Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ABSTRACTION by Shintaro Kago

I have usually refrained from posting/hosting other people's scanlations, mostly because I'd rather focus on MYSELF (yes, the ego knows no bounds!). Seriously though, it's fairly easy to do a little detective work and find other scanlator groups tackling various genres, with a wide variety of specialties and philosphies. (For folks that dig what we've done in the past, I'd recommend the blog Mangaijin for thoughtful scanlation recommendations and commentary.)

But, this week I've decided to start up a new category of posts (aptly tagged other people's scanlations) to highlight comics that rattled/impressed me or were just simply too strange and interesting to not pass on to you guys. The impetus for this was a 16-page comic I just found when trolling Blog Search for manga gossip, posted on one of those "DUDE, CHECK OUT HOW WEIRD JAPAN IS" forum threads. This one hails from infamous Ero-Guro manga maestro Shintago Kago. Kago's short 'Punctures' is probably his most famous (and least explicit) comic English-speakers know, and was featured in Secret Comics Japan.

I'm gonna keep this short, because ABSTRACTION is a comic you simply have to see to believe. It's distilled surrealism and fourth wall smashing, like Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch meets Animal Man, as filtered through some strange Dali-meets-Scott McCloud formal and experimental impulse. YEAH-- I WAS SCRATCHING MY HEAD TOO. BUT JEEEZ, IS IT GREAT.

Kago caveat: While this strip doesn't include the kind of mutilation/incest/sexual violence junk you might rightfully associate with his manga, this one is definitely NSFW due to some sex/nudity and gore imagery--- on par with a Lynch flick or Un Chien Andalou at worst.

OK, JUST READ THIS THING, AND THANK ME (and Anonymous K, the scanlator who worked on this) LATER!

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(lower-res version hosted on someone's nifty LJ gallery here)

Click HERE for other Shintaro Kago comics on Same Hat!

Friday, June 22, 2007

ITO PARODY: The Enigma of SquarePants Fault?

This is a quick post before the weekend starts. Most of you have probably read volume two of Junji Ito's Gyo, and would agree that the bonus story The Enigma of Amigara Fault is absolutely horrifying and great. If you haven't read it, you can click here and/or pick up a copy of the Viz re-release of Gyo this Fall.

On 4chan and other imageboards, the haunting DRR DRR DRR sound effect became a faddish meme for a while, and someone created this parody; I just found it on someone's LJ this week and wanted to share the wealth.


Thursday, June 21, 2007


Somehow in my previous guide to Kazuo Umezu's page, I missed one of the most fundamentally awesome bits: materials and instructions for creating your own OVERSIZED GWASHI HAND!

These files are taken from the GWASHI page of Umezz's site (in Japanese). Click the images below for the printer-ready oversized hands.




Being the generous dude that he is, Umezu also created three How-To comics for your own GWASHI hands. It's basically:
1. Print it out (duh) on 2 sheets (or bigger)
2. Glue it to something study
3. Tape a string to the back of the hand
4. Be careful when using scissors (ohhhh, you'll see).

When you're done, it should look like this on the back:

CLICK! CLICK! for steps:




And if you make one, SEND US a picture of you posing with it to samehatATgmail.com!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


On Tuesday I caught a great radio program on my local NPR station, KQED. They featured an hour-long discussion with a few of my favorite mangaologists on the legacy of Osamu Tezuka and the current state of manga in America.

Forum explores the growth of Manga, a form of serialized comics extremely popular in Japan.
Host: Michael Krasny
Carl Horn, the Manga editor for Dark Horse Comics
Fred Schodt, author of "Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics" and "The Astro Boy Essays." Schodt is also a translator and Tezuka Osamu historian.

You can stream the show from their page or download it as an MP3 (right-click to save).

My impressions from the program (SPOILER ALERT!):
  • Schodt has a awesome voice. Also, he would make a really cool uncle.

