Category Archives: Taiyo Matsumoto

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.

Best,

– Christopher

No.5 by Taiyo Matsumoto – Complete in English for iPad

“It was going to be an adventure action story starring attractive superheroes. But that is when 9-11 and the war broke out, and that made me think about violence and justice. The story changed…”
– Taiyo Matsumoto, on the genesis of No. 5, from the app-exclusive interview

Read my interview with Taiyo Matsumoto

Get the iPad app for No. 5 complete (bilingual English/Japanese)

Thank you to Deb Aoki and M.K. for the wonderful opportunity.

– Christopher

All kidding aside…

gogomonster.jpg…I just finished GoGo Monster by Taiyo Matsumoto, author of Tekkon Kinkreet / Black and White and it`s awesome. Full review after I’ve read it a second time, but it’s just really, really neat. I think it might start making appearances in stores today, and in comic stores in the next week or two. Published by Viz.  Run, don’t walk, to pick it up.

– Chris

TekkonKinkreet wins the Eisner!

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

More Matsumoto!

GO GO MONSTER anyone? Ask Viz to make It happen…

EDIT: August 1st 2008: Here’s the official VIZ PR.

VIZ MEDIA’S TEKKONKINKREET

BY TAIYO MATSUMOTO

WINS 2008 EISNER AWARD

 

Edgy Series About Two Miscreant Boys’ Adventures In A Surreal Metropolis Is The Only Japanese Manga Title To Win This Year

 

San Francisco, CA, August 1, 2008 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced that its manga, TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE, by acclaimed creator Taiyo Matsumoto, won a 2008 Eisner Comic Industry Award for the Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan. Named for pioneering writer and comic artist Will Eisner, the awards recognize exemplary comics, graphic novels and other pop writings and are given each year as part of the annual Comic-Con International convention.

 

The manga, which is published by VIZ Media under its Signature imprint, was also the inspiration behind the Tekkonkinkreet animated feature film from Sony Pictures directed by noted visual effects artist and producer Michael Arias (The Abyss, Princess Mononoke, The Animatrix).

 

TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE presents a gritty depiction of urban and social chaos surrounding a pair of outcast kids. Orphaned on the mean streets of Treasure Town, Black and White steal and fight to survive but remain fiercely loyal to each other. The result? The citizens of Treasure Town are afraid of them, the police are afraid of them, and even the local yakuza gangsters are afraid of them…and when a crime boss known as the “Rat” returns to Treasure Town, a confrontation is set to occur.

 

VIZ Media released TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE in August 2007 and bundled all three volumes of the original series into a new, premium omnibus edition that includes a color poster insert and 12 additional full-color manga pages – the first time these pages were published in the U.S. An insightful interview with Michael Arias and screenwriter Anthony Weintraub is also featured in the foreword. TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE is rated “M” for Mature Audiences and has a Suggested Retail Price of $29.95. In addition to TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE, Matsumoto’s other notable works include BLUE SPRING and NO. 5 (both published by VIZ Media) and PING PONG, which was also adapted into an award-winning live action film that is available domestically from VIZ Pictures.

 

“We are extremely honored to have TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE recognized by the comics industry with this notable award,” says Alvin Lu, Vice President, Publishing, VIZ Media. “Taiyo Matsumoto has won international critical acclaim for his honest and unflinching depictions of young peoples’ lives and for his unique, immediately recognizable art style that blends both Japanese and European influences. We invite everyone to explore this award-winning series now available in a gorgeous omnibus edition from VIZ Media!”

 

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone  (415) 546-7073 ; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.

 

###

Kazu Liked Matsumoto

tekkonkinkreet-allinone.jpg

I was happy to read that Kazu Kibuishi really enjoyed Taiyo Matsumoto’s Tekkon Kinkreet, particularly since he says it was the interview I published that pushed him to finally pick the book up off his to-read pile. The piece he wrote on approaching Matsumoto’s work, and the book itself, is also really interesting. I’m aware that when you push a creator or a work really hard, people (particularly hardcore comics readers) tend to bristle. The number of comments in my feed reader in a given week that are some variation on living or not living up to the “hype” is kind of ridiculous… Anyway, Kazu lays his thought-processes on engaging the work bare, and like I said, it’s worth reading.

So this means that yes Jim, you have to read it again.

– Christopher

INTERVIEW: Taiyo Matsumoto (1995)

In October of 1995, the online fan website “Tokyo Cool” published the first, and one of the only English-language interviews with manga creator Taiyo Matsumoto. At some point in the last 13 years the whole website was taken offline, interview included. With a little help from webarchive.org I dug up as much of the original website as was left, including this interview and some bibliographical information. I then spent the last few months re-writing it into slightly more grammatical English, annotating it, and filling out and updating the bibliography. Why? Because Matsumoto is a real talent and I figure the more people are interested in him, the more people will buy the work, the more work we’ll get…! Enjoy!

INTERVIEW: TAIYO MATSUMOTO
By Kansai Takita
Conducted October 1995
Translated into English by Kansai Takita
English re-write by Christopher Butcher

Since when have clever writing and bold art styling become so appreciated? TAIYO MATSUMOTO emerged like a penetrating black hole of negative space into a sandstorm of tiny details. The brilliance of intense pitch-black darkness—like a photo-negative of the sun—assaults our eyes. The entire spectrum of Matsumoto’s world is focused in this interview, a sum of words.

## The Beginning of Taiyo Matsumoto’s Manga Career

TAKITA: Have you been drawing manga since childhood?

MATSUMOTO: I have always enjoyed drawing manga, but I was more of a soccer player as a child. I started drawing manga seriously while in University. When I was at Wako University, I saw an illustration in the book that introduces various clubs at school, and then joined ‘Comic Study Group’. Up to that point, I was definitely a physical type. When I asked the other club members when we started practicing, I was told there was no such thing as practice! At that time, I had absolutely no knowledge of how to create comics—not even about toning. I had to be taught the basics, like not drawing on both sides of the paper.

TAKITA: You made your debut in Comic Morning Magazine [with the series STRAIGHT].

MATSUMOTO: There was a special edition of “Comic Morning” called “Afternoon” which was just being issued. It was in “Afternoon” where my first work appeared. I was a university student then.

TAKITA: Who were your favorite comic artists at the time?

MATSUMOTO: I was a fan of Comic Morning contributor Seiki Tsuchida, I decided to apply there with my work because of him. 1

## Taiyo Matsumoto’s Cousin, Santa Inoue

TAKITA: Did you start drawing comics at the same time as your cousin, manga artist Santa Inoue? 2

MATSUMOTO: Santa was born in France, and I used to bully him because his Japanese was terrible. I think it was into our late teens when we became close friends. He was very bright. He has been contributing his manga to Shueisha and other publishers since his early teens, he started very early. His style is not “tardy” and very sharp, you know. It may be because Santa was born in France that his comic has no “wabi-sabi” (an expression derived from the Sadoh, Japanese tea ceremony, implying simple tranquility). 3

TAKITA: Do you regard him as your rival?

