Friday, June 27, 2008


Kate Beaton is a rising star of webcomics, and creator of some of the funniest comic strips of the last year. Her latest comics have been a mix of historical biographies, daily life strips about her family, and retardo parodies of other comics.

The pacing and line work of her shit is phenomenally right on, and my recent favorites involve Nikola Tesla, Garfield, and the sacking of the Lindisfarne Monastery in 793 AD, for starters.

This week she's ventured into Japanese historicity for the first time. Enjoy this AMAZING retelling of the infamous(?) Miyamoto Musashi vs.Sasaki Kojiro duel!

Background information provided by Wikipedia:
"In April 13, 1612, Musashi had his most famous duel with Sasaki Kojirō who wielded a nodachi. Musashi came late and unkempt to the appointed place — the remote island of Funajima, north of Kokura. The duel was short and Musashi killed his opponent with a bokken that he had carved from an oar while traveling to the island.

Musashi's late arrival is controversial. Sasaki's outraged supporters thought it was dishonorable and disrespectful while many others thought it was a fair way to unnerve his opponent.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


In the past few months, has updated Kazuo Umezu's Picasa Photo Album with three new galleries of awesomeness. Have I mentioned that I love this man?

The galleries each span a recent appearance/event in Tokyo:

(Tokyo Sports is a famous daily newspaper)

Please keep in mind, you are looking at a 71 year old dude. Amazing.

From the Super Carnival, tables of Makoto-chan goods.

The entire Umezu crew gets in on the fan dance. (That's webmaster/mangaka Demerin in the pink suit + silver boots)

Umezz signing autograph boards for fans. I missed this event by only a month.. DAMN!

A photo you didn't expect, right? Kazuo Umezu shootin' the shit onstage with Beat Takeshi, at the Tokyo Sports Film Awards.

Umezu looking dapper at the post-ceremony press conference.

Our patron saint hamming it up with his award and GWASHI hand in effect.

MORE FROM NEW GALLERY 1: スーパーフェスティバル46


MORE FROM NEW GALLERY 3: 第17回東京スポーツ映画大賞

Friday, June 20, 2008


I wanted to re-post this, as I've since done more research on it and I think my update may have been buried in an after-birthday post. It turns out that one of the incredibly generous gifts I received is quite a piece of manga history.

From my buddy Ryan G, I received a first printing of the original English language edition of Barefoot Gen, Volume 1.

It was published in April 1978 by a group of Japanese and Americans called Project Gen. The book was adapted into English and published as a labor of love by anti-nuclear activists with an eye on promoting international disarmament and peace. This volunteer-led effort was mentioned in my interview with esteemed manga historian/translator and author, Frederik Schodt in Electric Ant Zine #1.

So.... It turns out that this was the first manga ever published in English!

From Fred Patten's Watching Anime, Reading Manga (Page 25),
"MAY 1978: The English translation of the first volume of Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen, a semi-autobiographical manga novel of a child's personal experience of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, is published in Tokyo by Project Gen for distribution in the United States by the New York City-based War Resisters League. This is the first American edition of a translated Japanese manga."

Here is the copyright page from the book.

All of the lettering is uneven and was done by hand. In an interview for the zine, I asked Fred Schodt about the earliest manga he had worked on, and he mentioned that he and Jared Cook had worked with Project Gen on Volume 2 of Barefoot Gen, and that he believed Barefoot Gen to be the first manga translated into English.

I don't know where Ryan G. managed to track this down, but it's an exceptionally awesome find (in good condition too!) and I totally treasure it as a piece of publishing history. As most of us who've read Barefoot Gen more recently are aware, Last Gasp is the current publisher for this intense and significant series, and recently published the sixth volume, Writing The Truth.

The fine print:
by Keiji Nakazawa
Translated and Published by Project Gen
First Printing, April 1978

Project Gen Staff:
Masahiro Oshima, Noriko Nakamoto, Libby Hopkins, Hiromi Matsuoka,Yukio Aki, Toshihide Suzuki, Akiko Sugiura, Alan Gleason, Jim Morrison, Makoto Tamaki, Machiko K. Whittaker, Etsuko Takeda, Sachiko Harada, Megumi Ito, Tamio Kaneko

