It is yet again ComiCon week down in San Diego. Yet while the nerd-world’s attention is hyper-focused on the breaking news and goings-on of the convention, its core reason for existence — the comic book industry — is increasingly irrelevant, and generally in the shitter, despite some great material being created. A refugee of the industry myself, I feel for the creators still putting ink to paper and trying to make a go of it, both down at Con and in the increasingly fragile industry in general.
To show some solidarity with the comic book windmill-tilters of the world, here’s a collection of some of the better comics-related features we’ve run over the year.
Enjoy, and if inspired, go buy some comics — preferably indie ones…
Is there a more perfectly 80’s manga creator than Buichi Terasawa? His art – augmented by then fledgling computer graphics – oozes MTV, Nagel, neon, hair products. His samurai wore suit jackets with the sleeves pulled up; traditional garb filtered through new wave and aerobics fashion.
After cyber-punk classics like Space Pirate Cobra and Goku – Midnight Eye, he snuck in a retro-futurist piece of what I guess you’d call ‘Bamboo Punk,’ a ninja and demon-infused epic called Karasutengu Kabuto (aka Raven Tengu Kabuto or just Kabuto).
Spend any time looking at Terasawa’s body of work, and you notice some things;
His heroes have BIG hair (as did their creator).
He loves ASS (especially the thonged variety), and there’s plenty of bootylicious swordgirls around.
Everyone has a GREAT time fighting. His worlds are a fun place for a dashing hair-metal hero.
His character design (especially the supporting casts) are always interesting and out-of-the-box.
There’s great tech (even in the period book).
In general his self-indulgent books are fun as hell.
A major pioneer in the integration of computers and the printed page, Terasawa’s properties translated very well to electronic media, and the fact that his heroes and heroines are often blonde caucasians didn’t hurt for worldwide distribution in myriad languages.
While Kabuto wasn’t nearly as prolific as Cobra, you can see all sorts of stuff that would influence manga, anime and video games for decades. Plenty of masks and monsters, too!
Buichi Teraswa is perhaps single-handedly responsible for the 90’s-00’s kunoichi look. Suzaku’s ninja go-go outfit, based on bits and pieces of historical garb and anachronistic costumes seen in Onmitsu Doshin shows and 80’s Kadokawa flicks, has been copied endlessly. Takara’s ultra-collectible “Cy-Girl Shadow” 1:6 scale figure is a direct lift.
He also created the costumes for the exploitation flick Kunoichi Ninpocho, cementing the 2-piece bikini-kimono / Roman loin-cloth style outfit you see in all the shinobi soft porn now. The man likes the exposed thighs, and who’s to argue?
Need further proof of Terasawa’s perv worn on his sleeve? Check out a memorable clip from the Kabuto manga. Tongue-in-cheek for sure, but which cheek?