"A graphic memoir about growing up in the Philippines in the 1980s with Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and the EDSA Revolution. Mapa returns to Manilla as an adult for the funeral of her father and come to terms with her past. A graphic love letter to her parents, family, friends, country of birth, and perhaps even to herself."
The Duran Duran Fan Community spoke to author Lorina Mapa about her new graphic novel, DURAN DURAN, IMELDA MARCOS & ME. Here is an excerpt from that interview:
What was it like growing up in the Philippines in the 80s?
300 years of Spanish colonization plus American liberation during World War II and its continued involvement has resulted in the Philippines being one of the most westernized countries in Asia. My parents and even my grandparents grew up speaking English and were all influenced by western pop culture. By the time I came along, my generation was just as immersed in that world as people living in North America and Europe.
My family also had its share of politicians so I was quite involved in political events, culminating in a famous 1986 People Power Revolution which some say was the spark that eventually led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was an exciting time, and my book is all about those experiences.
What first attracted you to Duran Duran?
Their songs were very catchy, to begin with, but like other girls my age, the true obsession likely developed due to a combination of hormones and MTV! I would even draw comics about my friends and me being stuck with them on a desert island. My favourite band member was Simon and I named my teddy bear after him.
How would you say being a music fan affected your teen years?
The teen years are such a time of growth and I was very open to new experiences and emotions. I felt intellectual when listening to Sting's lyrics, politically informed when I heard U2, full of angst with Tears For Fears, unsettled and excited by Depeche Mode, and stimulated by Peter Gabriel (my all-time favourite musician).
Like many teens, I had a very personal relationship to everything I listened to. No one could tell me how I should feel, and the safety of music allowed me to feel anything I wanted to, which is quite freeing.
Tell us about your book, Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos and Me?
It is a graphic memoir written as a response to my beloved father's sudden death from a car accident in the Philippines. My return trip for his funeral sets of a powerful string of memories, from my carefree childhood and 1980s, pop culture obsessions to my teen years, when a People Power Revolution overthrew a dictatorship regime. "Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos and Me" ("touching and joyous" - Publisher's Weekly; "the emotion shines through on every page" - Booklist) has been nominated by the ALA as a Great Graphic Novel for Teens.
Why a graphic novel? Why did you want to tell the story that way?
I believe there is a certain intimacy with comics in the same way there is with radio or subtitled foreign language films; an active participation occurs precisely because not every bit of information has been given. In the case of a graphic novel, although the artist/writer can draw their world since it isn't in a realistic style, a reader also has to interpret and imagine things, and that can lead to powerful connections. So for me, it's just a different way of connecting.
Since you are an illustrator, what is your favorite piece of Duran Duran artwork?
Naturally the iconic Rio cover by Patrick Nagel. I loved it so much that as a teen I recreated it using acrylic paint on a 3x3-foot illustration board.
What do you think makes Duran Duran so unique to their fans?
As I think about it now, they do seem different from other typical boy bands. They were slightly older than musicians like Justin Bieber, One Direction, Menudo etc. As a result, they had a sophistication and worldliness which attracted older teens. At the same time, they were clean cut and so still considered "safe", especially for less rebellious type teenagers. In that way, they were more like the Beatles than either so-called teeny-bopper bands or groups like the Rolling Stones.