In Translation - COM Gag + Psychedelic Manga Collection

Including never reprinted rarities from Hiroshi Hirata, Kazuo Umezz, and Go Nagai.

In Translation - COM Gag + Psychedelic Manga Collection

And so Manga March continues into its second week! This time we've got a whole smorgasbord of goodies collected from three volumes of COM featuring rare, short works from more legendary mangaka than I know what to do with. There's (as far as I can find) never reprinted or translated pages from Hiroshi Hirata, Kazuo Umezz, and Go Nagai, just to name a few!

First comes the two part Gag Manga Collection, which ran in the August and September 1968 issues. Then, way down at the bottom, we've got what came in the July issue of that year: a short bundle of four panel (4-koma in Japanese) manga following a psychedelic theme.

It's easy to call these one or two page quickies just some minor little things. So short that they're almost always left uncollected in books, scattered in magazines that nobody could predict, and rarely translated, this kind of manga seems ephemeral, destined to be forgotten. But that's kind of exactly why we should be preserving them! And I mean, just look at the stuff here: some of the greatest names in manga history given a couple pages to play and stretch and show off exactly why it is that they're the best. Look at the expressiveness of Jiro Kuwata's characters, or Isami Ishii's playful text bubbles, or Hiroshi Hirata's near transcendent understanding of action! Comics...good!!

Sorry, didn't mean to eulogize there. On with the manga!

P.S. Like last week, you can download these translations with this mega link if you'd prefer to read them that way (I might even recommend it--this post might be a bit unwieldy):

29.04 MB file on MEGA

COM Gag Manga Collection 1

COM Gag Manga Collection 2

Psychedelic 4-koma Manga


I've talked AIR-CON before--last year this young comedian put out an EP twisting three songs into both vicious no-wave rockers and groovy synth pop with surprising authenticity. Well with this, her first album, she pumps that range even further, every single track its own genre in this wildly playful musical theme park. One second you are listening to a cute idol tune, the next second noise rock, the next a cheap casio cover song, and then some oddball art pop you might expect from Jun Togawa...and she nails all of it. If her EP was a fun gag, this album is a declaration: AIR-CON is a name to watch, and she ain't just jokes.

Book of the Week: Discommunication by Riichi Ueshiba 

If you follow me anywhere online (including this site!) you've almost def seen some bits of Discommunication, one of my favorite manga. A deeply strange occult rom-com turned surreal spiritual action that lives in this intimate an uneasy world of fetish. The way Ueshiba fills panels to the brim with all kinds of details and patterns in stark contrast to his simple and cute characters is my drug of choice. The story finding tone and emotion rarely seen in other works is kind of just icing on the beautiful cake. Perfectly gonzo stuff.

Movie of the Week: The Mad Fox (dir. Tomu Uchida, 1962)

Signaled the start of a burst of significant experiments in bringing traditional Japanese theatre into film, though this one goes a step beyond to become always evolving exploration of form and style--it's painting and animation and kabuki and bunraku and stuff I probably don't know about. It's also impossibly gorgeous! A real "wait, movies are allowed to look like that?" kind of deal. Of course, this isn't all for nothing, its obsession with artifice a reflection of a story all about identity and disguise as characters pretend to be other characters who are in turn pretending to be someone else until they go one step too far and don't know who they are anymore. Multiple moments made me gasp!

Have thoughts about anything covered this week? Got a recommendation you’re dying to share? Want to tell me how handsome and cool I am? Leave a comment below!

oh, and here's the story of Sanrio (you know, like Hello Kitty) films