Thursday, October 30, 2008


I just received great news from the printer... The zine is finished! Evan and I are heading over tomorrow to pick up the copies! I'll be posting details about the Bang Gang table at Alternative Press Expo later tonight, and launching the new zine site tomorrow too (barring disasters).

For the next highlight of Features from Electric Ant #1, I wanted to post some excerpts from the big interview article. TALKING WITH THE MASTER OF MANGA is a 16 page interview with author and translator Frederik Schodt. Fred was gracious enough to meet up with me last winter and discuss his unique personal odyssey with Japan, manga, and Tezuka over coffee for a few hours.

Photo courtesy Jenn Yin

Here are a few excerpts from the longer interview, available in Electric Ant #1:


ANT: In the 80s and 90s, it was en vogue to study Japanese. What was it like as an American in the late 60s to be over there studying?

FRED: Well it wasn’t like it is now, that’s for sure. People who wanted to study Japanese tended to be a little bit, I won’t say unusual, but you had to have some powerful motivation. Actually, I’m always fascinated by people who come from these environments that have nothing to do with Japan, and of all the countries in the world for some reason they just feel this affinity and they go there. Say they come from Iowa or somewhere, maybe they saw Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and they just decided that in a former life they were a samurai or something. There are a lot of people like that and they always fascinate me. I wasn’t like that at all. I was nearly dragged to Japan.


FRED: [Dadakai] had this really lofty, kind of idealistic and hopelessly utopian idea that we could introduce this wonderful entertainment called Manga to the outside world. We actually approached some artists in Tokyo and began translating their works. And that was really the beginning of manga translation. But we were unable to get anything published. It was way too early.

ANT: You tried to reach out to some U.S. comic book companies?

FRED: We tried. But we didn’t have the wherewithal to really make the rounds at American publishers. In America, people weren’t even eating sushi yet – the idea of Japanese comics was like, “They read comics? They read? Where is Japan? Isn’t that China? YOU MEAN CHINA?” [LAUGHS] It was kind of another level. We were way, way, way too early.

But some of the things we worked on, for example Tezuka’s the Phoenix, are actually completing publication now. Dadakai was really short lived, but for Jared and me, translation of the Phoenix is an over-30 year project. And I think the last volume is scheduled to come from Viz early in 2008. It’s been over 30 years, which is amazing.

ANT: You make it sound like you just sort of approached these artists directly. But if we’re talking Tezuka, it seems like a really wild thing to do. Do you think it’s simply if you were there at a certain time and you’re an audacious foreigner, you can do things that a Japanese couldn’t do? Wasn’t going to Tezuka Productions like someone going to Disney and saying “Um Hi, I’m from Brazil and I want to put your story out in Portuguese”?

FRED: Well at the time, it was completely audacious. And I don’t think now you can do that sort of thing. So I think a lot of it had to do with timing and position in history. I didn’t realize until fairly recently apparently how difficult it was to approach Tezuka. Because we had Shinji Sakamoto, who was the “business manager” of our little group, and he was the guy who made the initial contact. And the fact that we were a group of Japanese and Americans helped us. According to Shinji, he actually had quite a bit of difficulty making the contact and getting the meeting at Tezuka productions. But when we first went there, we met with Tezuka’s manager and as I recall, Tezuka sort of popped into the meeting and we met him. We probably weren’t at the time as aware of how unusual that might have been.

ANT: I’m personally interested in the technical act of translating. Nowadays, it seems easier with scanners and Photoshop and Wacom tablets. But for you guys it was just paper and whiteout. And I read that you and Jared decided to pick certain characters to translate for and would each stick with them for the whole translation. I’ve never heard of anyone doing that, and I’m curious how you guys came up with your process.

FRED: Well, nobody had done it before, so it was pretty easy to think of something unusual, I guess. At the time, nobody was using computers – It was basically a typewriter and hand-written era. And we weren’t able to flip the pages. Even making photocopies in those days was expensive. We tore up our books, whited out all of the word balloons, and then we xeroxed it. Then we wrote in the dialogue so that nothing was flipped or flopped.

It was all done in pen – I think we may have started with pencil and then overwritten it. But we actually tried to fit the dialogue in the balloons and tried to make it look as much as possible as a normal comic book. But like I said, we weren’t able to flop anything, and we delivered the first five volumes to Tezuka Productions in this format. And Volume 4, which we thought was the strongest volume of the Phoenix, we actually had printed.

