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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fans Worship Water Cape Kid From Comic God!! Please Find Missing Artist by Old Date!!!

Odd 'N Ends

Above is one of the doujinshis Mitsuyoshi sent me back in the day, this one devoted to Osamu Tezuka's Triton of the Sea.  It's a really nice package, the printing/binding is as good if not better than most graphic novels printed over here in the mid-80s.  I dunno what the print run on this one was, but I expect someone spent a good deal of money to get it published.  34 pages, front and back. Nice, thick cover.  Several different kinds of paper stock.  Every time I picked this one up to get to something else in the box, I almost always stopped to flip through it and told myself I was going to do some more research into Triton, a series and manga I knew almost nothing about.  Luckily, we live in the age of youtube and even though the anime never got airplay here in the US, it certainly seemed to have played everywhere else around the world in the mid-70s.  Lots and lots of youtube clips of it around.  If you're interested, this is a good one to start with and the superb video quality of this guy's uploads has me guessing the series was just recently released (or, more accurately, re-released) on DVD.  Yeah, the translation for the subtitles is weak, and was most probably done in Japan, but it's certainly good enough to get the job done.

Just judging by the first two TV episodes, whoever did the write-up on Triton on wiki either didn't watch the anime or was using the manga as a guide (despite the voice cast being part of the article), because the two of them simply don't match.  A better write-up of the anime is here, though no credit is given on it.  The animation is pretty standard for the time period, with requisite cute sidekick characters (love the dolphins with freckles and "glasses" respectively), but it's still pretty cool. I mean, how many supertypes can rock a cape UNDERWATER?  Hell, Aquaman couldn't even do that. I especially love the part where Triton is shunned by the land folk because of his green hair.  This was actually back when bizarre hair color in anime was the exception rather than the rule, I guess.  Dunno if that was Tezuka or Tomino (yes, THAT Tomino, who can claim this as his directoral debut) who came up with the idea, but that one gets a drink from me before I hit the sack tonight.  I wonder exactly when the whole "strange hair color as normal" thing became a feature rather than a bug. Someone ought to do an article...

Seriously, look at that cape go!

Whatever Happened To...

Sean Bishop?

I worked with a few artists during my abbreviated career in comics - some went on to bigger and better things, some fell off the face of the earth, and some found better uses for thier skills.  Some probably shouldn't have been doing it at all...but Sean Bishop was not one of them.  I thought he was insanely talented, especially for a kid who basically came out of nowhere.  He knew the Macross source material backwards and forwards and the passion was definitely there, which is something that I didn't exactly get from all of the people I worked with.

These are from Return to Macross #20, which suffered from a printing shortage in addition to the incredibly weak numbers that the Academy Comics run of the Robotech property had, which makes it more difficult to come by than the remainder of the run. I only have two copies of the issue myself, which is why I'm using the photocopies Sean originally sent me waaaaay back in '93 or whenever this was.  The issue is a Lisa Hayes flashback story that led into the events of Academy Blues.

I did some googling for "Sean Bishop" and did come across a few IMDB entries for storyboard and voice acting work, which leads me to believe that he, like Tim Eldred, ended up in animation, which is probably a good place for a person with artistic talent and passion. Assuming, of course, it's the same guy.  I guess the ladder is fairly tough to climb, 'cause I'd have figured he'd be heading up projects by now. 

I promised myself I'd stop at one joke about Lisa's hair.  

Okay, maybe two jokes.

Area 88 in '88

Back when Eclipse first hooked up with Viz to reprint manga for us poor slobs on this side of the Pacific, part of the publicity binge included this Area 88 Wall Calendar (1988, of course), with illos by Yattaran...err Kaoru Shintani. 

Not sure where I got this one, but I'm thinking it had to be at a San Diego ComiCon in '88 or '89 because it's not rolled up, whereas all my other anime calendars are.  Wall calenders are pretty big, which is why we like 'em, but in order to ship them, you almost have to roll them up and put them in poster tubes.  I once had three or four different wall calenders from different shows, but as soon as they weren't timely anymore, I'd unhook the individual posters (almost all the Japanese calenders allowed for this) from each other and send them out to people I knew would appreciate them.  As you can see with this one, it has a plastic roll fastener at the top, so you can't do that.  Which is why I still have it in order to show it to you now.  The price says 10 bucks, but I'm pretty sure someone at Eclipse/Viz gave me this one.

This base needs to get themselves a new photographer, 'cause this guy can't take pictures worth shit.

Just for comparison, here's the one page from the 1985? Nippan Sunrise Mecha Wall Calendar that I kept.

Love me some Galient!


  1. My only familiarity with Area 88 was through the arcade game. I was slightly aware of the short-lived manga from Viz, but didn't really think it would appeal to me, because I wasn't into the war porn of that era like Rambo, Top Gun, and Red Dawn. [I did dig Predator, though. Unfortunately, I missed out on Metal Gear the first time around. And I always thought G.I. Joe was dumb long before they started making fun of those "knowing" PSAs.] Having only recently seen the OVA, I doubt it would have helped, either. But the tv remake is friggin' awesome-and probably one of the more under-looked ones when they talk about "best of the decade"! And I so wish they'd have animated more of 'em, and that Viz would have tried to use the manga boom as an excuse to resuscitate this sucker. But it was not to be, as Banana Fish and Maison Ikkoku are the only Shogakukan manga from the last 25+ years which are even remotely profitable for the company. *sigh*

  2. Shows how long I've been out of it. I didn't even know there was an Area 88 arcade game.

    Good to hear Maison Ikkoku has been profitable for Viz. Compared to the Urusei Yatsura fandom, MI was pretty weak back in the day, with a lot of the UY fans being drawn to the crazy humor for those who couldn't understand Japanese. And, of course, Lum in the bikini.

    RWG (the appeal of MI can only grow when you can understand what they're actually saying :-)

  3. Well, the MI manga is profitable, compared to the anime, anyway. Not sure how it does in general, though.

  4. I actually talked to Sean Bishop on the phone about, what would it be, four or five years ago now? It was because I was getting a hold of a lot of former Robotech comic artists while trying to commission art pieces for an old-fashioned print fanzine I'd inherited from a friend of mine. Bishop was, in fact, working for Dreamworks animation at the time. He actually told me he'd tried to get back up on the Robotech horse again, contacting folks at DC/WildStorm, but for whatever reason they weren't interested. Shame, that; he always did a hell of a good job aping the style of the original animation, but oh well. By the by, RtM #20 is still one of my all-time favorite single issues of the run; I still crack out my copies of #19, 20, and Academy Blues #0 every once in a while and smile. Good stuff.

  5. Nice to hear Sean is alive, kicking and apparently still working. Also happy to hear that someone likes the stuff we did waaay back when.

    I just wish I had more time and content to add to the blog. I recently lost most of my source material for scans and such, and my current computer and connection aren't the best...

    RWG (and there's only so much you can write about ancient anime fandom and HnK :-)