Friday, May 30, 2008


Another quick Tokyo Zombie update for today. I just visited my local shop, and saw that Tokyo Zombie is in the June 2008 issue of Previews! Previews is the monthly catalog of upcoming titles (generally listing them about 2-3 months before release), put out by the biggest direct market distributor in the US, Diamond. Previews is the way that a lot of comic shops order new books, and a way for you to specifically request that your shop carries Tokyo Zombie.

Here are some details from Previews, on page 329 in the Last Gasp section of the catalog.

JUN08 4100 TOKYO ZOMBIE SC (MR) (C: 0-1-2) SRP: $9.95

The release date is pegged at September 2008, and Last Gasp will have some advance copies at San Diego Comic-Con to show off at their booth. Here are details on getting a copy:

For readers:
Tokyo Zombie will be available through your local bookstore of comic shop, and you can ask that they order some copies via their distributor to ensure you get yours! Naturally, it will also be available online via Last Gasp, Powell's, Amazon, and other book retailers.

For bookstores or comic shop owners:
Tokyo Zombie can be pre-ordered from Last Gasp, or through Diamond and other book distributors and wholesalers.

For folks overseas:
Tokyo Zombie will be available at many stores worldwide or can be ordered through Last Gasp. Overseas store owners should contact Last Gasp for more information.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


With this post, I wanted to take a minute to share the latest details on Tokyo Zombie. I'm happy to report that all the proofing and edits are completely finalized, and the book is at the printers as we speak. YES! Since all of the production is now complete, I wanted to give a few behind-the-scenes details on the final steps before a bunch of files and images become a real book.

I've talked with the publisher, and they're cool with me sharing some photos with all ya'll. As the last step of proofing, we received a dummy copy of the book and digital proofs. A dummy copy means it's a full facsimile of what the book will look like- the actual cover stock, laminate, page count, size and weight. The only catch is that the inside pages are... ENTIRELY BLANK! The digital proofs are just what you'd guess- digital printouts of exactly what the inside pages will look like, for final copy edits and formatting issues.

I've been treating these proofs pretty reverently, and it's a real trip to see the work we did adapting Yusaku Hanakuma's radical manga now in physical form. This is also why I got red-faced and started swearing at my GF when she SAT ON THE DIGITAL PROOFS. TWICE. (I know you were coming over to the couch to sit and read What It Is, honey, but that's no excuse!). Even after all the rounds of edits and proofing before this stage, we still had a few spacing tweaks, moved a sound effect away from the edge of the page, and a couple other minor edits; As an editor/translator (and for Evan, in charge of production) it was really hard to finally commit to everything and say, That it's, it's FINISHED!

Evan's full book jacket design with author details on the back flap. The two blurbs on the back cover are from Johnny Ryan and Eric Nakamura :)

The book spine! That's 164 manga pages of zombie hilarity!

Yusaku Hanakuma designed and sent along a brand-new Last Gasp logo specifically for his inaugural English release! The first person to get this as a tattoo wins my lifetime admiration.

The stack of digital proofs, which are lower resolution than the final book pages but get the job done for catching typos.

You saw it first, the Tokyo Zombie table of contents! (OOOH)

You saw it first, a bald dude smacking a zombie's head off! (AHHH)

Let me know what you think so far! I'll post details tomorrow morning about Tokyo Zombie in this month's issue of Previews(!) and how to order a copy for yourself. You are ordering a copy, right? :B


Wanted: Cheap Manga has just posted the second chapter of their serialized scanlation of Shintaro Kago's Russian musings, Dance! Kremlin Palace!

As Rizzah describes this chapter,
The most recent chapter of DKP finds our multi-cultural Kago taking on the theme of Russian expansion. Of course, he takes it to the most logical conclusion, weird pump sex, JoJo-like stand summonings, Russian-Japanese aggression, and lots of bloated corpses. A very satisfying chapter with a little something for everyone (except for your boss. Yes, this is NSFW again. I know, right?).

