Thursday, August 30, 2007


Hey all,

This is a quick thanks to everyone that helped out with the FIRST KISS SURVEY!

We ended up with about 35 good entries, including a ton from both our friends and readers of this blog. I'm getting busy with finalizing some articles and comics for the zine, and Evan and I will soon start trying to wring as many stupid and astounding marvels of modern layout out of InDesign as possible. I think there's a slim chance this thing may turn out inspirational (HAHA).

Seriously though, many thanks for the help with this feature. For anyone that hasn't gotten to it yet (daunted by numerous options for astutely depicting your random moles, underbites or bridge width that the avatar creator presents?), we still need about a dozen more entries! But it really should only take about 5-10 minutes... so, once again:


We're planning to put up a new Shintaro Kago scanlation by our friend Anonymous K (the 4th and perhaps MOST astounding of the series) this weekend, along with a few profiles of talented up-and-coming cartoonists and reviews of new horror/SF/etc manga releases. We're also planning to post some more details on specific zine contributors (I KNOW, enough already about the stupid zine, riiiight?)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Quick post today, to share the dorkiest Facebook wall graffiti ever. I posted this today on the wall of my good friend and favorite college professor (who happens to be a long time Drifting Classroom enthusiast)!


Okay, so it's a horribly cruddy copy of this image, but I get points for trying, right?

ALSO: If you do some horror manga Graffiti on facebook and post the link/image in the comments, I'll send you something in the mail :) or, wait... I'm feeling like maybe a new contest??





Inspired by this.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Here is the third and final comic in series we're hosting by Shintaro Kago. Like Abstraction and Blow-Up before it, Multiplication dissects, digests and smears the constraints of sequential art across the walls.

Once again, this beast was translated and lettered by our new friend, Anonymous K. And like the others in this trilogy of comics theory meets DMT freakout, it's NSFW for sexual situations and some nudity.

You just gotta see it to believe it. This is the kind of experimental shit that keeps Scott McCloud up at night!
ENJOY! (and read pages from right-to-left, as usual)

Page 2
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Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
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Page 16

Tezuka in the USA: PANEL RECAP

As promised, here are some pictures and comments from the Tezuka in the USA: A Manga Publishers’ Forum event we attended two weeks ago at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. It was a cool opportunity to hear reps from three of the major manga publishers dish Tezuka, each giving their own history and thoughts on English-reading audiences' relationship to the God of Manga.

While the panel started out a bit slowly, with a leisurely retelling of Viz's Tezuka bibliography, the group later got on to issues of marketing Tezuka to Pokemon and Naruto readers over the past two decades, each company's unique take on being a manga publisher in 2007, and all hinted at the generally cutthroat world of licensing titles.

AS A RECAP (for those keeping track), TEZUKA TITLES IN ENGLISH SO FAR:
Viz Media
Phoenix (11 volumes)
Adolf (5 volumes)
Black Jack (2 volumes)
Princess Knight - excerpt in July 2007 issue of 'Shoujo Beat'

Dark Horse
Astro Boy (23 volumes)
Metropolis (1 volume)
Nextworld (2 volumes)
Lost World (1 volume)

Buddha (8 volumes)
Ode To Kirihito (1 volume)
Apollo's Song (1 volume)
MW (1 volume - FALL'07)
Dororo (multi-volume set - SPRING '08) <--- [news to me, and unofficial so far]

(Information taken from the extensive Tezuka resource, Tezuka in English.)

In no particular order, here are random notables (mixed in with my own brain farts elevated musings) that I scribbled down during the discussion:

#Everyone asked about Naoki Urasawa's Pluto says it's one of the most amazing manga titles they've ever read. If you haven't heard about it, it takes one short story from Astro Boy (The Greatest Robot on Earth from Volume 3, to be exact) and spins an entire series from the perspective of a few minor characters (in Urasawa style). Think Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, but with Astro Boy making an actual appearance (in volume 6, I hear). Someone (Carl?) said "Pluto is the Watchmen of Seinen Manga". I think there are tentative plans to publish Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, and perhaps a Pluto release won't be more than a few more years away?

Click the image for a preview (in Japanese) of Volume 1 of Pluto!

