Thursday, March 25, 2010


Okay, spontaneous giveaway #1 starts now! I grabbed a small stack of the following Kazuo Umezu postcards at the screening of the documentary "GWASHI! KAZUO UMEZU DESU". They feature Orochi on the front, and have details on the UMEZUMA mobile site on the back.

The next EIGHT people who leave comments saying they want one will get a postcard mailed to you tomorrow. I also have a special separate postcard gift for the NINTH person who leaves a comment! I literally don't have any more cards after those, so it's totally first come, first served.

PS: I already designated another 4 cards to people I owed mail so Jaclyn, Zytroop, Azraelito, and TomorrowBoy- you're already on the list and no need to enter.

UPDATE: DONE! That was super fast. Here are the 8 folks getting postcards tomorrow:
miss nas
EXTRA BONUS POSTCARD (a Suehiro Maruo postcard!)

Can all 9 of you above send me your mailing address to [[samehat AT gmail DOT com]]


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I've got more "Early Manga Days" essays and report from my Tokyo trip coming soon, I promise. In the meantime, Shintaro Kago has posted another lovely 7-panel wordless gag manga by Shintaro Kago. This was taken from the Daily Manga page of his site:

Kago also posted another 12 originals on his drawings for sale page as well; these are pricier, actual comic pages that are a bit more extreme and gnarly, for the discerning fan. Check 'em out-- if you dare!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


(This post is part of a series I've tagged as early manga days, chronicling rare/weird gems from the beginning of manga's now 30+ year history of publication in English)

After everyone's great work on the early manga (in English) chronology, I'm stoked to dig deeper on some specific titles. Concurrent to creating that list, I've been digging around on ebay and at used book shops in the bay area for physical copies of some of these gems. Now that we have the list, I'm gonna dig in and highlight some scans and ephemera from these "artifacts" (haha) from the early publishing history of manga in English.

This post is to highlight the awesome covers and design of one of Viz's first three flagship titles, Mai the Psychic Girl by Kazuya Kudo and Ryoichi Ikegami. I remember loving this title when it was first collected in the early 90s, and the series held up really well when I re-read it last year. Like much of the manga selected to be published in the first wave, Mai is a boys manga with heavy science fiction & action elements.

You gotta love that front cover copy, haha:
"She is pretty. She is psychic. She is japanese"

In a nutshell, a dastardly and shadowy organization called the "Wisdom Alliance" (so good) is hellbent on taking over the world, and enrolling a squad of telekinetic children to help them destroy their enemies. The book follows the eponymous Mai (who is a 14 year old psychic girl) as she is hunted by the Wisdom Alliance and includes children having massive psychic battles, some 80s crime noir and international intrigue. Pretty badass stuff. Add to this the fact that it's all illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami (Strain, Crying Freeman, Sanctuary, etc!) and you have a pretty solid (albeit, stylistically dated) and fun science fiction/action series.

In the front inside cover of Mai the Psychic Girl #1, the editors included a message to readers of these first Viz comics books from 1987. This same note was included in the inside Front Cover of Area 88 #1 and Legend of Kamui #1 as well:
[Click for bigger version]

Here are the covers to a few of the first issues, along with the crazy back cover images- I'm not sure whose idea it was to do these floursecent/psychedelic color treatments, but I am loving them. The covers are entirely made up of colorized version of internal panels, along with goofy summary copy and blocks and lines; Each back cover (for the first 15 issues or so) includes a radical panel from the inside of the book.

[Click each for the large versions]

Next up in this series of posts, I'm going to reproduce three essays that were published in the back of the floppy issues of Mai The Psychic Girl, called "The Manga Story". These were written in 1986-1987 by the manga/Japan experts of the day, including stuff by Fred Patten, Frederik Schodt, and James D. Hudnall. These are fascinating essays on their own, and are all the more interesting for their predictions about the future of manga in English, nearly 25 years later.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Just getting my week started, greeted this groggy morning with a new 7-panel wordless gag manga by Shintaro Kago. This was posted on the Daily Manga page of his site:

Also worth noting, Kago continues to post new original drawings for sale on his site; The latest batch includes some original comic pages along with the usual spot illustrations. Here's my favorite of the new batch:

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I forgot to mention before I left for Japan, I was a guest on a special manga-themed edition of the excellent comics podcast, Inkstuds! Inkstuds is hosted by Robin McConnell, and features interviews and group discussions centered around indie comix. I've been listening to Robin's show for a while now online, so it was an honor to get to participate in this discussion (along with folks whose blogs and opinions I hold in high regard).

Today’s episode of Inkstuds takes a detour East, with a chat about Japanese manga for indie comics readers with your guest host, Deb Aoki, Manga Editor for ( and special guests:

Chris Butcher, manager of The Beguiling, comics blogger ( and co-founder of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival.

David P. Welsh, manga and comics blogger at The Manga Curmudgeon, and former columnist for Flipped!, a weekly feature on Japanese comics for The Comics Reporter.

Ryan Sands, indie/horror manga and comics blogger at Same Hat!, editor of Electric Ant Zine and translator/editor for Tokyo Zombie by Yusaku Hanakuma and the upcoming The Strange Tale of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo, both from Last Gasp.

You can check out the podcast here; it's a 45-minute discussion, talking about how folks got into manga, manga titles of interest to comix fans who usually read Fantagraphics/Drawn & Quarterly/Top Shelf style American comics, and lots of other stuff. It's over Skype, so I sound even more dorky, nasally and professorial than usual; The link above includes a full list of all the titles that came up, including many Same Hat favorites. Thanks again to Deb for putting a great show together and inviting me to take part. Enjoy!(?)

[Working today on a few Japan trip posts and the back log of "Early Manga Days" posts too!]

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


[photo by VoidMare, Tokyo Scum Brigade]