Sunday, December 17, 2006

TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS 4: Jeff Smith and his Bone in deutsch

Holy crap. These posts are getting tougher to write as the time since my trip gets longer and the details are harder to remember. But I want to get some of these details (and pics) down on the blog. AND-- I want to get to the grand finale: GERMAN COSPLAY CONVENTION pics & videos!

This quick, pic-heavy installment is about a happy coincidence while I was working my company's booth at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. FBF is the world's largest book fair, and the 10 huge halls there covered all genres, languages and types of printed media. As I've said, I spent all my down time navigating the Graphic Novels section, where European, Japanese, Korean and American comic publishers vied for geek attention, cosplayers roamed and comic creators signed their books. A great surprise was an interview and signing session with Jeff Smith, creator of Bone, who was there to celebrate the German publication of Bone (in both a manga-style B&W and a color version by TokyoPop DE).

German dude, Jeff Smith, German lady

This stop at Frankfurt was part of Jeff's month-long European sojourn, in support of his (near)-simultaneous release of Bone in Italy, Germany, Spain, Norway, Greece, France, and other western/nordic European countries/languages. It's hard to fathom so many people all reading the same title in all those different languages, but Bone definitely has that level of universal appeal. In high school, it was one of the comics that kept me excited about the form, and is my favorite american comic story ever. Jeff actually wrote up his take on the same Frankfurt Book Fair on his blog.

A side note-- I met Jeff in 2004 at WonderCon in SF, and got the chance to tell him how much I appreciated all his work on Bone, and showed him my ratty, broken-spine copy of Out From Boneville. He was super gracious, signed (and put a small drawing in) my book, and even ended a phone call with his wife to chat with me for a few minutes. I don't know too much about him, but I was impressed with his respect for his fans. And his upcoming Shazam miniseries is one of the scant few American superhero comics I plan on buying soon (okay, excepting Volume 4 of Seven Soldiers!!).

Okay, on to the pictures! In the main pavillion of the Graphic Novels section, there was a large Bone display, with numerous paintings, sketches, and behind-the-scenes details on the process of coloring the B&W original pages for the color edition (published by Scholastic in the U.S.) :

Page layout sketches from book 7: Ghost Circles (I think?)

The US Scholastic edition covers, in futuristic frames.

Jeff did a one hour interview with a German host that was well-attended-- lots of nerds and geeks of various ages asked questions in both English and German, and Jeff did his best to talk about the history and future of the Bone stories, along with upcoming projects and issues related to translating the comic.

On-stage interview with lots of translating between English & German.

Rapt audience of book and Bone lovers

As I linked above, Jeff did a detailed post on his take on FBF and this event, and a CERTAIN comic geek (dressed in my on-duty, work attire, no less!) was caught in an audience shot:

Am I picking my nose? We look like undercover cops or something!!

I shot a video and posted it on our new Same Hat channel on YouTube; Here are Jeff Smith's comments on the (not likely) possibility of a Bone sequel:

Finally, as a personal souvenir, I bought a copy of the TokyoPop "manga-size" edition of their Bone 1 (which combines Out From Boneville & The Great Cow Race into one edition).

Hmmm. It doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "STUPID STUPID RAT CREATURES!"

Valley of the uncanny, a page from Out From Boneville in German!

Next post in the series: Trans-Europe Express 5: German gem, Insekt by Sascha Hommer!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Our latest scanlation is something slightly different for us-- Honey #3: a 16-panel gag comic by Yoshida Sensha!

All the awesomeness of previous Sensha scanlations but this time with 4x the, panels! It is the third installment in a series of unrelated gag strips, taken from a book Nate brought us from Japan a while back. Hope you enjoy!

as usual, please read each panel from right-to-left.

Click here (or the image above) for the strip!

Friday, November 24, 2006

We're bringin' Sensha back

That's right... our main man and comedic hero, Yoshida Sensha!

Not too much news just yet, except that it's FREEZING in SF right now, and we survived Thanksgiving holiday in style (Benihana excess and hilarity: shrimp + butter + fancy island drinks = retardo fun for Evan, me and my lady). Our next project is about 75% done and we're excited to get it posted soon: A 15-panel gag strip by MR. YOSHIDA SENSHA. We're hoping to have this up next week, and then we're following that up with a 16-PAGE short story as well. ZANG!!