# On the topic of book design: Ian and Alvin describe the publication of Adolf as an interesting experience, as the title was purposely packaged to look like literature and not manga. They singled it out as one of the only manga with photos used for the cover design. On one volume, the kimono woman was a book designer at Viz, on another the Hitler ralley was actually a stock photo of some rock show, and the Nazi boy on The Half-Aryan was the son of some Viz staffer's friend.

#Talking about early manga experiences, Carl mentioned seeing the short Jumping from Tezuka on HBO. I wonder what the hell program featured experimental anime back in the '80s? Here is Jumping:

#As for Dark Horse's relationship with Tezuka, apparently Tezuka was invited as a special guest and attended the 1980 Comic-Con. (HOLY SHIT!) There, DH publisher Mike Richardson (who had seen Astro Boy on ABC in '63 like many other comic nerds his age) started to pursue Tezuka to publish his work in English someday. He saw Tezuka akin to Moebius and other important international cartoonists that deserved further recognition of their work stateside.

#DH will be reprinting the long out-of-print Volumes 1 & 2 of Astro Boy. This elicted great applause from audience members (including the series' translator and my hero Fred Schodt). Dark Horse DOES have another Tezuka project in the works (at or beyond the intial discussions point already with Tezuka Productions) but can't comment on it yet. Innnnnteresting.

#Alvin Lu describes a lot of the manga being released over the years (in Pulp, etc) that is described as underground manga as not THAT weird, but just radically different than what is normally released by US manga pubslisher. They describe this stuff as being basically SEINEN manga, and makes up some of what Dark Horse is putting out these days (incidentally, these titles are some of our favorites, the ones that seem to be facing challenges staying afloat). Alvin complains that it's often hard for people to conceptualize Seinen manga, but as a parallel Carl offers this quotable, "Vertigo is seinen manga." I wonder if that analogy would help publishers marketing to the American comic buyer?

# Carl Horn gave interesting, thoughtful commentary when I posed the question of cancellations to him: In a nutshell, he said they don't doubt the sincerity of the core readers; as Alvin addded, "There wasn't anything wrong with the readers of Pulp, there just weren't enough of them." Carl says they try to license titles they think they can release, but it can be frustrating (for them and for readers). For Pulp, Alvin pointed out that at the time, Viz had the luxury (because of the boom in Pokemon manga/merchandise) to be able to subsidize and do the weird stuff with Pulp. That's right, Pokemon paid for Pulp (thanks Pokemon?!).


Carl and Anne

Ian and Alvin

Title slide from Anne's presentation on production and marketing/publicity by Vertical for their Tezuka releases.

Singing the praises of touch-up artists and the challenges they face (panel taken from Phoenix)

Proof in the pudding, Vertical makes Tezuka's works LOOK GOOD.

Fred Schodt took the chance to question Anne about some of the interesting details of their Buddha releases.

Me and Evan holding it down with Mr. Fred Schodt. He is a seriously awesome and generous dude.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


As some of you already know, we're working on an 80 page zine of original content, featuring art, interviews, comics, mad libs and other random weird crap. This is the first of a series of posts where I'll ask you guys for help with zine content.


Want to spill your guts and in the process help us with one of the first issue's features? The overarching theme for the issue is YOUR FIRST KISS and (among tons of other cool content) will include testimonials, comics and a color spread about first kiss experiences.

For that spread, we want you to tell us about your first kiss AND create a cute/dorky avator of yourself. The zine will be published in late October. I'll be posting more info on the zine's contributors, comics and articles in the next few weeks.


Seriously, many thanks to folks for taking the time to be a part of our zine!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Tonight in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum is hosting a manga meeting of the minds, assembled to talk Tezuka. The event is titled Tezuka in the USA: A Manga Publishers’ Forum and starts at 6:30.

The panel will feature reps from all the major publishers to discuss the challenges and successes of releasing Tezuka's work in English. The distinguished crew includes:

+ Alvin Lu: VP of Publishing for Viz.
+ Carl Gustav Horn: Editor at Dark Horse.
+ Anne Ishii: Director of Marketing/Publicity for Vertical.
+ Ian Roberston: Editor (of Phoenix) at Viz.

I've got a list of hugely dorky questions I'm hoping to ask, including:
+ Is Viz sitting on the rights to Blackjack, and are you gonna release the rest of the series?