ANT: Really?

FRED: Yeah, because it was actually cheaper to get it printed than xeroxed. But again it wasn’t flopped, and the print was of very poor quality from xeroxes and it really didn’t look very good at all. Actually, I have a copy if you’d like to see it sometime. It’s very crude. But it gave people the idea that it was possible to read it as a comic book.


ANT: Talking about rivalries and people that worked with Tezuka, I heard that there was a beef between Tezuka and Kazuo Umezu.

FRED: Oh really?

ANT: I read somewhere that Umezu never liked Tezuka because when Umezu was a student he sent a story to Tezuka and he claims that Tezuka ripped him off?

FRED: Oh? I never heard that. But I knew that there were lots of people in Japan that didn’t like Tezuka. If you wanted to do something different, you almost had to not like Tezuka because everybody’s roots were so linked to Tezuka’s work. Hayao Miyazaki is a classic example. He has written in several essays about how he’s part of this sort of anti-Tezuka faction but realizes that he’s very influenced by Tezuka as well because almost everyone was really.

ANT: Like, if you want to be anti-authoritarian, you have to shake off years of Tezuka influence.

FRED: That’s right – that’s not so true now, but it certainly was true if you were doing something in the late 70s or early 80s.

ANT: Have you ever met Umezu? What was he like?

FRED: I have met him. I actually met him at a Viz party in San Francisco. He lived in San Francisco for a while, in Pacific Heights and he had a very nice place. I remember he was quite thin and he was wearing, I don’t know how you describe it...

ANT: Was it red and white stripes?

FRED: It was something striped, yeah. I could draw you a picture but I can’t describe it. I don’t know what the right word is for that shirt. I remember he was very cheerful – he seemed like a really nice guy, you’d never think he’s the one creating the characters he did.

Electric Ant #1 will be debuting at APE and online this weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

HANGING OUT WITH SHINTARO KAGO ON HALLOWEEN's a possibility, if you are in Tokyo!

Posted on Shintaro Kago's site comes news that he'll be appearing at a opening reception and screening at Tokyo's avant-gallery, Cafe FLYING TEAPOT.

This event is the highlight of 2-week gallery show of works by Shintaro Kago. Kago will be in person at the Halloween night show, featuring a screening of new animated works, along with some ghastly figurines and toys. Entrance is 1000円, and doors open at 6:30pm.

Also, for sale at the event will be:
Manga collections, new dojinshi, his dvd of animated films, post cards, prints, limited edition toys and original drawings and works.

My buddy Nate (who just moved to central Tokyo for a year, and authored the "DEPARTMENT FOR IMPLEMENTING 15 KINDS OF VIOLENT DEATH" feature in Electric Ant #1)) will be attending the event in my stead, and sending pictures and details over the weekend. Cafe FLYING TEAPOT is located in Nerima-ku, a little north of Nakano and west of Waseda. Full event details at Kago's site (link above).



Just saw these yesterday on Mr. Butcher's always informative comics212. Here are the retro-stylish covers for the first two English editions of 20th Century Boys (shout out to my buddy Kit who is editing this great series). Viz will begin serializing Naoki Urasawa's epic 20th Century Boys on February 17, 2009-- and also launching his Pluto series that same day. Begin preparing your wallets now...

Volume 1: 2/17/09

Volume 2: 4/21/09

PS: Happy wedding anniversary, Chris!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Interesting news, courtesy of Johnny:

It seems that starting in the current October issue of Vice, Shintaro Kago now has a monthly comics page in Vice. He joins Johnny, Ted May and a scant few other cartoonists who've been give this opportunity.

I'm gonna hunt around this week for a copy, but shoot me an email in the meantime if you grabs it and wants to send me scans. Vice should be posting the page on their site sometime in the next week or so.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Short post here, checking in on an old thing I blogged about last year. Remember that huge and lovely Midori tattoo, gracing the back of Suehiro Maruo fangirl Beth?

Back then, Evan had spotted her tattoo in a Japanese tattoo magazine at New York's Kinokuniya bookstore. Well, on a Snowblood Apple forum thread, I heard that the same tattoo now graces a tattoo portrait book! The book is called, Permanence: Tattoo Portraits by Kip Fulbeck.

