Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Exciting news for Shintaro Kago fans... The original pages of his cereberal & formalist (dare I say?) masterpiece, ABSTRACTION are now on sale. The first two pages are priced at 10,000YEN each, while the remainder of the pages are 30,000YEN each. Big pieces with stunning & intricate line work, these would incredible piece of original art to have and hold.

Ordering instructions are available via the page listed above, along with many more original drawings still available on his site. I actually got a second original by Kago this past week, so my art coffer is all tapped out :)

I emailed with Kago again this week, and he let me know that you can buy copies of a few of his manga directly from him as well. The following titles are available (+ shipping). Simply send a list of what you want to his email and he'll give you an estimate of cost. I've found he gets stuff in the mail within a day or two once you Paypal the money.

アリ地獄vsバラバラ少女 - Arizigoku vs Barabarasyoujo 1,260JPY

おばあちゃんが死体くさいよ - Obaachan ga shitai kusaiyo 1,260JPY

飛び出す妄想 - Tobidasu Mousou 1,565JPY

Happy holidays! I'm heading to the Midwest to visit family starting tomorrow. Will try to write a few posts on the plane(s) and get them up before Christmas. Hope all of you guys are doing really well and have relaxing breaks ahead of you!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


The weekend's completely over and it's been rainy and now feezing cold in San Francisco. Totally bogus. Here are some heard-warming links to interesting reads from the past weekend.

  • Tokyo Scum Brigade vs. Kazuo Umezz Parts 1 & 2 The big news! My friends at TSB have begun serializing their in-depth interview with Kazuo Umezu! They were lucky enough to visit the Makoto-chan house in person, have lunch with Umezz & Demerin, and interview him on camera a few weeks ago. By everyone's reckoning, this is Umezu's first English language interview. In the first two parts, the TSB boys talk to Uncle Kaz about his childhood, and early encounters with Tezuka's manga and drawing Shojo weeklies. These are a MUST-READ for Same Hat horror junkies!
    [PART 1] & [PART 2]

  • (Kazuo Umezu in high school showing off a drawing!)

  • Jog dissects the '80s MANGA anthology (and in doing so, drops major science on the definition of "manga" among Western audiences). This was a fascinating read from pretty much the best comics/manga reviewer on the internet. Jog uses this odd collection of manga (featuring Keizo Miyanishi , Noriyoshi Olai, Otomo and others) as a jumping off point for a long discussion of publishing trends since the early 80s.
    [PART 1] and [PART 2]

  • I DRAW YOUR SHIT series on the Electric Ant Zine Blog! It's a series of posts where we take turns doing tributes/covers to each other's characters. It's admittedly self-referential, but has become a great excuse for the extended EAZB readership to get off out butts each week and draw. So far, we've done TING & TERNG, the conjoined twin bullies from Hellen Jo's Jin & Jam #1, and MAX GUY from Lamar Abrams' Remake. It's open to anyone that wants to join, so check 'em out and take part in the next round (starting on Monday)

  • The Drifting Classroom: The Game: The Soundtrack OTAKU USA games/anime editor and Same Hat buddy Joseph Luster created a chiptune tribue to an imagined 8-bit game adaptation of Kazuo Umezu's child/anarchism nightmarescape manga Drifting Classroom.

  • Daul Kim, RIP Not necessarily relevant to everyone here, but I wrote up a short memorial post for the passing of supermodel / blogger Daul Kim, who died by suicide last month. Among other things, Kim was a cool girl and into the same stuff as us: blogging, zines, Shinya Tsukamoto, Wong Kar-Wai, Klaus Kinski, etc.

  • Who is Makoto Takahashi? Same Hat BFF zytroop has been on a role lately at KURUTTA (despite a tragic hard drive crash), but this post was a stunning gem for me- a collection of art from a "1957 shōjo manga called The Rows of Cherry Trees (さくら並木) by a man named Macoto, or Makoto, Takahashi (高橋真琴)."

I also share a bunch of random posts on Google Reader, which you can see on the links on the left or can view/subscribe to them here.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


I had the thrill of the year this afternoon, when my original Shintaro Kago illustration arrived in the mail! The large piece came packaged lovingly in a hard plastic folder and another plastic bag, then stuffed in a padded envelope hand-address by Kago himself.

The piece I bought is called Bikkuri Mokuziroku / びっくり黙示録 and is absolutely amazing in person. I can wait to get this puppy framed! Please enjoy the pictures below!

If you're still interested in snagging one, Kago continues to add new pieces to his original art sale page, which was recently updated to say that he will begin selling the original pages of Abstraction soon.

Based on the sales notes on his pages of pieces we already blogged about, I reckon that Shintaro Kago has made well over $3000 in just a week of selling his art to overseas fans.