In the meantime, there are some NEW SENSHA TOYS from Artstorm available.

Next up: Trans-Europe Express 4: Jeff Smith and his Bone in deutsch

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Gwoemul (AKA THE HOST) - the FRESHEST monster movie of 2006?

This might be old news to the lucky readers that live outside of the US and saw this released already. From a few folks, I've been hearing really amazing things about Gwoemul (The Host in English, グエムル in Japanese). Sounds like a a mix of solid, monster & murder mayhem, political commentary on fucked up post-colonialism in E. Asia, with a dash of the joke stylings of Korean comedies.

The story takes its starting point from a real event:
"The event described in the beginning of Gwoemul is based on an actual event. In February 2000 in a US military facility located in the center of Seoul, US military civilian employee Mr. McFarland ordered to dispose formaldehyde into the sewer system leading to Han River despite the objection of a Korean subordinate. Korean government attempted to prosecute Mr. McFarland in Korean court but US military refused to hand over the custody of Mr. McFarland to the Korean legal system. Later, a Korean judge convicted Mr. McFarland in absentia. Public enraged at the Korean government's inability to enforce its law on its own soil. In 2005, nearly five years after the original incident, Mr. McFarland was finally found guilty in Korean court in his presence. He never served the actual prison sentence, however."
- from IMDB

Here is one of a few English reviews online. You can check out the UK Trailer here:

For some more info and stills, The Japanese official site has a lot of details. According to Twitch, even even Kim Jong-ill loved the movie, for it's 'anti-American influence' stance and subtext.

Has anyone seen this? Was it as radical as it sounds? Twitch says it's set to come out in the US at the end of January.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Is this the greatest t-shirt ever made?!

I came across this at one of the boutiques on Haight this past weekend:

Mishima. Pink ON Pink with Stars... And the kanji says:
(literally: cho-douseiaisha)

I want to know... who is the demented genius that designed this thing? For those of you interested, here is the famous original image of Yukio Mishima used as the source.

EDIT! Thanks to whoever commented this info. Turns out the shirtmaker is local (from details in his blog) and you can buy the ULTRAHOMO shirt directly at his site, Seibei!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Trolling around Amazon and noticed that listings for the next two volumes of Phoenix have been added to the site. Getting closer to the completion (well, near-completion since the old man never finished the epic!) of this series in English. SCIENCE FICTION AND FURRIES, YES!

Released December 12, 2007

Released February 26, 2007

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS 3: A preponderance of Maruo

It's hard to know where to start on a post about Suehiro Maruo, even when aiming to keep it brief and on point. I mean, he's the unofficial godfather of Same Hat (along with, godmother Yoshida Sensha). And, as the site stats point out, Maruo is one of the main reasons people check out this blog. His fans are rabid and hail from all over the place (especially Eastern Europe, Brazil and South Asia), and even beyond just fans, he continues to influence American artist, like Trevor Brown (edit: He's actually British, whoops!), Johnny Ryan, Gea, and tons of other weirdos.

Despite all this, America seems to be one of the hardest places to get ahold of his work. The translated books and stories that have been released can be counted on one hand, and are all out of print at the moment. It seems baffling that while magazines like Juxtapoz and The Comics Journal run features on him (most notably last year in conjunction with the Japanese art books Maruograph I & II), you can't buy any of his comics in bookstores. This underlines the fact that while bloggers, magazines and artsy-types are happy to invoke Maruo's name as a form of cultural currency, the publishers aren't convinced that he's worth the sales risk, the controversy, or simply being associated with Uncle Maruo's dirty pictures. It isn't hard to see why scanlators have stepped in to fill this lust for more of his stuff, and many are currently available online. They include:

+ Farewell Showa - scanlated by us
+ Totally Scary - scanlated by us
+ The Gold Notebook - scanlated by us
+ Poison Strawberry - scanlated by us

WARNING: Stuff on the following links are extreme and NOT for the faint of heart!
+ The Laughing Vampire - scanlated by GuroFan folks
+ Rose Colored Monsters - scanlated by GuroFan folks
+ Most of Maruo's major collections! - scanlated by various folks via

