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.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Still not quite sure if you wanna buy a copy of ELECTRIC ANT #2: Exquisite Corpses? Here's a video preview of the book, shot at my kitchen table tonight!

For full details on contents/contributors for Issue 2 please click here. Only $12 for 136 pages of Japan/comics/fiction/interviews goodness. BUY IT!

[I'll give a coupon code for 2 dollars off for the first buyer to name the song playing in this video!]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Just wanted to give a quick happy birthday shout-out to one of my all-time favorite authors, Mr. Edogawa Rampo. October 21 marks his 115th birthday, and with the recent Japanese releases of Suehiro Maruo's manga adaptations of The Strange Tale of Panorama Island and Caterpillar, Rampo continues to be relevant and prevalent in Japanese popular culture.

Here was my tribute post last year, with a photo of his grave (marked with his birth name, Hirai Taro).

As it's already 10/21 in Japan, Google has marked the godfather of Japanese mystery fiction's birthday with a commemorative doodle:

I actually have that exact book (少年探偵団 - Shounen Tanteidan, Youth Detective Squad) sitting on my desk in front of me. I've been reading it slowly to try to get steeped in Rampology this month as I get back to work on Panorama Island.

Which was also made into a Japanese TV show:

With accompanying toys:

UPDATE: Same Hat friend Ho-Ling has just posted his translation of Edogawa Rampo's One Person, Two Identities. Check it out right here.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The site has now been updated and you can now order your copy of ELECTRIC ANT #2: Exquisite Corpses!

UPDATE 10/19/09: I just mailed out all online orders posted through last night. Check your mailboxes! And if you haven't ordered yours yet... what are you waiting for?? :)

The book is $12 + shipping, and I will send it anywhere in the world! If you can't use Paypal/Checkout or want to buy multiple copies, just send me an email at electricantzine[AT]gmail[DOT]com!

Orders begin shipping on Monday after Alternative Press Expo this weekend!


Including an interview with Zehra Fazal, who spent a summer backstage!
...Or the story of how I was in a gay German horror flick without knowing it
A jam comic featuring 18 stars of indie comics
Two dozen graphic depictions of violence from film, TV, books, and games
A tale of dominatrix school from within the Holy Mountain
Two Tokyo photographers using a plastic half frame camera
By Anthony Ha & Anthony Wu. Asian Citizen Kane... in space!

seeing the light after 10 sensual years
Her belly button is a corporoglyh
Minutes to learn, a lifetime to master
Gag comic strips for the whole family(!?)

7" x 8.5" digest, 136 pages bound like a paperback.
$12, Color cover inside & out, B&W insides.
Cover painting by Hellen Jo
40+ contributors

Issue #1 is still on sale, or you can buy both together for $2 off!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Electric Ant #2: Exquisite Corpses goes on sale tomorrow via the zine site... I'm extremely excited, and hope that you guys like it. I give a special thanks on the Credits page to the Same Hat and EAZB community for all the support, and I really hope you guys enjoy it.

I'll post one last time tomorrow when the book is officially on sale! In the meantime, check out this preview of the issue (via Google Books). You can browse and search up to 20% of Electric Ant #2 right here:

Click here for a full table of contents & contributors. There is also a "PROMOTE" page with code to add a simple banner or preview to your own site/blog. Thanks for bearing with me, lemme know what you think of the preview in the comments!!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


I just ordered 500 postcards featuring the Electric Ant #2 parasitic twin cover by Hellen Jo, with ordering info on the back. Do you want one? Just fill out this form to send me your info (or anyone cool you think would want it):

UPDATE: Thanks to folks who signed up! I have to take the form down now, since 125 people signed up in just a few days. Once I see about postage costs and how many cards I have left, I'll maybe be able to put up the form again. For you that signed up, I'll start mailing cards next Wednesday! Thanks again :)

Reminder: Electric Ant #2 will be available in just over a week via the site! $12, 140 pages. I'll post some previews this Sunday from the issue.