+ Dark Horse, can you talk about the decision making process that has driven a lot of the incomplete series that have been put ON HIATUS over the past year?

+ What is the rationale, from a business and editorial perspective, that drives so many publishers lately to release short story collections, such as Endo's Tanpenshu, Samura's Ohikkoshi, Hino's Lullabies From Hell and Inuki's Presents? Is it because they are a safer bet financially, or perhaps are being used to "test the waters" for a specific manga-ka/genre? Isn't it easier to market and sell a Gyo or Uzumaki than a Museum of Horror series?

+ Vertical, why are you so awesome? Also, can you get us more info (genre, creators, etc) on your new manga imprint, launching in 2008?

If anyone has any other questions, post them in the comments this afternoon and I'll see if I can blurt them out during open mic. I'll definitely be posting a PANEL REPORT this weekend!

This panel is one of many manga events the Asian Art Museum has been hosting this summer, concurrent to the TEZUKA EXHIBIT. Tonight will be my third time checking out the exhibit, and I'm excited to spend even more time poring over the original pages (and there's always their creepy Yoshitoshi woodblock print exhibit as well-- a major influence on Same Hat favorites like Maruo and Hanawa). Our buddy Jen works at museum, and reminded me recently that the show closes SEPTEMBER 9. This means, you've basically got about 3 more weekends to see dozens and dozens of original manga pages and painting by Mr. Tezuka. STOP BEING LAME AND CHECK IT OUT!

Other events have included Manga in the Making series, which features artists, working in residence, there to talk comics and their creative processes. It's cool because they're being paid to hang out and work, and it's a great opportunity to get to know these cool people and check out their new stuff.

The artists participating include a who's who of Bay Area cartoonists, including our friends Hellen Jo, Anthony Wu, Derek Yu, and Jason Shiga (who you can meet and hang out with this week at the museum). Later this month they'll also be featuring Gene Yang and Lark Pien too.

These kids' comics will be famous soon: Hellen Jo, Derek Yu, Anthony Wu

The museum also recently hosted a superb lecture by writer/translator Fred Schodt, who talked about his friendship with Tezuka and the legacy left by Astroboy on the manga industry in Japan and America. I didn't snap any pictures that day, but Schodt presented a really personal, interesting slide show presentation, peppered with a lot of anecdotes from working and traveling with the God of Manga.

Fred also autographed my super old, dogeared copy of Manga! Manga! for me. He is an extremely smart and interesting dude, and I'm hoping to have the chance to possibly interview him at some point in the future.

FINALLY (since I'm rounding up all things Asian Art Museum today), a few months back as part of their Thursday night MATCHA event series, the museum hosted ex-Viz editor Jason Thompson for a lecture on weekly manga magazines. Jason has been giving talks around the country to promote his new book MANGA: The Complete Guide, coming out in October. The book is an incredible feat of both nerdity and journalism, and deserves an entire (upcoming) post devoted to it.

That said, here are some pics we took of the lecture, along with photos Evan snuck from INSIDE the Tezuka Exhibit (OKAY, so that's TECHNICALLY against the museum rules but...)

Jason Thompson, in full multimedia effect

I'm not trying to scare you or anything, but this man has read EVERY manga EVER published in English. Try to top that!

Margaret Magazine, then and now

The magazines that Same Hat readers would like: indie/avant Ax and Comic Beam

The grandaddy of AX, and purveyor of the mature and weird: GARO!

Thompson gives perspective

Two of the better known yonkoma magazines.

I spy Bay Area's golden boy: Derek Kirk Kim!

Jen, the homegirl behind the scenes making it all happen

The Same Hat crew gives Tetsuwan Atomu his dues

Technicolor dream Buddha spreads

Original pages from MW... you can see Tezuka's relentless touch-ups and edits on each page

This is so beautiful, it gave me chills; The original, color opening pages to Apollo's Song

BOMBA! The tale of a conjured, killer horse (seriously!) Any chance this will ever be released in English? (HAH)

Ludwig B: Tezuka's unfinished final work, a biopic of Beethoven

Posters outside the exhibit hall

Another poster; I want this in my apartment.

Look for a post this weekend about the panel, along with other goodies (as always).