Disclaimer: This next bit is my own opinion, so excuse me for putting on my amateur, art-critic dork hat. But since we linked to GuroFan here (yes, a first) I thought it'd be worth adding a few things. It's definitely true that lots of people who get into our site are also into GuroFan and some of the, well... grosstitude that floats around there. In my mind, Suehiro Maruo is really a cut above nearly all other writer/artists working in the erotic-grotesque-nonsense scene. And while his comics are absolutely depraved, just as often as they are beautiful, his art is in a different class than Jun Hayami and even Shintaro Kago, whose work exist beyond subtlety, or whatever else. Suehiro Maruo, to me, lies (visually at least!) right on the borders (or would that be the intersections?) between art, satire and vileness.

As I was saying above, American continues to lag behind the rest of the world; The last new thing published in English was 2001's short story collection Ultra-Gash Inferno from Creation Books, which is very out-of-print and averages around 50 bucks used. (The good news is that they are working to make an ebook version of this available in the near future!!) Perhaps it's easy for people like us, who are in love with his comics, to overstate the possible English audience. But it seems clear that America is due for another shot of Suehiro Maruo. Sadly, I haven't heard any talk of American companies licensing his stuff or planning new releases. But there is a magical place where Suehiro Maruo is actively promoted, and his translated books are not only available, but win major awards. And that magical place is Spain!

The company to thank is Glénat, a huge France-based comics and manga publisher that also publishes in most Western European languages, and is home to the plentiful Spanish editions of Suehiro Maruo's books. (They also do a hell of a job in French, with other favorites like Kazuo Umezu's Baptism and Drifting Classroom.) Some really awesome stuff there, if you take the time to dig through their various catalogues.

At Frankfurt Book Fair (you were wondering when I'd tie this whole thing back to my trip, right?) my coworker and I visited Glénat's booth and checked out a copy of their Spanish Edition of Maruos' Dr. Inugami:


Big format, nice softcover edition-- just like the Japanese releases

A dog's bloody head and a voodoo doll?? SIGN ME UP!

TU ALMA!! (translation: Grant me your soul, dude!)

Suehiro Maruo has his own author page at Glénat, as you'd expect. From there, you can check out the following translated books:

Gichi Gichi Kid (ギチギチくん)

La Sonrisa del Vampiro (笑う吸血鬼 : The Smile of the Vampire)

MIDORI: La Niña de Las Camelias (少女椿 : Midori: The Girl of the Camellias)

Lunatic Lover's (月的愛人LUNATIC LOVER'S)

El Monstruo de Color de Rosa (薔薇色ノ怪物 : Rose Coloured Monsters)

Along with Glénat's great catalogue, another publisher in Spain called Ediciones Otaku Manga has put out DDT and New National Kid (our scanlated stories were sourced from the Japanese edition of this).

As if all this wasn't cool enough! : Glénat flew Maruo out to Spain as the featured artist at their booth at the Barcelona Comics Festival in 2004. The trip is detailed on his page, and looks like one of the rare recent appearances by the dude outside of Japan in past years. As my coworker explained at FBF, Maruo's The Smile of the Vampire won a major Spanish comics' award upon its release. AWESOME!

FINAL NOTE: On Sunday, Evan and I were doing purikura and comics shopping in J-Town and had a great discovery at Kinokuniya. They had copies of the very very recently re-released 夢のQ-SAKU (yume no Q-SAKU : The Dream of Q-Saku) collection by Maruo!! As Nate pointed out, the title is a play on Yumeno Kyusaku, the name of a famous mystery/suspense writer from the early 1900s, and a contemporary of Edogawa Rampo. He wrote tons of short stories, and one of his most famous novels was Dogura Magura, which is supposedly a 600 page novel about mental hospital torture. Thanks for the details Nate! This just came out in Japan on 9/25/2006. The art in this book is amazing!

New Edition

This collection was originally released in 1982, and the re-release includes mostly SM and Guro stories originally published in erotic and fetish manga magazines in the early '80s. They've included two extra stories, one from 1996 and another from 2000, as an update to the collection. The thing is beautiful, and Evan and I are already considering a few for future scanlation projects :)

Original edition

Please leave any comments, news, questions below! We're always anxious for more Maruo news!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS 2.1: Follow-up on Dark Horse & Frankfurt!

