Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Trying to stick to a more frequent posting schedule, so here's three separate tidbits from the past week.


Via the TACO CHE blog, I learned that BEAM COMIX released a new Suehiro Maruo book on 2/25/2008! The new manga is an adaptation on the of Edogawa Rampo's infamous classic, パノラマ島奇談 (The Strange Tale of Panorama Island - panorama-tou kidan).

Rampo wrote The Strange Tale of Panorama Island back in 1926, during the height of the erotic-grotesque nonsense literary stew of the Taisho era. From what I gathered on Maruo's site, it's partially a faithful adaptation of Rampo's story, and partially a visual reinterpretation-- perhaps akin to his take on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, or Philip K Dick's stories?

Maruo seems indebted to Edogawa Rampo's themes and style more than almost any other figure, so this seems like an perfect match. I'm DEFINITELY gonna pick this up during my trip, and will post some images when I get back. Has anyone checked it out yet?


Heard this week from Drawn & Quarterly that their two big announced (so far) manga titles for 2008 have been delayed. Instead of April releases, Seiichi Hayashi's Red Colored Elegy and Goodbye, the third in their series of Yoshihiro Tatsumi collections, have been delayed until July.

This change is already reflected on Amazon, which shows both titles coming out on July 8. I'm bummed that we have to wait two more months for these books, but if it's to finalize the production and get everything ironed out just right for the release, then it'll definitely be worth the wait.

According to a friend who was at a recent signing and talk by Adrian Tomine, his next comics project will be a story for the next volume of Kramer's Ergot, and it will be a color comic. It sounds like Tomine is consciously trying to break from his previous materials, habits and subject matter, and told attendees of the talk that he won't be using his usual materials on this story either.

Tomine all loosey goosey and in color? I'm actually pretty interested to see how that'd turn out. He's already shown he can do funny and spontaneous (in his Scenes from an Impending Marriage mini comic that was given out to wedding guests), but can he do... experimental stuff? We'll see...


myrto said...

I was just wondering, what else is on your "I-must-definitely-buy-while-I'm-in-Japan-even-if -I-have-to-sell-my-left-kidney-for-it" list? Maruo related stuff? Kago? Umezz? I am also planning a trip to Tokyo soon so I would appreciate any insight. Bummer about the D&Q releases but it suits me just fine, as they where going to be released the same time with the new Umezz here in Greece so I was really considering a manga loan! Tomine in colour sounds interesting.

bittermelon said...

wow, the maruo looks like f scott fitzgerald meets manara. in other words, lots of sexual stuff. yessssss. i'm so thrilled about D&Q's offerings, esp the tatsumi. the problem with tatsumi is that it's so good and addictive that i finish the books to soon. tomine is awesome with color. but this means it'll take like 20 years to finish.

Ryan S said...

@myrto: That's a good question, Myrto. For most books (like main titles by Umezu or Maruo or Tezuka, for example) I've had the chance to pick them up at the bookstore Kinokuniya (in San Francisco) or the few times I've been to Book Off (the used Japanese book store in New York).

For the trip to Japan, I'm not sure what exactly I'm looking for-- I think I plan to focus on used "classic manga" titles (like old Umezu books), really new stuff from indie manga folks, trying to pick up random books that seem cool and some non-book stuff (like Maruo pins, toys and other oddities at Taco Che). I'm also hoping to get some more Tadanori Yokoo stuff-- even just postcards of his new paintings, etc would be great. That's cool that you're going to Tokyo :)

What is the new Umezu title coming out in Greek?

@bittermelon: Dude, you're so good at combining influences for detailed descriptions-- manara.. yes! It is a bummer that Tatsumi's books are coming out so slowly-- We can blame that on Tomine too since he's editing those books and lettering them.

KRAMER'S ERGOT 2020, here we come!

myrto said...