  • Schodt is the go-to guy for discussing Tezuka, and talks anecdotes both here and in his latest book, The Astro Boy Essays, about his personal friendship with The God of Manga.

  • Horn compares & contrasts the American and Japanese comics industries. In the US, the '50s comics code killed off their "ability to create stories that ordinary people could relate to" and also "contributed to a narrative stereotyping of comic books in which the acceptable types of stories you could, not just in terms of nudity of violence but of world view, gradually narrowed."

  • Schodt says that translating manga into English has gotten easier and easier in the past 20 years. There was a time when early manga translators worried that American audiences wouldn't be able to handle the cultural details and exotic minutiae. There has been a mindmeld between young Americans and young Japanese in the past 15 years; American kids grow up eating sushi, sleeping on futons and are raised on a lot of Japanese ideas filtered through cultural exports. Gags, language puns and visual puns are very hard to translate, sure, but it's much easier to pitch things now than when he originally was translating Phoenix, etc.

  • Horn notes the difference in geopolitical discourse about the Japanese in the 80s, which was always about Japanese politics and economy, and never about pop culture. Now it's the exact opposite, and the only thing the US media covers is Japan's "soft power" AKA pop culture. In response to an aside from the host about the Rape of Nanking, Horn notes that an upcoming issue of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service has the crew going to Harbin, China and raising discussion about Unit 731 and other Japanese war crimes during WWII.

  • Schodt talks about flipping comics, and how the young, sophisticated readers of nowadays prefer the unflipped editions (that's you guys).

  • Schodt makes the point that what most Americans see as 'MANGA' is a few steps removed from how Japanese would describe it, for two reasons. One is the inherent (but shrinking) time lag between a manga's release and popularity in Japan and it's release in English in the U.S. The second is the natural filter of what is profitable and gets picked for release in the US; Looking simply at that, Schodt notes, Americans would think that manga is weighted heavily toward technology, atomics bombs, the internet. What is hard to see from here is that manga is much more broad in Japan that what bit of it we get exposed to here. American publishers are forced to focus on works that they think there are a market for; this means the most manga in English until now has been focused on young male readers.

  • Schodt discusses 'gekiga' as a reaction to Tezuka, as a realist movement read by construction workers and college students.

  • Otaku culture notes from the guy who helped design the Hotel Tomo in San Francisco. The hotel is totally themed in anime/Japanese '90s pop culture, and is basically way over the top and insane.

  • Why do nerds and computer geeks specifically also like anime and manga?

  • Why do the humans all have big "Betty Boop" eyes in manga? (DERRRR) Short answer from Schodt: Blame Tezuka's love for Disney and early American animations.

  • Questions about Adolf series-- Was Tezuka anti-semitic? Schodt dismisses this and talks about the breadth of subject matters in contemporary manga. He also mentions that he's re-reading an autobiographical manga by "an aquaintance of mine" about his time in Japanese jail: Sounds like he's talking about Kazuichi Hanawa's Doing Time. Dang, Schodt knows everybody!

  • What do you recommend for a teenager studying Japanese that wants to try to read a manga in the original Japanese? Schodt says read a manga about something that you already like so it's easier to follow. Horn recommends the dude reads a Japanese manga magazine directed at young kids for practice.

  • Caller asks about anti-war themes in Tezuka's work, and Schodt expands on these themes in Astro Boy and Jungle Emperor. Schodt also says that in America, the manga that is very popular is about robots, destruction and conflict, but that this is based more on supply & demand than prevalence and reiterates that Japanese manga covers board games, salaryman life, etc.

All in all, it was a pretty excellent hour of radio. Man, I've never heard something mispronounce the word manga so many times in one hour though. MAIN-ga, MEHN-ga but never 'manga'-- Not to be the otaku king who gets fussy about that sort of thing, but jeeez.