"There are thousands of horror manga and hundreds of creators — it’s just a shame that given our finite lifetimes, we won’t have a chance to expose English-language audiences to everthing that’s out there!"
-Dark Horse Licensing Director Michael Gombos

There have been some really cool responses lately to the Dark Horse/Frankfurt Book Fair post we put up last week. Before diving into the next installments of the TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS posts (Maruo next!) I wanted to post some of the cooler things:

# Tina Anderson's blog Gynocrat posted some commentary on my Dark Horse post.

# There is also a lively thread about our post/Museum of Terror on the Dark Horse boards. I recommend everyone check it out (hey, some of you may already be posting there!).

# The MOST INTERESTING thing to come of this is a fascinating interview with Dark Horse Licensing Director Michael Gombos over at the horror/sf/comics mega-site Dark, But Shining. Sounds like he's (Rightfully) optimistic about Horror and Dark Horse in the coming year, but no specific mentions of Museum of Terror here. He talks about how titles by one creator get released by a number of english publishers (as with Ito, Tezuka and Umezu) and talks about the second-wave of horror titles from Dark Horse by less-famous names (Mail, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, etc). He also talks about DH's take on scanlations(!) and we found this exchange especially interesting:

Q: MPD Psycho has something of a reputation among horror fans, partly thanks to the Takashi Miike miniseries, I’d bet, but also due to its scanlation, where’s it’s been available for some time. Now Dark Horse is releasing an officially licensed version. Scanlation groups are usually good about removing their work from the web once it’s been licensed, but there are bound to be files kicking around out there. What’s your view of scanlation?

A: Strictly speaking, I am aware that there are scanlations of MPD Psycho about, and I am happy to know that there is such a strong following to this wonderful property; it is certainly one that is devout to the property, and we appreciate their devotion.

However, Dark Horse has taken the steps to acquire the rights (as you have pointed out) to publish this in English through licensed, legal means. The only indicator that the Japanese would have about how much Americans/English-speaking audiences like the properties are by sales numbers. If scanlations would adversely affect sales numbers, how can we expect to have more great manga here for us to read? This is also the way that the creators get paid, and lets them know that English-speaking audiences love the work, and to give us more! So, if you like the series, buy the book and let everyone know! This will ensure a steady flow of fantastic manga coming in for us to enjoy for years to come.

# Finally, we received some interesting comments we received from Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh of Next Generation in the comments of our previous post. He writes:

>Yeah, Dark Horse has initially only committed to the first three volumes. I've not heard a word about volumes four and on -- and given the lead time between localization and printing of these volumes, that means that even should Dark Horse decide tomorrow to continue the line, they probably won't get around to publishing the rest until next fall.

Weird thing is, the first volume at least was the best-selling manga for several weeks in various third world countries that carry Englis manga translations; it's just over here that it's been having difficulty.

A reason for that might be that nobody carries the darned thing! Seriously, I went to every book store and comic shop in San Francisco looking for the first volume, for weeks after its release -- and nobody had even heard of it. Not Borders; not the small indie shops. The only place I was able to find a copy was in Japantown -- which on a level almost feels like it defeats the purpose of the localization.

Interesting stuff across the board. Please continue to send us links and posts comments!

Saturday, October 28, 2006



(A quick pause in our Europe series of posts!) Fantastic week for manga fans, as Vertical's GINORMOUS edition of Osamu Tezuka's Ode To Kirihito came out! I picked up my copy Tuesday on my lunch break, and am just diving into it this weekend. I first heard about it from Anne at Vertical during Book Expo America, and am really, really pleased to see the finished product in my hands.

The book is THICK and stylishly-designed (yes, an astounding 822 pages of previously unavailable Tezuka), and features a really rad Chip Kidd cover that smartly uses the Japanese-style obi (see the animated GIF above!). Just how big is the book?? Check this out for scale:

Things tipped in the past, hmmm 3 years?, and I feel so fucking lucky. Tezuka is being treated so well and fine by publishers like Viz (with people like editor Ian Robertson's good work) , and especially Vertical. They do his books proud, and getting to read this particular story is a cool change. I hope that it does well and cements the fact that THERE IS STILL SO MUCH in Tezuka's oeuvre that English-speaking audiences have YET TO SEE!

