Wednesday, October 15, 2008


For those Same Hat readers not (yet) financially-devastated by the past few week's global meltdown, PictureBox Inc out of Brooklyn has just released two incredible art manga books! These officially debuted at SPX two weekends ago, but according to the PB blog, will be shipping out to buyers in the coming week or so. Here is a quick recap and preview images of these fantastic titles:

+TRAVEL by Yuichi Yokoyama

A wordless graphic novel, I picked up and read the Japanese edition of Travel this past spring at a Book-Off in Kyoto. It's more linear and direct in some ways than PictureBox's other Yokoyama release, New Engineering, but also a bit more more cereberal. Not to slag off PB, but the production for the book (being wordless) must have been quite easy. That said, Yokoyama fills the end of his books with dozens and dozens of dense footnotes and commentary, which are preserved and translated here. The sad bit for us not at SPX, according to their site is that, "All SPX copies are signed with a drawing by Yokoyama." From the PB description:
In Yuichi Yokoyama’s Travel, the storyline is as linear as it is sharp: it is the long, silent and crystalline description of a train ride undertaken by three men. The subject Yokoyama depicts here is less the landscape around the train (the distance covered, the regions travelled through) than the actions within the train itself. As the train moves, the three men walk through the string of cars and are confronted with the vehicle’s architecture, its machine-like environment. By above all, they are confronted with the stares and the physical presence of other passengers. Travel is a journey into the contemporary Japanese psyche – a brilliant, wordless graphic novel.

Bookforum has written of Yokoyama: “Concerned with phenomena rather than character and narrative, his comics resemble the output of a drafting machine: sequences that present multiple views of an object in action and look like exploded product diagrams. Yokoyama seems to enjoy the resulting images as much for the strange shapes that are generated as for what they reveal.” This edition features an introduction by cartoonist and historian Paul Karasik and commentary by the author.

A shot of the book itself, from the PB site

Visit the PictureBox page for more details.


From the PB description:
“Nemoto is the undisputed master of filthy comics. His work is brutal and horrifying and sure to shock even the most jaded comics reader. And yet underneath all his absurd depravity is a beautiful and touching story of a father’s love for his giant mutant sperm son.”-Johnny Ryan

At long last, this underground Japanese classic has been translated into English. A seminal work of manga from the mid-1980s, Monster Man Bureiko Lullaby is a Candide-esque tale–if you can picture Candide as a mutated sperm brought to life by radioactivity. Unremittingly explicit, this is the comics equivalent of Henry Miller at his best: direct, honest and insightful while simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. Tokyo-based Takashi Nemoto, who was born in 1958, has been called the R. Crumb of Japan: Nemoto and Crumb share a similar, surreal drawing style and pessimistic, satirical stance, for which both have faced their share of negative criticism. Due to his unapologetically squalid subject matter, Nemoto has long been a controversial figure in Japan–clashing violently with mainstream Japanese morals–and is just now receiving some critical success there.

In addition to being a fascinating and utterly unique read (nestled in the growing but still genre-deficient US manga market), the book itself was designed by heta-uma King Terry. The book production and hand-lettering was done by artist (and new friend of Same Hat) Jon Vermilyea. I only have the shots from the PB site to go on so far, but it looks to be a masterful and badass bit of lettering.

Visit the PictureBox page for more details.


Anonymous said...

Takeshi Nemoto?! Like, Future Sperm Brazil Takeshi Nemoto? On one hand, I would rather read the rest of Future Sperm Brazil. On the other hand, what are the odds that anything else by him was going to be published in English? Am I really going to look a gift horse in the mouth?

Ryan S said...

@Connie: Yep, this is the Takashi Nemoto of Comics Underground Japan fame...

Dude likes to draw books about sperm, what can you say?

I think this is gonna be equally rugged, and very strange. The story sounds like a perverted Science Fiction tale, a la Yasutaka Tsutsui with some Panter's Jimbo thrown in..

Plus, the lettering and production by Jon looks fantastic! Gonna be a delight to sit down and read.