Before anime, Japanese paper theater entertained 1-million kids a day

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater by Eric P. Nash Abrams ComicArts 2009, 304 pages, 8.6 x 9.2 x 1.1 inches $29 Buy a copy on Amazon

Manga Kamishibai tells and shows the fascinating history of Japanese paper theater, a lost storytelling form and the link between Edo-era Japanese ukiyo-e prints and modern day manga and television. I say “and shows” because this art form combined the spoken word with compelling visuals in uniquely Japanese storytelling performances and this book is rich with many wonderful reproductions of the hand-painted artwork.

Picture this: In devastated post-WWII Tokyo, a man stops his bicycle on a street corner. On the back of his bike is mounted a large, sixty-pound wooden box. The man flips a few panels around to reveal a stage-like picture frame. He noisily clacks together two wooden sticks, hiyogoshi, to call the neighborhood children. As they gather to see and hear the free show, the man sells them home-made penny candies, including a not-too-sweet taffy that’s pulled and stretched using a chopstick (like today’s movie business, the real money is in the profitable concessions!). The paying customers get a front row seat to the performance. The man slides a sequence of large, colorful panels in the frame “screen” as he tells adventure stories, quizzes the audience, and weaves tales of suspense, all with character voices and sound effects. As the story ends on a dramatic, to-be-continued cliff-hanger, the man packs up his two-wheel theater and pedals away ... Read the rest

Lumberjanes: ground-breaking, wonderful, hilarious comic about adventurous girls

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I'm late to the party on Lumberjanes: I bought the first collection when it came out last summer, then promptly lost it in my overseas move; last weekend, I read it and the next two books and fell head over heels in love with this series of graphic novels for kids and adults.

Pop culture characters in couples therapy

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Starring pop culture characters that many of us can identify with, this comic hits home. It is a brutal look at how abusive families shape their childrens' future relationships—but also shows the reality of what triggers are, and what effective therapy looks like. Finally, it shows that even when our parents don't get us, things turn out okay if they love us and let us be who we are. Read the rest

Disneyland's Tower of Terror is turning into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride

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The beloved Tower of Terror ride at Disneyland California Adventure features some of the most elaborate themeing and set-dressing of any of Disney's built environments, consisting of a series of staged scenes that are reminiscent of interactive theater troupe Punchdrunk's sets, followed by a spectacular thrill-ride -- it rarely has less than a 30 minute wait. Read the rest

Comics and Science: An Explosive Combination

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In honor of Free Comic Book Day, we present this essay by Jon Chad, author of Science Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and Life, and the co-author, with Maris Wicks, of "Science Comics," a free comic available in comics stores all over the world today. Read the rest

Free Comic Book Day: Why write science comics?

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In honor of Free Comic Book Day, we present this essay by Maris Wicks, author of Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean, and the co-author, with Jon Chad, of "Science Comics," a free comic available in comics stores all over the world today. See the bottom of the post for an exclusive preview of Science Comics!

Ben Hatke, kids' author and superhero

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You'll know Ben Hatke as author of Boing Boing-beloved illustrated kids' books like Little Robot and Zita the Space Girl, but as this Children's Book Week video shows, Hatke is a literal fire-breathing, acrobatic, sword-fighting superhero! Read the rest

After advertiser complaints, Farm News fires editorial cartoonist who criticized John Deere & Monsanto

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Rick Friday has been the editorial cartoonist for Farm News for 21 years, with a weekly slot in every Friday's paper. Read the rest

There's a new Hyperbole and a Half book coming!

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In 2014, Allie Brosh's outstanding, hilarious, and gut-wrenching webcomic Hyperbole and a Half made the jump to print with an incredible book (review); now Simon and Schuster have announced a followup, Solutions and Other Problems, to be published next October -- I just pre-ordered my copy! (via Wil Wheaton) Read the rest

Chinese opsec funnies: your foreign boyfriend is a western spy!

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In this Chinese government comic book, women are warned that mysterious foreign strangers who pitch woo at them are secretly Western spies trying to get at their government secrets. Read the rest

Something New: frank, comedic, romantic memoir of a wedding in comic form

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Lucy Knisley is a favorite around these parts, a comics creator whose funny, insightful, acerbic and disarmingly frank memoirs in graphic novel form have won her accolades and admiration from across the field. With her latest book, Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride, Knisley invites us into her wedding, her love life, her relationship with her mother, and an adventure that's one part Martha Stewart, one part French farce comedy.

The Minecraft comic that almost was

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It's a shame that this Minecraft comic never happened. The art looks fantastic. Brandon Sheffield, video game director and webcomic writer, has sample character designs, screens, and a script on his website.

Read the rest

How could Lex Luthor beat the import controls on kryptonite?

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The new, evidently terrible Batman vs Superman movie turns on Lex Luthor's evil plan to lobby the US government to grant a variance in its import controls on kryptonite (making the movie part of the pantheon whose creators bravely decided to make the major plot points revolve around regulation, see, e.g., the Star Wars prequels). Read the rest

The Nameless City: YA graphic novel about diplomacy, hard and soft power, colonialism, bravery, and parkour

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Faith Erin Hicks (Zombies Calling, Friends with Boys, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong) is back with the first volume of a new, epic YA trilogy: The Nameless City, a fantasy adventure comic about diplomacy, hard and soft power, colonialism, bravery, and parkour.

Garden: XKCD's latest maddening, relaxing webtoy

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The latest XKCD is Garden, a webtoy that invites you to position lamps, adjust their spectrum and focus, and wait while your garden grows. Read the rest

Kickstarting a history of women and free speech in comics from CBLDF

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Charles from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund sez, "CBLDF is kickstarting She Changed Comics, a history of how women changed free expression in comics!" Read the rest

Amazing fan-made Wonder Woman sweater pattern to download and knit

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Natalie Bursztyn created this fantastic pattern for a Wonder Woman sweater, which she has prototyped and modelled herself. Read the rest

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