First, many, many thanks to all entrants for your gag comics! We got a huge kick out of reading each one, and are working on a thank you gift for your guys (we'll email you soon with details). But, like Highlander and America's Next Top Model, there can be only one!

And the winner is... Sophia! Huge congrats to her for creating the winning 4-panel gag strip! We received 12 excellent entries, and found Sophia's strip to be the funniest and to best capture the spirit of yonkoma manga (and it's beautifully drawn too!).

Click this panel to read the full-sized version.

Sophia wins our love and admiration and, most importantly, her own copy of the very out-of-print Junji Ito horror collection, Flesh-Colored Horror. We are mailing your prize out to you today!

The runner-up for the contest came from Griffin, for this awesome strip:

Click this panel to read the full-sized version.

While we only had one copy of the Ito book to send out, we're mailing Griffin a copy of our scanlation booklet, The World of Same Hat! as his runner-up prize.

Thanks again to everyone for entering. I've already found a few more rare books that might become prizes in the future; YEP, we're definitely planning on holding another contest again soon!

NEW COMICS DAY: Death Note 12?

Get thee to a comics bookery! I heard (through the grapevine) that despite a July 3 release date on Amazon, the final volume of DEATH NOTE will be hitting stores today!

'The battle ends here!'

I read Wikipedia and spoiled the ending for myself LONG AGO, but I'm still incredibly geeked to devour this final volume. And, can we please raise our hands in applause to Viz (and editor Pancha Diaz)? This marks a complete manga series (that doesn't suck) getting released without cancellation or year-long delays. That makes today an auspicious day!

More posts later today, including the GAG CONTEST WINNER announcement!

Monday, June 18, 2007


Quick update for peeps on the booklet list-- I've heard from 12 of you so far, and have already mailed out booklets to such exotic locales as Australia, Canada, New York, Texas, Georgia, and Utah. I'm still waiting to hear from the following folks, so please send me your contact information soon:

Chris Mautner, Jack, Erin, Yoshi, John Thomas, Ian Smith, Flemming

Looking forward to getting this out; I will post about extras once I hear from everyone on the first list.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I came up with the idea for a snazzy regular feature on Same Hat (NEW COMICS DAY!), but then promptly forgot to keep it up and got way behind. Goddamn it. This is fairly typical of how things operate around here. I think the main problem is that I hate writing manga reviews, and would rather stick to the type of posts you're used to: "OMG DIS MANGA IS THE FOOKIN' COOLEST THING EVARS LOLBBQ!!>?1!?" And really, isn't that more effective than like, thoughtful commentary and objective weighing of qualities that might inform your purchasing decisions?

But the last few weeks have included some quality goods, and I wanna get back on track. So, here's my roundup of the past few weeks of horror manga releases/purchases:

MPD PSYCHO Vol.1 from Dark Horse

+ The quality of the book production is impressive. Dark Horse had made it clear that they were taking MPD very seriously, promoting it online and talking about their commitment to the series in various places. It shows in the book itself, which features a beautiful, semi-embossed cover, really crisp images on a nice paper stock, and keeps the first few color pages of the volume intact. The book feels good in your hands. They also included an afterward and notes from creator Eiji Otsuka.

+ MPD Psycho is a scanlation-turned-legit success story. Despite what Dark Horse may or may not say on this point, it's clear that the original scanlations of MPD created a huge cult following that eventually helped convince Dark Horse to license and release it. I have a sense that DH, which as you guys all know have cancelled most of their other (non-Otsuka - Mail, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service) horror titles, are putting all their horror manga tamagos in one basket. I have a feeling that MPD will be a success, and we'll see the entire run come out. The prevalence of the scanlations might be one factor encouraging DH to go all out on the production and quality of the MPD releases, and this is a good thing for consumers. Shorthand: YAY SCANLATORS-- You DO have an influence on the licensing and publishing decision process.