I'm not into plot summary, but it's a mix of existential anxiety, medical thriller, christ allegory(!) and folktale horror. TIME's comics critic said this in his blurb:

“Tezuka turns his comic book mastery to evil in this terrifying examination of moral decay. Fans of Japanese horror both new and old should not miss this shocking single volume that will completely change Tezuka's American reputation as the Japanese Walt Disney. Brutal, depraved and savage, Kirihito will leave you panting like a beaten dog-man!”

I'll post again once I've finished the entire thing (taking my time to enjoy it, so probably at the end of next week!). Has anyone else read it? What did you think??

Edit : Almost unnecessary, but are you shocked to hear that it was incredible?? I finished it Sunday night in about 3 sittings, and the story did not disappoint. The 'Christ' allegory notions that people keep talking up didn't really materialize, and it was much more like The Fugutive (that's right, with Harrison Ford and drug company scandals!) meets BlackJack, but with body horror and existential crises! A VERY good read, with some of the most avant-garde layout and panel work I've seen from Tezuka to date (Yes, even stranger than Phoenix's more experimental moments!)

Edit 2: A good review from The Comics Review, with a 4-page preview at the bottom!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS 2: Dark Horse and non-crumbling Museums of Terror

While at the Frankfurt Book Fair, I spent all of my down time tromping around the halls visiting publishers' booths, checking out upcoming releases and trying to score free books (snagged about 15 books, including a copy of Epileptic, Jonathan Lethem UK editions and Buddha 3 in softcover!!). It sucked that a few friends/publishers-I-love, like Small Beer Press and Vertical, weren't in attendence, BUT, I did get a chance to visit the Dark Horse booth and talk with them about recent (and upcoming) releases!

First, let it be known: In the past year, Dark Horse has been my favorite US publisher of manga. SURE, other companies have put out some really fantastic stuff this year (Vertical : Buddha, Ode to Kirihito, Viz: Phoenix, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Drifting Classroom, Death Note, ADV: Cromartie High School, TokyoPop: Dragon Head) and jeez, what an amazing time for manga in English these days... But the really cutting edge and scary shit seems to keep coming out from Dark Horse. Shall we review this ? :
  • Lullibies from Hell by Hideshi Hino : After the publishing deluge of both amazing (The Red Snake, Bug Boy, The Living Corpse) and awful books by him, I thought I might be all HINO'd out. However, this collection turned out to be one of the best selections of his short stories to date. For those on the fence about Hino, this is the one to pick up.

  • Octopus Girl by Toru Yamazaki : I don't even know where to begin. The manga is a super smart & sassy parody of shojo, horror and gag manga. Each volume has been just slightly less satisfying that the first, but Octopus Girl is probably my FAVORITE comic that's come out in 2006. MY FAVORITE.

  • School Zone by Kanako Inuki : This ongoing haunted school tale is a little dense (and freaky!), but really satisfying if you take the time to dive in. As out-there as this manga gets, it's one of the best at describing the overwhelming terror of childhood! (Here's an excellent interview with her)

  • Mail by Housui Yamazaki : I've only heard bits and pieces about this one but it seems like a psychological, metaphysical Kairo meets CSI... maybe?

  • Ohikkoshi by Hiroaki Samura : Just got it this weekend - Looks like Blade of the Immortal, except it's about students, dating and slackerdom. The story itself kind of blows and feels confusing and aimless, but at least the art is cool.

  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service By Eiji Ohtsuka : Another cool 'horror' entry, this one is sortof an ensemble comedy, except with Buddhist rites, misplace bodies and Veronica Mars-esque private investigations.

The above alone make for a pretty fantastic catalogue... But there's another series that Dark Horse is undertaking that makes them officially, THE BEST PUBLISHER OF 2006 (oh yes, I said it!) :


At FBF, I basically gushed to the marketing dudes about how great this series is going to be. Let me tell you-- SOMEHOW (how EXACTLY does this stuff work?) Dark Horse was slick enough to snap up the rights to the entire Museum of Terror series (Kyoufuku no Hakubutsukan). This is a 15 book (!!!!) set that includes basically ALL of Junji Ito's notable short horror comics, along with the entire Tomie series. In case you're wondering, the scanlation we did (Falling by Junji Ito) should be included in the 5th book. (And YES, like good little moral scanlators, we'll be taking ours down once that book gets released in English!).

