We like to do the occasional jaunt to the Japanese-owned dollar store near our neighborhood. Today I was looking at the kids’ items and I spotted the item at right. It’s the packaging for a tiny rubber stamp (not pictured), with the stamp’s impression below. This beady-eyed bunny apparently loves strawberry shortcake so much, it makes him drool. I don’t know Japanese, so what he’s saying on the stamp is a mystery to me — but I kinda like it that way. It has that “goofy/cute/enigmatic” aura that makes Japanese pop culture so appealing.
It embarrasses me to say this, but much of the time when I’m designing manga books for VIZ I can’t tell what the hell is happening with the story and characters. Currently I’m in the middle of desiging two titles for them. Hunter X Hunter is an action-filled tale typical of their Shonen Jump Advanced titles, with saucer-eyed kids racing after monsters and stuff. The other one I’m doing, Reborn!, is quite different. It’s about a middle school kid who is tutored by a baby mobster. It’s my understanding that some of the characters start out as bulbous, Pokemon-like creatures who eventually “grow” into relatively normal looking children. It also sports a saucy infant/adult romantic storyline, which is probably why the books are rated “T+” for older teens. Those Japanese kids get all the cool stuff, don’t they?
I’m somewhat amazed that Todd Haynes’ legendary underground film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story has been up at Google Video for several months now without getting pulled. See it before Richard Carpenter catches on. (hat tip to William)
Here’s what happens when stodgy chronicler of American history Smithsonian Magazine takes on ’60s Girl Group music. The article is very dryly written and unengaging, making obvious points and dwelling too much on Motown (which granted has some overlap with the Girl Group sound, but still …). The best thing about the piece is the lovely color photo of the Supremes rehearsing on some TV variety show. Perhaps my Supremes lovin’ friend Dan can fill me in on when/where that pic was taken.
So I’m sitting here at my computer, getting over another flu and nursing an ailing s.o. while simultaneously attempting to squeeze a 9 page playbill design into 8 pages. Between all that work I’m scanning through several dozen weblogs and wondering why so there’s so little inspiration to be found there. Seems like the bloggers have lots to write about, but nothing of real substance. I did, however, find a couple of little things. First off is the junky redesign of the Dairy Queen logo, found via Coudal. This is what’s called “design by committe”, folks. Other, less upsetting examples of corporate rebranding are laid bare on the Brand New weblog.
My second finding are these scanned pages from a single 1948 issue of Collier’s magazine, courtesy of the always scintillating ASIFA. It demonstrates how valuable illustrators were back then, but even more intriguing to me was that “HEDDA AND LOUELLA STOP FEUDIN'” tagline on the issue’s cover. Hedda and Louella, why didn’t you just kiss and make up?
Drew this while chatting on the phone with Christopher. Here is Eero napping on top of her beige carpet-festooned kitty condo.
A week later and I think I have a semi-solution for the scrubbles.net feed problem. Most of the new scrubbles.net feeds are being redirected to FeedBurner. For now I’m keeping the old, non-functional feeds. It’s useless to say this (since the people who need this most won’t be able to see it), but to get the latest, greatest feed go to your favorite reader and enter this address: