Sunday, April 29, 2007

Vertical's Fall Release COVERS

Smaller versions of these made the rounds already, but I wanted highlight again Chip Kidd's amazing cover designs for Vertical, featuring their manga releases in the second half of 2007. It must be extremely exciting for Mr. Kidd to be able to play around with Takemiya and Tezuka's stunning panels and lines in sourcing his designs.

FIrst up, another series from To Terra creator and Shojo SF master, Keiko Takemiya:

Andromeda Stories Volume 1 : 9/11/07

Andromeda Stories Volume 2 : 12/11/07

Next up, the striking covers for Apollo's Song & MW, along with links to more info on each title via Tezuka Osamu World (and Japanese preview page).

Apollo's Song : 6/19/07

MW : 10/16/07

It's a great year for English fans of CLASSICS like these! Again, a major high five to Vertical for treating these books RIGHT!

Friday, April 27, 2007

back in bizness

Evan here...
REJOICE! The technical problems have been fixed and all of our scanlations are back online. Plus, they all look prettier now, as I fixed the contrast on all the ones that had pixel crud / ghosts (from a previously out-of-calibration monitor.)

So if you missed any of the stuff we've translated so far, take another look at our 2 year anniversary recap megapost that went up just before the server problems. We have a much higher bandwidth now that we've changed hosting providers, so the site should be nice and stable from now on... Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more fun!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS 7: German cosplay and the international power of shojo

We're here at the final dispatch of our series of Europe posts, based on things I encountered in Dublin, Berlin and Frankfurt last fall. Happily, these posts have sparked some super informative discussions and shed light on stuff we knew nothing about prior to seeing it firsthand.
To recap, here's what we've covered to date:

1. Things we recognize, but this time in GERMAN!
2. Dark Horse and non-crumbling Museums of Terror
3. A preponderance of Maruo
4. Jeff Smith and his Bone in deutsch
5. German gem, Insekt by Sascha Hommer
6. "Judith Park is the most famous manga-ka in Germany"
7. German cosplay and the international power of shojo

Sadly, the commentary segment of my brain is rattled and foggy today, as it's now been more than 6 months since these photos/videos were taken. As mentioned previously, the main attraction for me at Frankfurt Book Fair was the Comics Pavilion in the German hall, which was the de facto manga fangirl/fanboy meeting place. Cosplay ground zero, if you will.

Things really picked up on the last two days of the fair, in which cosplay kids basically took over the entire pavilion, waiting in long lines to meet Anike Hage, Judith Park and, to a lesser degree, dudes like our new buddy Sascha Hommer and Mr. Jeff Smith. The split between females and males was about 90/10, and I heard from some of the kids that they had taken the train in from all over Germany, just to hang out with their friends/fan community and meet their favorite creators.

In a very savvy move (that I have trouble imagining happening at a US book fair), the Frankfurt Book Fair offered free admission to anybody that showed up in cosplay on Sunday, and held a 'Cosplay Masquerade' talent show in the afternoon. Germany cosplay cultural cross-pollination?!? You know I had to attend and document this. In lieu of repeating thoughts from the Judith Park post, and in the spirit of getting to the point, I present you:

The girl on the right was officially the scariest/awesomest person I saw in Europe.

You'll notice I don't recognize who most of the cosplayers are dressed up as. An eyebrow-less Victorian chambermaid? Fill me in via the comments.

German teenagers meet their friends, get their make-up & accessories just right.

The boys in attendance were rare goods

Frankfurther Buchmesse PPT slide: Big-in-Japan, Cosplay 2006!

The 1-hour masquerade was hosted by a nurse/doctor duo.

WHOA! Check out how many freakin' kids attended this event!

What character is this? I don't speak German but the crowd was laughing their asses off at her skit. Channeling Malifacent?

Just a normal day in Frankfurt, seated behind Rei fron NGE

Oh yeah, and she was carrying an electric guitar.

I was very out of place in the audience, dressed in a shirt & tie, and looking like a narc.