MATSUMOTO: I do have a sense of friendly rivalry with him… I wouldn’t want to do anything unseemly.

## Moving from STRAIGHT to ZERO.

TAKITA: Next you moved onto the “Big Comic Spirits” magazine from “Comic Morning”.

MATSUMOTO: I had a lot of freedom working with “Big Comic Spirits.” I wrote my manga ZERO as I was asked to do a drama featuring a boxing story.

TAKITA: You made a dramatic change in your drawing style between STRAIGHT and ZERO.

MATSUMOTO: I was covering the Paris-Dakar Rally when I was 22. I had little interest in the Rally itself and spent a lot of time at bookstores. The drastic change in my drawing may have been the result of the comics I came across in the French bookstores. 4

TAKITA: Does that mean that you were influenced by French comics artists like Moebius and Enkil Bilal?

MATSUMOTO: Yes, I was. The number of really great comics artists in France were fewer than I had anticipated, but those who were great were exceptionally marvelous. They had a tremendous impact on my work.

TAKITA: Did you work out the story of ZERO before you began drawing it? Traditionally a boxing manga portrays the character growing up and coming of age, but that isn’t the case with ZERO.

MATSUMOTO: Yes, I had my story prepared. ZERO starts with a 30 year old boxing champion as the main character. At first, the publisher was against beginning the story that way.

TAKITA: In ZERO your line had changed, but the fundamental story resembles that of STRAIGHT.

MATSUMOTO: Yes, that’s true. With ZERO, I had completed what I could not accomplish in STRAIGHT. Although STRAIGHT was originally about a 40 year-old relief pitcher, I was asked to change him to a 19 year-old relief pitcher because I was young myself then. I had a specific desire to draw a story about a middle-aged man.

## Background on Matsumoto’s works BLUE SPRING and HANA-OTOKO (A Boy Meets A Papa and Baseball).

TAKITA: Your manga BLUE SPRING feels new, in the sense that it observes punk kids from an objective point of view, normally comics about punks are done by punk artists themselves. Was your high school like the one depicted in BLUE SPRING?

MATSUMOTO: Well, my high school has been closed down. The students really only became rough after it had been decided that the school was to be closed. I love drawing teenage punks, they became my dear friends and I was a fan of them. Although I felt that the story in BLUE SPRING “The Family Restaurant Is Our Paradise!” was pretty well done, I had written “This Is Bad” 5 to complete the book. I was amazed by how I could rapidly change my work. I thought I had an unbiased attitude to my subjects, but I found it impossible to be impassive. At the end I was forcing myself to draw punks objectively and the consequence is “This Is Bad.”

TAKITA: “Revolver” is based on an original story by Carib Marley (a writer and a great fan of Bob Marley!). How did you two collaborate on the work?

MATSUMOTO: He had finished the original story as one piece and kindly said that I could cook the material as I wished. I was a fan of Carib Marley, and it happened that we had the same editor. “Revolver” was the very first work I did based on someone else’s story.

TAKITA: Your manga HANA-OTOKO is set in Shonan, a seaside area.

MATSUMOTO: I used to live in Sagami-Ohno. But I had a feeling, while I was strolling through the Shonan area, it might just be the right environment for creating HANA-OTOKO, so I had moved to Fujisawa. It was pretty lonesome living by myself, so I asked Kazunari Eifuku 5a and Santa Inoue to move there with me.

TAKITA: HANA-OTOKO resembles Kei Nemoto’s manga NATURAL. 6

MATSUMOTO: I found out about that afterwards. Santa is a fan of Nemoto’s works and seems to be on good terms with Nemoto. I am a fan of Yoshikazu Ebisu’s 7 works, particularly TEACHERS IN HELL and NO MORE THINKING. I think they’re great manga.

## TEKKON KINKREET and Action Comics

TAKITA: You are particular about the movements of a human body. Do you like action comics?

MATSUMOTO: I like comics with action especially in a serialized comic. Specifically, I prefer to draw sports stories where the action can be depicted more naturally, as compared to something like a gangster action comic. Another reason I prefer to draw sports comics is that I enjoy drawing the little details that belong to sports, like a catcher’s mitt or the number on a player’s back in a baseball manga.

TAKITA: How about a soccer comic?

MATSUMOTO: Doing a soccer comic is hard. 22 players need to appear in one game. I would need 20 volumes to do a soccer comic, but I feel most comfortable with work that’s about three volumes long.

TAKITA: Did you pick the setting for TEKKON KINKREET as the near-future because you had action comics in mind for this particular work?

MATSUMOTO: It would have been more effective to see a boy running down a building wall in animation, I couldn’t achieve the effect I had envisioned in a single drawing. 8

TAKITA: Even though it’s a single drawing, your expression of movement is so rich. You use techniques like abbreviating dialogue and very specific framing and composition in TEKKON KINKREET, did you do that all on instinct?

MATSUMOTO: If I try to write all of the dialogue, the story would be too long. Even when I read other people’s comics, I’m inclined to skip some of lines of dialogue. So I abbreviate it as much as possible in my work.

##The Vector Of Creation

TAKITA: What are you interested in creating next?

MATSUMOTO: The next material that I am interested in is table tennis. I’d like to do a high school version of Shinsen Gumi in Ryotaro Shima’s “Burning Sword” (a historical novel where a group of samurai called Shinsen Gumi have risen to protect the Emperor toward the end of Edo Period). 9

TAKITA: There is already Monoru Furutani’s GO! INA JUNIOR HIGH TABLE TENNIS CLUB!

MATSUMOTO: Whenever I mention that I want to do a table tennis manga next, I’m always reminded of that. What I’m going to do is a story with a main character who is a genius. I’ve been researching and the series will appear serially in “Big Comic Spirits” magazine.

TAKITA: It may sound trite, but why have you chosen to become a comic artist and not a novelist or a film director?

MATSUMOTO: When I was deciding what I should do for life, there were so many comic artists that I had incredible respect for, like Minetaro Mochizuki 10, Seiki Tsuchida and Katsuhiro Otomo 11. Under the circumstances, I could think of no other way to tell stories than becoming a comic artist.

TAKITA: Mochizuki’s FLUTTER GOLDFISH is really funny.

MATSUMOTO: When I read that, I was relieved that I don’t have to draw women. Many people had said that my weak point was that I couldn’t draw women in the same way that, if I were a pitcher, I couldn’t throw a curve ball.

TAKITA: TEKKON KINKREET has become a play directed by Makoto Sato in a black tent. What do you think of the play? 12

MATSUMOTO: I had expected more changes from the original, but on the contrary, it was loyal to the original work and most of lines used were exactly the same as those in the actual comics. Having seen that play, I wanted to write a play myself.

## The Future

TAKITA: What do you think of multimedia, personal computers, and so forth?

MATSUMOTO: Currently, I am working on a CD-ROM 13. At first, I was asked to make a CD-ROM of TEKKON KINKREET, but I did not want the comic which was meant to be read as in two-page spreads to be conformed to a style where every panel had to be clicked and read one-at-a-time. So I am doing an original work for a CD-ROM. I still don’t have a feel for it, but I’m flattered that many young people have an interest in my work.

TAKITA: The art book 100 and manga NIHON NO KYODAI (Brotherhood of Japan) are your newest works. Could you tell us about your future plans?

MATSUMOTO: Manga creator Mr. Aihara 14 has already done a ninja comic. I’d like to do a ninja comic myself, using vivid contrast without toning, possibly in a monthly or bi-monthly serial. The world of ninja is so cruel and dirty, yet it has a strong aesthetic. When I am a little older with more drawing ability, I would like to draw that world of wabi-sabi. 15

##A message for the readers

TAKITA: Would you like to leave a message for the readers?

MATSUMOTO: Please do not believe in comic artists’ words. I think comics are like fake magic. To keep itself entertaining, it creates a secret device, and we are not creating comics out of supernatural power. Sometimes there are readers who have false idea about drawing comics are about using supernatural power. (^^;;)

TAKITA: Indeed, that may happen, as a manga leaves the hands of an artist once it is published and starts to walk by itself. Thank you for joining us today.

END

October,1995
INTERVIEWED by TAKITA KANSEI

The original interview may be available online by clicking this link.

END NOTES

1. Seiki Tsuchida has not yet been published in English. For more on him though, check out these links.

Links on Seiki Tsuchida:
A fun post on his series “KING OF EDITORS”: http://community.livejournal.com/mangacast/514236.html
Biography of Seiki Tsuchida: http://users.skynet.be/mangaguide/au1959.html.

2. Santa Inoue is best known in North America for his series TOKYO TRIBES, published in English by Tokyopop. A sensational Japanese gangster fantasy, the series has legions of dedicated fans in Japan, and has led to an anime, fashion lines, and many other licensed goods. Unfortunately it looks as though TT has been cancelled by the publisher, with only six of 11+ volumes translated. Santa Inoue is no relation to manga-ka Takehiko Inoue, author of VAGABOND.

Links on Santa Inoue:
Santastic! The official Santa Inoue store: http://www.santa.co.jp/
Tokyopop Publisher Stu Levy interviews Inoue in a video interview: http://youtube.com/watch?v=85XTK8kJUwA (Apparently this is just part 1 of an 8 part interview, but I can’t find parts 2-7 anywhere. Sigh. Tokyopop.)

3. This description of “wabi-sabi” comes from the original interview, however the actual idea is much more complex and nuanced. For more on “wabi-sabi”, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi.]

4. I feel it important to note that Matsumoto created the action tour-de-force NO.5 (Number 5) in the early 2000s, which has a very deliberate and acknowledged tip-of-the-hat to the comics of Moebius and Enki Bilal.

5. In the original Japanese version of BLUE SPRING, the story referred to here is called “Oh, I Give Up”, and is the last story in the book.

5a. Kazunari Eifuku: I couldn’t find any information on this person, save a thank-you credit in Usumaru (Short Cuts) Furuya’s SUICIDE CIRCLE. It is interesting to note however, that Matsumoto would later go on to work with a fellow named Issei Eifuku, and Issei Eifuku seems only to be credited with being the writer on Matsumoto’s newest work, TAKEMITSU ZAMURAI.

6. I can find no record of this manga anywhere. However, the artist that they seem to be referring to here is likely “Takashi Nemoto” who is sometimes mistakenly referred to as “Kei Nemoto.” Nemoto is a seminal, influential figure in underground comics in Japan. His first published work in English appeared in the now hard-to-find collection COMICS UNDERGROUND JAPAN, and his first major work, MONSTER MEN BUREIKO LULLABY, will be published in English by PictureBox Inc. in Fall 2008.

Links on Takashi Nemoto:
The official English Takashi Nemoto website: http://www011.upp.so-net.ne.jp/TOKUSYUMANGA/text/genre14.htm
Information page for PictureBox Inc.: http://www.pictureboxinc.com/product/id/306/

7. Ebisu Yoshikazu’s work is generally untranslated in North America, except for a short story in COMICS UNDERGROUND JAPAN. However, a panel of his work graces the front cover to Frederk L. Schodt’s seminal book on manga, Dreamland Japan, and an appreciation of the artist appears in that book.

8. Obviously, this interview was conducted far before TEKKON KINKREET was animated. The animated version of TEKKON KINKREET was released in 2007 by Sony Pictures.

9. The work described here would eventually become Matsumoto’s biggest hit, the five-volume manga series PING PONG. The PING PONG manga spawned a live-action movie that has been released in North America by Viz Pictures Releasing. The manga has not yet been translated for North America, but is available in scanlations.

10. Minetaro Mochizuki is the author of DRAGON HEAD, published in English by Tokyopop, and it is quite good. Mochizuki is better-known in Japan for his comedy series FLUTTER GOLDFISH, though, which is untranslated.

11. Katsuhiro Otomo is the creator of the smash-hit manga and anime AKIRA. AKIRA manga was until-recently available from Dark Horse Comics, and the AKIRA animated film is available on DVD from Sony Pictures. In addition, Otomo’s STEAMBOY and MEMORIES animated films are available from Son Pictures, and his manga DOMU was until-recently available from Dark Horse Books.

12. Sorry folks, I couldn’t find any more info on this stage adaptation, or even much about what a Black Tent play is. HOWEVER! It looks like Matsumoto actually DID write a play. I found a book on Amazon Japan that seems to be a combination of the comic that the play is based on and the complete script for the play. It’s called, and I quote, “Mezasu hikari no aru saki / or Mono, moshikuha, paradise”. He also created the script for an original black tent play in comics form, which became the graphic novel HANA. Both plays have been performed in front of an audience, and published as books.

13. CD-ROM? No idea. I couldn’t find any info on this.

14. “Mr. Aihara” here may actually refer to Koji Aihara, the author of EVEN A MONKEY CAN DRAW MANGA (released in English by Viz, out of print), as Aihara did create a well-regarded Ninja comic.

15. “I’d like to do a ninja comic myself, using vivid contrast without toning, possibly in a monthly or bi-monthly serial.” Matsumoto did adopt a very edgy and high-contrast style later in his career, and he’s using it to illustrate his current manga series TAKEMITSU ZAMURAI, with author Issei Eifuku. It’s very interesting.

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Japanese book display featuring the work of Taiyo Matsumoto. Photo by Christopher Butcher.