And for size comparison (that's next to a copy of Vertical's Black Jack 7):

[If you bought an illustration from Kago, post your pics in the comments once it arrives!]

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


As unearthed by Travis McGee in the comments of a previous post, Drawn & Quarterly will be releasing Black Blizzard (黒い吹雪 - Kuroi Fubuki) in April 2010. The details are listed on Amazon and in the Spring 2010 catalogue of FSG (D&Q's distributor). For folks that have read A Drifting Life, the publication of Black Blizzard in Japanese back in the 1950s features in the plot of that autobiography.

From the listing on Amazon:
Created in the late 1950s, Black Blizzard is Yoshihiro Tatsumi's remarkable first full-length graphic novel and one of the first published examples of Gekiga. Tatsumi documented how his love for Mickey Spillane and hard-boiled crime novels led him to create this landmark genre of manga in his epic, critically acclaimed 2009 autobiography, A Drifting Life. With Black Blizzard, Tatsumi explores the dark underbelly of his working-class heroes that five decades later has made him one of the best-known Japanese cartoonists in North America.

Susumu Yamaji, a twenty-four-year-old pianist, is arrested formurder and ends up handcuffed to a career criminal on the train that will take them to prison. An avalanche derails the train and the criminal takes the opportunity to escape, dragging a reluctant Susumu with him into the blizzard raging outside. They flee into the mountains to an abandoned ranger station, where they take shelter from the storm. As they sit around the fire they built, Susumu relates how love drove him to become a murderer. A cinematic adventure story, Black Blizzard uncovers an unlikely love story and an even unlikelier friendship.

According to their listing, it will be a $20.00 softcover book, 144 pages, coming out on April 27, 2010. We'll post more details as the release gets closer-- very exciting!

Monday, November 30, 2009


When it rains, it pours! After posting a pictures of Sam's Suehiro Maruo tattoo, I received another horror manga submission from Ola, a reader in Sweden. This one is nuts, a level of Kazuo Umezu devotion previously un-seen on the interwebs.

Cat-Eyed Boy!! This masterpiece of madness was created by "Spanarn" at the Old Bones Tattoo shop in Malmö, Sweden:

[click for a bigger version]

Thanks to Ola for sharing his tattoo here! You can also check out the growing collection of other tattoos featuring horror & indie manga.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I just received this email from Sam, a Same Hat reader. This weekend he spent 6 hours getting a gory Suehiro Maruo tattoo on his arm. Sam's tattoo was created by James the Human Furnace at 252 Tattoo Columbia Station in Ohio. Thanks for sharing it with the community!

You can also check out the growing collection of other tattoos featuring horror & indie manga.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I saw some cool pictures on the PictureBox site today. It seems that Same Hat favorite. Yuichi Yokoyama (Travel, New Engineering, Garden) was commissioned to create a massive mural at the NIKE flagship store in Harajuku. These photos taken from a NIKE HARAJUKU blog post:

This comes on the heels of his wall and store interior designs for the New People center in San Francisco. It seems like Yokoyama is turning into the go-to guy in Japan if you want to spice up

Since we're talking about PictureBox, it's worth noting that they now have some rad stuff by Takashi Nemoto for sale in their online shop, including a gallery exhibit poster from TrancePop, and two signed prints!

[Thanks to Jim for the head's up on the Nemoto stuff!]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Sean Michael Wilson, cartoonist and editor of the upcoming AX Anthology from Top Shelf, was nice enough to stop by the comment thread of a previous post to give an update on the excitedly-awaited tome's progress. He said:
Two things to tell you: the AX book interior is now complete - Top Shelf will soon begin the final design stage and wrap it up in the cover, etc. It is, of course, looking super good!

Second thing, is that a French edition of the AX collection will soon be agreed on. I will help put that together too.

And... (third thing!) I may soon have some very good news to tell about ANOTHER classic gekiga book to come out in English.... watch this page.

Exciting stuff all around. The bad news is that Amazon currently lists the book as not coming out until July 2010. Hmmmm. I'll keep you posted as I hear more from Sean and Top Shelf!


I'm back, babies! Just got home from a week visiting my girl friend, and also fighting off a head cold. With the holiday shopping season (?) right around the corner, I return to you guys will some awesome news.

Shintaro Kago is selling original B&W and color illustrations via mail order, and he's shipping to overseas folks! All the details are available on this page, which includes ordering and shipping instructions!

The pieces aren't cheap, ranging in price from 10000 YEN (~$115) for B&W to 30000 (~$330) for full color ones. Plus shipping. That said, this is a great opportunity to snag something direct from the man himself... and for what are totally fair prices (actually a big low considering the size of 10" x 14").