Here is thumbnail of the book cover:

In it, each subject has a hand-written note about the meaning and story behind their tattoo, which is displayed next to their photograph. I tried but wasn't able to view the page with the Maruo tattoo. If anyone has this book or could photograph that page, I'd love to see what Beth said about it...

For a few other manga tattoos, please click the label link below (or here). Do you have an interesting manga tattoo you'd want to share? Send me an email at samehatATgmailDOTcom!


I wanted to share a good read from one of the absolute best blogs about Tokyo, the infamous Tokyo Damage Report. TDR is written by a Bay Area expat named Schultz. Schultz is a renaissance man-- a singer, photographer, punk, and even nihongo rapper. The dude does it all!

TDR is my favorite in-country blog about Japan for a bunch of reasons, but the main one is that it's free from the self-obsessed, boring and often orientalist bullshit perspective of a lot of blogs about Japan by foreigners. Schultz doesn't forget that he's a white dude living abroad, but he's learned the language, lived there for years, been in Tokyo bands, and really knows his shit.

His blogging specialities include a guide to Tokyo (where I originally heard about Nakano Broadway!) metal and punk show reports, insane japanese trade show photojournalism, fetish club and disco parties, and the occasional interview. He also created an unique Kanji-learning dictionary, which I recommend if you're past the intro levels in your studies.

This week, he's published an intriguing and right-on interview with Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt, the writer/translator couple responsible for the book, YOKAI ATTACK.

YOKAI ATTACK is a illustrated trivia and guide book, breaking down all the Japanese yokai monster myths, along with some contemporary twists on the folklore. You should know yokai by now from Miike's The Great Yokai War, Umezu's Cat Eyed Boy and Tezuka's Dororo series, for starters. Here's a quick excerpt from the interview:
TDR: Earlier, you said that part of the motivation for the book was cultural exchange . . . did researching yokai give you some insight into Japanese culture? I mean, it must have taken a certain kind of culture to create folk-tales with these unique traits ?

MA: Normally when you see yokai illustrations and wood-block prints you see them in a museum, in a textbook, in a very academic setting very divorced from how they were actually consumed back in the 1700s. One of the things that really struck me is how cosmopolitan and well-developed the Japanese sense of humor was, even hundreds of years ago. They’re filled with gags, satire… These illustrations overflow with humanity. These books, particularly Sekien, weren’t some formal thing that was presented to the Emperor on some special holy day - they were like the best-selling manga of that time. People gathered around, reading and laughing. “Hey, I know a guy like that!!” kind of thing. So to take that and live it day in and day out, and appreciate it and experience it the way that the people at the time experienced it, was one of the great things about doing this book.

For more info about the book and authors, Matt runs a solid blog about Japan, and YOKAI ATTACK is available in bookstores (or you can get it from Amazon).


Friday, October 24, 2008


If it wasn't already painfully apparent, I'm getting increasingly anxious to get the zine back from the printer.

As I wait for next week (hurry up, hurry up), I've been busying myself with other preparations for debuting ELECTRIC ANT #1 on 11/1/08 (at our table at APE and online). Just yesterday, I got this set of MOO promo cards in the mail. I'll be giving these out at APE and to contributors that wanna to help with the outreach efforts. Each of these cards features an illustration, design or comic from the zine. Hope interested readers enjoy this micro-preview...

My cat lamp watches over the MOO card set...

Zooming in, you can see the cards are resting on the printer's proofs for the zine!

Name a card or image that piques your curiosity in the comments, and I can post the details on who made it and where it fits in to the first issue!

Spread the word and tell yr friends next week!

Also, next Monday I'll post another long preview of a feature in the zine. This time: some excerpts from a 16 page interview with manga guru, Frederik Schodt!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I am very, very excited to share some fantastic news for Same Hat readers, and for all fans of indie manga and experimental cartooning... Top Shelf will be publishing a 400 page AX ANTHOLOGY, a selection of stories from the bimonthly underground manga anthology AX... all available in English for the first time!

(Here is the front and back cover to a 16 page AX Anthology sampler to be given away at Alternative Press Expo!)

We've posted extensively about AX before, but remember that it's an anthology book published by Seirinkogeisha, that took up the reins of GARO after they closed their doors and ran with the weirdness. Tokyo Zombie originally was serialized in AX, along with works and interviews of Suehiro Maruo, Shinichi Abe, Nishioka Kyoudai, Naoto Yamakawa(Oops, he was in Comix Beam), Usamaru Furuya, Toshio Saeki, Akino Kondoh, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Toyo Kataoka, and many many many other amazing mangaka.