Excerpt from the introduction:
What is Project Gen?
We're a group of Japanese and English-speaking non-Japanese living in Tokyo and around North America, bound together by our concern about nuclear weapons and nuclear power, and by our faith that Barefoot Gen can serve the cause of peace in other nations as it has in Japan. We are all volunteers, giving what time we can to translate, proofread, answer letters, raise funds, do the lettering and the layout work. Some of us are students, some teach, some are studying Japanese culture or were just "passing through" and stayed on; some are engaged in other projects like relief of India's cyclone victims or the problems of Japan's Korean minority. Many of us went to Hiroshima on the 32nd anniversary of the bombing in August, 1977, and participated in peace walks and workshops about nuclear energy and weaponry. Barefoot Gen has been in the works since November, 1976, when some of us first talked with author Keiji Nakazawa about translating Gen into English.

The intro also features

  • a short letter by literary critic Jun Ishiko from 2/5/1978 "To the parents and children of the world" about the history of Barefoot Gen and the dangers of nuclear proliferation.

  • an in-depth short article 'On "Hadashi no Gen" by Susumu Ishitani, member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation Japan, Conscientious Objection to Military Tax about their personal experience during wartime living in Japan and being exposed to the second atomic bomb in Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.They talk also about their experience as a hibakusha and the dangers of nuclear weapons.

PS: If you can think of other contenders (floppies, promotional materials, etc) that would challenge this book's status as FIRST ENGLISH MANGA, I would love to hear about it. Leave thoughts and leads in the comments!


Looks like in addition to the Uniqlo madness, Georgia Coffee is now getting in on the Shonen Sunday Magazine's 50th anniversary action.

As noted on, a Makoto-chan figure will be among the toys packaged with cans of Georgia Emerald Mountain Blend starting this week.

Other plastic figurines (representing the same titles as the Uniqlo shirts, generally speaking) include: Lum, Conan and Ashita no Joe:

They are pretty dorky and cheap, but oddly cute toys for folks into capsule culture--my favorite detail from the Georgia Coffee site is about where you can track down a can:


Can be purchased at am/pm, Circle K, Three-F, Daily Yamazaki/Yamazaki Daily Store, Family Mart, Poplar, Ministop and other participating convenience stores.

It's a veritable who's who of KONBINI royalty, haha.


Wanted: Cheap Manga has just posted the latest chapter of Shintaro Kago's academic tome on the history of the Soviet Union(?)-- Dance! Kremlin Palace!

Cyborg warriors from every era of post-WWII Soviet rule battle for supremacy is this ridiculous chapter. Chapter 4 also includes what may be the first depiction of Boris Yeltsin in a manga, along with Khrushchev getting butt-fucked by Castro. As Rizzah describes this chapter,
Gorbachev is the main character, lovingly referred to as Gorbie. This chapter is about the concept of Glasnost, which if anyone else went through the American school system, you’re probably as ignorant as I am. Check out this Wikipedia article to get some background (not that it really matters. Kago makes Glasnost a super power).

Click to download Chapter 4 from Wanted: Cheap Manga!


Monday, June 16, 2008


Snatched from an amazing collection of LED signage at Japanese design site PingMag, here are some pics and videos from the Harajuku UT Store.

Uniqlo's hip boutique UT STORE in Harajuku features only limited-run t-shirts in capsules, with most (all?) priced at 1500 Yen. The store was designed by Kawashi Sato, and is quite a mesmerizing site to behold. With the ongoing Shonen Sunday Magazine's 50th anniversary celebration at all Uniqlo shops (including the New York store), they've created a stylish front display using insane LED overload.

Sunday Magazine 50th Anniversary LED crawl footage:

More footage from inside the store:

New limited edition Shonen Sunday shirts are getting adding every week, and the latest feature Pro Golfer Saru and Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo. Click the link above to check them out.



I'm working on a few new posts (including an exciting one about some upcoming Same Hat community features). But these will have to wait a day or two as I get caught up after an unproductive and radical birthday weekend :)

In addition to seeing a whole slew of friends, I was lucky enough to receive a number of really unexpected and thoughtful presents on Saturday. Here are some pics of the manga-related gifts:

Volumes 1 & 2 of Umezu's Cat Eyed Boy!

I have some heavy yokai horror reading to do this week. (Thanks Kit!)

A hilarious book of 2-page gag many by Wada Radio! (Thanks Robert!)

