On the site today:
Ryan Holmberg continues his march into history with a look at the great cartoonist Sugiura Shigeru (you can read translated comics of his in The Ganzfeld 4 and 5, as well as Raw 7) and his pre-WWII sources. NOTE: Ryan is looking for your help in identifying some of these sources — please comment!
The history of comedy is a notoriously nebulous and difficult subject. Especially when the laughs are half in a foreign tradition. At any rate, it’s more than I can handle competently just now. So what I put together instead was a “visual essay” on Sugiura and Shin Seinen’s cartoons. What follows on the next pages is the result of combing the magazine from 1929 to 1937, at which point it turned strongly pro-war and increasingly anti-Western. This period overlaps with Sugiura’s debut (1932) and early work for Kōdansha’s major youth periodicals (particularly Shōnen Club, Shōjo Club, and the Picture Book series beginning in 1937) as well as his occasional work for Shin Seinen’s junior edition, Shin Shōnen, as well as Shōnen Shōjo Tankai, published by the same Hakubunkan. Some of the comparisons I make are specific, with exact cases of swiping. Others are more general. You can tell me if you find them convincing or not.
Sara Varon takes through another day of her excellent visual diary.
The major news everywhere else is the passing of Ray Bradbury. The NY Times has a fine obituary.
Elsewhere around the internet… there is the good news that Drawn & Quarterly will release Shigeru Mizuki’s classic Kitaro material. Mizuki is a first class cartoonist — I can’t wait.
Excellent cartoonist, late of Conan, Becky Cloonan is interviewed about a recent self-publishing effort over at The Beat.
Daniel Best has a 1975 Jim Steranko interview with some fine nuggets, like this one on Frank Robbins…
I know Frank; he’s a terrific artist, but for some reason he doesn’t seem to have the fan following that he warrants. But believe me when I tell you that there are very few artists who have the cinematic approach of Robbins, especially in his Johnny Hazard strip. I collect Robbins stuff, the forties right on through. His cinematic approach is incredible. Even more perhaps than Milton Caniff, even though he works in that Caniff or Sickles style. I think he deserves more credit than most fans give him. Sometimes fans think a lot of little lines makes good artwork, but it doesn’t. He’s a guy who really knows how to tell a story. Maybe like you I’ve been disappointed with his comic book work, but you have to remember you can’t turn out a masterpiece in a week.