Tag Archives: Comics

All the manga in Japan

One ray of sunlight amid the gloom: I’m starting to think about a trip to Japan later this year. Perhaps I can write more about this later. At the moment, though, it has inspired a small diversion…

In the spirit of the What If series by Randall Munroe, and prompted by a (mostly) joking suggestion from comics’ #1 fan, I feel like investigating

What if I bought all the manga in Japan?

This feels like a question that pleads to become a catchphrase, at the very least; move over “all the tea in China.” I am confident that “all the manga” offers, at the very least, a valid synonym for “a lot.” As for greater precision than this…

Obviously it’s complicated. In theory there should be a real answer, in that I’m thinking about real physical objects; if we took all of the manga in Japan right at this moment and counted it up, it should be entirely possible to determine its weight and volume, at least. (Price would be much more complex even in theory.) There is some inevitable gray area, though, introduced by questions of “what counts as manga.” That of course is just theory, never mind practice.

In practice, to cut to the chase, I’m largely just going to make some things up and try to come up with a figure that (once more with Munroe as my model) at least offers some order-of-magnitude accuracy, probably. If nothing else, I’m curious whether it’s conceivable that “all the manga” could be loaded into a single container ship. Or even some plausibly low number of them. It wouldn’t shock me… but then again I could be way off. Let’s start estimating…

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Let technology do that for you…

Continuing my long-term archiving project, I just stumbled upon this doodle from… I don’t know. Whenever the iPhone4S and those “I found four locksmiths near you” commercials started running.

It's meant to be funny (kind of).

Ha ha… ha… ha?

The Cotton library fire, Oct. 23, 1731

The wee hours of this Thursday, October 23* will mark the 283rd anniversary of the disastrous Cotton library fire of 1731.

This is probably a questionable occasion to celebrate… but, (mostly) by coincidence, it’s also about time for me to begin promoting my book Cotton’s Library, which devotes most of two chapters to the fire and its aftermath.

So, I am pleased to share this cartoon I drew about the fire. You’ve got to have a laugh, eh?

Do feel free to share it or re-post it anywhere. At some point here I will probably post some additional notes about it at my art and design blog… for now, though, please enjoy “A Night in the Cotton Library.” Read More →

Transformers after three decades

A few weeks ago, the always observant xkcd introduced the instantly familiar concept of the “Timeghost.” These things have been haunting me for years, now, long before I had a name for them. I think the most consistently strange one year in and year out, so far, must however be Transformers: The Movie.

Get back to me in several more years, when Hill Valley of 2015 has also slid into the past, and it may have taken over. But at this point, the 20-years-from-now “two thousand fiiiiive” of my childhood has been behind me for most of a decade. As I probably watch this movie about once per year, I saw this weird reality creeping up even before that… and yet, viewing the movie again last night, I was still surprised by this most familiar Timeghost showing off a whole new trick. I’ve got to guestimate his age in TFTM, but it occurs to me that at this point, the Autobots’ boy sidekick Daniel Witwicky may very well be old enough to drink. Yeeesh. Pass that bottle over here Danny.

Meanwhile, this got me thinking yet again about how and why it is that at 36 years old, I’m still a fan of Transformers.

Section of Transformers toy catalog from 1985

I’ve go that guy in the upper-left, yes.

There are bigger fans out there, certainly. I haven’t bought a Transformer since the last century. But, I’ve been tempted, and I still have three or four of the things around here. I’ve got more than 100 Transformers comics, and those I occasionally still buy. I’ve got a Transformer web site bookmarked, and I still watch the flipping movie (which I must have seen two dozen times by now) once per year at least. At age 36. Can I account for this?

In one sense it isn’t difficult. The quick answer is “shameless, trashy nostalgia for happy associations with childhood” and that’s by no means wrong. If anyone has read this far but wants to bail out now, you won’t be missing any key points. That said, I feel like there has to be a bit more going on, if only to explain “why Transformers and why not other fascinations of my early life?”

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