A first printing of the English language edition of Barefoot Gen. Holy frijoles!
[[UPDATE: I've done some research and all signs point to THIS being the first ever manga published in English! WHOA!. From Fred Patten's Watching Anime, Reading Manga (Page 25),
"MAY 1978: The English translation of the first volume of Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen, a semi-autobiographical manga novel of a child's personal experience of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, is published in Tokyo by Project Gen for distribution in the United States by the New York City-based War Resisters League. This is the first American edition of a translated Japanese manga."]]

Check out that pedigree, from the copyright page!

First published in 1978, all the lettering is uneven and done by hand :) (Thanks a million, Ryan!)

Time to get cracking on reading these books! Regular posting resumes tonight.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Not manga-related, but I wanted to share some news that I haven't seen on other comics blogs yet. Kelly Link, one of my absolute favorite contemporary authors, has a new collection of short stories coming out this fall called Pretty Monsters. Along with a rad cover, it turns out that her book will be illustrated by Shaun Tan, author of the wordless graphic novel The Arrival!

Nifty cover design for the new book, Pretty Monsters: Stories

Kelly Link writes exciting and strange stories that chop up stupid genre demarcations (Young Adult, Horror, Slipstream) and smoosh them into a refreshing balm of awesomeness. While her writing is slightly outside of what I usually post about on Same Hat, I can't recommend it highly enough-- I think some of you guys would really, really dig it (if you aren't already fan). She makes a lot of her work available online via Creative Commons, and I strongly recommend starting out with either he new story The Wrong Grave [excerpt] or Monster [audio]. More free stories (text and audio) can be found on LCRW, home of Small Beer Press, the press run by Kelly and her partner, editor/writer Gavin Grant.

Interior illustration by Shaun Tan for Kelly's Link's story "The Constable of Abal"

I was already psyched to read this book, but now that I hear we get the added bonus of super-draftsman Shaun Tan's illustrations, I wanna stare at it too. Check this out in bookstores in October.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


For this trip, I started what will hopefully be a new tradition-- getting folks to sign my "Official" Disneyland Autograph Book. I've still never been to Disneyland, but this thing acquired from a friend is the perfect size for getting signatures and sketches... it even has a little loop to hold your pen!


Jessica Abel, new mom and author of La Perdida

Tom Neely, self-publishing wizard cartoonist behind The Blot

Gary Panter, king of American outsider art, painter and head set designer for Pee Wee’s Playhouse

Michel Gondry, Mr. Whimsicle & director-turned-cartoonist

Kazimir Strzepek, master cartoonist and author of The Mourning Star, is upset about the marker bleed

Lynda Barry, My absolute hero and the nicest lady ever

Michael Kupperman, the funniest cartoonist working today


I've just gotten back from MoCCA and thermometer-busting heat out in New York. My main agenda was to hang out with friends and meet cartoonists, pick up tons of new comics, and show off Tokyo Zombie to anyone who'd take a look. On all three accounts it was a rousing success.

Major thanks to my buddy Anne for putting me up in Brooklyn. I'm sorry I sweated on you guys' hideaway bed. And three cheers for internet friendships finally coming to real life fruition, as I finally got to hang out IRL with David (of SEIBEI) and Helene (of TOASTY) for comics, beer and karaoke fun.

Without further ado, a(nother) visual recap of MoCCA!

I arrived at JFK on the swank Virgin America (thank you, purple overhead lights and live streaming Daily Show) in the afternoon, and went straight to Brooklyn. After dinner, ice cream and coffee, Anne and I checked out an in-store signing appearance by Jason at her local shop, the famous Rocketship.

Poster of Jason show in the window of Rocketship

Starting to get steamy already: the crowd in the store

One of my absolute favorite cartoonists, Jason looks somewhat like one of his tall, humane cat characters.

Making faces through the spinner rack, featuring his new collection of early comics Pocket Full of Rain.

Jason's original comic pages (in French) on the wall

Jason's everycat man drawing on the butcher paper wall

Jason singing Anne's book (with a gold paint marker, no less)

We spent all day Saturday walking the floors of the con. It got to the upper-90s outside, and the fans and AC in the Puck Building struggled to keep it cool. On the 7th floor (home of small artists and unfortunate folks) there was no AC and it started to smell like beef jerky. The main floor spanned 3 large rooms and was well represented by all of Same Hat's favorite publishers.

We met up with David and Helene, saw friends like Julia (of FART PARTY) and got sweaty over a veritable cornucopia of genius cartoonists and exciting authors. (Let's see how many times I can mention the heat and sweat... can you tell I'm a wimpy Northern California whiner?)