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF JAPANESE WORKS BY TAIYO MATSUMOTO

I’ve compiled as thorough a bibliography of Japanese language releases by Taiyo Matsumoto as one can without a thorough grasp of the Japanese language. I’ve also tried to find cover images for each entry, and made specific note of if and where these books are available in English, by hook… or by crook. I should also note that Matsumoto has begun illustrating book covers and interiors for various prose stories, and a search of his name on Amazon Japan will bring up 3-5 books not listed below. In general, he has just provided cover illustrations for these work, and so I haven’t included them here (they’re real pretty though…).

straight-1.JPG

STRAIGHT Volume 1
Publisher: Kodansha, January 1989
English Availability: No
420 yen

STRAIGHT Volume 2
Publisher: Kondansha, December 1989
English Availability: No
430 Yen

zero.jpg

ZERO Volume 1 (New Edition)
Publisher: Shogakukan, May 1991 (Reissued September 95)
ISBN-13: 978-4091847355
English Availability: No
900 Yen

Zero Volume 2 (New Edition)
Publisher: Shogakukan, August 1991 (Reissued September 95)
ISBN-13: 978-4091847348
English Availability: No
900 Yen

hanaotoko-covers.jpg

Hana Otoko (A Boy Meet A Papa And Baseball) Volume 1
Publisher: Shogakukan, May 1992 (reissued October 1998)
ISBN-13: 978-4091857316
English Availability: Scanlations, http://www.mangascreener.com/
900 Yen

Hana Otoko (A Boy Meet A Papa And Baseball) Volume 2
Publisher: Shogakukan, August 1992 (reissued October 1998)
ISBN-13: 978-4091857323
English Availability: Scanlations, http://www.mangascreener.com/
900 Yen

Hana Otoko (A Boy Meet A Papa And Baseball) Volume 3
Publisher: Shogakukan, October 1992 (reissued October 1998)
ISBN-13: 978-4091857330
English Availability: Scanlations, http://www.mangascreener.com/
900 Yen

bluespring.jpg

Blue Spring (Aoi Haru)
Publisher: Shogakukan, May 1993 (Reissued December 1998)
ISBN-13: 978-4091857347
English Availability: Print Edition, Viz, http://www.viz.com
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Artsmagic, http://www.artsmagicdvd.com/home/index.html
920 Yen

tekkonkinkreet-j.jpg

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Tekkon Kinkreet Volume 1
Publisher: Shogakukan, March 1994
English Availability: Print Edition (as Black & White Volume 1), Viz, Out of Print
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Sony Pictures, http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/tekkonkinkreet/
850 Yen

Tekkon Kinkreet Volume 2
Publisher: Shogakukan, May 1994
ISBN-13: 978-4091847324
English Availability: Print Edition (as Black & White Volume 2), Viz, Out of Print
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Sony Pictures, http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/tekkonkinkreet/
850 Yen

Tekkon Kinkreet Volume 3
Publisher: Shogakukan, July 1994
ISBN-13: 978-4091847331
English Availability: Print Edition (as Black & White Volume 3), Viz, Out of Print
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Sony Pictures, http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/tekkonkinkreet/
850 Yen

brothersofjapan.jpg

Brothers of Japan (Nippon No Kyoudai)
Publisher: Magazine House, October 1995
Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-4838707508
English Availability: No
1,100 Yen

100.jpg

100
Publisher: Shogakukan, November 1995
100 Pages, Artbook, Hardcover, Oversized, Full Colour
ISBN-13: 978-4091997210
English Availability: No
2,500 Yen

pingpong.jpg

Ping Pong Volume 1
Publisher: Shogakukan, June 1996
ISBN-13: 978-4091847362
English Availability: Scanlations, http://www.kefi.org/
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Viz, http://www.pingpong-movie.net/
900 Yen

Ping Pong Volume 2
Publisher: Shogakukan, November 1996
ISBN-13: 978-4091847379
English Availability: Scanlations, http://www.kefi.org/
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Viz, http://www.pingpong-movie.net/
900 Yen

Ping Pong Volume 3
Publisher: Shogakukan, February 1997
ISBN-13: 978-4091847386
English Availability: Scanlations, http://www.kefi.org/
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Viz, http://www.pingpong-movie.net/
900 Yen

Ping Pong Volume 4
Publisher: Shogakukan, June 1997
ISBN-13: 978-4091847393
English Availability: Scanlations, http://www.kefi.org/
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Viz, http://www.pingpong-movie.net/
900 Yen

Ping Pong Volume 5
Publisher: Shogakukan, August 1997
ISBN-13: 978-4091847409
English Availability: Scanlations, http://www.kefi.org/
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Viz, http://www.pingpong-movie.net/
900 Yen

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101
Publisher: Shogakukan, May 1999
100 Pages, Artbook, Oversized, Hardcover, Full Colour
ISBN-13: 978-4091847324
English Availability: No
2,500 Yen

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Mezasu hikari no aru saki or Mono, moshikuha, paradise
Publisher: Freestyle, May 2000
165 Pages, Hardcover, Text only (play)
ISBN-13: 978-4939138010
English Availability: No
About: This play was written by Taiyo Matsumoto to be performed in black tent.

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GOGO MONSTER
Publisher: Shogakukan, November 2000
455 Pages, Hardcover, Slipcase
ISBN-13: 978-4091793416
English Availability: No
2,625 Yen 

Edit: In February 2009 Viz Media announced that they would be doing an all-in-one edition of GO GO MONSTER, to be released November 2009 for $24.95. Format is unkown at time of posting.

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No. 5 Volume 1
Publisher: Shogakukan, November 2001
146 Pages, Oversized
ISBN-13: 978-4091882011
English Availability: Print Edition, Viz, Out of Print
860 Yen

No. 5 Volume 2
Publisher: Shogakukan, May 2002
138 Pages, Oversized
ISBN-13: 978-4091882028
English Availability: Print Edition, Viz, Out of Print
860 Yen

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Hana
Publisher: Freestyle, December 2002
80 Pages, Oversized, Hardcover, Dust Jacket
ISBN-13: 978-4939138096
English Availability: No
1,680 Yen
ABOUT: Matsumoto created this script for a black tent theatre performance as a penciled comic story, and then revised it into a full length 80 page graphic novella.

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No. 5 Volume 3
Publisher: Shogakukan, March 2003
Oversized
ISBN-13: 978-4091882035
English Availability: No
860 Yen

No. 5 Volume 4
Publisher: Shogakukan, August 2003
128 Pages, Oversized
ISBN-13: 978-4091882042
English Availability: No
860 Yen

No. 5 Volume 5
Publisher: Shogakukan, January 2004
138 Pages, Oversized
ISBN-13: 978-4091882059
English Availability: No
860 Yen

No. 5 Volume 6
Publisher: Shogakukan, June 2004
134 Pages, Oversized, Dust Jacket
ISBN-13: 978-4091882066
English Availability: No
860 Yen

No. 5 Volume 7
Publisher: Shogakukan, November 2004
? Pages, Oversized, Dust Jacket
ISBN-13: 978-4091882073
English Availability: No
860 Yen

No. 5 Volume 8
Publisher: Shogakukan, February 2005
? Pages, Oversized
ISBN-13: 978-4091882080
English Availability: No
860 Yen

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No. 5 Omnibus Edition Volume 1
Publisher: Shogakukan, November 2005
Collects Volumes 1 & 2 of the original edition
ISBN-13: 978-4091886118
English Availability: No
1,100 Yen