My wallet is a bit stressed out right now, but I decided to go for it and grab one and pinch pennies later. There are tons of amazing pieces, but I opted for an B&W one I could put on the wall and not have to worry about folks calling the cops on me:

If you're in the art/gift buying mood anytime soon, go check them out!

UPDATE! Since I posted this Kago has sold 3-4 drawings and started adding additional ones to the site for sale :) Keep checking back!

Monday, November 16, 2009


I recently had the pleasure of contributing a small written piece to THE UNKNOWN PORTRAITS, a new book of illustrations and stories by the art duo kozyndan! They are friends-of-friends, but I'm still not quite sure how I managed to sneak into the project. I just received my copy this past weekend, and it is a great looking book!

Originating from a found photo album unearthed in a Venice Beach thrift shop, kozyndan were inspired to create imagined personae documenting the essence of these lost photographs. This clothbound hardcover is comprised solely of small, detailed graphite portraits, each piece captures the surreal humour and irreverence that has become a trademark of kozyndan's distinctive style of artwork.

Illuminating select portraits are short stories inspired and imagined by a community of artist friends and writers including Pasha Malla, Mark "frosty" McNeill, Ryan Sands, Mariko Tamaki, Maggie MacDonald, Nick Flanagan and Porous Walker.

Hardcover. 8.5 x 8.5 inches.
150 pages. Over 100 illustrations.
You can buy a copy direct from their site!

For my part, I chose to tackle an illustration titled "Samurai Sam"... Their portrait of "Sam" features a charmingly lame white guy with horn-rimmed glasses, tombstone teeth wearing a yukata, and flanked by a stream of sakura swirls:

I decided to write up a faux-obituary for this imagined dude, with a number of self-indulgent Japan nerd references that folks will hopefully enjoy. Extra points to anyone who recognizes the last name:

It was a real treat to be a part of what turned out to be a lush and creepy book of illustrations. As part of the project, Kozy did small portraits of each contributor! Here is me, looking like a mentally-disturbed individual:

They even sent me the original art for my wall!

The pieces (done in pencil) are all really surreal, trippy and charming. (How do they get these details with just a pencil?) Here are a few of the other choice portraits:

Many thanks again to kozyndan for making me a part of this project, and hope folks check it out!


This past weekend in Tokyo was Comitia 90, an insane 1-day event of epic proportions. Billed by many as the premiere con for indie manga talent, lots of cartoonists, manga nerds, and cool people were in attendance... including Shintaro Kago!'s manga guide and Same Hat buddy Deb Aoki was at Comitia with a group of American cartoonists/manga fans and was lucky enough to meet Shintaro Kago! From her tweets it sounds like she was able to meet the man AND buy an original pen drawing from him.

Here is a photo of Kago (seems to be rocking the winter skullcap & swine flu mask):

[photo by Deb Aoki, click for bigger version]

Wish I could have been there! Maybe the Spring DESIGN FESTA in Tokyo in May??

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Other sites have already reported this news, but I wanted to post it here for folks that haven't heard yet. A new documentary about the life & work of Kazuo Umezu is coming out very soon! The film is titled "Gwashi! Kazuo Umezu Desu".

I read that the footage was filmed over the course of 3 years by Koji Ito, one of Umezu's staff/webmasters, and shows us Kazuo Umezu's daily life (including his lawsuit over the Makoto-chan house), creating manga and art, in addition to "exploring Japan's issues with creativity and art appreciation." From the trailer it looks like the doc also features interviews with other manga artists, authors, and pop culture talking heads.

GWASHI! KAZUO UMEZU DESU debuts properly on 11/23 in Tokyo's Tollywood Theatre, and plays through December. Umezz and company have created a new site just for news about the film, so check it out! The boys from Tokyo Scum were able to see an advance screening of the film and say it's rad... and will be interviewing Uncle Kaz very soon in person!

Friday, November 06, 2009


You guys are awesome! I ended up staying in on Halloween and drinking an abundance of whiskey-- too lazy to put together a good costume. I DID come up with a costume for next year, as a juggalette (look it up!) or maybe Shaggy 2 Dope. I have to stay true to my Michigan roots, you know?

Not to be outdone by anyone, Same Hat readers rocked the manga/horror angle like mad geniuses. Here are their radical costumes!!

TOMODACHI (from 20th Century Boys)

as worn by Johnny Landmine

SAMARA (from Ringu)

as worn by M


as worn by Dreed


as worn by Diana & friends


as worn by Dr. Senbei (Tokyo Scum Brigade)


as worn by voidmare (Tokyo Scum Brigade)


as worn by Jaclyn


as worn by Jaclyn

and because it's simply awesome...

as worn by Helvin

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Halloween is this weekend, so I have to ask... is anyone thinking about dressing up as anything horror-manga related? If so, I want to provide this still awesome tutorial on horror manga make-up! I've posted it every Halloween since we started :)

I remember in a previous year, reader Jaclyn dressed up as Umezz himself. If you decide to dress up, post a comment here and pic-- I'll send a copy of MY SEAT IF YOUR BEHIND to anyone who happens to share a horror manga-related costume, and a copy of EA2 to the best one if a bunch of folks post stuff.

