Joe McCulloch would like to tell you about the highlights from this week’s newly available comics, including new work by Hayao Miyazaki and Dash Shaw, as well as a long, odd (in a good way) essay on a long, odd (in many ways) magazine full of Japanese-language golf comics he picked up this weekend in New York City.
Golf Comic itself purportedly dates back to 1985, or I’ve disinterred from the internet; if accurate, this would place its genesis in the midst of bubble economy extravagance, where it might have seemed a safe haven for sports manga specialists; while not quite the equivalent of a life sentence, drawing sports manga does build a certain skill set that can make an artist especially assignable to different sports serials, leading to a certain substrata of mangaka whose personal catalogs are highlighted by baseball, soccer – or sometimes mainly golf.
As you can imagine, this is a world far away from most American eyes in even the most ravenous periods of manga consumption. Years ago, however, ComiPress posted a rare English-language interview with one such practitioner: Seiichi Ikeuchi, a former assistant to the great ninja comics master Sanpei Shirato, and a true-blue golfing hobbyist who built himself over two decades’ worth of golf comics output. He cannily acknowledges that this is a connoisseur’s field; that most everyone reading — presumably even the newbies who’d make use of whatever entry-level instruction a magazine’s editors deem necessary — can tell if an artist is bullshitting them, and so the most challenging aspect of the craft is “communicating the techniques to the readers through the manga.”
He is, nonetheless, a stylist, as his present Golf Comic series attests.
—MoCCA Fest. The winners of the MoCCA Awards of Excellence included Alexandra Beguez, David Plunkert, Greg Kletsel, Luke Healy, and Jess Ruliffson. Lots of reports out there, of which I’ll just link to two: Joe McCulloch at the Comics Reporter, and Robyn Chapman at her own Tiny Report.
—Interviews & Talk. Tom Spurgeon talked to Zack Soto. Françoise Mouly checked in with Joost Swarte. Evan Dorkin gave two interviews, one to Jonah Weiland, and another to Comics Tavern. Alan Moore talked about Robert Anton Wilson.
—Reviews. Richard Bruton writes about Luke Pearson’s latest Hilda book, and Illogical Volume reviews Stray Bullets.