+ The story freaked me out and has a lot of promise. I had never read any of MPD Psycho (or seen the Takashi Miike series based on the manga), and a few of the sequences (cannibal public suicide, depotting a brain from a skull) really made me squirm and grossed me out. I'm interested to see where Otsuka takes the characters and setting he established in this first book.

+ Exclusively gendered violence is not a good sign. I know that MPD is a famously gory and depraved manga, and that wouldn't be something to turn me away. What I really didn't like, however, was the exclusive depiction of one kind of fetishistic violence toward women depicted in this first volume. By my count, we meet two serial killers in this short book that both seem to put women in similar bondage gear, displaying them in stages of torture, before chopping them up and publicly displaying their corpses. I found the repetition of this visual (a tamer form of which also pops up often in Otsuka's Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service) a bit tiring and blech-making. You could argue that there WERE male victims at the hands of the aforementioned cannibal killer midway through the book, but all we get of these victims are a few shots framed as autopsy photos. The gore itself in MPD is not a problem, but I'm not going to stick around if we're facing volume after volume of the same type of rape-y violence against women.

+ The bold & italic font used through the book. This sounds like a dumb complaint, but after seeing the awesome production on this book, I was put off by the gnarly always bold, always italicized font they chose for the entire book. I really wish they would have gone with a more typical Comic Sans type font, and made wading through the confusing first few chapters a little easier.

VERDICT: I want to support this book because it's a scanlation-gone-legit, it's one of the darkest and creepiest mainstream titles available, and the book itself is really gorgeous. That said, I honestly didn't enjoy reading this first volume that much and hope the story improves in volume 2.


+ Time travel logic taken directly from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. My favorite part in that movie is when they're in the police station and make a mental note to go back in time later and place a radio to distract Bill's dad... and then, POW!, it's come to be just by the act of making that mental note. Except in Umezu's imagination, that same logic applies to stuffing medicine into a mummified corpse.

+ More present-day sequences with Sho's mom. She is extremely sympathetic, even as she: i) attacks a pro baseball player as he is running toward home plate, ii) spits on grieving mothers and throws the incense and flowers for their 'dead' children on the ground, and iii) cuts her own arm up in order to sneak into a hospital. You are awesome, Mrs. Takamatsu.

+ Killing off 1/2 of the entire school population in a 10 page sequence. Mr. Umezu, you amaze me.

+ This intensity is NOT sustainable. With 5 more volumes left, Umezu has left me wondering how he can POSSIBLY keep up this shit without it unraveling.

+ People's heads and arms aren't supposed to fly off during a flash flood. This was awesome but HONESTLY??

+ That's about it. This series is radical. The only bad news is having to wait a few more months for volume 7!

VERDICT: Drifting Classroom is Umezu in rare form, and each new volume of this series is a serious treat to tear through.


+ Tons of previously unseen art and paintings. The book contains about 30-40 pages of full-color paintings depicting Hino's usual suspects: Urban hellscapes, mutated bug boys and hell babies, lizards fucking humans, landfills and annihilation. Ridiculous and awesome stuff.

+ New comics in translation. After the paintings, you get three complete horror tales, "Memories of the Mermaid," "The Red Fruit," and "The Snow Flower." I especially dug the mermaid one, which looks especially nice in full color!

+ Blurbs and introductions from Maruo and Mizuno mean you are a badass. I'll try to scan Maruo's insane introduction, titled "Pseudo Amida Sutra of a Dreaming Embryo." It's very short, but something to behold.

+ The quality of the pages is not great. Sadly, when you look at the painting reproductions, on some of them you can make out blurriness and what looks like the edges of inket printing. It's fantastic to see this stuff in color, but the actual images and book production is lacking in crispness and quality.

+ I love Hino, but I want to see underrepresented horror manga-ka in English. Hino has seen a LARGE share of his manga translated into English (for better or for worse), and I'd love to see others get their chance to reach and English-speaking audience.

