Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I was cleaning my apartment a little this weekend, and have a stack of manga and American comics to give away. These are things I purchased, along with a few free books from friends here and there.

(These books not actually included)

The rub is, these books are free but you're gonna have to Paypal me for shipping. I sorta discourage international folks from claiming books unless you're okay with the ~$8-14 bucks it costs to mail things. For US folks, I'm sure it will be like $2-$4 for any books you'd want.

If you see something you want, leave a message in the comments claiming it/them AND send me an email at SAMEHAT[at]GMAIL[dot]COM. I'd recommend you check the comments to see if someone else has claimed a book first, and I'll strike them out of the post as fast as I can to avoid confusion. OKAY, ENJOY FREE STUFF!
  • Welcome to the N.H.K. v.1 by Takimoto / Oiwa
  • Nightmare Inspector v.1 by Shin Mashiba
  • ALIVE v.1 by Tadashi Kawashima
  • Gantz by Hiroya Oku v.1
  • Swan by Ariyoshi Kyoko v.1
  • After School Nightmare v.1 by Setona Mizushiro
  • Ristorante Paradiso by Natsume Ono
  • The Wallflower v.1 by Tomoko Hayakawa
  • A Distant Neighborhood v.1 by Jiro Taniguchi
  • A Distant Neighborhood v.2 by Jiro Taniguchi
  • DMZ: On the Ground (v.1) by Wood/Burchielli
  • Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil v.1, 2, 3 by Jeff Smith
  • The Plain Janes by Castelucci & Rugg
  • Janes in Love by Castelucci & Rugg
  • My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down by David Heatley


I figure a lot of Same Hat readers are familiar with the publisher Seirinkogeisha (青林工藝舎), but if you're not they are one of the driving forces of contemporary indie manga-- a small publisher (not unlike Fantagraphics or Drawn & Quarterly in North America) behind a stable of diverse and exciting artists, many showcased in their AX anthology/magazine. They are also closely connected to tacoCHE in Nakano. Along with IKKI, EnterBrain/COMIC BEAM, and a few other publishers in Japan (Ohta, some of the stuff in MORNING), Seirinkogeisha is carrying the torch for indie manga- publishing both manga by contemporary creators and collections of unknown or under-appreciated artists of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

I realized recently that lots of fans of this stuff, waiting to see it in translation, might not be aware that the rad folks at Seirinkogeisha have been posting online a growing selection of previews of their new releases. These are all in Japanese (of course) but even untranslated hopefully present a cool flavor of what's happening right now. They post updates to their blog each time they add new previews too!

If you're interested in seeing what's happening in contemporary indie manga from one of the most interesting comics publishers in the world, I strongly encourage you guys check out the samples! For most titles, they put up the first chapter or so of the book-- and though their web reader is a bit slow to load, it's a great resource for nerds like us. I haven't read any of these books (except for the Yamada Hanako one) so please share comments if you have!

Thematically and visually, Seirinkogeisha's crop of new releases are all over the place (in a good way), but here are a few of ones I found most interesting:

生きる2010 (Ikiru 2010 aka We Live 2010) by Takashi Nemoto [PREVIEW]
The gnarliness we've come to love and expect from Takashi Nemoto is in full force here. The first story in the book/preview is in trippy full-color, and the entire book looks to be equally dense and brimming with sketchy details.

レッツゴー!!おスナック (Let's Go! Snack Bar) by Toyo Kataoka [PREVIEW]
Kataoka is featured in the AX Anthology, and has published a series of short story collections. In his work, Tokyoite Kataoka's uber-ornate and grotesque manga style is used (to great effect) to tell blue collar neighborhood stories about the city's day laborers, bar flies, and housewives.

ドストエフスキーの犬 (Dostoevsky's Dog) by George Akiyama [PREVIEW]
I picked up a copy of this book, along with Akiyama's ANGURA after having them recommended by Shintaro Kago himself. In Dostoevsky's Dog, Akiyama's elegant and clean lines serve up a a collection of raw tales, full of sex, sin, and coming of age angst. One of my favorite discoveries of the last year!

