THE KAPPABASHI CAT: Production Report No.2

This is the second in a series of reports documenting the production progress of The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi, the sequel to my graphic memoir/artist book Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics that was completed in 2016. Essentially similar in vein to its predecessor in graphic approach it will be different through being less autobiographical, less of a graphic memoir and more fictive. It will contain fewer anecdotes, fewer human characters and is much more of a funny animal comic. The principal character is the cat Cohl from the Blotting Paper graphic novel and his adventures in Tokyo to which he has travelled in search of his friend Busch.

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At the end of the Blotting Paper graphic novel (page 286 above and page 287 below) Cohl is content to remain in Berlin but is attempting to contact his friend Busch who had left Germany for Japan with his new mate Barks.

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A second and a third draft of the new comic have been written but the design and artwork are still at the preliminary stage. As in the Blotting Paper graphic novel printmaking is being employed along with other forms of image-making including drawing, typography, handwriting, calligraphy, collage and photography. As with the earlier publication the intention is to make a comic in an artist’s book/graphic novel type of format.

Read the first post on this new production The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi No.1 and details of the production of all five issues of the Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics artist book/comic, now combined in graphic novel form, and a continuing visual history record and time-line overview of the project read all of the production reports on the following posts:  Issue #1: No.1   No.2   No.3   No.4   No.5   No.6   No.7   No.8   No.9   No.10   No.11   No.12   No.13   Issue #2: No.14   No.15   No.16   No.17   No.18   No.19   No.20   No.21   No.22   No.23   No.24   No.25   No.26   No.27   No.28   No.29   Issue #3: No.30   No.31   No.32   No.33   No.34   No.35   No.36   Issue #4: No.37   No.38   No.39   No.40   No.41   No.42   No.43   No.44   Issue #5: No.45   No.46   No.47   No.48

CATS IN COMICS: Cohl

It’s been a long time between bowls of milk and fishes on plates in this series of mini-profiles of cat characters I have enjoyed in comics! And as a departure in this post I focus on a feline character of my own creation, Cohl, from the comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics.  Cohl is a cat of French origin who loves to read comics and to draw, especially with pen and ink on quality art paper. Although he favours bande dessinée, the Euro-Comics, and more Marcinelle than Bruxelle School, he has been prepared to read some manga and is beginning to find it quite appealing. Mon Dieu!

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First appearance of Cohl, the cat at the back, in black-© 2012 Michael Hill

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Cohl likes to read comics-© 2013 Michael Hill

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He also likes to draw-© 2013 Michael Hill

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He is capable of concocting a cunning business plan-© 2014 Michael Hill

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After a brush with Modernism in Berlin he begins to organise his own life better-© 2015 Michael Hill

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He enjoys riding his Ghost bike through Tiergarten, really, really fast yet trying not to give his syrah too much bottle shock-© 2016 Michael Hill

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Spending many relaxing and uninterrupted days reading comics in his little flat and planning to create his own graphic novel-© 2016 Michael Hill

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And dreaming of how life could be if it would-© 2016 Michael Hill

Read all the CATS IN COMICS posts:  Busch   Cohl    Doraemon    Krazy Kat    The Rabbi’s Cat  plus Cohl’s adventures in the Blotting Paper Production Reports:  Issue #1: No.1   No.2   No.3   No.4   No.5   No.6   No.7   No.8   No.9   No.10   No.11   No.12   No.13   Issue #2: No.14   No.15   No.16   No.17   No.18   No.19   No.20   No.21   No.22   No.23   No.24   No.25   No.26   No.27   No.28   No.29   Issue #3: No.30   No.31   No.32   No.33   No.34   No.35   No.36   Issue #4: No.37   No.38   No.39   No.40   No.41   No.42   No.43   No.44   Issue #5: No.45   No.46   No.47   No.48

 

COFFEE TABLE fourth fix

There are football (or soccer) comics on the coffee table this month. I’m currently watching matches from the English Premier League, the FA Cup, the German BundesligaSpanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, the Japanese J. League and the local Australian A-League. Last year I saw a really good FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Brisbane between Australia (Socceroos) and Japan (Blue Samurai) and recently I attended a Sydney FC match and witnessed the Italian master Alessandro Del Piero (a.k.a. the little painter) play. Del Piero says he was inspired to play football by the Japanese animation and manga character Captain Tsubasa (see image below). Growing up in Australia with the SBS television broadcaster, the Special Broadcasting Service, I was aware of football’s cultural origins. Due to its coverage of ethnic programs SBS became an amusing acronym in the schoolyard for ‘Soccer Bloody Soccer’ especially for followers of the other football codes such as rugby league, rugby union and Australian rules, and later with it’s screening of adult art films prior to the early morning broadcast of live football matches from Europe, ‘Sex Before Soccer’.