THE VERDICT: This isn't the book I'd recommend to a casual manga fan, but for the Hideshi Hino fanatics and completists this is a MUST GET.

In other news-- we're still accepting submissions for the 4-Panel Gag Manga contest! Send yours tonight to beat the deadline!! Evan and I will decide a winner tomorrow and post the results (and ship out that copy of Junji Ito's Flesh-Colored Horror) on Tuesday morning.

As for the World of Same Hat booklets, I put 11 copies in the mail on Friday, and have a few ready to drop at the post office tomorrow on my lunch break. Once I've heard from people on the original list, I'll try to come up with a fair way to get rid of any extras. Thanks again!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Quick site update on a few items!


We've received a couple entries so far, and it sounds like a few more people are working on their strips. Since today's my birthday and I'm feeling generous, we're gonna extend the deadline for the contest to 11:59 PM on Sunday night (6/17/07, PST, you know the drill). Again, the prize for the best original 4-panel gag strip is an awesome original copy of Junji Ito's Flesh-Colored Horror collection.


In clearing-my-plate-of-stuff-hanging-over-my-head news, I finally got our second batch of The World of Same Hat booklets back from the printer, and am ready to mail them out. To be clear, I only printed up 25 copies to send to folks that previously had expressed interest, and these are totally free for you dudes.

If you're on the list below, just email me at samehatATgmail.com with your address (oh, and pleeze identify yourself if you used one of those mysterious aliases) and I'll mail your booklet ASAP. For anyone else, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll let you know if we happen to have extras-- It was expensive to get these made, so we won't be printing or offering any additional copies in the future :B

Chris Mautner
Pedro Camargo
Johnny Landmine
Joseph Luster
Creature Feature
Clint Butler
John Thomas
Ian Smith

Next up, pictures from the Tezuka Exhibit in SF, New Comics Day picks and more...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

BEA ROUNDUP: Same Hat Edition

I guess it’s a good sign when it takes an entire week to recover and compose a recap. In general, my week in New York was tight, except for a gnarly hangover on a weekday (whoops) and the noxious humidity-rain-heat combo that is summer in NYC.

I spent the entire BookExpo America weekend working my company’s booth, and it was exhausting, relentless and hard on the feet. But, as always, my downtime was all about comics, manga and free books.

One major highlight of the whole trip was a Saturday night karaoke party with Erin & Ed from Mangacast, Kit from Viz and Anne from Vertical (and her bf). I’m proud to report that Morning Musume, Danzig, Gackt, Smashing Pumpkins, Biz Markie and Pat Benatar renditions were in full force that night.

Having now been to my fair share of both comics events (New York Comic Con, Alternative Press Expo, Sand Diego Comic Con) and book publishing trade shows (BookExpo America, Frankfurt Book Fair), it’s become clear to me that meeting comics people is MUCH BETTER at book trade shows.

At comic events, everyone is there to see them, and you have to fight and volley for the attention of creators and publishers. At publishing trade shows, the main stars are the mainstream trade publishers like Penguin and Random House, and comics and indie publishers usually relegated to their own “GRAPHICS NOVELS" alley. This means that when a dork like me shows up all starry-eyed, the publishers we love are usually: i) not busy, ii) appreciative of the support, and iii) down with talking comics and hanging out. This year was no different! Here are some of the rumor mill tidbits, along with freebies I got my hands on:


We got to be friendly with Last Gasp this past year at their APE mixer, and the awesome staff was promoting both their own catalogue and the books they distribute at this year's BEA. One of the titles they were showing off is their recent, “The Art of Hideshi Hino" – a collection of paintings and drawings with a few previously untranslated stories in the back:

I got my copy of this a few weeks back, but forgot to blog about it. I had never seen many of the images before, and his nasty/fetal hellscapes benefit from the full-color treatment. My only gripe is that the resolution and printing of some of the images is sortof blurry and un-crisp. That said, it’s a pretty awesome book for Hino fans.