No. 5 Omnibus Edition Volume 2
Publisher: Shogakukan, November 2005
Collects Volumes 3 & 4 of the original edition
ISBN-13: 978-4091886125
English Availability: No
1,000 Yen

No. 5 Omnibus Edition Volume 3
Publisher: Shogakukan, December 2005
Collects volumes 5 and 6 of the original series
ISBN-13: 978-4091883049
English Availability: No
1,000 Yen

No. 5 Omnibus Edition Volume 4
Publisher, Shogakukan, December 2005
Collects volumes 7 and 8 of the original series
ISBN-13: 978-4091857323
English Availability: No
1,100 Yen

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Tekkon Kinkreet All-In-One Edition
Publisher: Shogakukan, December 2006
611 Pages, Oversized, Dust Jacket
ISBN-13: 978-4091810335
English Availability: Print Edition, Viz, http://www.viz.com
English Availability: Film Adaptation, Sony Pictures, http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/tekkonkinkreet/
1,600 Yen

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Takemitsu Zamurai Volume 1
Publisher: Shogakukan, December 2006
ISBN-13: 978-4091810342
English Availability: No
900 Yen

Takemitsu Zamurai Volume 2
Publisher: Shogakukan, May 2007
ISBN-13: 978-4091813206
English Availability: No
900 Yen

Takemitsu Zamurai Volume 3
Publisher: Shogakukan, October 2007
ISBN-13: 978-4091815880
English Availability: No
900 Yen

Takemitsu Zamurai Volume 4
Publisher: Shogakukan, March 2008
ISBN-13: 978-4091818485
English Availability: No
900 Yen

Thanks to Abhay Khosla for looking this over and for the kind words of support. And if you’re Kansai Takita, thank you very much for conducting this interview in the first place. I’m sharing it here in the same spirit that you originally conducted and posted it; so that people will read good manga. That said, it’s quite clearly your work, so feel free to tell me to take it down if it isn’t to your liking.

Thanks for reading,

– Christopher

Chris Picks the 2008 Eisners

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Actually, I’m not so much picking the winners as picking the books I want to win… I realize that my tastes and those of the voting public are very different, in general, but what the hell, let’s Rock The Vote! Speaking of which, to take my word for it and go vote yourself, check out http://www.eisnervote.com/ only comics industry professionals are eligible, but chances are you’re a comics industry professional, so go for it!

townofeveningcalm.jpgBest Short Story
“Book,” by Yuichi Yokoyama, in New Engineering (PictureBox)
“At Loose Ends,” by Lewis Trondheim, in Mome #8 (Fantagraphics)
“Mr. Wonderful,” by Dan Clowes, in New York Times Sunday Magazine
“Town of Evening Calm,” by Fumiyo Kouno, in Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (Last Gasp)
“Whatever Happened to Fletcher Hanks?” by Paul Karasik, in I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! (Fantagraphics)
“Young Americans,” by Emile Bravo, in Mome #8 (Fantagraphics)

Despite some truly solid (and surprising) selections in this category, Town of Evening Calm is both excellent and Important thanks to its weighty insights into tragedy and human nature, and general under-ratedness. A category this strong doesn’t come along too often and anything here probably could have taken this category, it’s all fantastic stuff. That said, I’d be surprised if Karasik’s Whatever Happened to Fletcher Hanks doesn’t win.

sensationalspiderman.jpgBest Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Amelia Rules! #18: “Things I Cannot Change,” by Jimmy Gownley (Renaissance)
Delilah Dirk and the Treasure of Constantinople, by Tony Cliff (self-published)
Johnny Hiro #1, by Fred Chao (AdHouse)
Justice League of America #11: “Walls,” by Brad Meltzer and Gene Ha (DC)
Sensational Spider-Man Annual: “To Have or to Hold,” by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca (Marvel)

Not to diss the excellent Johnny Hiro #1, but Fraction and Larroca brought their a-game to this one, and it shows. This is also something of a protest vote, considering Casanova wasn’t nominated for anything… To be fair, I haven’t read Tony Cliff’s mini.

Best Continuing Series
The Boys, by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson (Dynamite)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, by Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughan, Georges Jeanty, and Andy Owens (Dark Horse)
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, by Naoki Urasawa (Viz)
The Spirit, by Darwyn Cooke (DC)
Y: The Last Man, by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan, Jr. (Vertigo/DC)

I guess my manga fandom is showing here, but despite solid efforts from Ennis and Cooke, there’s one book that gets everyone at the store genuinely excited when it shows up at the store, and that’s Monster. It’s an amazingly well put-together comic, and the number one story I’d recommend to someone who thinks that they aren’t a “manga fan” now that Dragon Head is over. Actually, that said, Monster is better-drawn and more accessible, I think, than Dragon Head, so it’s got that going for it too. This is going to be a tough category…

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Best Limited Series
Atomic Robo, by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegender (Red 5 Comics)
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born, by Peter David, Robin Furth, and Jae Lee (Marvel)
Nightly News, by Jonathan Hickman (Image)
Parade (with Fireworks), by Michael Cavallaro (Shadowline/Image)
The Umbrella Academy, by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse)

Surprise hit of the year. I’ve only read the first few Atomic Robo and they were good, but Umbrella Academy takes it by virtue of being both surprisingly good and having a great ending.

johnny-hiro.jpgBest New Series
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, by Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughan, Georges Jeanty, and Andy Owens (Dark Horse)
Immortal Iron Fist, by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja, and others (Marvel)
Johnny Hiro, by Fred Chao (AdHouse)
The Infinite Horizon, by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto (Image)
Scalped, by Jason Aaron and R. M. Guéra (Vertigo/DC)

This was actually a tough one for me, because Infinite Horizon and Iron Fist are still in my to-read pile, and Buffy Season 8 is shockingly good (and sells bucketloads). But Johnny Hiro really is a solid read, and I’m glad to see an entirely indy ongoing single-issue series do well, so it’s getting a ‘political’ vote from me…

yotsuba-volume-1.jpgBest Publication for Kids
Amelia Rules! and Amelia Rules! Funny Stories, by Jimmy Gownley (Renaissance)
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, edited by Jeremy Barlow (Dark Horse)
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, by David Petersen (Archaia)
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, by Peter Sis (Frank Foster Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Yotsuba&!, by Kiyohiko Azuma (ADV)

No contest.

northwest-passage.jpgBest Publication for Teens
Laika, by Nick Abadzis (First Second)
The Mighty Skullboy Army, by Jacob Chabot (Dark Horse)
The Annotated Northwest Passage, by Scott Chantler (Oni)
PX! Book One: A Girl and Her Panda, by Manny Trembley and Eric A. Anderson (Shadowline/Image)
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, by James Sturm and Rich Tommaso (Center for Cartoon Studies/Hyperion)

Aw man, that’s really tough. First off, I think it’s important to note that three of the entries here are historical fiction, which is probably a rarity in a “best publication for teens” category. Also, the lack of Naruto is sort of galling. All of that aside, for me it came down to Laika, Northwest Passage, and Satchel Paige, all of which are really great books that I would recommend. The tie-breaker was that I voted for the Canadian book, because that’s how I roll.

