Monday, January 19, 2009

"NEW ARTROCITIES IN BLOOD" REPRINT IS A PIECE OF CRAP!?

I just got reports of some disappointing news. Do folks remember in early November, I posted the news that Creation Books was re-printing a limited English edition of the infamous and deluxe Suehiro Maruo & Kazuichi Hanawa art book, 江戸昭和競作無惨絵英名二十八衆句 (28 Famous Scenes of Murder and Verse)?



This weekend I got emails from four different friends, all informing me of the same basic news: The reprint is a disappointing, shoddy and mediocre book!

If folks remember, this was a limited edition run of 50 copies, with a price tag of $69 bucks (plus $5 shipping domestic, $13 for folks outside the country). I put off buying my own copy, then ending up forgetting altogether. Now, it sounds like I was one of the lucky ones.

Here are some pictures from an upset friend that got the book (Quarter there simply for size reference):





And here are a few quotes from Same Hat readers that are quite unhappy customers:

"I just received my copy and I felt pretty disappointed. I was expecting something more like an actual artbook, bigger size, better quality etc."

AND

"Received my copy today too.. really disappointed, especially as I was broke as hell when buying this. Poor student whining aside, the book design is really shit. Not even a title or ANYTHING whatsoever on the spine or back. Really crappy stock, and not even a credit to Maruo or Hanawa to be found outside of the book."

AND

"I'm not very impressed with this new book. The art is of cousre brilliant, but the accompanying texts are cursory at best. It is also a great shame that the words that are part of the artwork remain untranslated."

AND

"Biggest rip off of my life. 6.25x8 inches big, print quality is the worst i've seen for...anything, recently. Undoubtedly the worst I've ever seen for something of such a "limited edition," literally some images are mildly pixelated!!!

UGH. Did anyone else buy a copy of the book? Please let me know your thoughts about it, and maybe I can get in touch with Christian, the publisher at Creation Books, and find out what happened.

25 comments:

zytroop said...

Right now I am so glad that I didn't order the book. I don't get how Creation can botch a release like this.

myrto said...

It's a real pity that the book is so cheap and crappy. It was really expensive and the only thing that delivers of this expeptional material is "yeah, there are only 50 copies of this edition". Shame on Creation for this, I would return it if a could and never get another book from them ever again...

Jason Lapeyre said...

I'm writing an article about "Bloody Ukiyo-e in 1866 and 1988" and muzan-e in general for Rue Morgue, and I was in touch with Christian about the new edition. Turns out he had nothing to do with it - it was this tiny little publisher in Bangkok called Yubari books, and they just sent him 25 copies of the book to sell. I'm shocked to hear these reports, though - 6 by 8 inches? That's offensive. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the entire project was unlicensed. In fact, in the interview with Hanawa I did a few weeks ago, he didn't mention the book at all, so that almost guarantees it. Anyway, keep an eye out for the article, it should be in the April or May issue of Rue Morgue.

ryan said...

@Zytroop: Agreed, it seems like a mess.

@Myrto: I feel bad you spent so much to get it shipped overseas :(

@Jason: Well, that is quite interesting. I'm gonna go now and start looking into Yubari books... Sounds like you're saying Christian had nothing to do with the production of the book, but he definitely did profit from the ones he sold. I wonder what the thought was behind distributing this shoddy book, especially if it's unlicensed!

Glad to hear about your article though... Lucky you to speak with Hanawa! I don't own a copy of the original Japanese edition, but did spend a few hours looking through it back in high school when I lived in Japan. Would love to talk more over email, samehat AT gmail DOT com.

magick mike said...

Creation Books, despite the fact that I regularly buy what they put out, generally puts out really shittily printed books (there are occasional exceptions I suppose). I don't complain because they have put out English translations of a TON of stuff that isn't available anywhere else, plus their now defunct line of Creation Cinema titles is essential, &&& they publish all of Peter Sotos' ridiculously over-priced, limited-edition, poorly printed output that I still end up buying because there's no other way to get it. It kind of sucks, but I just sort of deal with it.

sheisept said...

Oof! That's upsetting. I remember when you wrote about this before. I was considering trying to snag it, since I love Maruo. I also forgot, so looks like I'm lucky too.

