I'm prone to reverie.

*And also nostalgia, thanks to


Top Ten: The 49ers (beautiful entertainment, if hell-bent on being good for you too)

Seven Soldiers - Guardian #4 (of 4) (ahhhh, now that's more like it!)

Fell #1 (not a bad debut for a nice format)

Garth Ennis’ 303 #5 (of 6), The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin #1 (of 5), The Punisher MAX #25, Ghost Rider #1 (of 6) (hmmm, what do these have in common?)

But my mind can't stop drifting...

*Unreasonable Demands Dept: Just getting some thoughts down, don’t mind me at all…


(in no particular order, most common English titles provided when possible)

Palepoli by Usamaru Furuya: If you’ve read and enjoyed Furuya’s Short Cuts, and there’s a number of you out there that have, I expect you’ll join me in chomping at the bit for more of the man’s debut work - nasty, brilliantly-mounted four-panel gag strips from the pages of Garo, Furuya’s chameleonic visual style hustling from grotesque detail to aching cuteness almost panel-by-panel. I obviously wouldn’t mind seeing Furuya’s more subdued, traditionally ‘narrative’ post-Short Cuts work make the journey overseas, but the bits of this I’ve seen in Pulp (Vol. 4 No. 10) have convinced me that I need to turn my eyes farther to the past. There’s also a sampling in Secret Comics Japan.

Japan Tengu Party Illustrated by Iou Kuroda: I hope Kuroda’s Sexy Voice and Robo did well for Viz; released in a format not unlike a Cerebus phonebook with end flaps, it was a supple, imposing volume of fun and amusement. This was Kuroda’s first-ever extended narrative work, the only one (I believe) to build to a finale, four volumes of aged martial-arts master bird spirits inhabiting human costumes and periodically jumping out to flap around. They’re often rude and/or lazy, even though they’re nominally around to punish vanity, and there’s a pair of mysterious girls hanging around them, one of whom might be an artificial twin of the other, except she looks and acts nothing like her. Rendered in a rough, thick, black-heavy style. A beauty! I’ll also go for Kuroda’s three-volume one-man anthology series Nasu, which joins every one of its diverse stories through the presence of eggplants.

Munô no Hito by Yoshiharu Tsuge: A really nice hardcover edition of this 1985-86 epic, an extended semi-autobiographical narrative by Tsuge, the father of Japanese alternative comics, was published in France in 2004 under the title of L'Homme Sans Talent; a general English translation would title it The Incapable Man. I guess I can understand the reason why a grand total of three short stories by Tsuge have been officially released in the US; he can get a wee bit outré in his dream-visions and culture-specific symbolism. But this one is supposedly a rich, straightforward tale of sadness and failure and comics creation, following a failed manga artist through the fallen world of comics as pure commerciality, art enthusiastically stripped away. Probably not the feel-good hit of whatever year it’s released in, but it sounds to me like an important work from a vital artist, and I can see a bold Drawn and Quarterly or Fantagraphics jumping onto a prestige project of this sort. Besides, are we going to just let the French pull ahead like that?! Let’s get in shape, America!

Future Sperm Brazil by Takashi Nemoto: An excerpt of this appeared in the lovely Comics Underground Japan anthology, and god do I want to see the full-length story. Nemoto’s work is far closer to the more detailed sequences of Gary Panter’s Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise than it is to any traditional envisioning of the ‘manga’ style, dark and dirty scribbles overflowing from the page, all in the service of his vulgar, satirical tale of a lost colony of Japanese in Brazil, who still think World War II is being fought. A young man is visited by the Emperor in a dream, achieves a permanent erection, and sets off on a heroic quest to return to Japan and obliterate the hated Yankee once and for all. Good-humored torture and cannibalism ensues, in a nasty take-off of militarism and nationalism. Actually, just from reading over this paragraph I realize the damn thing’s got prospects of a formal US release akin to those of a snowman’s survival in the Mojave, but a boy can dream, eh?

The Short Stories of Katsuhiro Otomo: That’s not a formal title, by the way. I just want some sort of collection of Otomo’s shorts. I think I’m in the mood because I re-watched the 1995 anime anthology film Memories the other day, which was supervised by Otomo and based on his short fiction. I have to say that director Koji Morimoto and writer Satoshi Kon’s Magnetic Rose short has gotten a lot better since I’ve gotten a bit older; there were some really telling bits in the accompanying documentary in which Morimoto spoke of the need to make the film as non-Otomo as possible, as a means for he and Kon to escape Otomo’s magnetic field, the crippling effect of being viewed as perpetual as protégés to a grand master. Obviously, now I want to see what they changed from Otomo’s original story (which was actually titled Her Memories, the basis for the film’s title). I really have to wonder why this one hasn’t already been released; could the licensing costs be prohibitively expensive? I know that’s what kept Memories out of R1 dvd players for years and years - just too damn expensive to bring over, with not enough projected profit. That’s how even the popular ones get lost. (EDIT #1: 9/13/05, 12:08 PM - Well, according to several folks in this post's comments section, Epic released some Otomo shorts in several formats, including a big Memories graphic novel - I'd not known. None of it's in print though, and I doubt Marvel's license is still in effect, so my entreaty remains.)

