Sunday, May 31, 2009


The long and fruitful relationship between our beautiful old uncle Kazuo Umezu and indie/art apparel company BEAMS continues! Since our last post, two more Kazuo Umezu x Otooto22 shirts have been released.

The first is a nutty "AMERICA" design by Umezz, which features glow-in-the-dark ink for the hair. THAT IS AWESOME.

An older but equally amazing shirt, BEAMS has released a Fourteen (14歳) t-shirt, featuring the fucked-up CHICKEN GEORGE!

Both shirts can be purchased only in Japan, and retail for around $60.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Viz/IKKI has posted the second chapter of Daisuke Igarashi's Children of the Sea.

[My original post about IKKI and instructions for reading Children of the Sea from abroad are here!]

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Here's a bit of exciting news for the Same Hat community. Leigh at Top Shelf passed on the news that they have posted the Yoshihiro Tatsumi story from their upcoming Ax Anthology in its entirety on Top Shelf 2.0.

Deatils on this short story from their site:
His story "Love's Bride" (愛の花嫁) appeared in issue #34 (30 Aug 2003) of the Japanese Ax anthology, and will be included in Top Shelf's upcoming Ax collection.

CLICK HERE to check out "Love's Bride"


Once again, a random email from a Same Hat reader has made my day.

Larry from Philadelphia has sent us photos of his recently completed Shintaro Kago tattoo. This rad tattoo is of a familiar Kago piece, which was used as the cover to Vice Magazine a few months back.

Larry's tattoo was done by Alex Feliciano at 12oz. Studios in Brooklawn, New Jersey. I really love the corporate cubicle vibe in the first picture!

Leave some comments for Larry, and send your tattoo pics my way if you'd like to share with the community! Click here to check out all previous tattoos featured on SH.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


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As with any zine fest or comic con, the best moments of the experience come days later, back at home as you pore over all the trades and new finds from walking the aisles. I purposely avoided any books I could grab back home, like Fantagraphics or Drawn & Quarterly books, and focused on new zines and minis from all over (and especially folks from around Toronto).

Here is a recap w/capsule reviews of the haul from TCAF 2009. [For previous TCAF posts, including a round-up of the event and all things Tatsumi, click here!]

+ Michael DeForge zines

I've talked about Michael a few times on here, but this was the first time I got my hands on paper copies of his zines. The three zines were Gags, The Seed Stirs, and another whose name I can't decipher. The books include a smattering of splash drawings, gags and experimental strips, and paneled comics. This young dude is scary talented, one of the most prolific and interesting artists working right now!

Check out more of his art on his site, King Trash.

+ Toronto comics newspaper zines

Courtesy of printmaker Jesjit Gill, I got my hands on these free (or damn near) newsprint comics zine. Jesjit organizes a new Toronto paper called "FREE DRAWINGS" which includes folks from all over Toronto flexing their chops. The right-most paper in this photo is from a groupd show by Jesjit, Michael DeForge and Steph Davidson called "Neighborhood Sacrifice". I found out from Jesjit that the price to print these is often just like 15 cents per copy!

I am working on a longer post for the EAZB just about newsprint comics and how they are the perfect format for 2009 recession community comics... I was really excited by these, both the format and the art.

+ Open Spaces, Closed Places #3 by saicoink

I put up a thing recently on my twitter, but OSCP by Saicoink is the perfect comic for folks that love Antique Bakery AND Suehiro Maruo (like me!). He style is influenced heavily by 60s and 70s romance manga, and her tale of high school love drama is hilarious and fun. I strongly recommend you check it out, the newest book is longer and perfect bound by hand :) (Saicoink also contributoed a great page to the body horror jam comic Electric Ant #2)

+ Ghana Movie Posters

From Buenaventura Press, this is a gallery catalog featuring hand-painted movies posters from Ghana, along with interesting essays about the industry and practice. It was a bit steep but worth it for repeated viewings.

+ The Good Samaritan by Shawn Cheng

A lovely and short mini by Shawn Cheng featuring what looks like hand-screened pages throughout. Shawn's style is super unique, and his color layering (on peach-paper!) adds a strange alien quality to what's a funny (and tragic) little tale. I also highly recommend his mini, The Would-Be Bridegrooms.