Not to name names yet, but they might be adding another book from an under-represented (in English) horror/ero-guro creator that you all know and love. I offered our help and support with that project, so we’ll let you know details as they develop. If you haven’t seen it, Last Gasp’s website is one of the few places to get a hold of experimental comics magazine AX, and other rarities. Click here for AX (akkusu) action.


As usual, Chris from D&Q was very generous and friendly. They were there to push upcoming books like their 2nd Moomin book, 365 Days by Julie Doucet, and Spent by Joe Matt. They also handed out their Free Comic Book Day sampler of Lynda Barry’s new book What It Is (coming out in Spring 2008), and it’s basically one of the best single issues of anything I’ve picked up in a while. Lynda Barry is one of my favorites, and the new book seems experimental and magical.

I asked Chris about the future of their Tatsumi series, which seems to have stalled out with the release last year of his amazing Abandon the Old in New Tokyo. Chris confirmed that they ARE definitely doing a third book (Unnamed 1971 collection), probably in the first half of 2008, and hoping to be able to continue the chronological series in the future.

Chris also confirmed that they are planning on publishing Tatsumi’s 800 page graphic autobiography, A Drifting Life in Gekiga, and that Adrian Tomine would likely be involved in that book as well. AWESOME! It sounds like they are extremely excited about this epic book, but that it is a few years away.

Also on the manga front, D&Q is looking to continue pushing the envelope with other experimental & gekiga titles. After the third Tatsumi book, but before his autobiography, they will be releasing the famous Red-Colored Elegy ( 赤色エレジー) by Seiichi Hayashi. Check out this blog for a review of this title, and here for Hayashi’s website. I'm not as familiar with Hayashi as I should be, but he is a contemporary of Tsuge, did covers for GARO and continues to produce all sorts of interesting visual work.

Man, you gotta love what D&Q (and Vertical) are doing to push high-end titles to English audience. This is great news for Same Hat readers looking for challenging reads.

ALSO: On Saturday, I got the chance to meet and chat with Mr. Adrian Tomine in person, who was at the booth to promote his fall collection, Shortcomings. I got a promo poster signed and heard about his book tour this fall; It sounds like he’ll be reading/signing at the Booksmith on Haight in SF in September or October.


I didn’t have a chance to chat as much with Eric and the rest of the Fantagraphics crew, but they were handing out copies of their FCBD sampler of lost Peanuts strips, along with their Fall catalog. Here are the best of the upcoming titles:

+ 2 NEW BOOKS by JASON: “I Killed Adolf Hitler" and “The Last Musketeer". Hot on the heels of his zombie-romance “The Living and The Dead," these short books about time traveling dictators and old-timey marauders fighting martians (respectively) both sound fun. PS, you can preview 'Hitler' here on Amazon!

The Last Musketeer preview from their fall catalog:

Release date: June 2007 and January 2008

+ A NEW T. OTT BOOK: Titled “The Number: 73304-23-4153-6-96-8" and tagged as “a horrific graphic, without words." The catalog describes the story of a prison guard who finds a small piece of paper with a combination on it while cleaning out the jail sell of a recently executed prisoner. Crazy exploits, turmoil and betrayal ensue.

Release date: November 2007

+ INTERESTING DEBUT GRAPHIC NOVEL: Funeral of the Heart by Leah Hayes. The entire book is hand-lettered, and illustrated with an Ott-style scratchboard sparseness. Sounds like promising tales of stark childhoold realities. Could be rad.

Release date: February 2008

+ NEW ANGRY YOUTH COMICS COLLECTION: I’ve read all these issues already, but Johnny Ryan’s XXX Scumbag Party collection is a must-have if you never managed to track the later AYCs down.

Release date: September 2009


Penguin didn’t have any comics news per se but I did note two pieces of info regarding illustrators we like designing covers for Penguin.