When I spoke to the guys at Dark Horse, I told them they deserve medals for putting out the Museum of Terror series, and I asked if they were planning to actually do the whole thing (Fuck, pleeez not another fiasco like the 2 year delay by Viz midway through the publication of Phoenix!). They told me this sobering state of affairs:
They want to put out all 15 volumes, but the first two books are NOT SELLING WELL.

Looking at their release calendar, you can see that while some other series are scheduled through next March 2007, there is no release date for Museum of Terror 4. SHIT!! They were actually quite surprised to hear that everyone WE know loves Junji Ito, is hungry for more comics by him, and that the imageboards are FULL of people passing around bootleg pages of Uzumaki and Gyo. Has anyone else picked up the recent Museum of Terror 1 & 2? Let's do a quick recap on what's come out so far and why the books coming next are the ones we HAVE to make sure get released!

Museum of Terror 1: This collection includes most of the original Tomie stories, and gives a really amazing peek at Junji Ito's earlier art style. The lines are clear, and the characters are depicted in a deceptively simple and beautiful manner. But the story itself is a twisted virus-meets-vengeful ghost tale about a girl (Tomie) that never dies. More than that, she provokes the intense desire and fixation of the men she meets, which invariably ends in them murdering and mutilating her.

It's an amazing manga full of SICK STUFF and the plot and scares are very visceral; The story also hints at and vaguely throws around some gender politics (and gender violence!) in the subtext. With Tomie, Junji Ito doesn't just spin one linear tale, but a sortof MYTHOS around Tomie that unfurls with each chapter. Like, hmmmm-- is she like a parasite that encourages being killed and mutilated as a form of her own propagation? Is she more like a virus that infects and changes to suit the weaknesses of her 'hosts'?

Admittedly, it can get repetitive, but especially with the first volume, it's really effective in a big dose. The last panel of the final story in this volume is SO. FUCKING. CREEPY. I yelped like a scared kitten and just threw the damn thing on the floor.

If you feel like you've seen Tomie around before, it's probably because the now-defunct publisher ComicsOne originally released some of Tomie in a two volume set. Yeah, previous to the Museum of Terror edition, the Tomie comics were VERY out of print, and cost a ridiculous amount to track down secondhand. Like a lot of ComicsOne editions, their printing of Tomie was shoddily translated, edited and the visual touch-up (signs in English, sound effects) were really awful. The company basically (as the rumor goes) packed up shop, stopped paying their bills and disappeared. The pieces and rights were later acquired by DR.Master and some of their more successful stuff got assimilated into the new company's catalogue.

Museum of Terror 2: The SECOND volume is also entirely Tomie stories, but it's mostly previously unpublished stories from when Junji Ito revisited the character in 1999 & 2000. You can feel him really escalating the limits of the Tomie 'mythos' here, with the depravity hitting really nasty levels... Making SAKE out of Tomie's mashed up flesh? Slashing her face over and over with a RAZOR? It gets ugly, but I found it really fascinating to see him draw these stories in his later style-- the more detailed, shakier line style he explored in Uzumaki and his newer comics. I am ready for a new subject after hundreds of pages (and more than a dozen variations) on the Tomie tale, but it's pretty fucking sweet to have the entire story in 2 hefty volumes.

As a final note note, the ordering of the stories in these two volumes reflect Junji Ito's own choice of how he wanted the chapters to be presented.

The next volumes are where the full potential and impact of this undertaking are going to be felt for manga/horror fans. The next 13(whoa!) volumes collect Junji Ito's SHORT STORIES, like those in the very out-of-print, funky-ass collection Flesh-Colored Horror, which was also doomed to be originally published by ComicsOne and include one of my favorite horror stories ever, his Dying Young.

Not to shill so hard for one specific publisher-- and we DO buy and support quality titles from all the major and indie publishers! -- but this is a series that NEEDS support so that you can have one whole shelf of your dorky comic bookcase (you have one, DON'T LIE!) filled with about 5000 pages of JUNJI ITO!

