Kon Satoshi Exhibition

So there is a Kon Satoshi Exhibition in Tokyo pretty soon:

Guess who will be there around those days?




Naoki Urasawa is a japanese manga artist and manga teacher known mostly for his long running comic books Monster and 20th Century Boys.   I really love his style but what really draws me  into his work is the incredible quality of the scripts. He has been translated into many languages and also adapted into anime, movies and what not. He is like a manga superstar now and every new work by him is always an important event.

Manben  is an artbook showcasing his illustration work and also some of his comic book work. It was published in 2008 by Shogakukan. It is a pretty nice hardcover, 200+ pages book where we can find lots of stuff. Not only art, also photographs, interviews,  and even a copy of a manga Urasawa did when he was young.

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The book follows Urasawa career, from the very beginning right up to Pluto, so it covers a lot of ground. You will find art, illustrations, designs, sketches, enlarged panels, etc, from all his manga, including Yawara, Happy!, Master Keaton, etc. You can see a hint of Moebius here, some Otomo there, but always with that nice personality Urasawa imprints in all his works. Quality of the printing and paper is up to usual japanese standards, which is quite high.

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Pictures of artist´s studios are always fascinating and here you have quite a lot of Urasawa´s workplace. You can easily spend a few hours just trying to find out what manga and books are filling his shelves.

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I had no idea that this book existed so when I found it in Tokyo it was both a surprise and an instant purchase. It was 3000 yen, which is not bad at all, so if you like Urasawa I am sure you will do the right thing. The book is all in japanese, but there is not so much text. Also it has been published in France by Paninni, so you can get it from there too. Absolutely recommended.


Blame and so on.

Blame and so on is a book about Nihei Tsutomu art. Nihei became a manga sensation with BLAME! a gothik cyberpunk technologic horror thriller manga. It was followed by Noise, Abara, Biomega and now Lords of Sidonia (currently being published in Japan). He even got a gig in Marvel Comics with Snikt! featuring Wolverine in one of his weirdest adventures and also worked in a HALO comic book.

His body of work is not huge so I was quite surprised when a few years ago I found this art book in  a Kinokuniya shop in Sapporo, so I bought it.

And it was well worth the price.

In the book you can find all color artwork Nihei did for Blame! and also some advertising stuff, some art made for other books (Bitch´s Life, Snikt!, Dead Heads) and even some film work for Hellboy 2 (Guillermo del Toro is one of the people interviewed in the book, but all in japanese).

Also you find his Megalomania work, and it is really outstanding. Nihei is a great artist and he is really quite young, so I am sure he will give us lots of great manga in the future.

A pretty nice 147 pages hardcover book, which I think has gone out of print (first printing was in 2003). So it is expensive to get in Amazon but if you go to Japan you can find it in many second-hand shops (and also in some  “new stuff” retailers) at better prices. If you find it and you like this guy´s crazy stuff, well, I am sure you will do the right thing.

The Complete Hokusai Manga

Hokusai is no doubt one of the most internationally known japanese artists ever. He is famous for his The Great Wave off Kanagawa work, which you can find everywhere. Even the people who have no idea about who did it know it.

But Hokusai also has another important addition to japanese/world culture besides his art work: it is said that he is the one who first  applied the word “manga” to drawn sketches. As ubiquitous as the wave painting, the word “manga” has gone international and it is even included in the latest revision of the official spanish language dictionary (with some controversy included in the deal, as it relates manga to erotic and violent contents, and while for sure you can find that, it is only a part of it). Manga is simply the japanese term for comic book, regardless of content.

So Hokusai published a series of books he called manga. And now Shogakukan had the good idea of searching for the best preserved original editions they could find (the Uragami collection) and carefully restore them and bind them together.

And here they are.

This big thick book contains the whole 15 manga books Hokusai created (though the last one is not considered authentic). It comes with a slipcase and is 930 pages long no less. The subjects are various from animals to monsters to sex to landscapes. Of course, coming from Hokusai, all is drawn exquisitely. They were supposed to be text books for Hokusai´s pupils to learn to draw, so they better be good!

The text is in japanese and also comes with a little english where they explain a bit Hokusai´s life and the restoration process. Should be noted that this is the first time that the whole manga books have been published together in color.

This is an excellent hardcover book, perfect to sit down in a rainy morning like today and get lost in the thousand of beautiful, funny or sexy drawings we can find inside.

Unfortunately it is not cheap. When I bought it (in 2005, Tokyo Kinokuniya) it was 12.600 yen. Quite expensive. But no, really, the complete Hokusai Manga, in color, with best reproduction ever… 12.600 yen is a steal.