Also, I wouldn’t normally take time out to slam a book, but I’m going to make a special allowance here: PX! is a truly, truly awful book, and it is downright depressing that it has received an Eisner nomination.

perrybiblefellowshipbook13825.jpgBest Humor Publication
Dwight T. Albatross’s The Goon Noir, edited by Matt Dryer (Dark Horse)
Johnny Hiro, by Fred Chao (AdHouse)
Lucha Libre, by Jerry Frissen, Bill, Gobi, Fabien M., Nikola Witko, Hervé Tanquelle et al. (Image)
Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories, by Nicholas Gurewitch (Dark Horse)
Wonton Soup, by James Stokoe (Oni)

Man, I know the mainstream comics contingent is all over The Goon, which is a solid read, but Perry Bible Fellowship is just so, so good that I can’t imagine anything even coming close. Well, except for next year when Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight takes the category in a landslide…

mome_7.jpgBest Anthology
Best American Comics 2007, edited by Anne Elizabeth Moore and Chris Ware (Houghton Mifflin)
5, by Gabriel Bá, Becky Cloonan, Fabio Moon, Vasilis Lolos, and Rafael Grampa (self-published)
Mome, edited by Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)
Postcards: True Stories That Never Happened, edited by Jason Rodriguez (Villard)
24Seven, vol. 2, edited by Ivan Brandon (Image)

Everything I want from an anthology, even when I’m disappointed with or confused by their choices I can still respect them, and several volumes of this were absolutely top-notch. Add Mome to your purchases today.

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Best Digital Comic
The Abominable Charles Christopher, by Karl Kerschl, www.abominable.transmission-x.com
Billy Dogma, Immortal, by Dean Haspiel, www.deanhaspiel.com/immortal.html
The Process, by Joe Infurnari, www.theprocesscomic.com
PX! By Manny Trembley and Eric A. Anderson, www.pandaxpress.com
Sugarshock!, by Joss Whedon and Fabio Moon, http://www.myspace.com/darkhorsepres…m=1&storynum=2

I can’t even conceive of how Joss Whedon will lose this one, and I’m kind of amazed that the print collection of Perry Bible Fellowship could be nominated for a great book, but not as a ‘digital comic’. That and fucking “Panda Extreme” shows up again, tunder’n jaysus. I’m writing in Achewood, by Chris Onstad for what I hope are obvious reasons, no disrespect to my nominated friends.

whiterapids.jpgBest Reality-Based Work
Laika, by Nick Abadzis (First Second)
The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, by Ann Marie Fleming (Riverhead Books/Penguin Group)
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, by James Sturm and Rich Tommaso (Center for Cartoon Studies/Hyperion)
Sentences: The Life of MF Grimm, by Percy Carey and Ronald Wimberly (Vertigo/DC)
White Rapids, by Pascal Blanchet (Drawn & Quarterly)

Uh, heh, despite still liking Laika and Satchel PaigeWhite Rapids is really, really good. Truly beautiful and unique, delivering a wholly conceived experience to the reader. Most interestingly, White Rapids is one of my husband’s fav comics from 2007 as well, he took to it surprisingly quickly and thought it was fantastic. He’s not a big comics reader, but I do think it’s interesting to see what he reacts to and why…

exitwounds.jpgBest Graphic Album—New
The Arrival, by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic)
Bookhunter, by Jason Shiga (Sparkplug Books)
Essex County, vols. 1-2: Tales from the Farm/Ghost Stories, by Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf)
Exit Wounds, by Rutu Modan (Drawn & Quarterly)
Percy Gloom, by Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics)

Top notch. I liked Lemire’s work a great deal, and Shiga’s book is pretty fantastic as well, but I just think Exit Wounds is really thoroughly conceived and executed, and it spoke to me in a way that the other books didn’t…

Still, congrats to my friend Jeff Lemire for what’s probably the most prestigious award nomination on the list, and on his second and third books ever!

godgoldgolems.jpgBest Graphic Album—Reprint
Agents of Atlas Hardcover, by Jeff Parker, Leonard Kirk, and Kris Justice (Marvel)
Gødland Celestial Edition, by Joe Casey and Tom Scioli (Image)
James Sturm’s America: God, Gold, and Golems, by James Sturm (Drawn & Quarterly)
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, by David Petersen (Archaia)
Super Spy, by Matt Kindt (Top Shelf)

While this is either the second or third edition of some of this material, I thought that this collection was surprisingly underrated when it was released this year. Sturm’s The Golem’s Mighty Swing is a fantastic work, and it and the other two stories collected here are some pretty amazing comics material… No disrespect intended to any of the other nominees, but I think Sturm’s work is really a cut above.

littlesammysneeze.jpgBest Archival Collection/Project—Comic Strips
(The Complete) Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, by Winsor McCay (Ulrich Merkl)
Complete Terry and the Pirates, vol. 1, by Milton Caniff (IDW)
Little Sammy Sneeze, by Winsor McCay (Sunday Press)
Popeye, vol. 2: Well Blow Me Down, by E. C. Segar (Fantagraphics)
Sundays with Walt and Skeezix, by Frank King (Sunday Press)

While the sheer size and overall quality of Sundays with Walt and Skeezix is truly impressive and will likely make it a shoe-in for the award, I think the Little Sammy Sneeze collection is actually a better book. It’s complete, which is a point in its favour, and its production is unique offering more than just a collection of the work, but insight into the time and world in which the strips were published through other period-appropriate strips also published in the book (it even comes with a decorative tissue-box cover!) Granted, on that front the superlative amount of work going into D+Q’s Walt and Skeezix collection should have made it the winner as each volume contains more than 90 pages of extra material, but somehow it didn’t make the nom list… I feel like these awards really do come down to having someone on the nomination committee to champion a work…

ishalldestroy.jpgBest Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus, vol. 1, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (Marvel)
Apollo’s Song, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
The Completely MAD Don Martin, by Don Martin (Running Press)
Daredevil Omnibus, by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson (Marvel)
I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! by Fletcher Hanks (Fantagraphics)

Easy win.

garageband.jpgBest U.S. Edition of International Material
The Arrival, by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic)
Aya, by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Obrerie (Drawn & Quarterly)
Garage Band, by Gipi (First Second)
I Killed Adolf Hitler, by Jason (Fantagraphics)
The Killer, by Matz and Luc Jacamon (Archaia)

Man, this is all good stuff. Like, really good. I was really tempted not to pick Garage Band because the English edition is so much smaller than the European edition, and consequently loses ‘something’ in the reduction in size (in my humble opinion), but it’s still excellent so I’ll try not to nitpick it out of the running. But honestly, this book deserved to be printed at its original size… hopefully as First Second matures they can go back and do ‘special editions’ of some of their earlier works in something approaching the European format…

I also recommend you run right out and read Aya which is an excellent, excellent read. Jason’s I Killed Adolf Hitler is also a career highpoint, but I feel like everyone should be buying his stuff anyway… Geez, tough category. Particularly since The Arrival will probably take it…

Tekkon Kinkreet All In One Edition

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Japan
The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
MW, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, by Naoki Urasawa (Viz)
New Engineering by Yuichi Yokoyama (PictureBox)
Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White, by Taiyo Matsumoto (Viz)
Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms, by Fumiyo Kouno (Last Gasp)

As soon as I saw Tekkon Kinkreet I knew I’d have to pick it, it’s a truly phenomenal edition of the material with all of the colour pages restored, additional art and illustrations, a superior book-size, and a bunch of extras. Oh, and the graphic novel itself is fantastic.