+ NEW PENGUIN GRAPHIC CLASSICS: This is the same series that’s released Shirley Jackson with a T. Ott cover, Sinclair with a Charles Burns cover, Akutagawa with a Tatsumi cover, and more. I think everyone knew that Daniel Clowes would be illustrating the Frankenstein cover, but did you know that Tom Gauld is doing Three Musketeers!? RAD.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, Cover by Tom Gauld

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Cover by Julie Doucet

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Cover by Daniel Clowes

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Cover by Joe Sacco(?)

+ FICTION COLLETION WITH BURNS COVER: Zadie Smith (author of On Beauty, White Teeth) is editing an interesting collection called The Book of Other People featuring Chris Ware, David Mitchell, Jonathan Lethem and others. Worth noting on Same Hat because Charles Burns has done a stark but striking series of illustrations for the cover. It looks a lot like the stuff he does for The Believer magazine.

Release date: Devember 2007


No major news here that hasn’t been covered by other blogs. I did see and advance copy of Drifting Classroom 6 (Spoiler = His mom sends medicine through time to cure the plague, encased in the corpse of a dude), and our buddy Kit hooked me up with a complimentary copy of Nana 6!


Vertical was promoting new prose fiction books, along with their awesome and successful Aranzi Aronzo craft line. I helped Anne at Vertical’s booth at Makers Faire in San Mateo a few weeks back, and got to see the first two Aranzi Machine Gun books then— the books are rad and featuring a hodgepodge of photographs, 4-panel gag strips and craft projects. They are a steal at around 10 bucks each.

In other news, the Vertical crew are gearing up for new Tezuka (Apollo’s Song, MW) and Takemiya (Andromeda Stories) in the coming months, along with work on their 2008 summer imprint. I also got to see a proof copy of Beat Takeshi’s short story collection Boy, coming out later this year.


+ Kodansha is doing a FRUITS-esque photo book, called The Tokyo Look Book, by author Philomena Keet and photographer Yuri Manabe. This thing is sortof 3-4 years late to the Tokyo street fashion mag explosion in the US, but Kodansha’s books have really intensely high production and quality, so this could be a great coffee table book for arty hipsters/

+ Dark Horse were in effect, again focusing on their American horror and media tie-in comics, but editor Chris Warner was in attendance and was nice enough to talk manga with me. Sounds like they might send us a copy of MPD Psycho 2 to review. Very cool.

+ DC’s YA for girls imprint Minx was promoting their spring and summer books, and I got to see a preview copy of our buddy Derek Kirk Kim’s new book, Good As Lily. The art is not what I was expecting, but the story about future and past selves coming to confront you during tumultuous high school anxiety years sounds pretty great. The booth was handing out postcards and pins too.

+ Small Beer Press’ Kelly Link and Gavin Grant are extremely awesome. Their books are beautiful, they are generous, and we plan to steal a bunch of layout ideas from their zine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet!

+ Vice Books gave out samplers of their Misshapes photo book, and a new Dos & Donts book. They also gave away copies of the SKINEMA essay/rants book coming out this fall. Vice is pretty evil, but we still love the Dos & Donts as guilty pleasures!

+ The company that puts out Choose Your Own Adventure books was there, and gave me a free copy of Journey Under the Sea. I read this a bunch of times on the subway in New York. Getting eaten by sharks sucks though.

+ Grabbed various new YA novels from Bloomsbury, FSG, and Candlewick, a new vampire novel (13 Bullets) by David Wellington-- the dude that got his zombie novels published after originally serializing them over his blog, a fucking great post-apocalyptic Russian novel (The Slynx) from New York Review of Books, various bags, pens, flyers and stickers, etc. FREE BOOKS = YES, ALWAYS.

Hopefully, that wasn’t too painful to wade through. I’m most excited about the Last Gasp, D&Q, Fantagraphics and Vertical stuff coming up later this year. 2007 is looking excellent for fans like us!