FLIGHT by Tsurita Kuniko [PREVIEW]
I'm not super familiar with Tsurita Kuniko, but this book collecting various manga from her short career has majorly piqued my interest. From a few online bios, it sounds like Tsurita's comics were published by Shirato Sanpei in GARO, starting right away in the mid-60s when she was just a high school student and continuing until the early 80s. She is reported to have worked in some way with Shigeru Mizuki, but fell ill with SLE and died at the early age of 37,

砂の剣 (Sword of the Sand)) by Susumu Higa [PREVIEW]
Another title/creator I'm not super familiar with, this one is Seirinkogeisha's latest book released (also featured on the cover of the latest AX). Sword of the Sand looks to be a humane and personal wartime tale set on Okinawa during the end of WWII.

Sujiko by Osamu Kanno [PREVIEW]
This is the first collection from Seirinkogeisha of the absurd and weirdly literary art comics of Osamu Kanno. I don't know much about this guy (post in the comments if you do!) but he has been consistently publishing short stories in AX since the beginning, and made his cartooning debut in 1982 (according to this profile via a Tsuge site). His "The Stranger" is the first story in the new AX Anthology. I am intrigued by this preview and want to learn more about these comics...

From Caroline Bren in the comments:
In addition to last year's book from Serinkogeisha, Osamu had another collection around the same time by Hokutoh Shobu, which I believe has been his regular publisher since the begining of his 80's. The recent book as well as one older one seem to still be available, but there is larger bibliography here. Most of the excerpt from his book that appears on the Serinkogeisha site first appeared in AX #58, and AX #71 had a cover feature on Osamu (but only a short comic). I haven't read any of the books but the pieces in AX are great.

ダニー・ボーイ (Danny Boy) by Shimada Toranosuke [PREVIEW]
I picked up a manga called "Träumerei" by artist Shimada Toranosuke last Spring in Tokyo, after seeing his works at the BIG AX FESTIVAL (pics of him from the show in that post). At first I didn't realize he was a contemporary cartoonist, and thought Seirinkogeisha had reprinted something from the early 70s.

Shimatora has a lovely little story in the AX Anthology ("Enrique Kobayashi's Eldorado"). His style is cartooning in a really beautiful and literal sense, simplifying faces and settings down to elegant lines and contrasting black & white shapes. I haven't read any of his stuff beyond Träumerei, which jumped setting from Cambodia to Japan to the Middle East to America, but this book seems to be a series of short stories named after songs (Danny Boy, Far East Suite, etc), focusing on war, music and late-20th Century politics(?).

正義隊3 (Justice Corps 3) by Yuka Goto [PREVIEW]
The third volume of this action series by young & awesome cartoonist Yuka Goto (age 32). Justice Corps looks like weird shirt drawn in a retarded and mean high school girl's notebook, which is an aesthetic that I love. Goto has a story called The Neighbor in the AX Anthology, and I just love that Seirinkogeisha publishes this type of work. The HETA in her heta-uma is STRONG, but also hilarious, like if Mat Brinkman's MULTIFORCE was drawn by Tammy from Esther Pearl Watson's Unloveable.

As a final note, I realized I never blogged about "Tamashii no ASOKO" the book about the late (& genius!) Yamada Hanako-- a fantastic biography & collection of her high school comics, college zines and assorted works. I've had an art crush on her since first seeing her comics in Comics Underground Japan, and will devote a full post to the book sometime (of which, you can get a sample at the link above).

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Happy weekend, everyone! I'm gonna try to spend it off the internet after an insanely busy week of work, but wanted to share a bunch of interesting reads, cool blogs, and weird stuff I've been enjoying this past week. I'm gonna make this a regular feature each Saturday from now on. Enjoy!