Cosplayers from across Germany mix and mingle.

Man, this guy was the most popular dude I saw-- German tweens were all over him!

I have no idea which character this is...

Quite possibly the BEST PHOTOGRAPH EVER TAKEN? My 4 favorite cosplayers together in one shot.

Surveying the crowd during one of the various skits.

The reference is lost on me, but I still think these kids are rad.

Capturing candid shots of the audience as we exited the Cosplay Masquerade.

Various kids mulling around, with a final shot of white-haired cosplay dude.

That's it for our Europe manga commentary... for now! There is always Frankfurt 2007, and Sascha promised to take me out properly next time I'm there!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


APE weekend was a blast!

The APE hall in full swing

The Bang Gang crew (LtoR): Anthony Wu, Evan, Me, Derek Yu, Hellen Jo.

First off though, it seems that a few people, including Simon from Icarus, and a user from scanlation megahub, are bothered that we did a small run of our scanlations and gave/traded/sold these to friends at APE. In a way, I can see this in a theoretical sense, but I think what we actually did for APE was much more mundane and non-commercial.

As mentioned in our last post, we compiled all the materials that are freely available here (or at least, will be available once we move to a new host). In addition to Evan's framed artwork, copies of our Bible comic, and a Same Hat flyer, we wanted to have a physical manifestation of our blog content for the hardcore Same Hat fans and our friends. To this end, we printed a total of 30 copies of our booklet, at a cost of about $135 to us.

Really, we would have been more than happy to give them all away to folks, but when you stay up until 5 AM paying Kinkos to duplex, copy, fold and staple booklets, then it makes sense to charge a nominal fee as a barrier-to-entry. As any con attendees know, there is always a group of fanboys, usually dudes with light sabers and jedi robes (yes, we saw a guy like that at APE07), that simply grab up any and all free stuff blindly, and we couldn't/wouldn't spend the time & money to print enough copies for that sort of consumption.

We gave away about half our tiny print run to friends and tablemates, traded some for other zines and minicomics, and then sold a few to people who dig the site. At the end, our net "profit" for this labor of love booklet came to a loss of over 100 bucks, but in the process, a bunch of people that were already interested in weirdo manga now have an offline artifact with pretty layout to check out when their internet is broken.

Me, Derek and Hellen holding down the fort

In the talks we had with the new people we met, it was extremely clear that there is a small but rabid circle of people anxious for this type of stuff to be released in English, and we'll keep doing our prosteletyzing work here. In the meantime, we recommended them to Kinokuniya for more Sensha/Aihara (in Japanese, granted), AbeBooks and Booksense for used copies of the very out-of-print Maruo titles from Creation and Blast, and to buy the three books of the discontinued Museum of Terror books and the upcoming Gyo & Uzumaki re-releases from Viz.

That said, the expo was about the chance to talk comics and zines with some rad compatriots for 2 days straight. We ended the weekend with a celebratory group dinner at an all-you-can-eat Indian place. Here are some of the pictures we snapped:

The sole cosplayers we saw at the 'alternative' expo

At the fair, we reconnected with friends like V. Vale (Publisher of Re/Search), Derek Kirk Kim (Eisner winner and nice guy supreme), Jason Shiga (mathematical rapper and Eisner winner), Mari Naomi (painter and indie cartoonist), and Ed Chavez (MangaCast blogger)

We also saw our friend and author Jason Thompson (ex-Viz editor of Pulp, Gyo, Uzumaki and Drifting Classroom)

The most unexpected person we met was cartoonist Aaron K, in town from Chicago.

The entire Bang Gang crew is huge fans of his comics, and we wondered what the hell happened after he disappeared off the internet last year. Turns out he's making music and working on a new comic, Manatee Island. He showed us the first 18 pages, and it looks to be really, really great. Somebody publish this guy!! We're hanging out later this week, and will try to talk him into letting us scans some panels for the site.