Click to download Chapter 2 from Wanted: Cheap Manga!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Does anyone have Issue #26 of YOUR FLESH MAGAZINE? It's out of print but I'm looking to track down and buy a copy, featuring what I think is Suehiro Maruo's first appearance in English-speaking print media. [UPDATE] So, I should have double-checked that claim. I looked at Schodt's Dreamland Japan and realized that Maruo's first comic to appear in English was actually "Michael Jackson Bad" in The New Comics Anthology (1991) edited by Bob Callahan. It's three pages and really dumb. This magazine seems to contain the first English interview with Maruo, an article by John-Ivan Palmer titled "Blood of the Paper Psycho: Suehiro Maruo and the Sado-Erotic Manga."

Published 1992

(Bigger version here)

Cover by Frank Kozik
Caspar Brotzmann, Dan Corrigan, Wendy Carlos, GOP Convention, House of Pain, House of Large Sizes, David Kilgour, Frank Kozik Pt. 2, Gary Lucas, Suehiro Maruo, Ramones Pt. 1, John Sinclair, Azalia Snail, Supersuckers, Tankhog, Trash Can School, Upsidedown Cross, Young Gods

Let me know if you have a copy or know somewhere that's selling it!

[UPDATE 2]: I've heard from a current contributor to YOUR FLESH that is getting in touch with the publisher about digging up a copy of #26 for me. Apparently #26 is very hard to find, so it might be a bit pricy. I'll still fork out the cash, as a Maruo nerd completist, but I'm gonna ask directly if we can get permission to post scans of the Maruo interview. I'll keep you guys posted :)


I swear that I'm working on a complete set of posts from my Japan trip, but in the meantime here are some Yuichi Yokoyama-related highlights!

At Mandarake in Nakano, the Japanese edition of New Engineering by Yokoyama

A painting by Yokoyama on the wall of an art book store in Kyoto.

Another rad painting by Yokoyama at that book shop near Sanjo/Kiyamachi


These have been updated and reflected on the PictureBox site for a few weeks now, but I wanted to highlight them here--- covers for their upcoming 2008 books!

Travel by Yuichi Yokoyama

I picked up Travel on my recent trip to Japan and had fun reading it. It's an entirely wordless comic, in the geometric and dynamic style Yokoyama employed in New Engineering, and definitely has a bit of mental learning curve of a few pages before I could wrap my head around it.

Like New Engineering, the back of Travel includes pages and pages of supplemental, panel-by-panel commentary; I assume they'll again been translating all these details for English readers. I'm excited to have a second book by Yokoyama available, and hopefully this will be the next step in him gaining the popularity he deserves. Dude is continuously fantastic and cerebral.

Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby by Takashi Nemoto

The cover design was done by King Terry, and it's Takashi Nemoto's first book available in English. Nemoto is a king of heta uma grossness, like an SF-influenced, psychadelic and political step-brother to R. Crumb. You've probably seen his work in Comics Underground Japan, or Fantagraphics ill-fated collection of international comics, Bete Noir.

In addition to these translated books, PictureBox is selling some rad imports like Painting by Yuichi Yokoyama, a collection of color works. This is just one of the many Japanese titles they sell directly through their web site (and now, at their brick & mortar store in Brooklyn).

My one big beef with PictureBox is that they don't clearly make a distinction on their site between Japanese books and comics they import and sell and the licensed and translated comics. For example, they sell copies of Yusaku Hanakuma's original (Japanese) manga, but if you didn't look closely you might think they've licensed and translated everything by him. Not the case, as Last Gasp is the only one that's licensed his work with Tokyo Zombie (at least, so far!).

That said, PictureBox is definitely working on some crazy interesting projects, and I love the place they have staked out for themselves in the art/indie manga corner of the world -- A nerdy and awesome corner we like to find ourselves in often. I'm hoping to meet Dan (the publisher) at MoCCA in a few weeks and find out more about what they've got planned for 2008 and beyond.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Over at Wanted: Cheap Manga, Rizzah has now posted the first chapter of Shintaro Kago's Dance! Kremlin Palace!, which he began serializing last week.

