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Watson's Geisha Returns
By Brian Jacks


Back in 1998, Andi Watson and Oni Press teamed up for the first time for the original GEISHA miniseries — the story of Jomi, an android in a futuristic world. The trade paperback that followed garnered an Eisner nomination for Best Graphic Novel – Reprint. Over time, as Andi’s audience grew with BREAKFAST AFTER NOON and DUMPED, the GEISHA collection went out of print and disappeared from stores. Now, Oni and Andi Watson are returning the book to the market. Combined now with the stand-alone GEISHA ONE-SHOT, this newly expanded book, THE COMPLETE GEISHA, will hit the shelves in May, 2003.

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“Both Andi Watson and Oni Press have really taken off since we first collaborated,” said publisher Joe Nozemack, “but even if our working relationship was in its infancy, the quality of the work was not. GEISHA is still one of the jewel’s in Andi Watson’s creative crown. GEISHA is a tightly plotted story with a wonderfully constructed theme, subtle in its execution while still delivering big action.”

The publisher describes the book this way:
"Jomi Sohodo, the titular GEISHA, was raised by a human family and has aspirations of being an artist; only in a society prejudiced against artificial beings, no one believed she had anything worthwhile to express, thus forcing her into the family bodyguard business. This brings her into direct conflict with supermodels with bad attitudes, stalkers, giant robots, and a criminal underworld she’d rather stay out of. You see, an offer has come through for her to help make a forgery in a famous artist’s style, and she is not sure whether to take it. Can she introduce something else fake into a world that hides behind its supposed authenticity?"

“GEISHA was really the first thing I did after starting the main SKELETON KEY series,” Watson explained, “and I think you can see me applying some of the things I learned in that book towards the next phase in my career—the sorts of things I’d be doing in BREAKFAST AFTER NOON and SKELETON KEY: ROOTS. It may also be the one world I’ve created that is most unlike our own, which is interesting since most of my next books would be grounded very much in reality.”

“I always said that GEISHA was a book I was meant to oversee,” said editor Jamie S. Rich. “I had wanted to do it at Dark Horse, and I had sent it to Oni when I saw that it wasn’t going to happen. Luckily, I got here before the production was underway and was able to be Andi’s point man on it. This lead to probably one of the most artistically satisfying relationships of my editing career. It’s exciting to look back and see the seeds of what Andi was starting to do—really a marriage of his two worlds. It would be the first and last time we’d see classical painting combined with manga-style mecha.”

“The first edition GEISHA trade was only our third paperback,” Nozemack added. “You look in the back, and there was only WHITEOUT and NOCTURNALS: BLACK PLANET before it. And we got an Eisner-nomination out of it. Clearly, it’s truly a special book in what is now a rather large library.”

If that version of GEISHA is in your library, then you should also consider it a special book, as the gallery section in the back and the cover will not be in THE COMPLETE GEISHA. “The focus this time around is on story,” Rich explained. “We want to give you as much story as possible, so not only will you see the four-issue miniseries and the 42-page story from the one-shot, but also gray-toned versions of the tale from the first COLOR SPECIAL and the comic strips Andi did for COMIC SHOP NEWS. This will be the complete adventures of Jomi Sohodo.”

“Revisiting old books can often be like seeing pictures of yourself in high school,” Watson concluded. “You can’t believe that you ever thought looking that way was cool. And while I’d do some of GEISHA differently now, I still find it to be a charming little read. I think it deserves to remain in the public eye, and I think THE COMPLETE GEISHA is the best way to make that happen.”

THE COMPLETE GEISHA is a digest-sized book featuring 160 black-and-white pages for $15.95. It features a new color cover and has mature situations. It ships to comic book stores on May 21, 2003.

The first issue of GEISHA is also available for free as a downloadable PDF file at www.onipress.com/freecomic. Oni Press encourages fans to print it out or send it to their friends, and retailers to give it to customers who may be looking for something new and different.

The publisher also notes that fans should also be on the lookout for a brand-new series from Andi Watson and Oni Press later in the year.


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