Japan is being invaded by giant robots! No, really!

GundamThis is what happens when the geeks get old enough to run companies. And governments.

Tokyo has recently unveiled a to-scale statue of one of the giant robots from the “Gundam” comic series, on the man-made island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay.

Not to be outdone, the city of Kobe (pronounced “KO-bay”, by the way) is working on a (to-scale, of course) iron figure of an earlier giant robot, Tetsujin 28. The linked page includes video of the manufacture of the “robot” and of the TV cartoon from 1963. By the way, this cartoon got some play in the US and other countries three years later, as “Gigantor“.

Not unrelated, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is trying to spend government money to build a Manga Museum. Aso being about as popular with the Japanese public as month-old bananas, it’s not too surprising that the opposition, led by Yukio Hatoyama, is bludgeoning him with this example of “wasteful spending”.

Guess Hatoyama wasn’t much of a manga reader.

(Photo from dannychoo.com)

#190 American Flagg

7/27/09 American Flagg

American FlaggThough it had a lot of buzz when it first appeared in 1983, Howard Chaykin’s dystopian-future comic American Flagg! had fallen off the radar until recently. Now Image Comics has released two volumes containing the first 14 issues. Tim and Kumar discuss.

Bound for promotion on the Shima Kosaku bus!

On a business trip to Yamaguchi Prefecture recently, I happened to see this bus, decorated with Shima Kosaku panels! Coincidence that Mulele and I had just recorded a podcast where we talked about this comic!

The bus!

Continue reading Bound for promotion on the Shima Kosaku bus!

#189 Two Mormons Named Mike

7/20/09 Two Mormons Named Mike

Madman Atomic Comics Mike Allred’s Madman Atomic Comics not only continues the trippy, colorful, highly imaginative path of previous Madman offerings, it kicks those elements up several more notches. Tim and STORM explore.
Mike Garcia Before the podcast existed, before Mulele and Tim even knew Brandon, there was the comics class. Fellow former participant Mike Garcia is now publishing a Web comic, The Adventures of Mike Garcia, which takes a sweet yet clear-eyed look at college, Mormonism, and other aspects of his life.

#188 Our local comics, and “Local”

7/13/09 Our local comics, and “Local”

Morning Comics Who is Company President Shima, and why do some committed Japanese fans try to imitate his life? Why on earth would anyone create a wine-tasting comic? The answers to these questions and more as Mulele and Tim flip through the latest issue of Japan’s Morning Comics.
Local Love her, hate her, or… don’t really care about her, Megan McKeenan’s North American journey in Local, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, is worth discussing. Was there a point to the exercise? Tim and Brandon ponder.

#187 Naruto, Full Metal Alchemist, and Trying Human

7/6/09 Naruto, Full Metal Alchemist, and Trying Human

Full Metal Alchemist Why choose sides? Japanese comics and American comics both have their good points. Tim and Jarrett talk about two, “Naruto” by Masashi Kishimoto, and “Full Metal Alchemist” by Hiromu Arakawa.
Trying Human Tim gets a taste of his own medicine when Emy Bitner’s alien-abduction Web comic “Trying Human” reminds him of his own comic — and not in a good way. Tim and Mulele discuss the importance of keeping the size of your cast manageable.