Friday, February 27, 2009


Two more shirts from the Beams and Kazuo Umezu collaboration line have been posted today. This time, instead of Orochi designs, the inspiration for these t-shirts is [洗礼] aka Baptism.

The first shirt is cool but a little gimmicky, but the second is like WHOA HOLY FUCK I WANT TO GO TO THERE. Check them out:

Price: 6,090円

Price: 6,090円

In related news, the third volume of the UMEZZ PERFECTION reprint of Baptism came out in Japan today! Another excellent cover to go with the first two:


Oh shit, you guys. It happened, finally. This week, Shintaro Kago launched his own YouTube channel! So far, he has posted 3 of the short movies that he's shown at recent gallery events and are available on his DVDs (scroll down the page). The first two shorts are animated (very wacky a la 4chan gif madness) and the last one is a live-action clip.

Definitely go rate these videos and leave comment if you enjoy them!

恐怖のオリンピック競技/Terror of olympic game - animated

恐怖のゴルフ場/Terror of golf course - animated

穴/Hole - live action

(Context for "Hole" joke here)

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Hot on the heels of his last update, our patron saint Shintaro Kago is at again with another update to the Daily Manga section of his site. Once again for your viewing pleasure, I'm happy to present this batch of seven 1-panel gag comics, with quick English translations by me! Kago-san stays close to the usual themes of suicide and destruction... and Edgar Allan Poe.

SUNDAY - Pistol suicide

MONDAY - The hanging of a sumo

TUESDAY - Mother Nature = WIN

WEDNESDAY - Orthodontics... after the Great Kanto Earthquake

THURSDAY - Poe slashing his wrist

FRIDAY - In vitro fertilization

SATURDAY - Sandwich Shop
(SIGNS: Double Decker Sandwich ¥500, Hot Sandwich ¥400, Sandwich ¥300)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Apologies for the media-heavy, text-light posts lately! I've had company the past two weekends and busy at my day job, so I haven't made a lot of time to crank out a long written post in a while. I'll work on fixing that up (or maybe everyone prefers the picture posts to long-ass commentary?).

Meanwhile, an awesome collection of one-of-a-kind goods was just posted on the TACOche blog: hand-painted Takashi Nemoto bags and t-shirts!! It's like carrying around MONSTER MEN BUREIKO LULLABY on your shoulder... or your back!

Hand-painted tote bag (front & back): ¥20790

Medium hand-painted bag (front & back): ¥4305

Small hand-painted bag (front & back): ¥3675

Hand-painted T-shirt (front & back): ¥17640

Hand-painted T-shirt (front & back): ¥17010

Hand-painted T-shirt (front & back): ¥16485

For these crazy items, check out TACOche in person in Nakano Broadway Mall in Tokyo!

Friday, February 20, 2009


Freshly printed and delivered to the Drawn & Quarterly office, they've posted on the D&Q blog a photo of what the English edition of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's massive A Drifting Life looks like...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


...With a PVC toy replica of his Kichijoji house! Fresh off the presses on the blog, new toys going on sale (in Japan) in April!

PVC TOY: 3,129円
Size: H11.5×W9.5×D9.5cm

Also, for the cellphone user who wants to show that home is where Umezu's heart is, a keitai charm!



...things are buzzing! Click to go check out the following recent posts on the Electric Ant Zine Blog:

+ Meeting Takashi Miike with Gea!

+ The newest photo-illustrated piece by Evan Hayden, this one inspired by the formal androgyny of Takarazuka theatre posters!

+ Testing out coupons with gCheckout, including a $2.00 off coupon for buying a copy of the zine.

+ Screen-printed psychadelic pizza boxes by Mickey Zacchilli

+ The Covered! meme continues, with Calvin Wong tackling Gen 13 and me talking The Infinity Gauntlet

+ And much more... (check back through the previous pages!)