+ Remake by Lamar Abrams

I was recommend REMAKE by Lamar Abrams by my buddy Mickey, and was pumped to find it at the AdHouse booth at TCAF. I don't know much about Lamar, but this fucking crazy book is a great distillation of Japanese 4koma sensibilities with the best of Adult Swim style irreverence. The art gets tighter as the book goes on, but remains wild throughout. I highly recommend this.

+ Comics Comics #3 & #4

After following Comics Comics blog for a while, I finally got my hands on two issues of their comics crit/lit newspaper. Frank Santoro hooked me up with these directly, and it turns out that he is as chill annd generous in person as he is ferocious and knowledgeable in online postings. Comics fans have known about these papers (compiled by PictureBox's Dan Nadel, Tim Holder, Frank, and other friends) for a while, but it wasn't 'til reading the hard copies that I got what they are doing. These (along with some other newsprint publications mentioned here) really got my head spinning about the format. Also: Check out that article about Berserk in issue 4!

+ Never Learn Anything From History by Kate Beaton

I don't have much to add to the already loud chorus of folks in love with Kate Beaton's history webcomics. Aside from Bryan Lee O'Malley and Tatsumi, Kate was the belle of the TCAF ball-- I heard she sold out of 200 copies of this self-published book on the first day! Dizamn.

+ Wowee Zonk #1 and #2

As I'm working on issue 2 of Electric Ant, I've been thinking more and more about zines and collaboration. Wowee Zonk is a zine made by 3 friends (Chris Kuzma, Ginette Lapalme, and Patrick Kyle), which expanded to include comics by their friends in issue 2. Both issues are packed-full and interesting, but I was especially taken with #2, which was pretty dense with comics but in a lightweight tabloid format featuring newsprint interiors and a glossy cover. Toronto has a pretty fresh zine scene, and the Wowee Zonk crew especially is doing cool things. Check them out!

+ Rat Cliff by Andrei Georgescu, from Wowee Zonk #2

Special shout out to Andrei's totally badass comic. A knife through the neck of your homeroom teacher never looked so good.

+ College Type Funnies by Chris Kuzma & Patrick Kyle

More goodies from the Wowee Zonk crew, this feature a crazy short by Chris, and a longer tale of undead punk cred by Patrick. Yeah, I LOL'd

+ Beastlord by Chris Kuzma

Last thing from the Wowees, I grabbed this TMNT-meets-Frazetta mini from Chris. See more of Chris Kuzma's art on his personal site.

+ Amazing Facts... and Beyond! collection by Kevin Huizenga, Dan Zettwoch, and Ted May

A great collection of this weekly strip out of St. Louis. It runs in some alt-weeklies, but it's especially nice to get a super-dense mini of a few months' worth of comics in one package. Hilarious stuff.

+ Tramp and Stamp Postcard Series by Leif Goldberg and It's Sexy When People Know Your Name by Lisa Hanawalt

More expensive but worthy minis from Buenaventura. These screen-printed postcards are freakishly intricate and weird, while Lisa Hanawalt's mini was short and sweet. Lisa's pencil work is delightful and creepy, and I can't wait for a longer comic from her. She is also planned to take part in Electric Ant #2 (can't believe my luck!).

+ you are i am magic by Lark Pien

A lush and lovely mini from Bay Area comic maven Lark Pien. Her book featured effortless and pretty colors and textures, and a short and fantastical story-- a la a fanciful European children's book.

+ Michael Comeau's collage newspaper Parade of Humanity

Non-narrative, but taking advantage of the huge-ass newsprint format, I dug this dirty paper by Michael Comeau. It was only a few bucks from Koyama Press, and further cemented some weird ideas I had about the awesomeness of newsprint. Also, did I mention it's hella dirty?

Okay, that's the end of TCAF posts. I hope folks found some things they were digging in this post and take the time to get in touch with the artists. Here's to the next TCAF in 2011...

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Some exciting news has been buzzing around the interwebs last night and this morning... Viz is launching a web-only English edition of the rad seinen manga magazine IKKI. The site is now live at right now.

