Tuesday 28 February 2017

Nananan Kiriko - Blue

This is a really great comic. The drawing is very minimal but it gets everything over really well. Here's the first lines of the comic- “The sky that stretches out above the dark sea. The school uniforms and our desperate awkwardness. If those adornments of our youth had any color it would have been deep blue.”
A lot of the comic is about being awkward.  The schoolgirl protagonist makes friends with a new girl, they become romantic, then break up awkwardly.

I really like the minimalist artwork. Nearly all the drawings are of the schoolgirls. Lots of feet, hands, close ups of them turned away from each other. The story takes place at the school, at each others houses and a lonely looking beach front.
This book was brought out in English by Fanfare / Potent Moon so I would recommend that, its a really good manga. Here's a review of the English version from Derik Badman.

Monday 27 February 2017

Little Sheffield Zine Fest Report

I enjoyed Sheffield Zine Fest again this year, it is a very friendly show. I didn't quite break even on the day but I was only a few quid off so that doesn't matter. The first few hours went really well and the fair was busy but I became very sleepy in the afternoon. I think I am not used to sitting in a room without any daylight anymore. I drank a bunch of coffee to try and wake up again. It went good again in the last hour and I woke up. Thanks everyone who came to my stall and looked at things, or bought something, I hope you liked it!
Sheffield is always a very good show for lots of people looking at my stuff and flicking through, instead of just looking at the covers and then walking off, so that always makes me happy.
I did some trades as shown below-

I got 'Ballgame no. 1' by Paddy Johnson, 'Parallel Lines' by Richard Swan,  and 'Ground' by Lee Taylor. They all look cool so I'm looking forward to reading them this week.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Sheffield Zine Fest

I'll have a stall at Sheffield Zine Fest on Saturday. I'll have my new 'Japan Sketchbook', all my 'Flying Sausage Academy' series, 'Ragnar the Cheesemonger', all the 'RhiZome' anthologies and lots more. Why not come along if you live near Sheffield, it's always a good show. It's at the Hub in the middle of town.

Monday 20 February 2017

Japan Sketchbook

I've just brought out my Japan Sketchbook. It is 28 pages, plus covers, black and white and A5 sized. I'm only doing a limited number of copies. It's full of sketches, drawings and photographs from my recent two week holiday in Japan. I went to Kyoto, Nara, Yudanaka and Tokyo. If you would like one I'll have copies at the Sheffield Zine Fest on Saturday or you can buy them from my Comicsy page for £3.70 with free postage in the UK. Thanks!

Saturday 18 February 2017

Taiga Sassa - Isabella Bird in Wonderland - Vol 1

This is a cool little manga. It's the manga version of a book from 1878 written by Scottish adventurer Isabella Bird, who travelled from Edo to the far North of Japan. I'd heard about the book from my guide book to Japan, so when I saw the manga I bought it. I wish they'd have had more volumes as she meets the Ainu in Hokkaido later in her adventures and I would have liked to see that.

In this first volume she hires a guide and tries to get used to Japanese food as she starts to travel North.

She is attacked by hundreds of fleas while sleeping. She gets over this and starts to enjoy some of her adventures. She makes friends with a young Japanese girl. I liked the drawing and the story was easy enough to follow in Japanese.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Rumiko Takahashi - Urusei Yatsura 15 & 16

I haven't got any of the Urusei Yatsura books in Japanese so I picked up these two. I bought all my manga from Books Off in Akihabara. They were having a massive sale and I spent a long time going through the shelves.

I was thinking about Urusei Yatsura a lot on my holiday as we were in Nara for Setsubon. That's the day when children throw beans at Oni to drive them out, it's very familiar from the manga.

 Here's some Oni in the Nara deer park. They must be cold.

And here's some fancier Oni at the big celebration that night, running round on the stage in front of the temple with flaming torches. A hero came on after a bit and fought them until they surrendered.  Then local dignitaries threw packets of lucky sweets to the crowd.

Sunday 12 February 2017

Japan Holiday

For my fourtieth birthday I went to Japan again, this time with my brother. We went to Kyoto, Nara, Yudanaka (in the mountains to see the snow monkeys and onsen) and Tokyo. It was great. I bought a bag of manga too so I'll mention them on here once I read them. I've drawn a sketchbook so I'll try and get that out in time for Sheffield Zine Fest in two weeks. It'll be a little phoocopied thing.

Inari Shrine, Kyoto


 Deer at Nara

 Snow monkeys! They swim in a hot spring. 

Hokusai Museum in Obuse. There was a lot of snow up in the mountains.

Akihabara Electric Town where I found a really cheap manga shop, Books Off. 100 yen manga books!