I don't have anything to do with this book, but recently learned about it and got permission to break the news to ya'll (and of course, am supremely jealous I didn't get to edit or translate for the book!). The full table of contents details have not yet been made available, but I hope to hear more specifics this Fall and post them here.

This gigantic book was co-edited by author Sean Michael Wilson and AX co-founder Mitsuhiro Asakawa. Sean is a comic book writer from Scotland, now an ex-pat living and working in Japan. He's published a number of books, nine graphic novels, and his first English- Japanese-language manga was published this past summer. Asakawa-san is an author and current editor of AX, and worked in the 90s on the staff of GARO, along with writing a number of books on alternative manga and gekiga.

At Alternative Press Expo next weekend, Sean will be doing an presentation on gekiga and presenting rare images from the early, emergent days of the genre. He'll also be there with a 16pg sampler of the AX ANTHOLOGY on hand to give away. I'll be helping run the presentation (and on hand to score my own copy of the sampler, duh!). Details from the APE Site...

SUN, 5:00-5:45: AX and Gekiga: Alternative Manga in Japan—Sean Michael looks at the roots and contemporary state of indy/alternative manga in Japan, using rare and unseen visuals supplied by the original Gekiga creators of the 1950s and 1960s and info from the editors of AX, the premier alternative anthology in Japan today. Plus, a preview of the upcoming book AX Collection (Top Shelf), which presents a selection of this indy manga for the first time in English.

I'm hoping to do an interview with Sean (and Leigh at Top Shelf) and post more details later this fall. What AX creators are you guys most looking forward to reading in English?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Getting this one out before the end of the day... I wanted to take a second to note that today marks the birthday of one of my absolute favorite authors, Edogawa Rampo. Dude is well-known and beloved in Japan as the godfather of mystery and detective fiction.

114 years ago today, he was born Hirai Taro in Mie Prefecture. As a young author, he turned his love of the macabre master (and America's favorite anti-transcendentalist) Edgar Allan Poe into his nom de plume, Edogawa Rampo. Hint: say it 5 times fast, let the syllables blur together and the verbal connection should become clear.

Rampo has long been one of my favorite authors, and even if you haven't read the translated stories collected in Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination or The Beast in the Shadows (And if so... what is wrong with you, lazypants?), most everyone reading this blog has surely felt the influence of his works via some of their favorite manga, film and fiction from Japan...

(Amazing flyer for a museum exhibiting celebrating Rampo's influence)

+ Do you like the kid detective manga, Conan? (His full name: Conan Edogawa!)
+ Do you like the nihilistic realism of contemporary detective fiction writers like Natsuo Kirino or Miyuki Miyabe?
+ Did you see the film Gemini by Shinya Tsukamoto? (Based on one of the short stories in JTOM&I)
+ Are you a Mishima nerd who checked out his cameo in the psychadelic, psycho-sexual film version of Rampo's Black Lizard?
+ Did you see the art horror film Rampo Noir (Adapting four of his short stories) or the fictional and fantastic biography film Rampo?

and most recently...

Remember the newest Suehiro Maruo manga, a sprawling and faithful adaptation of Rampo's The Strange Tale of Panorama Island?

(Homey's grave, with his given name Hirai Taro on the headstone.)

Rampo passed away on July 28, 1965, but his works are continually reprinted and collected in Japan. On a personal note, my first translation of a Japanese work was during my senior year of college, and the story I translated was his short mystery, "The Death of a Sleepwalker". My translation was not very deft or well-done, but I spend many weeks reading and living with Rampo's original texts and came to really love the dude and appreciate his gentle wit and writing craft.

Ending this on a high note... For English readers, the rad indie press Kurodahan is putting a brand new collection of translated short stories and critical essays, The Edogawa Rampo Reader, in 2009!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


After a few rounds of proofs and edits and tweaks, the printer officially has begun printing up ELECTRIC ANT #1 as of this afternoon.

Hopefully without annoying everyone with countless posts, I thought I would highlight a feature a week from the first issue, leading up until Alternative Press Expo (11/1 & 11/2). I'll be debuting the zine at The Bang Gang's table and launching an easy way to buy it direct via that weekend. The first feature I want to talk about (and the first one that came together) is...