More details are in this article from PW, which explains that they will be putting up previews of new series on the site for free, and using the site to gauge interest in which titles to release in print form, etc.

Some other artists that have run in IKKI:
+ Taiyo Matsumoto (Number Five)
+ Naoe Kikuchi (Tetsuko no Tabi)
+ Iou Kuroda (Sexy Voice and Robo)
+ Koji Aihara and Kentaro Takekuma (Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga 2.0)
+ George Asakura (Heibon Ponch)

The awesome news for us? The first title they are posting is Daisuke Igarashi's Children of the Sea.

[Click here to read the official first chapter in English]

They also posted an interview with Igarashi today. I'm skeptical of some of these initiatives, but IKKI is home to some awesome titles and the site is starting out pretty strong. According to them, upcoming series they'll release on the IKKI site are Natsume Ono’s House of Five Leaves, I'LL GIVE IT MY ALL...TOMORROW, by Shunju Aono, and Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida. FRESH.

UPDATE: A lot of international folks have noted that the IKKI English site seems geo-restricted to the US, like You can search for tips but here's a quick way (from this site) to set up a proxy and check the site out from abroad:

0. Search for "us proxy list" or something similar and find an active US proxy ip and port. Write that down.
1. Start Mozilla Firefox.
2. From the main menu click on: Tools >> Options.
3. Click on the "Advanced" icon.
4. Click on the "Network" tab.
5. In the "Connection" frame, click on the "Settings" button.
6. In the "Connection Settings" dialog box that appears, click on the "Manual proxy configuration" radio button.
7. In the "HTTP Proxy" textbox, enter the IP address of the proxy server.
8. In the "Port" textbox, enter the port on which the proxy service is running.
9. Click "OK" to close the "Connection Settings" dialog box.
10. Click "OK" to close the "Options" dialog box.
11. Proxy server configuration is complete, restart the browser and check out

Did that work? Leave your tips in the comments for other folks.

Monday, May 18, 2009


This is the second-to-last post from my trip to Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) last weekend. I'll be putting one up later tonight with photos and capsule reviews of all the minis/zines from TCAF.

From my short time walking around Toronto, it because very clear that it's a comics and books-heavy town. Tons of used shops of different sizes and flavors flanked the University of Toronto campus, and I kept hearing about various cartooning events and shops carrying comics while I was there. Though I didn't make it to Magic Pony (gallery & shop), I did take time to make a pilgrimage to The Beguiling!

I'll go ahead and state my thesis up front: I think The Beguiling is the best comic shop in North America. While I did love Forbidden Planet in NYC, and Star Clipper in St. Louis is pretty great, I think The Beguiling takes the crown. Their closest competitor is the East Bay's massive and rad Comic Relief, which definitely bests The Beguiling in terms of sheer size and number of volumes.

The Beguiling felt different though, like it had been curated just to my tastes by someone with a strong love for the diversity of crazy shit out there. They had the most recent mainstream floppies on the racks, original prints by Mark Beyer, rare panel art for sale all over the walls, the biggest manga section I've seen (outside of Japan!), a treasure trove of minis and zines right by the front register, Spanish, French, and untranslated manga stacks, and a super helpful and knowledgeable staff. What more could you possibly ask for?

Here are a few photos from my visit:

TCAF posters past and present cover the front windows

Tintin guards the door, of what looks to be a converted Victorian house?

The Beguiling's Chamber of Secrets (aka, the minicomics & zine rack!)

Up front: my buddy Hellen Jo's excellent comic Jin & Jam #1 (go buy this!) and her earlier comic, Blister No.5.

What do we have hear? Copies of Electric Ant #1! Most were unsold, but thank you to the 4 brave readers who picked it up in Toronto.

And this was only about 1/3 of the store's manga selections.

The sign of a healthy shop... copies of Tokyo Zombie in stock!

French manga compilation, featuring a p-p-pretty rad contributor list.

French manga nerds got it better than us- the entire run of Taiyo Matsumoto's No. 5 was published there.

French edition of a Shin'ichi Abe book.

French edition of Akino Kondoh's manga Eiko (from our friends at Le Lezard Noir). Kondoh is featured in and on the cover of Top Shelf's upcoming AX Anthology Vol. 1.