If you like what you see over there, please leave a comment and say hello!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Holy crapola, look what they had at the local book shop (not comic shop)...

Pluto Vol. 1 and 20th Century Boys Vol. 1!!!

I just read Pluto and now my GF and I are about to swap manga. Pluto is... well, it's just fucking incredible. I got teary-eyed two or three times, and the translation (by Fred Schodt and Jared Cook) and editing/production is immaculate. FUCK YES, YA'LL.

Naoki Urasawa, I bow down to you :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

I don't know if I'm gonna survive the wait...

Damn you, April 14, 2009... Why are you so far away?!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Break out the vodka and tarragon pickles, my friends. Courtesy of our friends Rizzah and Anonymous K, the eighth chapter of from Dance! Kremlin Palace! by Shintaro Kago has arrived over at Wanted: Cheap Manga.

This chapter brings us closer to the end of the Dance! Kremlin Palace. We start the chapter at Soviet Land, a theme park extolling all thing communist and segue to Kago's first real attempt to tie the book back to the Japanese Communist Party. Not sure that it matters to even mention when reading a satire like this, but the folks of the Japanese Communist Party are close to my heart... I had a high ranking city council member and local communist party leader as a host dad (true story). I am down with Kago's skewering of the retarded, American-backed "Chrysanthemum & Sword" militia (best/worst name ever!) at the end of this chapter.

As Rizzah describes Chapter Eight,
Well worth the wait, we bring you chapter 8 of the endlessly unpredictable DANCE KREMLIN PALACE!!!!!! I, for one, have been starving for some good Kago insanity, and this new chapter does not dissapoint. Power Ranger clones, Cheburashka, and man-rape all gush from Kago’s overwhelmingly demented mind.

Click to download Chapter 8 from Wanted: Cheap Manga!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


On his blog, Ax Anthology editor  Sean Michael Wilson has recently posted a few new tidbits of information. Well, not tidbits per se... more like family-sized, hearty morsels! First up is the official book cover, which keeps the Akino Kondoh illustration but refines the text and title box (and adds a very hopeful, "Vol. One").

The second and, in my opinion, more awesome piece of information: Sean has posted a complete list of all the mangaka that will be included in Volume One, including their names in Kanji, the titles of their manga, which volume of Ax it originally appeared in, and the number of pages! Here is the full list:

Ax Anthology, Volume 1:
Osamu Kanno: 菅野修「眺める男」(44)12P
Yoshihiro Tatsumi: 辰巳ヨシヒロ「愛の花嫁」(31)22P
Imiri Sakabashira: 逆柱いみり「空の巻き貝」(44)16P
Takao Kawasaki: 川崎タカオ「屋上哀歌」(47)10P
Ayuko Akiyama: 秋山亜由子「瓢箪の中」(31)8P
Shigehiro Okada: オカダシゲヒロ「俺」(45)16P
Katsuo Kawai: 河井克夫「画鋲女」(18)8P
Nishioka Kyodai: 西岡兄妹「心が壊れた」(22)8P
Takato Yamamoto: 山本タカト「闇の方へ」(30)8P
Toranosuke Shimada: 島田虎之介「エンリケ小林のエルドラド」(14)20P
Yuka Goto: 後藤友香「隣人」(22)13P
Mimiyo Tomozawa: 友沢ミミヨ「300ねん」(2)10P
Takashi Nemoto: 根本敬「黒寿司十八番」(1)12P
Yusaku Hanakuma: 花くまゆうさく「息子はイヌ」(12)10P
Namie Fujieda: 藤枝奈己絵「輝く人。」(37)10P
Mitsuhiko Yoshida: 吉田光彦「兎と亀」(40)20P
Kotobuki Shiriagari: しりあがり寿「双子のオヤジ 存在」(2)6P/「神様」(17)6P
Shinbo Minami: 南伸坊「ロボとピュー太」(56)4P/(58)4P
Shinya Komatsu: コマツシンヤ「Mushroom Garden」(52)12P
Einosuke: 英之助「菅原家」(33)6P
Yuichi Kiriyama: 桐山裕市「屍錦」(42)7P
Yunosuke Saito: 齋藤裕之介「アリゾナ」(49)10P
Akino Kondo: こんどうあきの「雨の白シャツ」(40)8P
Tomohiro Koizumi: 古泉智浩「わいわいパーティ3」(56)8P
Shin'ichi Abe: 安部慎一「私」(36)4P/「父」(38)4P
Seiko Erisawa: 衿沢世衣子「さかあがり」(47)4P
Shigeyuki Fukumitsu: 福満しげゆき「おじさんのうた」(20)18P
Kataoka Toyo: 東陽片岡「哀愁劇場」(48)4P/(51)4P
Hideyasu Moto: 本秀康「岡田幸介と50人の息子たち」(2)13P
Keizo Miyanishi: 宮西計三「Les ラスコーリニコフs」(2)10P
Hiroji Tani: 谷弘兒「妖花アルラウネ」(22)10P
Otoya Mitsuhashi: 三橋乙揶「灯明」(9)10P
Kazuichi Hanawa: 花輪和一「六富道」(59)26P