UPDATE! I have now mailed all 130 postcards to folks (internationally and domestic) that signed up! Check yout mailboxes, and many thanks for your interest and support!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Four months, and four chapters of Suehiro Maruo's sick and exquisite Imomushi. Chapter 4 marks the conclusion of Imomushi, and was published in the September Issue of COMIC BEAM.

I was a bit sad to see the story end so quickly, but with such a short story as source material, Maruo was able to weave quite an interesting manga. Most of the substance and tension is stuffed into this final chapter, which is gorier and more violent than 99% of The Strange Tale of Panorama Island.

Maruo's adaptation of Imomushi pulls no punches in delivering Edogawa Rampo's bleak tale, though I have to admit the final moments of the story work slightly better in prose than manga form. That said, read as a complete manga, Imomushi is a steamy and great piece of upsetting work.

Check out my first post for details on the plot of Edogawa Rampo's short story, The Caterpillar.


To celebrate the completion of the story, this month's Comic Beam came with a Imomushi folder :)

Things take a turn for the cruel and psycho-sexual immediately.

Three blind men in the street; all the secondary characters are super odd and malformed in this manga.


The doctor pays a visit, how will Tokiko explain what has happened?

Lt. Sunaga's descent into Johnny Get Your Gun-esque sensory deprivation

yurusu... yurusu... YURUSU!!!

That is what I call a moment of realization.

So goddamn good, Mr. Maruo! My hat is off to you on this panel.

Final moments.

Fans of this golden streak of Suehiro Maruo x Edogawa Rampo, fear not! The author's bio section in the back of the issue mentions that Maruo's next piece (serialized in COMIC BEAM) will be another Edogawa Rampo adaptation/collaboration. I wonder which short story it will be? The Twins? Red Chamber? The Finger?

I am guessing whatever Maruo chooses, it will be adapted another 4-chapter manga... with a book collecting it with Imomushi sometime early 2010 in Japan? That is just a guess though, we'll see what happense! Needless to say, I personally strongly hope that Imomushi will have the chance to see publication in English at some point in the future!

UPDATE: That was the fastest I've been proven wrong in a while. My buddy Monika posted in a the comments a link to a new release on the EnterBrain site. Seems I was wrong, they are releasing Imomushi as a standalone tankoban this month! 148 pages and the same size as their Panorama Island release. How cool- thanks Monika!! :) Time to send some emails!

Sunday, October 04, 2009


I've been a little sparse on Same Hat lately, and for that I apologize. But I haven't been sitting on my thumbs doing nothing... I've been working on the second issue of my zine, Electric Ant!

The giant second issue (EXQUISITE CORPSES) is now at the printers, and will debut at Alternative Press Expo in two weeks! Here's the cover for this issue, painted by the always radical Hellen Jo:

You can check out the full details of Issue 2 and the contributors on the updated zine website! It features a science fiction futurism comic, a long feature on the Takarazuka Revue (with an interview with an American actress that studied backstage at the theatre), a body horror jam comic with 18 indie cartoonists, articles about transsexual bars in Shinjuku, dominatrix training, gay german horror films, drawing games, Tokyo photography, and much more! It's 136 pages, $12.

I'll post again when the book goes on sale on 10/17/09. You guys were super awesome supporters of the first issue, and I hope you dig this one as well!

More SAME HAT action coming tonight,

PS: I wanted to say a major thank you to the guys at Tokyo Scum Brigade for holding down the fort this month with their awesome Umezz Carnival coverage. You guys are awesome!

Friday, October 02, 2009


Some exciting news for fans of Pop Art, bloody muzan-e imagery, and the deviant sexual arts!

Last Gasp will be publishing a hardcover, large-sized book (11¾" x 14½"), showcasing the art of master erotic draftsman, Toshio Saeki! Onikage is 56 pages of vibrant colors and nasty surrealism. Check out details and preorder it on Last Gasp's Onikage site.

I got to see an advance proof of pages from this book, and it's really lush and funky! Fans of the genre definitely know of Toshio Saeki (or at least, recognize his visual style from the internet or from visits to Japan / Kinokuniya shops in the US). But he's mostly been woefully unavailable and unknown in the United States. It's a shame, since Saeki's sensibilities and style influences and relates so closely to the aesthetics of some our favorites: Suehiro Maruo, Kazuichi Hanawa, and Hideshi Hino.