I thought I took more pictures than that, but hopefully it gives a taste of the goodies within. Hats off to co-owners Peter Birkemoe and Chris Butcher on running such an excellent shop.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I just read some very exciting news from Suehiro Matuo's site. Maruo announced that his latest comic will begin serialization in the anthology COMIC BEAM, starting with the current June 2009 issue. That issue came out in Japan on May 12, and features a cover illustration by Maruo.

The new comic is 芋虫 [The Caterpillar], which will be an adaptation of the 1929 Edogawa Rampo short story of the same name. The Caterpillar is a haunting psychosexual tale of Lt. Sunaga, a disfigured and limbless veteran of WWI who returns home to his young and beautiful wife. Sunaga initially is given a hero's welcome, but is quickly forgotten and shunned because of his injuries. Unable to speak or care for himself, he is completely at the mercy of his wife as she grows to loathe and toy with him. There's more, but I'll leave it there for now.

It sounds like this will be another collaborative project working in tandem with the Rampo estate, like Maruo's loving and beautiful adaptation of Panorama-tou Kidan.

Elements from Edogawa Rampo's original short story have already been seen in Suehiro Maruo illustrations and muzan-e works; Rampo's The Caterpillar was previously translated into English as part of the Edogawa Rampo short story collection, "Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination". (This is one of my absolute favorite books! If you have not read this book, YOU NEED TO GO BUY IT RIGHT NOW!)

Exciting news for Maruo/Rampo fans! I will be heading to Kinokuniya to try and get a copy reserved, and post more as I hear it.

UPDATE: Just got myself talked into a 6-month subscription to COMIC BEAM at Kinokuniya in SF. Will be picking it up in person each month starting with the June issue, SCORE! I also added a bigger image to this post.


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There is a short but hallowed list in my head of older cartoonists that I adore and would travel to meet in person. And atop the list are perched Kazuo Umezu & Yoshihiro Tatsumi. This past weekend, as part of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), the chance presented itself to meet Yoshihiro Tatsumi in person... and I took it!

I already put up my TCAF round-up, but wanted to take a little time to post just about Tatsumi stuff.

The first big event of the weekend was held on Friday at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre, featuring cartoonists Seth, Adrian Tomine, and Yoshihiro Tatsumi.

The Beguiling's excellent Chris Butcher MC'd the talk, which started with a preface by Adrian Tomine. Tomine talked briefly about the process by which his earliest Optic Nerve stories were re-printed in a boxed set as fascimilies of the original minicomics.

But finally came... the main event! A 45 minute interview/discussion between Adrian Tomine and Yoshihiro Tatsumi with Jocelyne Allen serving as Tatsumi's interpretor. It was a treat to listen Tatsumi talk about his early days as a cartoonist, the tension of his relationship with Tezuka, and the release in English of many of his pioneering gekiga works. Here are a few photos:

Also from the talk, here's a 3 minute video (shot by me from my seat) of Tatsumi responding to a question from Tomine about getting his early short works published:
Jocelyne Allen did a wonderful job all weekend interpreting for Tatsumi, I thought. Though, it was nice to be able to listen along to Tatsumi directly :)

At TCAF on Saturday and Sunday, Tatsumi was the main event and most in-demand cartoonist at the festival. He spent 2-3 hours at the Drawn & Quarterly booth each day, generously signing books and giving sketches to fans. Since he took so long giving personal drawings, the lines were out of control at the booth:

I got to the line too late on Saturday to make it before he finished, but was able to meet Tatsumi on Sunday after a 30 minutes wait. I just briefly spoke to Tatsumi (in Japanese), stammering out that I love his comics and that I used to live in southern Osaka, just a ways from Shinsekai and Tennoji, where a number of his gekiga tales take place.

Here are a dozen photos of Tatsumi generously signing books for a long and adoring line of fans:

My favorite thing I captured from TCAF, here is a short voyeur-esque clip of Tatsumi doing a nice sketch in a lucky fan's book. There is something really exciting and perfect about watching a talented cartoonist at work:

[Click here for another short video from a different part of TCAF of Tatsumi signing for fans]

Yoshihiro Tatsumi signed my book!