Finally, here is the haul from this year. With the Last Gasp party on Friday night (where they let APE exhibitors buy stuff right off their warehouse shelves) and the great spread at the expo, I ended up burning a HUGE hole in my wallet. Check out the goodies:

The Mourning Star by Kazimir Strzepek, strongly recommended by both Hellen & Johnny Ryan!

Garo-successor and indie manga compilation AX (アックス) issue 37.

Finally tracked down Dungeon, Zenith Volume 2 by Sfar/Trondheim!!

Met Esther Pearl Watson and Mark Todd and bought issues 4 & 5 of Unlovable, John #1 and a garbage zine.

Tom Gauld's new collection of Very Small Comics from Buenaventura

Inside Vineyland by Lauren Weinstein (my GF originally read this serialized in The Stranger)

Re/Search hardcover reprint of their long unavailable Industrial Culture Handbook!

LtoR: Hellen Jo postcard, collection of mid-90s Eighball postcards, Walken card from Brandon Bird

Tablemate Anthony Wu's new mini Brain Market, Jason Thompson's Hyperborea adaptation

Julia Wertz's Fart Party 4.5, Derek Kirk Kim's Lowbright strip collection

Jason Thompson's entire collected webcomic, The Stiff

Jason Shiga's MINDBLOWING choose your own adventure monster, Knock! Knock!

Okay, this is the weirdest thing I got-- Jason Shiga's rap album, featuring I Love My Shigacorn and 2pac Lives

APE07 exclusive, Shiga's fold-out adventure The Last Supper

The new issue of Giant Robot (thanks Michelle!!) and Jason Thompson's adaptation of Lovecraft's The White Ship

LtoR: Mari's APE mini, a mini trade, Just The Facts comp by David Collier

My GF picked up books at Last Gasp too:

We finally have our own copy of Kramers Ergot 6!

LtoR: Incredible Mark Bayer stationary, Law & Order-meets-Batman card by Brandon Bird, Witchcraft compilation of pre-code horror comics

Beautiful screenprint by Hellen

Derek Kirk Kim put together a mega-poster with dozens of characters, including

GI Joe's and the Predator (also Conan and Picard)

Tetsuo from Akira


Thanks to everyone for your comments and support. It sounds like about 25 more of you that read the site regularly would like your own booklet. I think that I'll simply drop the bucks myself and whip up those as a spring thank you present for being awesome and checking our site out over the past two years. We won't be making this available in perpetuity, but once I've gotten that run finished, I'll post and ask you all to send us an email at

Coming next: Online shops we endorse, Parasyte and more on Aaron K

Friday, April 20, 2007



Evan and I will be tabling this weekend at the Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco. The Expo runs from 11-7 on Saturday, 11-6 on Sunday. Our group willl be selling wares again this year under the moniker THE BANG GANG, with our buddies Hellen, Derek, Anthony and Jake.

For APE07, we've spent the past week putting together a booklet that I think is really fucking rad (IMHO). In addition to having some copies of our original webcomic, The Bible, we've compiled every scanlation to date into a 120 page book, along with other goodies sprinkled throughout the pages. We're planning to basically give them away for a few bucks, trade or even if you come up and say you like our site (Yes, we're doing this as a major loss, but the occasional buck or so should cover part of printing costs). Take a look at the cover and its inspiration:


I'm leaving work to print up 25 copies in a few hours (yep, that's the scale of distribution we're talking here), and we hope to make some available after APE via the blog. Leave a comment if you're interested so we have a general sense of how many additional copies to print up :)

Also, Evan is selling some of his art, in snazzy neon frames:

APE weekend is always a crazy whirlwind of sleep deprivation, but we're especially looking forward to seeing Jason Shiga, Jason Thompson, Julia of Fart Party, PressPop (the publisher of AX), visiting the Last Gasp offices, Gene Yang, our GR pal Michelle, Vale from Re/Search, and others. If you're gonna be there, please stop by booth 247 and visit us!

I'm gonna be taking photos/videos and will post a proper APE RECAP next week.