The conceptual artist Ilan Manouach shot every volume of Eichiro Odathe popular ongoing manga One Piece in what would now be the world’s largest book, dubbed (understandably) A PLAY.
Featuring 21,450 pages contained in a single hardcover spine (and slipcase), this piece of concept art measures 31.5 inches (80cm) wide and weighs 36lbs (16.5kg) – that’s about the width of a standard IKEA Billy bookcase, including the frame.
According to Guinness World Records, the longest book – at least defined by the characters – is a 1912 novel by Marcel Proust which had 9,609,000 characters. At 500 words per page, that would mean it was around 19,218 pages.
A PLAY was produced in partnership with JBE Books and bound by Elise De Maio. A very limited number of fifty editions of the book exist – and each is signed and numbered by the artist. However, they are not cheap, as getting one will cost you €1900 (about US$1925) before shipping, which is also sure not to be cheap.
The intention of A PLAY seems to be to physically realize the idea of a massive comic book series that is widely read digitally, either through legal digital outlets or illegally through scanlation sites, as well as in smaller and larger installments.
Here is the PR:
“Digital comics are at the heart of the global entertainment industry. The online participatory culture and new networking possibilities of the medium have intensified the nature of comics beyond the reach of established professional expertise with new and disruptive forms of entrepreneurial fan culture. Readers scan, translate and stream their favorite manga series online. A PLAY is a product of this expanded digital production belt.
“The profusion of content available online and the rampant digitization of the comic book industry challenges the state of the art of comic book craftsmanship. At Ilan Manouach’s A PLAY proposes to move the understanding of digital comics from a qualitative examination of the formal possibilities of digital comics to a quantitative reassessment of “comics as Big Data”. A PLAY initiates a “computational turn” in comics contributing to the formation of new areas of practice, expanding the ever-growing artistic toolbox for artists to think about comics at different scales and temporalities.
“Comics are double objects. They have a use value – for readers – and an exchange value for collectors. Although these two functions do not operate along a clear line of demarcation, they sometimes oppose each other. A PLAY intensifies this duality as it can only be envisioned as a material instantiation of the media-saturated digital ecosystem of digital comics. A PLAY exists only as an object of pure speculation.
Ilan Manouach is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher interested in conceptual and post-digital comics. Among his (controversial) works and achievements are Shape Readeran experimental tactile graphic communication system (or comic strip) for visually impaired artists; Katz (2015), an exact copy of the French edition of Art Spiegelman’s Maus with all characters redesigned as cats; and Tintin Akei Kongo (2015) which translates the infamous Tintin in the Congo by Hergé in the official Congolese language Lingala.
by Eichiro Oda A play Pirate manga is a phenomenon that debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in July 1997. Now in the early stages of the final arc, A play is currently at 1059 weekly chapters. Last year, collections (tankōbon volumes) surpassed volume 100, and in August 2022, it was announced that the manga had reached another gigantic milestone: over 500 million copies of the series were in print worldwide. , making it the best-selling manga of all time. . Last month the 103rd the volume debuted in Japan – although only the 102 French versions were probably compiled in A PLAY – and the fifteenth A play Animation Film, One piece: redreleased in Japanese theaters becoming one of the Top 100 highest-grossing Japanese films all time.