Ningendomo Atusmare! by Osamu Tezuka: Roughly translated to Rally Up Mankind! The only place I’ve ever heard about this thing is in the final issue of Pulp (Vol. 6 No. 8), but it sounds amazing. A 1967-68 sex satire from the God of Manga himself, the book follows an Adolph Hitler lookalike who, through weird science, becomes the progenitor of a brand-new, all-artificial, all-obedient third gender, which both men and women desire, even though the new beings don’t really care for sex, and they eventually start a literal sexual revolution. I hope you can understand the guaranteed appeal of Tezuka’s signature style as applied to this sort of subject matter. And while I’m on the topic of Tezuka and eros, how about a nice uncut R1 dvd release of the bizarro 1970 adult sci-fi anime feature Cleopatra, co-directed by Tezuka himself and Eiichi Yamamoto, which was released to unwitting US grindhouses under the catchy title of Cleopatra: Queen of Sex. Also - more Phoenix and Black Jack, k thx.

Violence Jack by Go Nagai: For a seemingly omnipresent force in anime inspiration and an acknowledged provaocateur throughout the annals of modern manga in Japan, Nagai is stunningly underrepresented in the US, at least in regards to his own voluminous body of work. Sure, even some non-fans recognize Devilman, which received an ill-fated partial US release courtesy of Glenn Danzig’s Verotik comics label in 1995, colorized via computer. But this is my internet fantasy list, so I think I’ll seek the release of Nagai’s longer shock masterpiece, the beloved post-apocalypse romp Violence Jack, which ran afoul of censors pretty much constantly through its three distinct runs in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s about a giant man with a giant blade, fighting the good (?) fight in a horrid, rancid world. I hear there’s a moral somewhere in there, if you look really hard.

Fourteen by Kazuo Umezu: Speaking of insane disgust. Umezu, despite being one of the more influential forces in horror (and humor!) manga throughout the last few decades, has had the princely sum of one book brought over to the US, Viz’s Orochi: Blood, which was actually the final (albeit stand-alone) volume in the Orochi horror saga. I’m interested in seeing this, his tear-down-the-sky career capper, envisioning a garbage-choked 22nd century brought to its knees by a giant mutant chicken who seeks total environmental obliteration. The kids’ll love it!

Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura: I was somewhat distressed to discover on The Engine that Yukimura’s Planetes, a book that seemingly everybody on the internet was talking about the other year, didn’t do very well financially at all. I have a feeling that this, Yukimura’s latest work, will change that. It’s about Vikings (somebody mentioned that it’s about as historically accurate as Samurai Champloo), and the story (or at least the little of it I’ve seen) is sort of generic, but boy oh boy does Yukimura have a gift for battle scenes. This is bloody, detailed, yet unnervingly fleet fight manga, a big old hunk of populist (well, at least predominantly among young men, I suppose) cheese, but marvelously executed. You want pop comics? Here’s one now. And while some of the items on this list are pure wishful-thinking, I’m confident that this one’s appearance in the US is more a question of ‘when?’ than anything else.

Otherworld Barbara by Moto Hagio: Just because those illustrations in The Comics Journal #269 were so lovely, and because it promises to mix romance, tragedy, sci-fi, and horror into a simmering shoujo stew. It’s the newest extended work by shoujo pioneer Hagio, and probably more of her work ought to be in print around here. I say we start at the present, and maybe work backwards.

*Whew. Let’s get a bit more grounded here.


Salamander Dream: A collection of Flight veteran Hope Larson’s lovely strip from the Secret Friend Society website, now her first extended work in book form, from AdHouse. It’s a gently fantasy-infused tribute to youth in the forest, filled with lovely, lyrical visuals. Larson’s homepage has some additional stuff on it, all very nice. I assure you that this is work worth looking into. (EDIT #2: 9/13/05, 12:09 PM - All links are now working!)

Full Moon Fever: Werewolves! On the moon! Because if the moon’s always out, they’re always werewolves! An original graphic novel from writers Joe Casey and Caleb Gerard, and artist Damian Couceiro, published by AiT/Planet-Lar. It’s worth picking up for fans of the concept, as it’s a fast, fun little suspense thing. Check back here tomorrow for a more detailed review.

Electric Girl Vol. 3: The latest collection of Michael Brennan’s good-looking series, following the all-ages exploits of an electro-powered heroine. Compiles issues #9 and #10, with a whopping 61 pages of completely new material, and 20 additional pages of early stories and bonuses.

World War 3 Illustrated #36: Certain to be a masterpiece of subtlety and moderation, this low-key and winsome political journal will enlighten and engage the reader with quiet persuasion and carefully-timed exposures of understated hypocrisy, conveyed in an eminently sensitive visual style, seething outrage burbling beneath the surface of prudent civility. A study in killing whispers, a thousand scratches leading to the bleeding of the unhappy state. Also this week: Spider-Man will be having sex with the Human Torch.

Angry Youth Comix #9: More frolic from Johnny Ryan. Apparently, it’s an issue-length saga this time. Sure to be dirty. That’s all I know.

Desolation Jones #3: Ellis’ best current series, looks lovely, buy it, etc.

The Winter Men #2 (of 8): Ah yes, I liked the first issue of this Brett Lewis/Jean Paul Leon miniseries a good deal. This issue sees our hard-bitten hero traveling to the US to infiltrate the Red Mafia, and it’s going to be very much a bother.

Fantastic Four Presents - Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius #1: Huh. Here’s something different from Marvel - a collection of Chris Eliopoulus’s back-up strip from the recent Power Pack miniseries, with scripting help from that title’s writer, Mark Sumerak. Features new material too. It’s not often you see the House of Ideas venturing into all-ages humor territory, especially with a gag setup like this one. Might be interesting.

All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #2: I’m topping the Diamond charts. I’m topping the Diamond charts. I’m topping the Diamond charts. I’m topping the Diamond charts. How cool is that?

*Er, by the way, sorry if you clicked over here earlier today from the blog updates page only to find nothing new; it seems that blo.gs has attained sentience and elected to update my listing entirely on its own accord. I certainly didn't update anything...