The theme this week is Russian roulette. It's a minor premise, but what do you think Mr. Kago does with it? HINT: Think wartime aggression, headshot tournaments and 6-breasted women.

Click to download Chapter 1 from Wanted: Cheap Manga!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

RORY ROOT (1958 - 2008)

Rory Root, Bay Area comics guru and owner of the legendary Comic Relief shop in Berkeley, passed away yesterday after complications from an emergency surgery over the weekend. This is extremely sad news for the Bay Area and for comics & manga fandom.

Folks who were friends with Rory from across the comics world have begun posting lovely remembrances of a guy who was, by all accounts, both an intellectual and talkative comic retailer and a generous but sometimes rough boss. You can find tons of memorials in the comments at Newsarama and Comics Reporter, along with posts from Fantagraphic's Eric Reynolds, Warren Ellis, and on PW's The Beat.

I didn't know Rory personally, but I knew about him via his famous store. More than almost any other shop I've been to, Comic Relief evangelizes the kind of comics we love to talk about on Same Hat-- indie comics, European arty-farty imports, fucked-up manga and zines & minis by up and coming cartoonists. A number of my friends spent their college years at Berkeley working at his store, and at cons like APE when they all got together to man Comic Relief's massive booth, they all seemed like a big family. The shop was also one of the only places early on during college where I could find minis by friends like Jason Shiga, Derek Kirk Kim and Hellen Jo.

For folks that want to share memories or just learn more about the guy, please visit the Comic Relief site, which has been converted into a memorial page.

Here are some thoughts from Dark Horse's Carl Horn, about his early years working in manga at Viz Comics and interacting with Rory:
I remember buying issue #1 of the Epic edition of AKIRA at Comic Relief in 1988. Its original site was only three blocks from where Animag, the ancestor of Animerica magazine, was edited, and four blocks from the meeting site of Cal-Animage Alpha, then the largest anime club in the English-speaking world. Rory would come by the Viz office in San Francisco (back when it was called Viz Comics) to give advice and input on promoting manga in an often dubious comics market, and he himself always supported Japanese artists; his was the first store I saw to move the manga graphic novels to the front. Even this last year, Jason Thompson’s Eisner-nominated “Manga: The Complete Guide” was researched with the generous assistance of Rory Root and Comic Relief, which allowed their unsurpassed backstock to be used as a library of the last two decades of the field.

I haven’t even had the chance to visit their new, expanded store these past few years, but there is no doubt Comic Relief’s success has come about because of Rory’s outward-looking vision and belief in comics of all kinds and for all readers, a vision that more and more came to share. He was as hardcore a fan as they come, but the complete opposite of the “Comic Book Guy” in mentality. Despite being a mecca for the collector, the store was always ready for the newcomer and the questions of the curious passer-by, who may have known little about comics at first, but might soon end up a regular customer. Some comics retailers learned from Rory’s example, and for the many who haven’t, they still can. There’s no reason a comics store can’t be a successful part of the community and a progressive cultural force–I saw it work with Comic Relief.

I feel selfish to remember Rory Root only in terms of what he did to support manga and anime fans such as myself, and especially so when I reflect that I have an industry to work in partly due to his support. But he did do these things, and it was only a small part of a life, for which I am grateful, and that I won’t forget.
What a major bummer of a week for comics nerds.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


It's that time again... Time for a new Shintaro Kago manga! This time out, the Kago action is being brought to you by Rizzah at Wanted: Cheap Manga (who also did last week's The Human Clock as well).

Dance! Kremlin Palace! by Shintaro Kago

This latest Shintaro Kago comic is actually a joint project by Rizzah and our good friend Anonymous K. This time those two dudes are tackling an entire book, which they plan to serialize on Wanted: Cheap Manga. Based on the scope of this scanlation, I won't be hosting any files this time, but I'm going to post a notice here each time a new chapter goes up so you guys can go check them out. I've had the pleasure of reading this prologue and first three chapters so far, and it's a very goofy and different kind of story from Kago.