But all of these books are fucking great, and excellent reminder of what a great time it is to be a manga reader in North America. All of these are worth your time and money, no lie. Run out and buy them all from the magical store that has them all in stock at once. Or, you know, The Beguiling.

ed_brubaker.jpgBest Writer
Ed Brubaker, Captain America, Criminal, Daredevil, Immortal Iron Fist (Marvel)
James Sturm, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow (Center for Cartoon Studies/Hyperion)
Brian K. Vaughan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dark Horse); Ex Machina (WildStorm/DC), Y: The Last Man (Vertigo/DC),
Joss Whedon, Astonishing X-Men (Marvel); Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dark Horse)
Brian Wood, DMZ, Northlanders (Vertigo/DC); Local (Oni)

Well, the book I enjoyed most up there is Criminal, so 2007’s best writer must have been Brubaker. Awards are weird.

chrisware.jpgBest Writer/Artist
Jeff Lemire, Essex County: Tales from the Farm/Ghost Stories (Top Shelf)
Rutu Modan, Exit Wounds (Drawn & Quarterly)
Shaun Tan, The Arrival (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic)
Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #18 (Acme Novelty)
Fumi Yoshinaga, Flower of Life; The Moon and Sandals (Digital Manga)

Uh… yeah. I mean, everyone else here is clearly very talented, but… Chris Ware?! Yikes. I also think it’s kind of weird that Darwyn Cooke didn’t get a nom in this category for The Spirit…

brandongraham.jpgBest Writer/Artist—Humor
Kyle Baker, The Bakers: Babies and Kittens (Image)
Fred Chao, Johnny Hiro (AdHouse)
Brandon Graham, King City (Tokyopop); Multiple Warheads (Oni)
Eric Powell, The Goon (Dark Horse)
James Stokoe, Wonton Soup (Oni)

I wonder if Kyle Baker and Eric Powell will cancel each other out? Anyway, Brandon Graham totally hit this year, and his stuff is fun, funny, and sexy. That said I just gotta bitch here: How the fuck did Mal not get nominated for Scott Pilgrim? That shit is retarded. I’d demand a write-in but that would likely be pointless. I almost, almost, want to go and check to see who was on the nominating committee, but I’ll try not to be that petty or vengeful. But seriously, what the fuck?

Outbursts like this are why I’ll likely never be an Eisner judge. I’d rather keep it real though. Or something. Christ, this is a bad idea isn’t it? Oh well. Too late to turn back now.

takeshi-obata.jpgBest Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
Steve Epting/Butch Guice/Mike Perkins, Captain America (Marvel)
Pia Guerra/Jose Marzan, Jr., Y: The Last Man (Vertical/DC)
Jae Lee, Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born (Marvel)
Takeshi Obata, Death Note, Hikaru No Go (Viz)
Ethan Van Sciver, Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps (DC)

That’s just a weird choice, so what the hell… it’s not like he’s not incredibly talented…

Actually, it’s at times like these I don’t envy the folks in charge of the Eisner Awards, trying to determine what is or isn’t eligible across a spectrum of comics projects so broad that most classifications are essentially meaningless…

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Best Painter or Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Ann-Marie Fleming, The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (Riverhead Books/Penguin Group)
Eric Powell, The Goon: Chinatown (Dark Horse)
Bryan Talbot, Alice in Sunderland (Dark Horse)
Ben Templesmith, Fell (Image); 30 Days of Night: Red Snow; Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (IDW)

Props to Templesmith, he’s a talented guy, but it’s rare that you get to describe a book as a “Tour-de-Force” and Alice in Sunderland totally qualifies. If you’ve got thirty bucks burning a hole in your pocket, it’s worth owning.

jamesjean.jpgBest Cover Artist
John Cassaday, Astonishing X-Men (Marvel); Lone Ranger (Dynamite)
James Jean, Fables (Vertigo/DC); The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse); Process Recess 2; Superior Showcase 2 (AdHouse)
J. G. Jones, 52 (DC)
Jae Lee, Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born (Marvel)
Jim Lee, All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder (DC); World of Warcraft (WildStorm/DC)

All of these fellows are quite talented, turning out some solid cover art, but how can you not love what James Jean is doing…?

davestewart.jpgBest Coloring
Jimmy Gownley, Amelia Rules! (Renaissance)
Steve Hamaker, Bone, vols. 5 and 6 (Scholastic); Shazam: Monster Society of Evil (DC)
Richard Isanove, Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born (Marvel)
Ronda Pattison, Atomic Robo (Red 5 Comics)
Dave Stewart, BPRD, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cut, Hellboy, Lobster Johnson, The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse); The Spirit (DC)
Alex Wald, Shaolin Cowboy (Burlyman)

Amelia Rules for best colouring? Are you serious? It’s not bad, but… wow, could not have seen that coming. Meanwhile, Dave Stewart is just awesome, working in a number of different styles and moods depending on the book. he works on. Not to take anything away from the other artist, but Stewart’s just top-notch. My second-choice would go to Hamaker who I think started out awesome on Bone, and has only gotten better with every book.

…and I didn’t pick a picture of Stewart winning the award in 2006 as any sort of justification for him winning in 2007, it’s just the only picture of him I could find online. Although, it is a pretty good justification…

toddklien.jpgBest Lettering
Jared K. Fletcher, Catwoman, The Spirit (DC); Sentences: Life of MF Grimm (Vertigo/DC)
Jimmy Gownley, Amelia Rules! (Renaissance)
Todd Klein, Justice, Simon Dark (DC); Fables, Jack of Fables, Crossing Midnight (Vertigo/DC); League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier (WildStorm/DC); Nexus (Rude Dude)
Lewis Trondheim, “At Loose Ends,” Mome 7 & 8 (Fantagraphics)
Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #18 (Acme Novelty)

Okay, Gownley for best lettering too? I know this is going to look like I’m attacking him or his work, and I’m not, but sometimes having someone pulling for your book on the nominating committee isn’t necessarily a good thing… The nominations just end up looking strange when someone decides that they like your book SO MUCH that they get it nominated in every category it’s eligible for. Anyway, whatever, please don’t send hatemail. But yeah, it just looks weird to me.

