Let’s Be Nice

Today on the site:

Ryan Holmberg brings it with this eye-opening examination of the work of Matsumoto Katsuji a pioneer of shōjo manga. Over the last half-decade Ryan has single-handedly upended the standard historical narrative of comics. I hope this achievement gets the recognition it and Ryan deserves.

First, some background. The subtitle of a catalogue of Matsumoto’s work from 2006, published to coincide with the first Yayoi show, sums up the artist’s reputation: The Illustrator who Invented Shōwa Cuteness. A more accurate tag might be: The Artist who Domesticated North American Cuteness in Japan. This is easy to see in Matsumoto’s most famous character, Kurukuru kurumi chan, which means something like: Little Dizzy Wizzy Chestnut. While better known through related merchandising (postcards, stickers, water decals, bookmarks, posters, postcards, figurines, stationery, paper dolls), Kurumi chan was the star of her own manga for thirty-five years, commencing in Shōjo no tomo in 1938. Her image metamorphosed dramatically over the years and across media, to the point where it is sometimes hard to recognize the various Kurumi chans as the same character or by the same artist.


It was MoCCA weekend for many, but not for me. I wish I coulda been there. I actually wanted to be there, but parental duties take priority. I'm sure Joe McCulloch will cover some highlights. So around the internet we go...

Edie Fake's new work, explored.

Mimi Pond's Culture Diary for The Paris Review.

Robert Andrew Parker is an unsung illustration ruler.

And Joost Swarte explains the Three Blind Mice.