Thursday, September 13, 2007

AKIRA Club is finally out!!!!!

I ordered this book from Amazon about seven months ago. It has been out in Japan for years and years, taunting me from the eBay stores of priveleged otaku. It was in Japanese and that was always the deal-breaker. To have it in English made the nerdiest recesses of my psyche squeal with ecstacy. Akira has been one of my favorites since 5th grade.
Then Dark Horse, Amazon, or the Universe in general, decided to fuck with me. I received emails, saying the book wasn't going to ship in time for its scheduled release. Three more months went by and the new release date was pushed back. Three more months and I received an email saying it probably wouldn't be out until December. After that, it kind of fell off of my radar. Then, on Monday, after a particularly shitty day at work, I found it on my doorstep. Like some long lost girl; finally ready to love me.
I've read the graphic novel -all 2000+ pages of it- at least four times. As far as I'm concerned, AKIRA Club has nothing to do with the story. AKIRA Club provides context. With title pages from it's various iterations and translations, photographs of the merchandise, and translations of margin notes from Otomo-san, himself, AKIRA Club expertly shows how the AKIRA epic became a phenomenon in Japan and how it began to take shape in the US. Worth the wait and, more or less, worth the hefty $30 price tag.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Album Covers by Comic Book Artists Part 3: The Final (and long delayed) Installment

OK, this is long delayed. I think these were more intensive than I expected them to be. There are still many more album covers by comic artists. I just wanted to talk about my favorites. The last one I want to talk about is the GZA/Genius' Liquid Swords cover by Denys Cowan

The top image is the front cover and the lower image is a detail of the liner notes. This cover works well because it not only is emblematic of GZA and Denys Cowan. It is emblematic of Hip-Hop, itself. On this cover, Cowan incorporates the Wu-Tang sensibility of Chess and Martial Arts with the larger sensibilities of Hip-Hop: fierce competition and survival in the streets. When I first saw this cover the repetitive use of the GZA "G", a variation on the Wu-Tang logo, really solidified the notion that Wu-Tang was something very different. It felt like some kind of strange army instead of just a group of rappers. It felt the same way, when I first saw the X-Men.

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