The “interesting failure” of Tezuka’s feminist “Princess Knight”

by Kory Cerjak

Title: Princess Knight
Author: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Vertical

Princess KnightI’ll give Princess Knight a praise that I haven’t given any other manga I’ve read yet, and it’s this: Princess Knight is the most interesting failure I have ever read. The story of Princess Knight goes that God decides what gender an unborn child will be by giving the child a boy heart or a girl heart. But Tink had already given a child a boy heart when God gives him a girl heart. The child, Sapphire, is born as a girl into a kingdom where only boys can ascend to the throne.

This is what’s interesting. Published in 1953 in Kodansha’s Shojo Club magazine, it is perhaps the first foray into feminist manga in Japan, and perhaps the first ever comic to be a true tale of feminist literature. I say it’s a failure because of Continue reading The “interesting failure” of Tezuka’s feminist “Princess Knight”

#377 International Comics Fest pt 1

TimOn October 20, Tim and Mulele visited the International Manga Festival (Kaigai Manga Festa) at Tokyo Big Sight. Comics creators from around the world were exhibiting their work to an enthusiastic mostly-Japanese crowd. This week: part one of our report.

Info on all the exhibitors we talk to in this episode is below!


Continue reading #377 International Comics Fest pt 1

#376 Matt Emery and Pikitia Press

Matt Emery This week, an interview with Matt Emery, a comics creator from New Zealand who lives in Melbourne and has started his own publishing house, Pikitia Press. He’ll be talking with Kumar about the Melbourne comics scene, why he started publishing and how he got started in it.

#375 “The Manhattan Projects”: Is science bad?

manhattanprojectsThis week, another comic involving science — Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s The Manhattan Projects — and thus another visit from comics-and-science-loving podcaster Ryan Haupt! He and Tim speculate on the meaning of Hickman’s tag line “Science. Bad.”, examine which parts of the story are fact and which are extrapolation from fact (or just plain made up!), some facts that Hickman got wrong, and more. Plus: how can the writer of such a wacky book turn around and write such dark, funless Avengers stories?

Read issue-by-issue analysis at Multiversity Comics

Tezuka’s “Apollo’s Song” explores love, with stunning visuals

By Kory Cerjak

Title: Apollo’s Song
Author: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Vertical

apollossong_queenOsamu Tezuka: the man, the legend, the God of Manga and the Godfather of Anime. Born in 1928 in Toyonaka, Tezuka is perhaps the most well-known figure in the manga/anime cultural pantheon. I’ll skip some of the finer details and move to 1946. In 1946, Tezuka was just graduating from medical school and had to make a decision: medicine or comics. He loved both fields, but loved one just a little more. He got his degree, but ultimately decided to pursue comics. In 1952, Astro Boy began its syndication in Shonen magazine. The rest, as they say, is history.

Apollo’s Song opens with an amazing visual metaphor of 500,000,000 people all clambering to become the king to the one queen. The metaphor ends up being of a sperm and eggs, and is used really effectively to represent humankind as a whole, in the sense that only one out of 500,000,000 people will be that special one. But it’s not just Continue reading Tezuka’s “Apollo’s Song” explores love, with stunning visuals

#374 Adventures in Comics Retailing, with James Sime

isotopeSo what’s it like to be an American comics retailer in 2013? Is the digital market your friend, or a sworn enemy? What kind of hassles are presented by the weekly shipments of new comics? Is there any reason to stock back issues these days? In this episode, Tim explores these issues and more with James Sime, co-owner of Isotope Comics in San Francisco!

Critiquing Comics #055: “Rena Rouge”

renarougeTim and Mulele discuss Alan Caeser’s Rena Rouge–or at least, the art and coloring. The story, well… We’d critique it if we could.

Sex, drugs, and vanity in “Helter Skelter”

By Kory Cerjak

Title: Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly
Author: Kyoko Okazaki
Publisher: Vertical

helterskelterKyoko Okazaki is a relatively well-known figure in the Japanese manga market. However, given that her most famous works are josei titles (which historically haven’t done well in the States), I hadn’t heard of her until Vertical announced they would be putting out Helter Skelter and Pink. A lot of her titles are published in French, though. According to Wikipedia, and you’d have to talk to someone like Vertical’s Ed Chavez for more detail, Okazaki is one of the spearheads to the trend of shojo/josei manga (especially in the late ’80s and ’90s) regarding “gal” (gyaru) manga, which is about girls but also about sex and drugs.

Helter Skelter is about a young(?) woman named Liliko who has undergone extensive plastic surgery to achieve her current look. I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was Continue reading Sex, drugs, and vanity in “Helter Skelter”