Dance! Kremlin Palace! is, in my mind, another example of Kago taking a smallish kernel of an idea and probing it, rotating it around in his dirty, twisted mind and then expanding it out (conceptually and visually) as fucking far as his brain and hands can take it. In this case, the idea is Soviet Russia (and Marxism/Leninism, by extension) instead of comic strip formalism, and the results are more political and have clearer narrative themes.

That said, we are talking about Shintaro Kago here, and you'll be treated to a mix of NSFW gore, sex and nudity. It's weird and interesting to see Kago tackle a specific aesthetic and theme so strictly, and I really dug some of the jokes and imagery; however, it has to be said that some of the criticisms of communism can be a little broad and slapdash. I can't wait to hear what people think.

(I must note that This Prologue will feel very familiar for anyone that has read Kurt Vonnegut's short story Harrison Bergeron, to which it owes a funny debt.)

Click to download the Prologue from Wanted: Cheap Manga.

Thanks again to Rizzah and Anonymous K for bringing us this new work. Definitely please keep the Same Hat crew abreast of your next updates!


Out of the blue, I got something amazing over email today. Created by SH reader volker, I proudly present what I believe to be the first ever Suehiro Maruo Lolcat:

[OH COME ON, YOU LOVE IT!] I'm sure Uncle Maruo would be very proud!

Thanks again for this, volker!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


From commenter magwea, I'm happy to present this superb little video:
"Unofficial godfather of Same Hat Suehiro Maruo interviewed on French television and uploaded for your viewing pleasure."

In addition to a short interview with Uncle Maruo and footage from the Midori anime adaptation (and revealing footage of his studio and some sketches and uninked pages), the clip also features one of my all-time favorite artists, Tadanori Yokoo! Dude may rival Umezu in terms of old but productive scampy genius, and Yokoo's still producing really interesting paintings and work to this day. Oh yeah, and there is also an interview with Yoshitaka Amano, if he is more your thing. ENJOY!

Thanks again, magwea!

UPDATE: Reader ThatQuebecGuy has sent along a full translation of the French narration from this clip. What an awesomely generous thing to do. Thanks again for this!

(00:18 to 00:29) One of the most important minds behind the universe of Final Fantasy, for the video games fans, Yoshitaka Amano is a living god who introduced the whole world to Japanese art by bringing it into the digital age.

(00:36 to 00:49) His career debuted during the seventies with his work on television on such series as Maya the Bee. Today in Japan, Yoshitaka is selling more than one million of his drawings collections, his paintings and watercolours are displayed in museums throughout the planet.

(00:54 to 01:10) Yoshitaka Amano: For me the act of painting is like taking photos, what I want to say is that there is a parallel universe that exists and moves in front of me, more realistic that our reality, and I just need to try to capture it in my eyes and attempt to replace it in my picture frames.

(01:19 to 01:30) Fascinated by the universe of chivalry and medieval legends, Yoshitaka created the designs of numerous characters and settings for animated movies and series such as Angel's Egg, Vampire Hunter D and The Sandman novel.

(01:41 to 01:58) Yoshitaka Amano: I've always been attracted by the Celtic world; it's as if the Celt mythology has always existed inside me, I don't know if I unconsciously mixed the Celtic imagery with the one of the Japanese shogun, maybe, anyways those two imaginaries have a common point in sword fighting.

(02:21 to 02:40) Yoshitaka Amano: In a video game, the player will, so to speak, continue my work of world creation; it is his their job to assure the relay of my imaginary, everyone must work on his own universe. Me, I'm just the antenna that shows the way to the one playing, and if the gamer understands my painting than we're playing on the same orchestra.

(02:59 to 03:17) It's in Tokyo, a city who honors its creations, where Yokoo Tadanori, precursor of the graphical avant-garde, moved. Born in 36 he imposed himself in the art scene as soon as the sixties by inventing a style that combines the traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e art (woodblock prints) with pop-art, he was even nicknamed the Andy Warhol of Nippon.