My favorite cartoonists take us on a tour of the darkest lords that ever lived!

[Page 25: IHODL Title Page, illustration by Evan]

IHODL is an illustration feature, with 17 pages of raw, wicked, and retarded villains of yore. I think once you witness the list of Dark Lords you can grasp the theme; once you witness the list of contributors you will grasp the awesomeness. The Hall features...

KRULOS (dino-riders) by Anthony Wu
MUMM-RA (thundercats) by Derek Yu
FAT CAT (chip & dale rescue rangers) by Alice Kim
MOJO JOJO (powerpuff girls) by Michael DeForge
GARGAMEL & AZRAEL (the smurfs) by Calving Wong
M. BISON (street fighter: animated series) by Mimo
SHREDDER (teenage mutant ninja turtles) by Jenn Yin
KRANG (teenage mutant ninja turtles) by Hellen Jo
ROCKSTEADY & BEBOP (teenage mutant ninja turtles) by MC Lars
DOC TERROR (the centurions) by Root Studio
LORD ZEDD (mighty morphin power rangers) by Matt Lock
RITA REPULSA (mighty morphin power rangers) by Gea
COBRA (g.i. joe) by Evan Hayden
BLOTH (pirates of dark water) by Ryan Sands
SKELETOR (masters of the universe) by Derek Kirk Kim
HORDAK (masters of the universe) by David Murray
PHYLLIS ‘PIZZAZZ’ GABOR (jem) by Michaela Colette

A few quick previews to whet your appetite(s):



See any cartoonists or DARK LORDS that you're particularly into? Or have a favorite DARK LORD that I should have included in the feature? Let me know in the comments!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Fear not, Kago fanatics! After a long and deserved break, our buddy Rizzah over at Wanted: Cheap Manga has blessed us by posting the latest chapter of his scanlation collaboration with Anonymous K -- Dance! Kremlin Palace! by Shintaro Kago.

This chapter just may rank as my least favorite to date, but still... it's hard to complain. New Shintaro Kago in English is always a very, very good thing. This chapter takes a very specific premise as its jumping off point-- Namely, that all the stress of 1960s Cold War tension was a ploy to turn on and get off Khrushchev's masochistic, alopecia-loving mistress...

As Rizzah describes chapter six,
I’m happy to release the next chapter of our ongoing Russian soap opera, Dance Kremlin Palace. This chapter focuses on the harmful (or pleasant) side effects of stress brought on by the cold war. Poor Khrushchev… The things one man does for love.

Click to download Chapter 6 from Wanted: Cheap Manga!



For those Same Hat readers not (yet) financially-devastated by the past few week's global meltdown, PictureBox Inc out of Brooklyn has just released two incredible art manga books! These officially debuted at SPX two weekends ago, but according to the PB blog, will be shipping out to buyers in the coming week or so. Here is a quick recap and preview images of these fantastic titles:

+TRAVEL by Yuichi Yokoyama

A wordless graphic novel, I picked up and read the Japanese edition of Travel this past spring at a Book-Off in Kyoto. It's more linear and direct in some ways than PictureBox's other Yokoyama release, New Engineering, but also a bit more more cereberal. Not to slag off PB, but the production for the book (being wordless) must have been quite easy. That said, Yokoyama fills the end of his books with dozens and dozens of dense footnotes and commentary, which are preserved and translated here. The sad bit for us not at SPX, according to their site is that, "All SPX copies are signed with a drawing by Yokoyama." From the PB description:
In Yuichi Yokoyama’s Travel, the storyline is as linear as it is sharp: it is the long, silent and crystalline description of a train ride undertaken by three men. The subject Yokoyama depicts here is less the landscape around the train (the distance covered, the regions travelled through) than the actions within the train itself. As the train moves, the three men walk through the string of cars and are confronted with the vehicle’s architecture, its machine-like environment. By above all, they are confronted with the stares and the physical presence of other passengers. Travel is a journey into the contemporary Japanese psyche – a brilliant, wordless graphic novel.

Bookforum has written of Yokoyama: “Concerned with phenomena rather than character and narrative, his comics resemble the output of a drafting machine: sequences that present multiple views of an object in action and look like exploded product diagrams. Yokoyama seems to enjoy the resulting images as much for the strange shapes that are generated as for what they reveal.” This edition features an introduction by cartoonist and historian Paul Karasik and commentary by the author.