Sweat town, USA.

Learned from Terry at NBM that a new volume of Dungeon: Monstres is in the works for later this summer. YES!

Adrian Tomine looks mildy heat-stroked (pic stolen from anne)

Part of the wide swatch of goodies at the PictureBox booth. I met the publisher Dan Nadel, who mentioned they have plans for a number of upcoming manga releases for the rest of 2008 and 2009. One of the mangaka on their list: Yoshikazu Ebisu!

Filmmaker Michel Gondry and his son Paul (in the back in the punk Gaultier outfit) are cartoonists. Both were signing their new books, released by PictureBox.

Gondry and cartoonist CF signing for fans. I think most folks may have not realized that Gondry was there, as his line was somewhat short every time we walked by the booth... Weird.

Gary Panter looks cranky but he was insanely nice and willing to chat with a dumb fan like me. I can't wait to save up and get the magnum opus retrospective on him that was just released.

Kaz is working on Mourning Star Volume 2 (YES!) and is a very nice dude. (again, pic stolen from anne)

Later we went to many many bars trying to fight off heatstroke with beer (hint: it doesn't work that well), sang karaoke and then had ice cream in Chinatown.

Evidence of intoxication: David rocking his own designs and breaking it down Scatman-style during Spin Doctor's Two Princes

No respite from the heat on Sunday, we decided to hit MoCCA for a quick final bit of shopping, and also went to our one and only panel: Chip Kidd discussing the upcoming Bat-Manga! book from Pantheon he edited (and for which Anne translated these old comics). Back at the con after the talk, the basement of the Puck Building caught on fire and all of indie comic nerdom was forced out on the street by the NYFD. That was when we took off for a WBNA game at Madison Square Garden (you think I jest, but I am telling the truth).

Jason Shiga couldn't get a booth in time, so he set up a stand outside on the street (in the 97 degree heat). When the building was evacuated, guess who got a bunch of sales at his booth? THE FIRE = ACCIDENT? or ARSON?

Full house over at the MoCCA gallery where Chip Kidd's Bat-Manga! talk was held. He went over the history of Jiro Kuwata's Batman manga from the late '60s and showed off a number of pages. This is gonna be a radical book.

Chip Kidd (rocking some here unseen plaid bermuda shorts) signing the Bat-Manga sampler after his talk.

An image from Chip's blog with details on the book.

I got to meet Michael Kupperman! Since my GF introduced me to his stuff a few years ago, I've stalked down his comics religiously. He was nice enough to take the time to sign my autograph book. He also mentioned that Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4 is coming out in August and that he'd worked on a TV pilot based on Snack & Bacon for Adult Swim. YES, YES, and YES!

Aforementioned fire meant it was time to go. Luckily a meteor did not fall to the Manhattan sidewalk and wipe out the entire indie comics industry.

Next up is SF Zinefest and then the big show-- San Diego Comic-Con! Hope to see a ton of you guys there!


The Mourning Star temporary tattoos
Gekiga sampler (Red-Colored Elegy, Good-Bye)
National Waste Postal Cards by Leif Goldberg
The Mourning Star, Side Story #3 by Kazimir Strzepek
Slime Freak #7 by Carlos Gonzalez
Hey, 4-Eyes! zine edited by Robyn Chapman
Crickets #1 and #2 by Sammy Harkham
Too Cool To Be Forgotten candy cigarettes
Pocket Full of Rain by Jason
The Archer by Nate Doyle
Nerd Burglar (Sampler from Tugboat Press, Dinosaur Teenage, Sparkplug Books)
Micro-Comics from Paul Curtis

We Lost The War But Not The Battle; a revengeful story by Michel Gondry
The Goddess of War by Lauren R. Weinstein
Red-Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi (Anne & I got the last two copies of their advanced previews of this amazing book. I'll post a preview later this week!)
The Crystal Depletion (and How We Tried to Stop It) by Caitlin Williams, Eric Womack, and Sarah Milinski
Folk Wars by Erin Womack
The Princes of Time by Jon Vermilyea
SNOOPee by Ken Kagami

not pictured:
Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson (signed for my GF)
Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
Super Spy by Matt Kindt (signed for my GF)
Bat-Manga preview by Chip Kidd

PS: They had fucking DOOM on the Virgin in-flight entertainment console. WTF? I played for like 2 straight hours.