And here I present, the most beloved page in my Disneyland Autograph Book!'s manga guide Deb Aoki got some time to interview Tatsumi on Sunday, and just posted that article today. She asked him some interesting questions about his relationship in later years with Osamu Tezuka and his impressions of Tezuka's reaction to the "threat" of gekiga in the 1970s. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


As I mentioned last week, I decided this year to skip MoCCA and Comic Con and use that money to head to Canada for the Toronto Cartoon Arts Festival (TCAF). The festival is a bi-annual event featuring cartoonists from all over (and a preponderance of Canadians!).

The event is sponsored in part by The Beguiling, and the generous and nice Chris Butcher and Peter Birkemoe (co-owners of the shop) were running around the entire time to make sure things went smoothly. Interestingly, TCAF was held inside the Toronto Reference Library-- a public space with free admission and many non-comics folks doing their normal library business.

I headed out a little early on Thursday night, in order to have some time Friday before TCAF to explore Toronto. I left Sunday night, having gotten my fill of minis, panels, nerdity and meeting new people. Here is a quick, bulleted list of happenings (with a few additional posts to follow):

+ Walked around Toronto on a Scott Pilgrimage, trying to locate Edgar Wright and the film production. I didn't have any luck, and was too lazy to walk to the house that is doubling as the exterior of SP & Wallace's house in the film (Thanks to Matt for the tips!). I did hit a bunch of book stores, and along the way saw the following notables from the comic:

Honest Ed's megastore

Casa Loma

+Visited the Beguiling, arguably the best comics shop in N. America. Their manga and comics selections weren't as expansive as Comic Relief (in terms of raw volume of books), but it felt curated precisely to my tastes-- with lots of international manga and zines! I'll put up a whole post about Beguiling finds this week.

+ Attended an event featuring Adrian Tomine interviewing Yoshihiro Tatsumi. I am devoting a separate post tonight to all my Tatsumi sightings and interactions during TCAF, and will share everything there!

+Bought self-published comics and minis. There were lots of good finds to be had this year- I specifically avoided any book I could get back home (like from Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly). The best purchases of the trip were interesting newspaper zines, Remake by Lamar Abrams, and some new books by friends. I'll post pictures of the haul with recommendations too!

+Hung out in-person with new friends, like Saicoink and Michael DeForge. Both are awesome creators, and were super fun to tool around the show with. While visiting tables, ran into Electric Ant contributors Shawn Cheng, Derek Kirk Kim, Dash Shaw... and had a sighting of the fabled Shigacorn. I also spent a lot of time with manga master Jason Thompson,'s Deb Aoki, and my old Toronto buddies Vivian & Matt. NICE!

+Attended a few panels. The first was Perspectives on Global Manga, moderated by Deb and featuring a discussion with Bryan Lee O'Malley, Becky Cloonan, the Publisher at Udon, Antoine Dodé, and Jason Thompson about the influence of manga on their works.

O'Malley & Cloonan

DeForge and I also attended a panel moderated by the dude from Inkstuds featuring Dash Shaw, Frank Santoro, and some other dudes riffing on how "mainstream comics of the silver and bronze age have a relevance and impact on modern alternative comics," with lots of righteous discussions and images of Kirby, Ditko, and Steranko's work in the 1970s.

+Spent a few hours getting my Autograph book signed. I forgot or didn't get up the nerve to ask a few folks, but I was really pleased with the new additions. Check them out at this post.

+Lots of last minute purchases, and said congrats to the 2009 Doug Wright Award winners: Matt Forsythe (Ojinbobo), Seth (I did not actually say congrats to him, but was tempted to steal his fedora which I saw laying backstage at an event), and Kate Beaton (Never Learn Anything From History).

+IN SUMMARY: TCAF was a really rad show, with free admission and a strong emphasis on engaging the Toronto community. While I dug MoCCA last year, I'm super glad that I skipped it (and SDCC) to make this trip happen. Many kudos to Chris Butcher and the entire Beguiling/volunteer corps. crew for pulling together so many indie creators and international cartoonists in one spot. I'll definitely be there for the next one, in 2011.