BTW, The best indie comics costume I've ever seen was someone as Scissor Sniper from Kazimir Strzepek's The Mourning Star. I will try to track down a photograph. Does anyone have any favorites they have seen?


As mentioned in previous posts, Suehiro Maruo's most recent Edogawa Rampo adaptation, Caterpillar (芋虫 - Imomushi), is being released as a collected hardcover book. Turns out that it was released this week in Japan by EnterBrain. The cover features a beautiful painting, original to this release.

On sale for 1,260円. You can find more details on the EnterBrain site.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Earlier today, reader Bradley posted this comment about Shintaro Kago:
I was wondering if anyone knew what Kago collection [Abstraction] was from? I went to TacoChe recently and just grabbed most of the Kago stuff they had, but alas none of them featured his formalist stuff.
I actually don't know which exact books/publications that story (and each of his other formalist experiments) came from. We're talking Multiplication, Blow-Up, Labyrinth and Drunkard Condo Syndrome. Does anyone else know?


Many thanks to the Tokyo Scum Brigade for posting this gem of a video clip. Here we have a clip from a travel special in 1994 where Kazuo Umezu goes to Rome and meets SFX artist Sergio Stivaletti, and gets a guided tour of the horror shop/museum Profondo Ross by its owner, director Dario Argento!

For more details and a link to the complete TV show, please check out their recent post.

What a strange but perfect team-up, huh? I never really realized how much Argento looks like a child murdering undertaker... pretty awesome! Also, Umezz's coat is something to behold. Thanks to the TSB for uploading it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Alternative Press Expo 2009 was a blast, and a great excuse to hang out with a bunch of friends and pick up some cool minicomics. Manga is not really the focus of APE, but this year Viz had a booth to promote their SIGIKKI line (and had a promo copy of Taiyo Matsumoto's GOGO MONSTER in English), and Fanfare/Ponent Mon and Last Gasp were pushing their new manga books.

However, there was one surprising and amazing manga-related find at APE, which I was alerted to by Dash Shaw. Groundbreaking and mayoral comics colorist Steve Oliff had a table, and was selling the the majority of the 2000+ original color guides for the Epic color edition of AKIRA. Each page was reasonably cheap ($30) and lush, with the extra importance of having been one of the first ever uses of computer coloring for comics.

For this process (as I understand it), Steve hand-colored each large xerox of the original B&W page using markers, colored pencils, airbrushing, felt pens, and gouache; This work was done in conjunction with guidance and approval from Otomo himself. The color guides were then used by their company Olyoptics as guides for computer color separation.

I had first really learned properly about all of Oliff's work from this interview by Frank Santoro at Comics Comics blog. Steve also wrote a fascinating essay about the experience working on the color edition of AKIRA. From that essay:
About this time, I was given 4 pages to color as a test for a big series. Something called Akira from Japan, written and drawn by Katsuhiro Otomo. Comics in Japan are black and white, but for the English translation they wanted it to be in color. I'd never heard of Akira, but I decided to pull out all the stops on my color test. It was great art and good paper, so I used every trick I had. Airbrush, colored pantone film, colored pencil, rich saturated felt pens, paint, everything I could think of. I don't know what the other colorists' samples looked like, but I know they couldn't have looked anything like mine. Needless to say, I got the job. They flew me to New York to meet the artist and his editor. On the flight east I looked at the pictures in the two collected volumes of Akira that my friend Ken Macklin had loaned me. Parts of it had been translated by a friend of Ken's, but not much. I met with Archie Goodwin, Otomo (the artist/writer) and Yuri-san (Otomo's editor), and we talked about color styles, then we went to get sushi and drink beer.

I picked up two of the original pages, but I saw dozens and dozens of remarkable and beautiful others that I wanted. Not only were the pages stunning and rad, they also represent a major leap forward made in the 80s in the history of manga publication in English.

Here are the pages I snagged:


And the other page:


I know Dash, Anthony, and Aaron all bought pages as well, so I'll post those if they happen to send photos along too.

UPDATE! Dash posted the two (awesome!) color guides he bought at APE; Scenes of Kaneda inside the hospital, and more pink beams of destruction from space! Check 'em out here on Comics Comics Blog.

UPDATE 2! Our buddy Aaron Mew also posted a picture of the coloring guide be bought at APE. It's a bit more fleshy and less explosive, really amazing. Check it out HERE.