We have a project for hardcore fans that wanna help the group with internet sleuthing... Over on the new Electric Ant Zine Blog (EAZB), my friend Robert Syrett started a post called "AX RESEARCH PROJECT". Rob is a hardcore indie manga fan and collector, and has a dangerous stockpile of Ax back issues; He is also, to my knowledge, the only white boy to ever get a fan letter published in Ax... (Pictures coming soon!).

So yeah, we've started compiling links, artist homepages, and images for all of the Ax mangaka on Sean's list. Ed from MangaCast already did us a solid (ha!) by posting a bunch of covers to books by these artists. If you have some time, please stop by the post and share your knowledge in the comments. Comments are open to all and we'd love to have your help. Per Sean's comment, you can also voice your thoughts on which artists you'd most like to see an excerpt from... HAPPY HUNTING!

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Some supremely awesome news came out of the Viz panel at New York Comic Con this morning. Viz announced today that they'll be releasing Taiyo Matsumoto's thick and intricate tome, GOGO MONSTER later this year!

It will be an all-in-one edition, retail for $24.95 and come out in November 2009. I posted earlier this year about the nice edition of the Japanese release I found at the San Diego Book-Off, and took lots of pics of that book:

I wonder how closely it will match that edition? It would be incredible if it was the same hardcover with red margins and slipcover.

Some other notable manga announced by Viz at NYCC:
+ What a Wonderful World by Inio Asano (Solanin) - October 2009

+ Not Simple by Natsume Ono (ikki site - January 2010

Thanks for the announcement blasts via Ed, Brigid, and Eoin!

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Hot on the heels of the Most Anticipated Books of 2009 list, a glimpse into A DRIFTING LIFE, the upcoming manga autobiography/masterpiece from Yoshihiro Tatsumi, has made its way online. The book will be published by Drawn & Quarterly a little later this year, in a giant 800+ page hardcover tome designed and lettered by Adrian Tomine. Interestingly, the second and final installment of this book was just recently published last month in Japanese, by Seirin Kogeisha - quite a fast turnaround for English publication!

On the site of international lit magazine, Words Without Borders, they've debuted a 16 page preview of the forthcoming English edition of this book (link via MangaBlog!).

I've had the chance to read the first 100 pages or so, and it provides a personal history and eyewitness account of the early years of the manga industry, and the development of the gekiga movement. Incredible stuff, both for fans and for academically-minded manga/Japanese literature nerds. It's easy to imagine this alongside Schodt's Manga! Manga! in a syllabus for a college course on Japanese Pop Culture.