The book is notable, not only for being the first art book properly released by an English publisher, but for its super-unusual format. To show off not just Saeki's art, but also his process, the book features a number of vellum overlays. From the site:
While most images are shown here in full color, we have presented some in their original black and white format, with overlays reproducing Saeki's method for adding color to these pictures. Saeki typically does not apply color directly to his black and white artwork, but instead uses these overlays to enumerate the precise values of the colors he wants. He works with the terminology of the four-color printing process: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK).

For example, he indicates a woman's skin tone should be reproduced with 10% magenta, while her nipples should be 60% magenta. Most of the men in Saeki's artwork have a skin tone that is 30% magenta, 20% cyan, and 50% yellow (no black). He calls this method chinto printing - the picture is complete only after it has been printed. It is a modern version of the ukiyo-e, a genre of Japanese woodcut prints or paintings produced between the 17th and 20th centuries. Ukiyo-e were works of collaboration between the eshi (artist) and the surishi (printer). Saeki is paying homage to this style, and considers himself an eshi. It is our hope that by illuminating this technique, it better helps the reader to appreciate Saeki's unique style, deep philosophy as an artist, and his immense talent

Though it's a pricey book, it seems like a great addition to any fan of surrealist, ero-guro-nonsense art. I am hoping to get some pics of the physical book itself to show the overlays and size. According to their Twitter, Last Gasp shipped advanced copies of Onikage to the New York Art Book Fair. I'm not sure when the actual release date is-- will update this post once I find out :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Umezz Carnival 2009 Special Live Event

[This is the fourth in a series of guest posts by the awesome guys from Tokyo Scum Brigade! Dr. Senbei and Voidmare attended the Umezz Carnival 2009 this past weekend and are guest posting here with reports. Please enjoy, and many thanks, guys!! -Ryan]

The word "rock" gets thrown around so liberally in Japan that I have to admit I was skeptical going into Umezz Carnival 2009's grand finale, "Special Rock Live." The ultra-raw and energetic yet somehow highly refined sound (think 1 part Preschool, 1 part Guitar Wolf, 2 parts Umezu) was only my first pleasant surprise of the night. Believe me when I say it's not easy to pogo, take pictures and write a report at the same time!

1st Half

1. Hebi Shojo- Played live, this sounded a lot like The Cure's Killing an Arab. If only you could have been there to witness the dance that went along with this costume!

2. Kimura no Niisan- What a banger! Kazz had a bat wing jacket on for this song, accessorized with his best stuck-out tongue Gene Simmons poses!

3. Super Police- This might have been my favorite song of the night. The chorus was almost as killer as Kazz's Super Police dance moves.

4. Electric Love Song- Originally penned by Kazz for Haruo Chikada (see this post), this was a major hit in the late 70s. They played this so hard and fast that Kazz wound up getting lost in the middle and, after a few failed attempts at jumping back in, cut the band off midway through the song. A sincere apology to the crowd and a few bows to his band mates later, he went completely nuts in round two and took back Electric Love Song all for himself.

5. Papa Mama Rock- Kazz mentioned how much heavier the wireless mic was than a normal one, but he didn't let it stop him from all manners of fist pumping action.

6. Gwash!! Makoto-chan- The final song before the first intermission. Kazz was visibly exhausted at this point, but still gave a great performance. If you didn't know better, the raw power would have tricked you into thinking it was a live cover by Iggy and the Stooges. When the song finished the crowd, comprised mainly of women under 35, was going bonkers.

Just in time! I almost broke a thumb feverishly trying to clear space in my memory card while everyone else in the joint dashed for the merch table.

The MC's intro to the second half of the show was cut short by HONEY☆K in an Orochi nurse outfit! She stared at him for a while before pointing to a stain on the wall which she then proceeded to mash her finger, then head against before disappearing into the crowd. This creepy little skit set the stage for one of the night's hightlights!

