding picture. (The “picture” in this case is the finished publication itself!) Typically, magazine genres, formats and traditions are kept “at hand,” their grooves and patterns providing guidance towards set goals and directions. Or alternatively, frames of reference can be expanded and conventions challenged with every issue, as if allowing the pieces of our metaphorical puzzle to shape-shift before starting all over again.
As many of you already know, since its inception NANG has strived to explore the latter possibilities, and I hope you will concur this Issue dedicated to “Fiction” is no exception. Developed by guest editor extraordinaire Amir Muhammad, it playfully oscillates between the “inside” and “outside” of films and narratives — attempting to embrace some of the great subjects of human existence through works of written fiction (and comics) which, in turn, have been drawn from cinematic fiction. (Viewed from within the context of a film magazine, this uncanny interplay between screen and page becomes all the more intriguing for it allows the Issue to speak within and alongside and through films without being about them.)
The short stories and comics forming the core part of this Issue were selected from an open call which asked for original submissions based on, or inspired by, any Asian film across the ages and genres. With the selection process completed, we first gathered the posters of the films authors had picked — with posters used here as “graphic metonyms” if you will, and as reference to one of the ways through which we may first encounter films — and then approached five international artists and commissioned illustrations which in different ways and styles would respond to elements of both a given poster and the related story/comic.
While there are many entrances to this Issue, I hope that, if read from cover to cover or navigated through the index page we have prepared, the impression may be one of “progressive osmosis”: from poster, to story/comic, to illustration — as if each part has seeped into the next, becoming somehow a continuation of its creation. But if this is too great a claim, I can at least wish that the following pages will lead you on a journey and allow, on occasion, some space for dreaming, for seeing in the dark.
As always, thank you for reading. And thank you to all contributors, participating artists and sponsors.