+ Third rate artisty - Also known as Ero Gekiga, a fantastic and promising new blog started by a friend to Same Hat. He says the blog will be:
"Dedicated to the lost art of ero gekiga, or sanryu gekiga, Japanese erotic comics from the 1970s and 1980s. For each artist's entry I will strive to include magazines they appeared in, collected works published and a sample of their panel work and book covers."

Seems like a fantastic new addition to the small handful of blogs digging into this ground, and I've already added it to the Same Hat sidebar links. Go over and show him some love!

+ AX Anthology Twitter review-a-thon - Manga reviewers on Twitter are doing a story-by-story review of the entire AX Anthology, which hit stores this week. They got through half the book on Friday and are gonna weigh in on the second half on Sunday. I'm planning a series of posts about artists in the book, but this is a great primer for the comics included in this meaty anthology!

+ The art of Jonny Negron - Last week I heard about the art of Jonny Negron. The dude's work is a weird mix of the non-lame parts of R.Crumb's pin-up work, 70s hentai, Seiichi Hayashi, and my teenage wet dreams rolled into one. I bought two paintings from him and am scheming on how I can get him in a future zine. Click through for more of his work, along with links to his site and Flickr.

+ THE RUINED CAST production blog - A new blog run by my friend & cartoonist Dash Shaw, following the production of his feature length animated film, The Ruined Cast. Dash wrote the screenplay and is directing the film, which features additional animation/art by Jane Samborski, Frank Santoro, & Ray Sohn, and is being produced by co-produced by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig & The Angry Inch, Shortbus).

In addition to posting details about the film and daily sketches, Dash is using the blog to talk about his love for the limited animation of Japanese OAV (which I know is close to a lot of our hearts). For starters, check out this great interview with Katsuhiro Otomo, thoughts on the Testujin 28-go opening sequence, and a concept title animation for a prison sitcom with Will Ferrel.

+ Insane title sequence from Enter The Void - A short 1min clip from the new Gaspar Noe film about siblings and psychedelia in Tokyo. The number of typefaces per second in this opening is insane and won me over.

+ Kentaro Takekuma and Koji Aihara in the woods - Hilarious photo shoot by the kings of gag manga and creators of Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga. Also features a few nice cameos by my friend Demerin (UMEZZ.COM)!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


At some point last weekend between eating pizza, drinking beers in the park and eating indian pizza, my buddy Ramenate reminded me that I still haven't posted the majority of the massive stockpile of photos and dispatches from my trip out to Tokyo earlier this year. How true!

I have a knack lately with all the blogs, projects, brainfarts (oh yeah, and day job) I'm foolishly juggling of forgetting that coming up with an idea is like 10% of the actual work. I am gonna try to be better about this and post more goodies for you guys... How many times have I said that? BUT THIS TIME I MEAN IT :B

So anyway, Nate put me on blast for being lazy while we were inventing a kimchi bloody mary cocktail we're calling the "Gwangju Mary:

(so damn tasty! click above for the recipe)

Ready to prove him wrong, here is the next in a series of posts I've labeled Japan 2010!


I had a short list of things set in stone for my Tokyo trip earlier this year that I specifically wanted to check out & photograph for Same Hat. One of the most auspicious was the BIG AX FESTIVAL, a month-long art show organized by manga publisher Seirinkogeisha. The exhibit was held in Billiken Gallery, and featured a huge set of featured artists; in fact, the month-long show was split down the middle with two separate openings and sets of artists. I was lucky enough to visit the final weekend of the exhibit with Nate, and see the 2nd half of BIG AX FESTIVAl (which featured original works by Same Hat patron saints Suehiro Maruo, Yusaku Hanakuma, Shintaro Kago, and many other amazing artists).

Billiken Gallery (Billiken Shokai) is a super cute shop in the highly fashionable and consumerist Aoyama neighborhood of Tokyo. For those that haven't had the pleasure, Aoyama is the 'hood further down the way from Harajuku, home to the crazy Comme des Garçons and Vuitton flagships, swank little eateries, and some of the hottest/fanciest ladies in Tokyo.