Here's an example of what we're talking about (click the preview above for more pages!):

According to Amazon, A Drifting Life will be released on 4/16/2009. The recently-updated marketing summary of the book reads,
Acclaimed for his visionary short-story collections The Push Man and Other Stories, Abandon the Old in Tokyo, and Good-Bye—originally created nearly forty years ago, but just as resonant now as ever—the legendary Japanese cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi has come to be recognized in North America as a precursor of today’s graphic novel movement. A Drifting Life is his monumental memoir eleven years in the making, beginning with his experiences as a child in Osaka, growing up as part of a country burdened by the shadows of World War II.

Spanning fifteen years from August 1945 to June 1960, Tatsumi’s stand-in protagonist, Hiroshi, faces his father’s financial burdens and his parents’ failing marriage, his jealous brother’s deteriorating health, and the innumerable pitfalls that await him in the competitive manga market of mid-twentieth-century Japan. He dreams of following in the considerable footsteps of his idol, the manga artist Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Apollo’s Song, Ode to Kirihito, Buddha)—with whom Tatsumi eventually became a peer and, at times, a stylistic rival. As with his short-story collection, A Drifting Life is designed by Adrian Tomine.

Anyone else gonna be at the Toronto Comic Art Festival in May, and attending the Tatsumi/Tomine presentation? I'm leaning toward trying to go... I wonder if Edgar Wright (who is in Toronto for filming) will stop by with Bryan Lee O'Malley to talk about the Scott Pilgrim movie?

UPDATE! - I thought this excellent comment from my buddy Nate (SH's Man in Japan) was worth bringing up to the top of the page. Nate is living in Japan right now doing PhD dissertation work, and had this to share about A Drfiting Life:
Having just burned through this in Japanese, I can confirm that this book is indeed the shit, and I was happy to pay the almost 40 bucks that the two volumes of the Japanese version set me back.

The beauty of this book is that it's not only the story of Tatsumi's career and life, or of gekiga, but really of both manga itself and even early postwar Japan. If you know your postwar manga (which I don't...) the list of characters is stunning; if you don't, it's a great introduction - Tatsumi palled around with Saito Takao of Golgo 13 fame and tons of others who are no doubt waiting to be discoverd by manga fans.

If I could make a criticism it would be that he spends a long amount of time in the second half really going into a lot of nitty gritty about the formation of different associations and contracts with different publishers - it drags a bit, but its stuff like this that make it really valuable as history, like Ryan says. The other thing I wanted was more!! Apparently Tatsumi spent 13 years and 800 pages on it, but he still only gets up to 1960 - in other words, way before he even got around to crafting the stories that we all have been introduced to! I wanted to find out how he went from near-virginal young manga boy to chronicler of dirty down and out shit. There are hints, but I want to know about the NEXT decade of his life...

One interesting thing is that I always thought "gekiga" referred more to said gritty side of life tales, but it really is closer, at least at that point Tatsumi chronicles, to "hard-boiled" type noir stories, and apparently went through some similar censorship issues as American comics in the 50s (comics code, Wertham, etc) Hopefully this book opens up the way for more of those classics to be published in English!!

Short story long, if you're not waiting with bated breath you should be!

UPDATE #2: I wanted to remind folks that Evan actually met Tatsumi back at Comic Con 2006, and we have the posts and videos to prove it! He also got us autographed and personalized copies of Abandon The Old in Tokyo! CLICK HERE for those pics and videos.

One of the videos from our YouTube Channel:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

BEST X OF EVERYTHING 2009: Upcoming Books!

Holy shit, it's officially the second month of 2009. It is time to finish off these damn YEAR-IN-REVIEW 2008 posts in the next day or so. Already up on this here blog: BEST MANGA! and BEST COMICS! lists. Now finally, the MOST ANTICIPATED of 2009 list.

Click here for the BEST MANGA! 2008 list.
Click here for the BEST COMICS! 2008 list.

