TEKKONKINKREET: Black & White is a graphic novel by Japanese manga artist Taiyo Matsumoto. With its first publication in the 90s, the story involves two street kids with violent tendencies and abilities on the verge of superhuman. At the core of the story is the struggle between the children and all the various adult influences that would look to corrupt them but this isn't a children's story. It's way too violent and surreal. It is part coming of age, part fight against criminal and corporate greed and part allegory for resisting the ills of the modern world with one's last dying howl.
Originally released as separate books, VIZ rereleased the story as one large volume and enlarged the size. This re-release coincided with a Japanese release of the larger volume as well as a US release of an animated movie based on the comic. This design has many pieces. There is a reversible dustcover with a poster of exclusive artwork on the inside. There is a regular cover that mimics the Japanese cover, a bind-in poster and an art gallery at the end of the book.
The subhead of the story is Black & White, which references the two main characters of the story as well as their inverse integral relationship to each other. I chose to express the vibrancy and intensity of the comic through teal and peach instead of the obvious black and white. There isn't much that is obvious about this story. Even the artwork is vastly different to most Japanese comics. I also chose to focus on the theme of electrical wires. The story often takes place leaping through the sky in a decaying Japanese metropolis. I used the imagery of tangled wires as a theme throughout the book to evoke a feeling of height, precarious yet powerful.
Although I designed hundreds of books (in addition to countless ads, collateral, pop pieces, exhibition graphics, catalogs and websites) while working at VIZ this remains my single favorite project.
This graphic novel won the 2008 Eisner Award for the Best Re-release of International Material - Japan.