Umezu in Greek! That would be the day. There is no manga published in Greek so far, only some OEL, although Naruto has been announced. No, I meant Viz’s Cat Eyed Boy, sorry for the misunderstanding, my English isn't that great when it comes to writing (part of the reason I wasn't commenting so far on the blog). Thanks for the shopping ideas; I was considering more or less the same stuff. (btw "Book Off" sounds awesome and made me extremely envious, in a good way)

bryan reynolds said...

i think i might have read this wrong, but on the off chance that i didn't-

Ryan S said...

@bryan: welllll, not EXACTLY.
I guess I was sortof overstating the case but... here are the facts:
i) Maruo has noted in an interview that PKD's novel The Man in the High Castle was the direct inspiration for his "Planet of the Jap" comic (in Comics Underground Japan)
ii) Maruo has a short story called, ELECTRIC ANT, named after the short story by PKD of the same name..

so yeah, NO ACTUAL, like, ADAPTATIONS. But Maruo is definitely inspired by PKD and a fan.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm psyched about the Maruo thing. I really wanted to get Ultra Gash Inferno but it's impossible to find now for less than like 100 dollars or some ridiculous shit.

Creation Books is talking about reprinting it in e-book form. Bah. I can already GET IT in e-book form, I want paper.

Anonymous said...

Wait, I made my previous post thinking it was a new book to be printed in English. Now I'm pissed at the publishing industry.

Ryan S said...

I know exactly what you mean. I've heard of Creation doing the ebook thing before (for a Jun Hayami book) and it definitely can make sense in some cases.

But for someone like Maruo who's so hard to get in print, but SO readily available via scanlations (in their entirety, even -- thanks to Caterpillar) I don't know who they think is gonna buy it. If you're savvy enough to actually be willing to read an ebook, then you're savvy enough to find the fan-translated version.

You know what's insane? Evan found a copy of ULTRA GASH INFERNO last year at Comic Relief in berkeley-- for like 10 bucks! When we both saw it, it was like.. HOLY CRAP-- FIGHT YOU FOR IT!

But Evan won :)

Anonymous said...

ryan, does "post a few pages" (in terms of the new maruo book) mean, that you also include translations?...would be jolly awesome! could you maybe scan the whole manga and put it all in big zip-file and upload it on rapidshare or something or do such action violate the ethics of this side?
couldn't you maybe also pick up "dream toy factory" from kago and translate a story or something or upload it as whole in japanese?
yes, I personally hate to read manga on my computer-screen as well but it's the best alternative if you are poor and you live in country with underdeveloped manga-culture...tooo bad that gurotaku is down, cause I don't think that there will be any new kago-translations to come..
oh, and make sure you pick up some salad-flavored water in tokyo...it's magic!!
greetings from the hitler associated country number 1! <3

Ryan S said...

@a tree: ha ha ha, thanks for the comment :) I think I'll probably post a few choice panels and maybe a color splash page, but scanning and posting an entire book ain't gonna happen. Not by us, at least.

But I do understand your pain on the manga front, esp. if your main manga hook-ups aren't up and running.

I do know that anonymous k is working on another Kago translation, and we'll link to it once it's been hosted online.

Salad water? Holy crap, that sounds horrible. I will definitely check it out!

Thanks for reading the blog :)

Anonymous said...

Though I do understand Creation's problems with Beauty (I CAN'T SPELL THAT WORD) of Razors. The key thing is that they're in the UK...at first, I got the idea they were in LA, and I was pissed. But the UK has all those laws about "violent porn" or something that the US doesUK, it's understandable.

Anonymous said...

@ryan: yaay! thanks for the information that new kago-translations are in progress!<3333...and I'm also happy if you only post a few of the pages of the new maruo!
cheers! <(^-^)>

Anonymous said...

picked up the suehiro maruo today


it's maruo! - nothing more needs saying : )

Ryan S said...

OOOH, Thanks Trevor!! The photos look fantastic :)

Kago's productivity is really insane, but the man's gotta eat-- right?

I can't wait to pick up the Maruo book in a few weeks when I'm there. Taco Che, here I come.

(Sadly, I'm heading over just as the dollar hits it's weakest levels againt the yen in like a million years).

Thanks for the comment. Cheers to some publisher (I have a few in mind!) rectifying the out of print status of Maruo in English :)