(photo by saripom)

The gallery space at Billiken Shokai is in the back, while the front half of the shop features American indie comics (David Bowing by Clowes, David B's Epileptic, etc) along with vintage vinyl figurines, tin toys, and other collectibles. The staff there was cute and polite, a juxtaposition to the wacky-ass art hanging for the AX show. I took a few photos (below) before they informed me that was actually frowned upon... and ended our time there by buying some autographed manga and pins for friends.

Check out the Billiken Gallery's exhibit blog for lots of pics of their ongoing exhibits; I have found tons and tons of contemporary artists to follow/stalk/read about from their blog! It makes me wish that the SuperFrog Gallery in San Francisco was 1/10th as, well, relevant for lack of a better word. Not to harp on this, but it's spaces like Billiken that underscore how much of a missed opportunity for Japan/Manga/Cartoon gallery space the New People building is in its current form.


By Yuka Goto, awesome artists of the Justice Corps series. She captures this art brut x nasty high school girl's diary aesthetic really well (and has a story called The Neighbor in the AX Anthology)

Paintings & prints mounted on the wall, manga by AX artists stacked for folks to peruse on all the tables!

BIG AX FESTIVAL t-shirt (not for sale)

Oh yeah, and every issue of AX to date (along with paintings by Maruo, drawing by Hanakuma)

Glass case full of AX/Seirinkogeisha artists pins, including sets by Suehiro Maruo.

Tsuge, Hanakuma, Hayami, and others! These pins were for sale (and are also available at Taco Che


Hirakuchi Hitomi

A painting by one of the Same Hat pantheon: Shintaro Kago!

Shimatora Torada, author of the lovely manga, Träumerei

Minimalist pen drawing by Yusaku Hanakuma

Pieces by Yoshikazu Ebisu

This dude is jolly: Yoshikazu Ebisu

Suehiro Maruo signing books

Damn dude! Yoshikazu Ebisu, Minami Shinbou, and Suehiro Maruo

Yuka Goto and Toshiko Suzuki(?)

Check out this sea of talent! That is Mr. Buff Hotness (Hanakuma!) in the purple turtleneck.

Original painting by Suehiro Maruo. It was sold when I visited, for something like $1200? (Wait, it had to be way more than that... I forget)

The dude Nishioka of Nishioka Kyoudai

Piece by Kurihara Takashi

Piece by Imiri Sakabashira

Piece by Toyo Kataoka

Piece by Fukuzawa Minako

Piece by Akino Kondoh

Every issue of AX!

Piece by Kazuichi Hanawa

I hope folks enjoyed this collection of photographs and details on the gallery. There are more pics on the Billiken Gallery blog, but it doesn't have permalinks to previous posts unfortunately. Just go back through the archives to February to see 'em!

I would definitely include Billiken Shokai on my list of Tokyo stops, especially if you're already over in West Tokyo at Harajuku or kicking it on the Chuo Line. I just added it to the Same Hat Guide To Everything for anyone planning an upcoming trip!

Hey guys,
Leigh here from Top Shelf. The AX book is indeed real, not to worry! It's available via direct order from our web site or at conventions. Unfortunately we had some logistical delays with the book moving through distribution channels, but Diamond has it now and will be distributing to comic shops, bookstores, Amazon, etc within a week or two. Sorry for the confusion and hope you enjoy the book!

The direct order page for AX is here, by the way (
http://www.topshelfcomix.com/catalog/ax-vol-1-a-collection-of-alternative-manga/645) and as Jose-Luis mentioned, we are in the middle of a big mail-order sale right now. Thanks everybody for all your interest and support!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Sorry folks, I had accidentally turned them off a week ago to thwart a persistent troll/spammer... and then forgot to turn them back on! Feel free to comment away to your heart's content!