2nd Half
7. Shinjuku Gurasu- The Makoto-chan Mushis traded in their usual duds to join Kazz in this reenactment of an amazing scene from the movie Orochi. Demerin's deadpan demeanor was a perfect fit for the father, and she kept her cool even while kicking ass on the classical guitar! Her intense finger picking coupled with her moustache stole the show on this one. Not one to be outdone, Kazz picked up on this and started hamming his performance up towards the end.

For those of you who haven't seen the film, check out the song in this rehearsal video:

8. Otogibanashi no Yokohama- Nice tune. Nice new costume.

9. Samba de Makoto-chan- This is where Kazz started to lose steam. He managed to make it through the song without incident, but needed a few hits from the oxygen tank afterwards. While HONEY☆K Orochi attended to a worn-out Kazz, rhythm guitarist Mitsuwa lead a cheeky audience Q&A session on his behalf.

Q. What's your favorite food?
A. Apples.

Q. How do you write your name in kanji?
A. Easy, just four strokes: K A Z Z (in English)

Q: What's your favorite rock group?
A: Umezu Kazuo and the Umevinz. Duh. Next Question.

Q: What kind of babes do you like?
A: Girls in sweats and t-shirts.

Q: What time do you usually wake up and go to bed?
A: That's kind of a silly question; He never sleeps, so he never wakes up.

Q: Are you working on another manga?
A: Yes, but I'll never let you see it.

Q: Beef or chicken curry?
A: Seafood. Next!

Q: Can you introduce the band members?
A: Quit trying to get ahead of the show here! Who are you?

Drums: Megumi (Art Storm Employee)
Bass: Aki (Goonies, etc.)
Lead Guitar: Baki (Gastunk, Mosquito Spiral)
Rhythm Guitar: Mitsuwa (BLUE MOVEe, Tokyo Bravo)
Keyboard and Backup Vocals: HONEY☆K (PUGS, Pomegranate)

Had I done my homework on the band before the show, I wouldn't have been as surprised by their kiler sound given the talent behind it. Gastunk were a great band!

10. Old Rockin' Band- As the band members were introduced, they were instructed to 'get old' in English, which meant putting on wigs and hunching over like fogies. If these guys had been out to pasture, their gritty and dirty sound would have would have spoiled the earth! In true old rockin' fashion, Kazz took a few more hits from the oxygen tank as the song wound down.

11. Makoto-chan Ondo- What's that? You say you've never heard this one before? Join the club--no one had until this concert! Kazz wrote this song specifically for the event, and to celebrate he called his beautiful Gwash! dancers to the stage. After teaching the audience how to do the dance steps, they led everyone in this matsuri ode to Makoto-chan. A-sore! A-sore! A-sore sore sore!

12. Happy birthday Kazz!- First Orochi did her best Marilyn Monroe erotic birthday song for Kazz, then Baki led the audience in a sing-along. Naturally, "to you" was replaced with "Kazu."

13. Gwash!! Makoto-chan (standard version)- This time around they toned it down a bit and gave a full dance number much like this.

You know that Umezu wasn't going to end his first concert in 20 years without an encore!

14. Nekome Kozo Theme- In an effort to buy time for Kazz, who was utterly devastated at this point, Kurobe attempted to kill the audience with obscene amounts of wah-wah on a few solo licks. Kazz came out, kicked out the final jam, and said goodbye with just a hint of tears in his eyes.

Don't be so jealous! The best news is that Kazz enjoyed himself so much that he promised to hold another concert next year! If you can't wait that long, buy his CDs Yami no Album and Gwash!! Makoto-chan: Umezu Kazuo's World on Amazon! I wish I were a pro-wrestler just so I could make Yami no Album's brutally evil うしろを見るな!(Don't look behind you! Track 14) my entrance music. You can hear of 45 second sample of it and all the other songs if you click 試聴する next to the track list.

See you at Umezz Carnival 2010!

Click here for way more photos from the event!
Umezz Special Rock Live


Demerin has posted her own (Japanese) reports from the event, including lots of pics and this video of Umezu in action: