Furuya Usumaru X Inio Asano

In my absence, a great blog sprung up called Mangabrog, the proprietor of which has been translating Japanese-language interviews with manga into English for us poor non-Japanese-reading fans. Truly, God’s Work.

I’ve now availed myself of all of the site’s treasures, but I gotta say I loved this just-posted interview between Furuya Usamaru (Lychee Light Club, Genkaku Picasso) and Inio Asano (Solanin, Nijigahara Holograph) from Erotics F magazine volume 79.  Here’s a great bit:

Asano: If you were to ask me what my aim has been with the manga I’ve made up until now, I’d say that I’ve inevitably been making stuff that I myself like — but since I imagine there are a lot of people like me, I figured I could count on there being a decent number of people out there who’ll be able to “get” my manga. The problem, though, is if my readers are people are like me, and I don’t really like people who are similar to me, then that means that I dislike my readers.

Furuya: They do say that people tend to dislike people similar to themselves.

Asano: That’s what it is—it’s hard to like someone when you can see through them like that. I understand the reason people read my manga, what they like about it and what they’re going to eventually dislike about it, so I just can’t fully accept my readers. Hence my urge to mess with them.

The whole interview is fantastic–it’s very honest, and goes into great detail on the creative side of things too.

As for the rest of the site, I’m absolutely loving the two Taiyo Matsumoto interviews that are there, two more interviews with Asano, Daisuke Igarashi, Hiroki Samura, the dude who does Gantz… haha. It’s an awesome site that seems to exist solely for me to enjoy, so I hope you’ll make it more-real by sharing it with me.


- Chris

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Suddenly, Everything Has Changed

Long story short: My wordpress install for comics212 corrupted in some unknowable way, and could wordpress could no longer be updated except manually, which is a pain in the behind. This necessitated a full reinstall. It meant that everything might break. It means a fresh start.

I’d had my previous site design, my previous, gorgeous site design, for many many years. Nadine Lessio did a lovely job of it, but no web design is meant to last that long and it’s a testament to how solid it was that it lasted as long as it did. I used to redesign my site every week, when I was on blogger. By hand. Nadine’s lasted for 5 or 6 years, I think. Thank you, Nadine.

This blog had very much started to feel like a relic of a previous version of myself. It was written by the guy who was passionate about the worlds of comics and manga, who blogged with that swanky red-white-and-blue design for years. It was nostalgic visiting my blog. That’s awful, in a whole hell of a lot of ways.

So, a fresh start.

I’m hoping it leads somewhere.

- Christopher


So I’m headed to Comic-Con this year. Most of the time I’ll be at the UDON booth, 4529 (graphic to the right) but I’m taking a full day off this year (Friday) for more meetings, and to see people I feel like I’ve missed over the past few years.

I find that, nearly despite myself, I’m excited to go.

It’s kind of strange, the last few years Comic-Con has become ‘just another con’ in my schedule in a lot of ways, although obviously the largest and the biggest undertaking on my calendar. I mean, I’ve pretty much figured out how to “do” Comic-Con with a maximum of comfortability and accomplishment, and most of the obnoxious shit about the show (getting tickets, getting hotels, shipping, organizing) is all working out just fine now, almost on autopilot. The best part is still getting to see friends I don’t get to see very often, even though that’s often relegated to a quick drink, a late dinner, or a hug/high-five on the con floor. Bumping into people at parties. It’s nice, it’s okay, it doesn’t really stress me out that much anymore, but it’s not special.

But this year… I’ve had occasion to hear from a bunch of people for whom Comic-Con is not just special, but the most special, the pinaccle of their comics experience. Usually I find that kind of energy off-putting, because it comes with a lot of other baggage. Like the dude who was super angry that Comic-Con was coming up with ways (wristbands) for people not to need to camp out wearing diapers for 4 days to get into Hall H, because he was ‘hardcore’. Like I said: off-putting energy.

For whatever reason though, I’m kinda feeling it this year, getting a little excited, and enjoying the positive energy that people are putting out. People excited to exhibit for the first time, sign at their pub’s booth, (flatteringly) people that wanna meet me. Hell, people that are just excited to go. It’s nice.

So yeah, I’m totally looking forward to going to Comic-Con. I’ve been working about 80 hours a week for the past two weeks, I’m here at work typing on a Saturday trying to get ready, but yeah, I’m excited.

Hopefully I’ll see ya there!

- Chris

P.S.: I’m on the following two panels too, come say hi.

Meet UDON’s artists and editors, including Joe Ng (Street Fighter Origins: Akuma), Long Vo (Street Fighter II HD Remix), and Chris Butcher (director of marketing, UDON) as they discuss this year’s big hits and preview their upcoming 2014/2015 books, including the new Manga Classics line. Panel attendees will be the first to hear about some amazing as yet unannounced titles featuring iconic properties from across the pop culture spectrum.
Saturday July 26, 2014 5:30pm – 6:30pm 
Room 26AB
There’s a lot of manga available in English now, but what’s really worth reading? A panel of opinionated bloggers, retailers, manga mavens, and comics curmudgeons spotlight the best new manga that hit the shelves in the past year. Hear them rave about their favorite continuing series! Watch them rant about the excruciatingly mediocre manga that they were forced to read (so you won’t have to)! Find out which manga Brigid Alverson (CBR, Robot 6, MangaBlog, Good Comics for Kids), David Brothers (4th Letter), Christopher Butcher (Comics212.net), and Deb Aoki (MangaComicsManga.com, Publishers Weekly) have loved and loathed so far this year, hear about their picks for the most anticipated upcoming releases for fall and beyond, and discover their favorite underappreciated gems that are worth picking up.
Saturday July 26, 2014 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Room 23ABC

Where’s Chris?

Hey guys,

I’ve had my head down working on TCAF and UDON (and, of course, The Beguiling) so I apologize for the near-total lack of updates. In case you’re wondering about me, here’s where you can find me over the next few months. Feel free to come say hi if you can.

April 24-27: Calgary, AB, Calgary Comic Expo @ UDON Booth #910

April 30: Toronto Reference Library, 7pm, “Bitstrips: Democratizing Comics” Panel (link)

May 3: The Beguiling, Free Comic Book Day with Ed Piskor & Tom Scioli! (link)

May 8-11: TCAF, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (link)

May 22-26: Anime North, Toronto

June 26-July 1: Las Vegas, NV, American Library Assosciation Conference

July 3-6: Ottawa, ON, Wedding

July 21-28: San Diego, CA, Comic-Con International, UDON Booth

Busy, huh?

Hopefully I get to see all y’all. ;)

- Chris


Slate Cartoonist Studio Prize Winners Announced

I just wanted to write a brief note to let you all know that The Slate Annual Cartoonist Studio Prize has been announced, and the winners are Taiyo Matsumoto, for Sunny, and Emily Carroll, for Out of Skin. You can see all of the nominees, with links to their work, at The Slate Magazine website.

I was lucky to be one this year’s guest judge, alongside Slate Books Editor Dan Kois, and the faculty and students at the Center for Cartoon Studies. I just wanted to take a second to talk a little about these two authors’ works, and why I’m so happy that they’ve one.

Emily Carroll: What a wonderful year for Emily Carroll!! Like most I discovered her work with the outstanding His Face All Red, which used the medium of webcomics in an unique, wonderful, and truly beautiful way. This year Carroll had a fantastic run of releases online, but for my fellow judges and I, the creepy and haunting Out Of Skin was the strongest, and one of the strongest stories of her career. As a bit of a closet-formalist, I love the methodologies that Carroll uses to tell her stories as much as the stories themselves, and I’m very excited to see how these iconic stories translate to the printed page in her debut print later this summer. You can view her winning work, and a selection of her comics, at her website.

Taiyo Matsumoto: I think it’s pretty well-known, by this point, that I’ve been a fan of Taiyo Matsumoto’s work for nearly 20 years now, and I’m happy that with the semi-autobiographical Sunny that he’s finally getting some of much-deserved respect and recognition for his work. Moreover, I was thrilled to find that my enthusiasm for Sunny was eagerly returned by my fellow judges. With two volumes of Sunny released in 2013, and two more scheduled for 2014, 2015, and beyond, I’m thrilled to know that Matsumoto’s work will continue to be discovered by new audiences for years to come. You can find more info at U.S. Publisher Viz Media’s page, and Japanese publisher IKKI Magazine’s page.

In closing, I’d like to offer my thanks to my fellow judges Dan Kois,  and Nicole Georges and the students and faculty of The Center for Cartoon Studies, for this opportunity to shine a spotlight on some truly phenomenal comics work. It was a surprisingly difficult experience to choose the best of the best, but a truly worthwhile one.


- Christopher


It was a very good year and a very tough year, all things considered. I am very fortunate though, that the highs of the year were spectacularly high, that I got to see as much of the world as I did, and that I have a good man to share it with.

Here’s a little of my 2013, and here’s to all of us having a good 2014.

- Chris













See ya in 2014!

Remember, Remember, the First of December [repost]

Style Webcomic #2 - © Bryan Lee O'Malley

Once upon a time I lived with Bryan Lee O’Malley and this other guy, and we used one of the rooms in the house for our office. It housed all of our computers. I was kind of poor, so I had a pair of hand-me-down speakers for my computer and no headphones, wheras Mal and Other Guy both had pretty bitch’n headphones. So it made sense to me that I could just play the music I wanted because they couldn’t hear it anyway. About the time Christmas rolled around and I started listening to Christmas music 24 hours a day, I was informed that my music could in fact be heard, and was in fact intolerable.

That did not deter me. So Bryan made me a comic strip.

I still consider it a tribute, rather than a threat.

- Christopher

Apply for Slate’s “The Cartoonist Studio Prize”

Last year, The Slate Book Review and The Center for Cartoon Studies teamed to create The Cartoonist Studio Prize. It’s actually two, $1000 prizes awarded to cartoonists for their graphic novel or their web comic of the year. Eligible works are English language, published between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year.

They’re continuing the award this year! http://www.cartoonstudies.org/index.php/studio-prize/

I’m very happy to announce that I was asked to be the featured guest judge this year, and I’ll work with Dan Kois of Slate, and James Sturm and the faculty of the Center for Cartoon Studies, to determine a winner. I’m also very glad that it’s a largeish group deciding on the best book, as it will minimize the recrimination. :)

If you’re interested in submitting your work for consideration, head to http://www.cartoonstudies.org/index.php/studio-prize/ and check out the appropriate forms.

Thanks to Dan, James, and everyone for the opportunity. :)

- Christopher

And I’m Off…!

Hey folks,

If you’re reading this I’m travelling right now. If you’d like to say hello while I’m in your neck of the woods, drop me a line at chris at beguiling dot com.

Here’s where I’ll be:

Oct 15-17, 2013: Manchester, England

Oct 18-21, 2013: Kendal, England. Lakes International Comic Arts Festival

October 23-November 10, 2013: Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo) Various Events

I’ll be a guest of The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, which you can find out more about here: http://www.comicartfestival.com/

TCAF will be exhibiting at Kaigai Manga Festa in Tokyo Japan, and I’ll be there just after for some of the follow-up events. You can find out about that here: http://torontocomics.com/news/tcaf-to-japan-kaigai-manga-festa-october-20th-2013/

All in all, I’ll be travelling for about a month, and completely circumnavigating the globe for the first time! I’m beyond thrilled, and very fortunate to be able to do some cool things and spread the good word of comics all over the globe. I still feel, too, that the best is yet to come. :)

Thanks for reading,

- Christopher

Never Safe For Work