Comic Book Guy red carded for invading the pitch. (Photo and staging by Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics)

Comic Book Guy red carded for invading the pitch. (Photo and staging by Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics)

So some of my set of Simpsons soccer figures and Comic Book Guy comics are in play this time. I’m not sure whether Simpsons creator Matt Groening is a football fan or not but following the repertory nature of the show the cast was kitted out to fill a couple of soccer teams with Mr. Burns as the referee. Comic Book Guy seems to be miscast here, invading the playing field and shown the red card by referee Burns for not being a member of either team. There is no sign of the ball, lost perhaps in the long grass. Springfield is not known for its smooth playing surfaces. Perhaps Homer was supposed to mow it but forgot?

Comic Book Guy in his own series plus his enormous cosplay effort on Free Comic Book Day.

Comic Book Guy in his own series plus his enormous cosplay effort on Free Comic Book Day.

The Jack Kirby cover for the first issue of The Fantastic Four.

The Jack Kirby cover for the first issue of The Fantastic Four.

I’m a fan of both the art of comics and the round ball game so it’s fine by me that Comic Book Guy puts in an appearance on the coffee table along with the recent comic book series Death of Comic Book Guy, the first issue cover of which is a pastiche of the Jack Kirby design for The Fantastic Four #1 back in November 1961 with Comic Book Guy trading places with The Thing, Bart with Human Torch, and Homer with Invisible Girl(see above). Oh, did I forget to mention Billy the Fish?

Captain Tsubasa manga

Captain Tsubasa manga: Road To 2002 Vol.10 (2002 FIFA World Cup campaign)

All of the figurines in the set.

All of the figurines in the set.

Springfield's finest-Homer with ball-Simpsons soccer trading card.

Springfield’s finest-Homer with ball-The Simpsons soccer trading card.

Grampa stops the ball in The Simpsons Springfield soccer team trading cards.

Grampa stops the ball in The Simpsons Springfield soccer team trading cards.

UPDATE #1(February 2014): The Simpsons show is currently cartoonising some of the members of English Premier League club Chelsea FC. (L to R in the photo below) are Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech.

Chelsea FC players standing behind their Simpsonised characters.

Chelsea FC players standing behind their Simpsonised characters.

UPDATE #2(June 2014): On a recent visit to Germany I picked up a football comic at a comics convention. (See cover below)

A German football comic reprinted in time for the 2014 World Cup.

A German football comic reprinted in time for the 2014 World Cup.

This post was first published on the Doctor Comictopus blog that has now been merged with this one.

Doctor Comictopus avatar for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

CupofCoffee-1RRead all the coffee table entries imported from Doctor Comictopus blog:  COFFEE TABLE first fix(Day of the Dead/Halloween comics)      COFFEE TABLE fourth fix(Football comics)   COFFEE TABLE eighth fix(Hergé and Tintin)    COFFEE TABLE tenth fix(Shigeru Mizuki)

FLYING THE ANIME FLAG ON TREASURE ISLAND

In late October I spent a week in Fiji for the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Foundation to present a lecture and workshop at the School of Arts, Language and Media of the University of the South Pacific and introduce films at an Anime festival. It was all part of Japan Culture Week 2011 in Suva, the capital city on the largest of the 300 islands and it seemed a bit like an act of cultural colonisation, raising the Anime flag and flying its colours on Treasure Island, creating a little Anime paradise in the Pacific Ocean.

Lecturing on the global spread of Japanese pop culture in the 1980s. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Lecturing on the global spread of Japanese pop culture in the 1980s. (Photo by Louise Graber)

My lecture Up In The Air: Anime’s Journey To The Stars described the global success of Japanese animation and its rise to prominance in the film world and in popular culture. It covered the work of Osamu Tezuka and the success of his work abroad. It also referred to Rintaro’s involvement with him as an animation director on Astro Boy prior to his subsequent productions that included his Tezuka homage film Metropolis, his adaption of Leiji Matsumoto’s manga Galaxy Express 999, and of Sanpei Shirato’s manga The Dagger of Kamui. Describing Shirato’s beginnings as a kamishibai artist before moving to manga and the alternative publication GARO the lecture was situated in the context of anecdotes from my time as a lecturer at an Arts college and a School of Design in Sydney where I observed the growing interest of students in Japanese popular culture. They became fascinated with manga, Anime, cosplay, J-Pop, scanlations, computer games, cameras, turntables, TV game shows, food and fashion, not to mention the learning of the Japanese language and the odd visit to Tokyo. The lecture concluded with an analysis of the productions and rise to prominence of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli who, like Tezuka, found an international audience and critical acclaim.

The tools and materials for the printmaking workshop. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In addition to the theory lecture I also presented a practical workshop demonstrating the printmaking technique I have developed as part of my artistic practice. Based on the Japanese creative print movement of Sosaku Hanga and the work of Koshiro Onchi and Shiko Munakata  in particular I showed examples of my work that have been made following this approach and methodology and applied to prints, postcards, T-shirts and comics.

Teaching techniques to students of University of the South Pacific. (Photo by Louise Graber)

After the demonstration the students then made their own prints. By chance, the cultural activities took place in the same week as the Rugby World Cup finals and the only paint colours to hand were those of the Wallabies, yellow and green. My own rugby woodblock print (on the table and being passed around the class, in the photos above) provided some amusement and interest.

