That said, I am bummed to have missed a chance to kick it with a lot of the Electric Ant Zine crew, and high-five Moto Hagio-- who was brought as a special guest by Fantagraphics to celebrate/promote the release of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories. I also would've loved to congratulate in person MBQ and Peepo Choo artist Felipe Smith for his much-deserved success.
[As a side note, I highly recommend folks read my friend Deb Aoki's interview with Felipe Smith at About.com. He drops lots of REAL TALK about what it takes to make it as a professional creative, and in the Japanese manga industry specifically. It made me like a guy I was already a huge fan of even more than before. Oh yeah, and pick up a copy of Peepo Choo v.1 from Vertical, fucking duh!]
During the week of madness, a few exciting licenses were announced by our buddies at Vertical and Drawn & Quarterly. These are old news by now, but I thought I'd do a quick round-up and link dump for anyone that missed them:
1) DRAWN & QUARTERLY RELEASING SHIGERU MIZUKI!
Original announcement on the D+Q blog.
Drawn & Quarterly has acquired North American English rights to two graphic novel memoirs, Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths and NonNonBā, by one of Japan's most acclaimed and legendary manga-kas, Shigeru Mizuki
In addition to the licensing of these works filling a glaring and long-present gap in the English manga scene, Shigeru Mizuki himself is an amazing dude. How can you not love this guy?!
2) VERTICAL TO RELEASE FURUYA'S LYCHEE LIGHT CLUB IN 2011
Were you feeling sad because CMX crashed and burned and it become painfully obvious that the first new Usamaru Furuya manga in English wasn't ever coming out? (Me too). Well, despite his post-apocalyptic survival shonen (seinen?) seres 51 Ways to Save Her getting killed in the CMX meltdown, we have a lot of stuff to look forward to...
Haters gonna hate (on Viz's forthcoming Genkaku Picasso), but my buddy and editor wunderkind Ed Chavez announced that he and Vertical have picked up the license for Furuya's Taisho madness tale, Lychee Light Club. The hilarious thing about this to me is that I actually first got a copy of this manga (in Japanese) from Ed himself about two years ago!
The book is a whopping 320 pager, and the English edition (softcover) is coming out next April, 2011. As described deftly by ANN (because I'm too lazy to summarize things properly, sorry!), the story is about:
nine students at an all-boys school who create a god-like Lychee machine — that runs on lychee fruits — to seek out the beautiful women of the world. However, the machine eventually becomes self-aware "and is soon equally capable of measuring beauty and executing justice."
The look of Furuya's lines and inks in this book will (happily) remind many Same Hat readers of a mix of Suehiro Maruo, and also a grimier version of the Showa aesthetic in Koji Kumeta's Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Furuya's manga is quite goofy(?) at times, but seriously grim and gory too. It's a mixed bag of good elements, and I think Same Hat folks will really love it.
3) PRISON PIT #2 HAS ARRIVED
Johnny Ryan, a friend of Same Hat and all-around great dude, released the second volume of his battle epic Prison Pit at Comic-Con. It is amazing, nasty, and Lovecraftian. It also features a direct allusion to a scene from Tetsuo Hara's CYBER BLUE!!! Did anyone spot it?
Johnny Ryan & Calvin Wong, power-twins unite!
If you're not already on board with this series (What's wrong with you?) check out the cover to #3.