What a horrifically small size for an artbook though. Bizarre. D:

richie said...

yeah, this book is real junk. i could live with the awful graphic design and even the tiny size if the images looked great, but, as someone else mentioned, there is noticeable pixelation. the maruo images especially suffer from jagginess in the areas of fine linework. dissappointing!

ryan said...

I wonder where they sourced the images from? The online scans floating around?

I feel like SH readers got screwed here and it pisses me off.

K said...

yeah, i just got mine in the mail too. its is WAY too small for a $69 PRICE TAG. completely outrageous.

Brendan said...

Yeah I forgot to mention the pixelation. You could go buy a $10 printer, print out the online scans and it would be a drastic improvement on the image quality.

Brendan said...

..ie. it looks like they used thumbnails of the online scans, or did their page layouts in mspaint?!

Anonymous said...

Creation books has let me down before. I sent in an order with a check more than a year ago and haven't received anything yet.

adam said...

I was seriously considering buying this but decided to use the money to buy a couple of reasonably priced books instead.

glad i missed out

Paul said...

So what is the size of the original book?

ryan said...

I hear you guys. TCJ picked up this story today on Journalista. Would folks like me to email Creation directly? I'm happy to reach out to Christian and see what the hell happened (and if the book is licensed, who Yubari Books is, etc)

@Paul: I am not sure the exact size, but it was a bigger book than this... on par with the Maruograph art books or a coffee table book. The original's ISBN is 4845703122. If someone can post the original dimensions that would be helpful.

zytroop said...

Original size is A4 (30 X 21 cm / 11.8 X 8.2 in) according to this auction: http://page4.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/d90966703

In manga terms a bit bigger than Tekkonkinkreet. Not nearly as thick though.

JE said...

And here I thought I would be pleasantly surprised once this book arrived, and then I see your headline. Ouch.

I'll let you know when I do get the copy as far as how it is, since overseas shipping to here takes so long.

Anonymous said...

I was so excited about this book when I read about it here, but the book received is really poor. Had I seen it in a shop I wouldn't have bought it at half the price. Very disappointing, I want to return it and get my money back.

K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ryan said...

If folks want to get in touch with them and voice your complaints, here are the details:

E-mail: the.rabbit@creationbooks.com

Publisher/Chief Executive: Christian Hammer
Editor: Candice Black
Legal: John Bundrick

Cyphane said...

My friend bought this for me, but I have the original.

Let me tell you that the art in this one is not nearly of the resolution and wonderful presentation of the original book.

Worse, the best reason to actually buy the original book - Yoshitoshi's and Yoshiiku's sick art - is just rendered into montage page. I like Suehiro Maruo and Hanawa pics, they're OK, but the whole reason for buying the original book for us bloody ukiyo freaks was the original sequence. How else is somebody going to get plate reprints of the Yoshitoshi sequence? Buy the $450 "Bouquet Of Blood"? Yeah, good luck even finding that...

Everybody, I'm sorry to say, hunt down the original soft-cover Japanese edition, with the gold-and-silver cover. It will cost more but it is gorgeous.

Cyphane said...

As an antidote, let me suggest everybody should also keep their eyes open for some Yoshitoshi stuff from John Stevenson written a while ago. It seems he may have finally come around to the dark side of gore :-)

Sorry to Maruo fans, though = (

Anonymous said...

Hey all, FYI - the reply I got from Creation Books:

"Dear Sir,

Sorry to hear this. We'll pass your comments on to the publisher, Yubari Books, and await their reply. We haven't actually seen the book ourselves yet but were actually told by our order fulfilment agency that it looked "gorgeous". So that's strange.

Checking over the blurb that Yubari sent us, and looking at our web page, it does say that the 1886 images are only included as a "mini-gallery", but we didn't know what size the book would be (at A5 it would be the same size as the original, which seems reasonable). It should also be noted that not every book includes blurb or author details on the cover - particularly hardbacks, so this is certainly not a fault. Does the front cover match the image provided, which we included on our page?

If the reproduction of the images by Maruo and Hanawa are actually very bad, this would be a problem, however. We will ask the publisher to send us sample copy and check this ourselves.

Thank you for informing us of this."

madame yoshino said...

No need to say how disappointed i was too. Just wrote an email to Creation Books. I don't get how they can print such a crappy book...

Anonymous said...

Creation Books failed, I've never wanted a refund so bad in my life.