But then I’m the kind of asshole that wants to see Chris Ware get the best lettering award again, so I can be safely ignored.

jamie-tanner.jpgSpecial Recognition
Chuck BB, Black Metal (artist, Oni)
Matt Silady, The Homeless Channel (writer/artist, AiT/PlanetLar)
Jamie Tanner, The Aviary (writer/artist, AdHouse)
James Vining, First in Space (writer/artist, Oni)

On my ballot I selected Chuck BB, and he’s a solid choice but the more I think about it the more I realize that Jamie Tanner is doing something really different with his work, and it’s kind of unsettling and it has a lot of potential. I feel like he probably needs the special recognition a little more than the other guys…

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comicart-issue9cover.jpg

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
Comic Art #9, edited by Todd Hignite (Buenaventura Press)
Comic Foundry, edited by Tim Leong (Comic Foundry)
The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, Michael Dean, and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon and Jordan Raphael (www.comicsreporter.com)
Newsarama, produced by Matt Brady and Michael Doran (www.newsarama.com)

Although I didn’t like the cover, I think there’s just a consistent vision and execution with Comic Art that’s really, really impressive, and aspirational. I feel like it’s perhaps a little too esoteric at times and seeing where the magazine goes with the next issue will be very interesting. I also think the Journal has a lot of potential, if it can just get its shit together… Honestly, the elephant in the room is The Comics Reporter, because Spurgeon is doing some amazing, amazing stuff. I feel if that site was distilled down to a 300 page glossy magazine every year it’d be no contest (actually, that’s not a bad idea). But it’s not, and so…

Photo of Comic Art publisher Alvin Buenaventura at San Diego Comic Con 2007.

mangathecompleteguide.jpgBest Comics-Related Book
The Art of P. Craig Russell, edited by Joe Pruett (Desperado)
The Artist Within, by Greg Preston (Dark Horse)
Manga: The Complete Guide, by Jason Thompson (Del Rey Manga)
Meanwhile . . . A Biography of Milton Caniff, by R. C. Harvey (Fantagraphics)
Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean, by Douglas Wolk (Da Capo Press)
Understanding Manga and Anime, by Robin Brenner (Libraries Unlimited/Greenwood Publishing)

This is a really, really tough category to pick because these books are miles apart from one another in terms of aims and production. It’s apples to oranges here, and so I just picked the only one I’ve read all the most of so far. Which isn’t to say that Jason Thompson’s massive manga tome isn’t deserving of a win; it’s awesome and should get all kinds of awards. But R.C. Harvey’s Milton Caniff biography is an intimidating achievement, a 900 page biography of a cartooning great that I am never going to find time to read in my entire life. Or an art book, or a photo book, or a couple books of essays. Maybe the medium is big enough for a couple of sub-categories here?

process-front.jpgBest Publication Design
(The Complete) Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, designed by Ulrich Merkl (Ulrich Merkl)
Complete Terry and the Pirates, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW)
Heroes, vol. 1, designed by John Roshell/Comicraft (WildStorm/DC)
Little Sammy Sneeze, designed by Philippe Ghielmetti (Sunday Press)
Process Recess 2, designed by James Jean and Chris Pitzer (AdHouse)
Sundays with Walt and Skeezix, designed by Chris Ware (Sunday Press)

I honestly think Process Recess 2 is a nicer book than the big Walt and Skeezix. I know this is heresy, but PR2 is inviting, Sundays is intimidating, and that’s where the break is. Of course, both Rarebit Fiend and Sammy Sneeze are both beautiful, beautiful books that should win awards as well. We’re lucky to live in a time when such care and attention is placed on making great books look beautiful…!

…and we’re done! How wrong did I get it? Feel free to let me have it in the comments section, I can take it.

– Christopher

Photo credits: Top photo of Will Eisner from http://www.montillapictures.com/. Achewood strip from http://www.achewood.com. Photo of Ed Brubaker from http://centralcrimezone.blogspot.com/2008/03/ed-brubaker-interview-by-duane.html. Chris Ware self-portrait by Chris Ware. Photo of Brandon Graham by ?? (I can’t find the attribution, contact me if this is your photo.) Photo of Takeshi Obata from http://student.nu.ac.th/deathnote/Magaka.html. Photo of Bryan Talbot by Christopher Butcher. Photo of Dave Stewart from Silver Bullet Comics, http://www.silverbulletcomics.com/news/story.php?a=542. Photo of Todd Klein by Todd Klein. Jamie Tanner @ TCAF, photo by Tugboat Press, http://www.flickr.com/photos/tugboatpress/. Photo of Alvin Buenaventura by Christopher Butcher. All book covers copyright © and trademark their respective owners.

Japan 2007: Shibuya, Tsutaya, Ginza, Ramen Museum, Macadonaru, The End

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The thing about Japan is, it’s where I’ve always wanted to go, and having been there, part of me thinks that it’s where I want to be. That’s not to say that I’m blind to the socio-economic realities of what that means; I’m aware that even the most acclimatized westerner is still gaijin, and that it would never really be my home the way Canada is. But Japan is, in many ways, the realization of many of my dreams about comics and culture, and about society as a whole. I can’t say that a day has gone by since I got back that I haven’t thought about returning. I feel like I only scratched the surface of the country during my last visit there, and despite frequently being hot, sweaty, tired, and wet (typhoon!), I was never, ever bored.

This is my last Japan Travelogue post, bringing us right to the end of my trip. The last two days marked a significant downturn in the lack of pictures taken, owing partly to the novelty of picture-taking wearing off a little, and partly due to the fact I lost the camera. Well, heh, I actually left it in the Ramen Museum overnight and had to rush back to Yokohama on the day of our flight out of Japan to pick it up.

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Incidentally, I’d like to thank everyone for reading and enjoying these posts, particularly the people who’ve told me that they never had any interest in visiting Japan until visiting my blog. That means an awful lot to me, that’s why I’m here really: To Share The Joy. 🙂

With that, click “continue reading” to find out about my last two days in Japan.

Continue reading Japan 2007: Shibuya, Tsutaya, Ginza, Ramen Museum, Macadonaru, The End

Tekkon Kinkreet Update

Tekkon Kinkreet All In One Edition

Just as an FYI, we’re down to 5 copies left of the new edition of Tekkon Kinkreet by Taiyo Matsumoto here at The Beguiling, from our initial order of 100. So, you know, 95 copies in 5 months, not bad. I’d been slacking at recommending it lately and when I remembered it I hand-sold another 5 last week. I’m gonna try and sell out by Friday, wish me luck!

– Chris

Black and White Movie - Tekkon Concrete

P.S.: You really should buy it.
P.P.S.: For comparison’s sake, we’ve sold about 250 copies of Naruto Vol 15, which debuted at around the same time. At its $30 price tag though, Tekkon made us more money.
P.P.S.: I didn’t even buy a copy! Viz gave me one. 😀