The ‘sosaku hanga’ creative printmaking workshop. (Photo by Louise Graber)

On the roof of the Village Cinema complex Batman and Spiderman look down intrigued at the sight of people going in to see the Ninja super hero Kamui. It was here that the Anime Film Festival was held each evening. The films Galaxy Express 999, The Dagger of Kamui, Laputa: Castle in the Sky and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time were screened to impressed audiences. Anime is now a fixed part of the Japanese cultural coat of arms, emblamatic of the country’s long history of graphic arts that feeds into and nurtures both Anime and manga. A week long festival of Anime films and supporting contextual cultural events signaled an alternative offering to Hollywood and the further spread of Japanese popular culture in the South Pacific.

Village Cinema Centre, Suva. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Some other visual moments from my Fiji trip follow:

In the hotel pool in Nadi, my friend the octopus. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In the hotel pool in Nadi, my friend the octopus. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Doctor Comics in  shark jaws at the University of the South Pacific. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Doctor Comics in shark jaws at the University of the South Pacific. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In the Fiji Museum in Suva, the Eel God sacred club. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In the Fiji Museum in Suva, the Eel God sacred club. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In addition to my affinity with the octopus and various fish I am partial to the eel. During my Fiji visit I was pleased to find that the eel has acquired the status of a deity and a creative one at that in Melanesian mythology. Below is an artwork I created based on the freshwater eels that used to be found and fished in the Parramatta River near Blacktown in Sydney.

My own eel art work(print, painting and collage-© 2009 Michael Hill).

My own eel art work(print, painting and collage-© 2009 Michael Hill).

Another treasure inside the Fiji Museum was this old metal Hopkinson & Cope printing press, imported from England in earlier days. At my printmaking workshop in Suva I demonstrated a Japanese method that employs one’s body weight as a press rather than a device such as this European device.

Old metal, pre-digital printing press. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Old metal, pre-digital printing press. (Photo by Louise Graber)

On this Treasure Island, apart from the art and the marine life, there were collections of coconuts, palm trees and flowers including red hibiscus and white frangipani, all over the place.

Big frangipani presence on the island. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Big frangipani presence on the island. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Many thanks to Sayuri Tokuman and Susan Yamaguchi of the Japanese Studies & Intellectual Exchange Department and Tokiko Kiyota, Director of the Japan Foundation in Sydney, and to Nobuko Iwatani, Mako Nakauchi and Mele of the Embassy of Japan in Fiji, and His Excellency Yutaka Yoshizawa, Ambassador of Japan, for their ideas, assistance and support with this project.

CATS IN COMICS: Doraemon

In this series I shall be featuring mini-profiles of cat characters I have enjoyed in comics. Each post will feature an image and short description of the character.

Cover of Doraemon manga issue 1.

The first cat in this series is Doraemon, the creation of Fujio Fujiki, the alias of two creators (mangaka) Motoo Akibo and Hiroshi Fujimoto, working in collaboration. Doraemon is a blue, earless, male, magical, back from the future, robot cat that lost his ears to a hungry rat. And like most cats he is very good to his owner, the little boy Nobita. This cat has been designed in a seriously super-deformed style with a large round head that takes up practically half its body length. First published in Japan in 1970 it has been so successful it was developed into an animation series and franchise with a massive amount of merchandise including postage stamps. Doraemon has the distinction of being the first Anime Ambassador of Japan. Most recently a museum has opened in Kawasaki. This cat is more than 40 years old although, as it is a cat that is back from the future, it has not yet been born, his birthday being just over a century away on 3rd September 2112. His popularity goes on and on, and taking a lead from the guitar I saw in a music shop in Ochanomizu, Tokyo, near Meiji University, I say “Rock on Doraemon!”

Doraemon guitar in Tokyo music shop. (Photo by Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics)

See who is front and centre on this Anime character post card!

See who is front and centre on this Anime character post card!

UPDATE 3 SEP 2112: On September 3rd 2012 Doraemon received an official residency certificate from Kawasaki city-100 years before his birth on September 3rd 2112.

Doraemon’s official residency certificate.

Doraemon on rails!

UPDATE 21 NOV 2016: On a trip to Tokyo last month I found these two sets of Doraemon stamps on sale at a Japan Post shop:

2 sets of Doraemon stamps on sale in Japan.

2 sets of Doraemon stamps on sale in Japan.

and an old copy of the Doraemon magazine at a bookshop in Jimbocho:

Copy of Doraemon Official Magazine 2004.7.20

Copy of Doraemon Official Magazine 2004.7.20

and a toy figure in a food shop in Kappabashi:

Doraemon toy in food store in Kappabashi-(Photo-© 2016 Louise Graber).

Doraemon toy in food store in Kappabashi-(Photo-© 2016 Louise Graber).

UPDATE 19 APR 2017: On a trip to New York last month I found this Doraemon doll made up as Captain America in a shop window in Chinatown, along with a group of smaller Doraemons and a large Japanese neko.

Doraeman as Cap, Chinatown, New York. (Photo-© 2017 Michael Hill)

Read all the CATS IN COMICS posts:  Busch   Cohl    Doraemon    Krazy Kat    The Rabbi’s Cat