As a final note in this epic missive (and we're only at installment 2 out of 7!), I did come in contact with the holy grail of new(ish)horror manga at the Shogakukan booth in the Japanese area of the book fair: Junji Ito's newest book, Hellstar LRemina (地獄星レミナ)!! I tried (oh did I try) to talk their guy out of it, even offered him 10 euro for it! But I did get my eyes on it and the story looks FUCKING CRAZY. I've heard some mediocre things here and there in reviews, but it looks like this story takes a sharp twist for the SF and displays Ito's LOVECRAFTIAN impulses FULLY (moreso than even Uzumaki's nutzoid ending). I CAN'T WAIT TO BUY THIS (special ordering it from the Kinokuniya in SF this weekend). AWESOME MANGA ROLL CALL: female protaganoist, CRUCIFICTIONS in the STREET, PLANETS EATING PLANETS, HELL ON EARTH and COLLAPSING QUASARS causing LYNCH MOBS to run amok. FUCK YES! I'll post more once we get our hands on this...

NEXT UP: Trans-Europe Express 3: A preponderance of Maruo!

Edit (10/27) : I've since found a few good links about the stuff we talked about in this post. Check out this review of Hino's Lullabies from Hell and their take on Museum of Terror Volume 1. Also, Scott at AICN did a line by line comparison of the Dark Horse vs. ComicsOne editions of Tomie. Very interesting stuff!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS 1: Things we recognize, but this time in GERMAN!

This is the first installment of a series of posts about comics and manga in Europe (mainly focusing on time spent in Germany earlier this month). This post is light on thoughts and impressions, and heavy on photographs, focusing on U.S. comics (both indie and mainstream) and Japanese manga in translation!

Being my first time in Europe, the thing that struck me most was that comics were mostly invisible in Dublin, while manga and comics seemed to really pervade German book stores, train stations and corner shops. I did a bit of searching, but I only managed to track down one shop carrying comics in Dublin (Downtown, I spotted the Irish incarnation of the corporate, collector and toy-centric Forbidden Planet -- yuck).

This was simply not the case in Berlin and Frankfurt, and MAN! it really seemed (to my fresh American eyes) that Germany has a scene quite comparable to that of the States. In other words:

I hope to write more about this in the next few posts, but even within a few minutes of checking the manga section at a small Berlin bookstore I saw, "HOLY SHIT-- they've already published NANA up to volume 10? And both MAIL and DRAGON HEAD have already been released in full over here??"

Please conside the following photographic evidence:

This was one of a number of this kind of German magazine, focusing on J-Rock, Visual Kei (it's still around?!) and Gothic Lolita trends, along with street fashion pics a la Fruits.

So recursive! Japanese manga Adolf and Barefoot Gen, regarding the events of WWII... translated into German!!

A Yoshihiro Tatsumi story translated and published in the awesome comics magazine, Strapazin

This was the TokyoPop booth at Frankfurt Book Fair; And look! You can just barely see the German edition of Death Note 1, in the lower right hand corner!

On the indie comics scene, it appears that a few German publishers (mostly dominated by the incredible Reprodukt) are handling the majority of translations and publication of the entire breadth of the Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, Slave Labor Graphics, Pantheon and First Second catalogues.

Caricature by Daniel Clowes, Get A Life by Dupuy & Berberian, etc!

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (just look at that binding and gold inlay!)

More releases on the German indie comics front, but where is Johnny Ryan's stuff?

What an awesome surprise! Our buddy Derek's Same Difference in translation

A tale of Asian-American youth... but, something seems off here!

Our man Derek Kirk Kim, internationally-published playboy extraordinaire!

Not comics, but I was supremely geeked to find Philip K. Dick's Martian Time-Slip...

...and one of my all-time favories Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (In Germany, Dick gets his own shelf!)

Last but not least, the mainstream comics get translated too. All-Star Batman asks, "What was that, JOCKO?"

Why does this look MORE like a pedophilic nightmare scene in German?

Kindly eyes of the Übermensch, All-Star Superman

LOIS, NEIN!!!!!! (best panel ever?)

Part two of Trans-Euopre Express coming this weekend!