(03:22 to 03:53) Yokoo Tadanori: What interested me at the time was to mix the motives of pre-modern Japan with the one of the pop-art. Already, at the end of 19th century, what we call the Meiji period here, there was an opening toward the cultural and artistic influences from Occident. In fact, I only continued this tradition of the mix by utilizing the motives of pop-art from the sixties.

(03:57 to 04:11) During the sixties Yokoo Tadanori was directing publicity and animated films. Here, he revisits the Yellow Submarine of The Beatles in a committed version where he denounces the Vietnam War, American Imperialism and Japanese Militarism.

(04:34 to 04:45) The work of Yokoo caused scandal, like when he diverted a view of the Mount Fuji from the venerated Hokusai to represent a young movie actress as an erotic offering to the sacred mountain

(04:50 to 05:32) Yokoo Tadanori: Miyuku, this painting represents the actress Miyuku, naked. She has an erotic presence that is also charged in concerns. I wanted to make those two aspects visible in this picture frame; at the same time the erotic charge of the erupting volcano and also the demonic side of this woman with witch's nails and fingers, she's like a cat, ready to scratch. Well, evidently this pose was judged provocative by the Japanese society during that time.

(05:45 to 05:53) Exhibited recently at the "Fondation Cartier" in Paris, Yokoo doesn't hesitate to juxtapose sex and religious symbols in a savage and morbid atmosphere.

(06:02 to 06:42) Yokoo Tadanori: My interest for eroticism comes from my fascination with death. Death is very present in my work, you know in death's appearance, there is eroticism and vice versa. For me those are two faces from the same reality, but it's not abstract, I always felt that way and it's this organic vision that led me down this artistic road.

(06:49 to 07:08) A young orphan employed in an traveling circus suffers the perversions of the troop before being saved by a hypnotist dwarf; it's the story of "Midori - La jeune fille aux Camélias" (Midori), a manga created by Suehiro Maruo and also adapted in a movie in 1992. Too shocking, the movie was confiscated and prohibited by the Japanese authorities not long after its release.

(07:27 to 0:7:36) An object of cult interest in Japan, Maruo sequesters himself to his home refusing to appear in public granting only a few interviews, he accepted our request to meet with us.

(07:45 to 08:05) These two editors came with us in hope of speaking with him. A self-taught artist and maverick in the manga scene, this angel of the bizarre is the master of the ero-guro, a genre that mix the grotesque with extreme sexual debauchery.

(08:08 to 08:24) Suehiro Maruo: My work is heavily influenced by the surrealists and especially by the fantastic drawing of Max Ernst and of course the Japanese woodblock prints like the ones of Yoshitoshi.

(08:33 to 08:50) Maruo also integrated in his work the supernatural creatures that haunt the traditional woodblock print. The drawings of the sacred monster of this perverted menagerie are reminders of the old movies by the Germans expressionists.

(08:59 to 09:20) Suehiro Maruo: Yes, the cinema of this period affected me quite a lot, the classic European movies, also the ones of Georges Clouzot and films like "Les Yeux sans visage" (Eyes without a Face) and by the way, I do not make any distinction between cinematography and manga, the story of my comics are made to be read like movies.

(10:15 to 10:17) Suehiro Maruo: Those are the one I'm currently drawing.

(10:25 to 10:31) Maruo already made almost 20 comics and many of them are currently published in Europe, in countries like France.

(10: 33 to 10:36) Suehiro Maruo: And those are originals from Midori.

(10:49 to 10:52) And tell us Maruo, who are your fans?

(10:53 to 10:59) Suehiro Maruo: They are girls, it seems strange for me too, but they represent the majority of my readers.

Monday, May 12, 2008


If you can't wait for Tokyo Zombie, but want to get in early on the Yusaku Hanakuma action, indie craft boutique Poketo! is selling vinyl Hanakuma wallets!

Wallet #1: DEATH LIFE

Wallet #2: GRAPPLING STAR #1

Each will cost you a little chunk of change, at $20 a pop. The question you have to ask yourself is, 'Is it worth 20 bucks to be biggest badass in my town?'
Answer: YES.