A shot of the book itself, from the PB site

Visit the PictureBox page for more details.


From the PB description:
“Nemoto is the undisputed master of filthy comics. His work is brutal and horrifying and sure to shock even the most jaded comics reader. And yet underneath all his absurd depravity is a beautiful and touching story of a father’s love for his giant mutant sperm son.”-Johnny Ryan

At long last, this underground Japanese classic has been translated into English. A seminal work of manga from the mid-1980s, Monster Man Bureiko Lullaby is a Candide-esque tale–if you can picture Candide as a mutated sperm brought to life by radioactivity. Unremittingly explicit, this is the comics equivalent of Henry Miller at his best: direct, honest and insightful while simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. Tokyo-based Takashi Nemoto, who was born in 1958, has been called the R. Crumb of Japan: Nemoto and Crumb share a similar, surreal drawing style and pessimistic, satirical stance, for which both have faced their share of negative criticism. Due to his unapologetically squalid subject matter, Nemoto has long been a controversial figure in Japan–clashing violently with mainstream Japanese morals–and is just now receiving some critical success there.

In addition to being a fascinating and utterly unique read (nestled in the growing but still genre-deficient US manga market), the book itself was designed by heta-uma King Terry. The book production and hand-lettering was done by artist (and new friend of Same Hat) Jon Vermilyea. I only have the shots from the PB site to go on so far, but it looks to be a masterful and badass bit of lettering.

Visit the PictureBox page for more details.

Monday, October 13, 2008


This is for our UK readers (or others with a private jet and massive amounts of disposable income). I received a notice from Paul Gravett, manga expert and author of the luxurious and large creator-focused book, Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics. Next week, he will be holding a presentation and lecture in London about manga that might be of interest to ya'll:

He says,
"The idea is whether you're a novice or a serious otaku, it promises to be a fun night celebrating the diversity and quality of Japanese comics today. I've put a flyer below and people can come to my site for more details and to book tickets via PayPal (people must book ahead of the evening)."

Thursday, 23rd October 2008, 7pm to 9.30pm
There will be an interval with light refreshments.

St Albans Centre, Leigh Place, Baldwin Gardens, London, EC1N 7AB
Tube: Chancery Lane. Venue web-site here. Map available here.

£10.00 available in advance, only from his website (above).


Old news by a few weeks, but I wanted to post a quick congrats to two awesome artists that won Ignatz awards at the Small Press Expo (SPX). The Ignatz Awards are "intended to recognize outstanding achievements in comics and cartooning by small press creators or creator-owned projects published by larger publishers. "

Two minis on my favorite comics of 2007 list were awarded... Congrats guys!!

Outstanding Mini-Comic
Bluefuzz by Jesse Reklaw

"Like the mentally challenged but nobler little brother of Dungeon, Bluefuzz sets the bar scarily high for what kind of story a minicomic can pull off. The interspersed color paintings of Bluefuzz's "great deeds" are icing on the cake."

Jesse is on tour right now promoting his book of Slow Wave dream comics, "The Night of Your Life" and will be attending a release party with Hellen Jo the first night of APE.

Outstanding Artist
Do Not Disturb My Waking Dream by Laura Park

"Her minicomic collection is part sketches and part strips that hint at longer form storytelling. Aside from have a sweet (but not saccharine) sense of humor, DNDMKD shows off Laura's warm and incredibly rich draftsman0like style. She is a real talent to watch, and it'd be a major gaff for the indie scene if someone doesn't sign her to do a book in 2008."

A sketchbook page by Laura was included in the Ivan Brunetti-edited "An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories: Volume 2", and her contributor bio mentions that she's working on finishing a collection!

Click to check out the full list of winners.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Quick TGIF clip that I guarantee will make you smile a little (unless you're dead on the inside). From Umezz's YouTube channel, here is footage of him visiting MANGART BEAMS and checking out their Umezu graphic t-shirts in person at BEAMS shop in Daikanyama!


This just announced on the Giant Robot SF blog... They will be hosting a new gallery show this month featuring art from two of my favorite artists (and friends), Derek Yu and Matt Lock! The show is titled GAME OVER, and features art inspired by video games by the gamer generation:

This is cool news, and I'll be swinging by to check it out this weekend. In a bit of shameless self-promotion, I've got to note that both these artists are also featured in Electric Ant #1 (just sayin'!!).