I'm gonna keep the commentary shorter, because for most of the books on this list, the precise details of what we've got coming is unclear. All you need to know is that these are the creme de la creme of upcoming and announced books... so far! Basically, if you start saving money and buy only these 12 books, you will have a good year. WARNING: Intense (but justifiable?) hyperbole ahead... Let's get this started!

(As always, I look forward to hearing recommendations and what you guys are looking forward to in manga/comics in 2009 in the comments!)

13. Unlovable, Volume 1 by Esther Pearl Watson

For years, zine master (and the artist whose style I most want to ape) Esther Pearl Watson has been releasing minis collecting her Unlovable comics, detailing the horrible and wonderful life of teenage Tammy! Unlovable has also been syndicated regularly in BUST Magazine; this 400+ page book from Fantagraphics includes piles and piles of those strips and tons of new materials. A gem of angst and subtle humor (and I hear there is second volume scheduled for later!)

12. Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei by Kōji Kumeta

This is a manga I don't know much about (and haven't seen the anime of) but which cool folks have said good things about. Coming this year from Del Rey, the series features a nihilistic and sharp-tongued teacher who fails at his suicide attempt in the opening pages of issue 1, and serves as our foil through which Japanese daily life and society get skewered and dissected. Also, funny schoolgirls and early Showa visual stylings. Could be interesting...

11. Moyashimon: Tales of Agriculture 1 by Masayuki Ishikawa

An absurd premise and lots of giant germs make up this little series, which is currently ongoing in Japan. Moyashimon follows an agricultural college freshman to whom germs and organisms appear large and can communicate with him. Creating a manga with lots of cute GERMS and BACTERIUM is a good idea from a marketing perspective (Yes, I've seen Moyashimon plushies at Kinokuniya!). This book has won a bunch of best debut/best new series awards in Japan already, and it's always nice to read a popular series in English while it's still hot in Japan.

10. Tales Designed to Thrizzle, Volume 1 / Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5 by Michael Kupperman

I feel like I've talked about Kupperman at length on here, but anyone that digs the gag stuff we've done and talk about on Same Hat should read Tales Designed to Thrizzle. The newest issue (#5) is coming out in April and is "The Old People’s Issue," while the first collection of issues 1-4 is coming out in July as a softcover collection. It features some goodies and a forward by comedy monster Robert Smigel. Oh also, Michael Kupperman just launched a new blog!

9. Swallowing the Earth by Osamu Tezuka

An interesting and notable licensing story, this volume is the first Osamu Tezuka release from DMP (Digitial Manga Publishing) and the first sign that anyone other than Vertical can get their hands on a Tezuka license these days. I'm curious to see how they do the production when having to compete with Vertical... The story is not one of Tezuka's most famous, but a tale about Zefilth (a woman who snares and taunts mens. SEXUALLY); It is notable as one of his first darker series in reaction to the emerging popularity of gekiga. Like all Tezuka, this is a must read.

8. Jin & Jam #2 by Hellen Jo

Details and specifics are mostly still up in the air, but I hope that we'll see the next issue of our buddy Hellen's extremely exciting debut series Jin & Jam from Sparkplug in 2009. I hear that by issue 3 we're gonna see some horror influences and this shit is gonna get BUCK WILD (is that a fair summary, Hellen?). I can't wait for this and other comics coming out by Ms. Jo this year. Catch her and she blows up, ya'll!

7. 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa

A series that needs no introduction on this blog, 20th Century Boys #1 will be coming out very soon from Viz. After the completion of his fabulous Monster series, Urasawa is allowing English adaptions of his two next-most famous series to begin release in full force! The first of a film trilogy is coming out in Japan this year as well. Congrats to my buddy Kit at Viz, who is editing this giant genre tour de awesome.