In Tokyo Zombie book production news, we're doing final approvals this week (fingers crossed,) on the cover proofs and it should begin printing soon after. The Amazon page has been updated recently and the publisher is finalizing details to have it appear in the next Last Gasp catalog and an upcoming Previews. More details on all these things as they are confirmed!


Here is A photo I wanted to share, from the author flap of the 1968 copy of MUMMY TEACHER I bought at Mandarake. By my reckoning, Kazuo Umezu was 32 at the time this was taken:

[click for larger version of the entire book flap]

I'm loosely paraphrasing this on the bus, but the author statement reads something like:
"In uncharted regions of Africa, the practice of turning the dead into mummies persists even today. But no! It isn't limited to merely Africa-- this custom was once practiced in Japan, where once the Ashikaga Shogun was turned into what resembled a mummy as well. What if that mummy suddenly was revived in flash and rose from the dead? How horrible! (But still... it is quite fun to think about). From that initial premise, this manga [Mummy Teacher] was born."

Have I ever mentioned that I love this man?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

THE HUMAN CLOCK by Tokunan Seiichiro

It's been a while since I blogged any new scanlations I've been reading, and wanted to share The Human Clock, a radical story from the 1960s by Tokunan Seiichiro. You guys are in for a trip, both visually and narratively.

The Human Clock is one of the first projects from a new manga blog I'm really enjoying, Wanted: Cheap Manga. Over the next week or so we'll be highlighting two other fan scanlations from that site, which is run by a dude who goes by the name Rizzah. I've talked with him a few times, and the guy knows his stuff and shares a lot of the same interests as we Same Hatters do... please check out his blog!

Before diving into this manga, I recommend you read the profile of Tokunan Seiichiro that was published online as part of the online translation of Manga Zombie (This project was author-sanctioned and translated on Comipress-- the entire book is a MUST-READ for all weirdo manga fans). There they describe The Human Clock the following way:

"When I talk about 'warped manga from a warping mind,' I’m thinking about this kind of incoherent story. 'The Human Clock' is a lot simpler to explain. The hero is Yubi Chizuo again. He’s a student like before, but this time round he's a dropout. He stays in his house, which is a family shop selling watches and clocks. He gazes and gazes at the clocks. Little by little, he turns into a clock. That is the entire story. It reminds me of Kafka’s Metamorphosis."

Based on Rizzah's translator notes and commentary, I'm super curious to track down a copy of this manga and see how Tokunan's story is told in the original Japanese. It's definitely a great accomplishment to make the manga available to English readers; even if the story falters as it gets to its conclusion, it's still an utterly unique piece of work. I'm interested in learning more about Tokunan... perhaps another short story by him will make it into an eventual anthology of outsider art and/or radical manga? (Here's hoping!)

Please enjoy, and leave any comments for Rizzah here!

Click here to check out CHAPTER 1

Click here to check out CHAPTER 2

Click here to check out CHAPTER 3

Click here to check out CHAPTER 4

Click here to check out CHAPTER 5

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Earlier this week, I made a note to myself to try to remember to get over to one of my local shops in SF today and get free comics. WHOOPS. It's basically over now, but today was the annual Free Comic Book Day-- An event that gives publishers a chance to preview their new books, and gives retailers an event for bringing in new readers from the community and turning them on to comics and manga.

If you are a reader of Same Hat and remembered to check it out, you hopefully chose Drawn & Quarterly's Gekiga! sampler. It features previews of their third Yoshihiro Tatsumi collection, Goodbye, and Seiichi Hayashi's masterpiece, Red Colored Elegy. Both of these MUST READ books will be coming out this July.

So, um.... does anyone have an extra copy?


I've gotten a few more things to share from the Shintaro Kago exhibit opening in Amsterdam. I received these via the comments and email-- Thanks to the anonymous folks who sent these along!

The first is a photo of the Kago mural gracing the front windows of the K-Space Gallery.

Second is an English interview with Kago from Amsterdam culture site It also features more footage of the pieces and gallery space.