Here is a pic from his blog of one of the two pieces Derek has in the show:

Die, Allied schweinehund!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Many thanks to reader Karen for letting us know that Tokyo Zombie has been reviewed in the November issue of UK anime and manga magazine, Neo!

Karen was rad enough to send a scan of the review, which looks to appear on page 77. Click the image here for the full scan:

The review says (in part):
If you have a thirst for the macabre, love bad taste zombie stories, don't mind smut and can turn a blind eye to Hanakuma's rather unusual illustration style, check out this title, which is on the shelves now.

Also! A zombie site called Zombie Reporting Center has posted their review of the book too. Here's s short preview:
While this is a very silly book, it’s also contains some very heavy underlying comments on the social politics of class warfare. Politics, slap-stick and gore! Perfect! This has definitely become one of my new favorite zombie comic of all time.

Tokyo Zombie was just published this year in English for the first time ever by the awesome people at Last Gasp. I can’t recommend the book enough. Everybody who loves zombies should read this.


After months and months of planning and talking and working, I am happy to announce that the zine is finally done! I spent the last 5 days chained to my computer and InDesign, and with the help of Evan's graphical wizardly, I finalized the layout/proofing and sent ELECTRIC ANT #1 to the printer last night!

The good news is that the book will be done in time to debut at Alternative Press Expo 2008. For folks in the SF area, I will have copies on hand and available at the Bang Gang booth (alongside Hellen's new comic, Jin & Jam no.1 fuckyess)

Front cover

Back cover

ELECTRIC ANT #1: Your First Kiss
7" x 8.5" digest, 92 pages and bound like a paperback book
Color cover inside & out, B&W insides with a 4-page color first kiss survey spread
Printed locally at 1984 Printing in Oakland, CA (They publish some of Little Otsu's books)
Price: $8, debuting at APE, then sold via Same Hat & and looking/hoping to get it carried by some comics & zine shops, and (maybe?) Last Gasp and Giant Robot

Author Frederik Schodt on translation, Tezuka, and life as a teenager in Tokyo
My favorite cartoonists take us on a tour of the darkest lords that ever lived!
Revisited in all its glory... in the form of comics, short fiction, and drawings
A photographic tour of Beijing's Dongyue Temple and its assorted hells
A beautiful and demiurgical tale of transtemporal love and destiny



I will be posting more information as APE (November 1-2) gets closer, with further details about each of the rad contributors and how to order the zine online. I'm planning to use Google Checkout and launch a proper site sometime between now and then.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Really positive reviews are continuing to trickle in about Tokyo Zombie. Check out the latest I've found...

Daily Yomiuri Online (wow!)
Afro-haired Fujio and bald Mitsuo, the protagonists of Tokyo Zombie, are keen judoka who know all about this, so when Fujio inadvertently kills their boss during a disagreement at work, they know just the place to get rid of his body.

When they get there, they find a middle school gym teacher disposing of his former students. The man is literally dismembered (with the emphasis on member) by a naked woman who rises from the dead. It seems the mixture of sewage, garbage and rotting corpses on Dark Fuji has unleashed a plague of zombies.

All of this within the first 13 pages of this good example of heta uma, or "bad, but good," manga that, like the 2004 British zombie movie Shaun of the Dead, treats its gruesome subject with tongue firmly in cheek.

Disaster Year: 20XX
Just finished reading Tokyo Zombie. Dead people rise out of a rubbish tip! Bald and Afro martial arts blue collars must kick ass and drive gaudy trucks to survive! Expect swearing, pig surfing, and minutely observed renderings of mixed martial arts grappling. With a grin on my face I raced to my computer to look up author Yusaku Hanakuma.

PopCultureShock's Manga Recon
Any of this sound familiar? Zombie comedy? Gentrification? The poor laboring thanklessly to provide for the rich who live in furnished apartments? Zombie games? Believe it or not but these aren’t tributes or nods to any of the recent spate of zombie movies. No, in fact this book came out back in 1999, well before either of the movies that most people will compare it to. It’s almost enough to make one wonder whether or not Romero and Wright are closeted manga fans with hard drives full of scanlated volumes of underground horror series.'s Deb Aoki
If you're looking for refined artwork, dynamic character development and complex plots, this might not be your thing. But if you appreciate manic, manly manga and over-the-top black humor, then Tokyo Zombie will not disappoint.