6. Scott Pilgrim 5 by Bryan Lee O'Malley

THIS SHIT COMES OUT TOMORROW!! And with Edgar Wright (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, DUH) currently in Toronto working on pre-production for the film adaptation (and spot-on casting underway as well), it is a great time to be a Pilgrim fan. I have to admit to not finally getting into this series until last year (for a bunch of dumb, dubious reasons) but I will be at my local shop the minute they open tomorrow to get my copy of the penultimate installment.

5. Dungeon, Zenith Volume 3 by Sfar/Trondheim/Boulet

Dude, after getting a taste of the end of the Dungeon timeline (with the poignant and wild Twilight books) and wild sidestories (in the recent Monstres books), Sfar & Trondheim are taking us back to the core tales of the Dungeon continuity. Back before Herbert was taken by the dark one, and Marvin was still a grumpy brute and not our anti-hero, Volume 3 ("Back In Style") follows up on Duck Heart and The Barbarian Princess. Keep 'em coming, NBM!

4. Pluto by Naoki Urasawa

Dude, it's the motherfucking "WATCHMEN of Manga"... or maybe it's even better than that. An Astro Boy side story, put through the magical thought grinder and suspense noir machine that is Naoki Urasawa a la Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Oh, and the translation is by our favorite manga experts, Frederik Schodt and Jared Cook. What more could you ask for?

3. Black Jack #3-8 by Osamu Tezuka

Maybe it's something I'm taking for granted, but I had to remind myself when making this list (and with alll the great classic manga coming down the pike)... the Vertical mana-fest continues with 4-5 additional books of classic Black Jack coming out way... Unlike the first 2 books, the rest of the series is almost entirely never-before-seen stuff that wasn't in the original Viz attempt at publishing. This is like 1000 pages of Black Jack stories in 2009. CAN YOU DIG IT????

2. Ax Anthology, Volume 1

For more information see here. The first in what I hope will be an extended series of contemporary underground manga, this collection IS THE BOOK FOR YOU, SAME HAT READERS! We will hopefully continue to have the inside line with editor Sean Michael Wilson, and much more news in the coming months. After a long dry spell, our own "Secret Comics Japan" or "Comics Underground Japan" book is finally coming!

1. A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Dudes. The absolute most interesting, absorbing and unique book (not just manga or graphic novel or whatever) of 2009, hands down. I have read the first 100 pages in English (some panels soon, if I can get permission) and it's an absolute feast of manga history and delight. I just heard that editor/letterer Adrian Tomine and the man himself, Yoshihiro Tatsumi will be attending the Toronto Comic Art Festival in May for the debut of the book (and will be giving a presentation about the work). I think I will have to be there for that.

Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga

"Ooku" refers to the section of the Edo Castle where the shogun's wives, concubines and female family were relegated. This series is by the creator of the wonderful series Antique Bakery, and follows a historical Japan where 75% of all the men are wiped out by a small pox plague thingy. Feminist ordeals and nuanced gender wrangling will follow. I am deeply curious about the first books of this planned 10-volume series.

Cold Heat anthology by Frank Santoro/Ben Jones

I've read bits and pieces of the Cold Heat books, but never given this series it's fair shake. Thanks to a collected first volume of all the floppies to date, I'll have the chance to digest it properly. Very nice.


I posted a bit about ORANG on the EAZB, but the latest volume of the nearly-annual comics anthology is coming out later this year. In addition to the usual lot of cool international cartoonists, I hear it might have some stuff of specific interest to Same Hat readers. The book and details are still being finalized by editor and rad cartoonist Sascha Hommer... Now to get some euros so I can order when the time comes!!

Electric Ant #2 and the underground manga book we're working on...

I won't use this as an excuse to spend a bunch of time teasing books that I can't say much about yet... But Evan and I are working slowly (and soon ramping up production!) for a late 2009 (?) release that I hope will delight Same Hat fans. Alongside that, I'm working to line up new contributors and finalize the table of contents for the second issue; Electric Ant #2 - Exquisite Corpses (the bodies and collaboration issue). News about the book will come out here, and about the zine over on the EAZB.