more from the old sumo comic

Here are some images taken from the interior pages of Dairiki-kun (“Big Power Boy”),  a Japanese sumo comic from 1956.  See cover images and read the original discussion here.

Thanks to loyal reader Sean K. for coming up with the bright idea of taking digital photos when I mentioned I was leery of flattening this fragile old comic in my flatbed scanner.  Blame rigid thinking: as far as I’m usually concerned, the camera is for things that are either far away from the studio, or too big, too thick or too lively for the scanner. You photograph trees, cars, dogs and small children; you smack hunks of paper (and socks) on the scanner.  But the camera worked fine for this, without disturbing the integrity of the object. If the images are not exactly square, it’s because I let the pages curve naturally.

sample page layout
“Dairiki-kun”
Toshio Kinoshita, 1956

I decided to try to get one image of an entire page.  Kinoshita uses the quintessential three tier layout throughout this comic, with one, two or three panels in each tier.  On a few pages he varies this by connecting two tiers with a single vertical panel, and on the last page he blows out the bottom two tiers into a large panel with an inset panel in one corner.  Otherwise, it’s your standard “three-over” grid all the way.  Just like Watchmen.  When I chose which page to try to photograph, I had to pick one with Big Power Boy’s pal, the bear.

bear panel from “Dairiki-kun”
Toshio Kinoshita, 1956

Kinoshita does a nice bear.  He can also do an action scene.

action panel from “Dairiki-kun”
Toshio Kinoshita, 1956

(That’s Big Power Boy’s dad getting hurt in a farming accident by what I think are runaway bales of rice)  and atmospheric moments to set a mood for things to come.

atmospheric panel from “Dairiki-kun”
Toshio Kinoshita, 1956

I’m pretty sure something is coming over the hill there.  And he can design an handsome chapter header as well.

chapter header from “Dairiki-kun”
Toshio Kinoshita, 1956

I’m pretty sure you’re going to be seeing that bubble or pebble effect around some outlined lettering of mine before too long.  It looks  simple to do, but it’s really effective.

detail from inside back cover image “Dairiki-kun”
Toshio Kinoshita, 1956

Farewell, Big Power Boy, and good luck in the big city and in the sumo ring.  (That’s a nice use of a thought balloon to express a character’s dream for the future.  Show, don’t tell.)

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2 Responses to more from the old sumo comic

  1. Wolfie says:

    Translations!
    Full page:
    Panel 22- Ah!
    Panel 24- EEK! It’s a b…bear!
    Panel 25- Uwahaha! (deep laughter)
    Panel 36- This is my friend, you see…

    Action panel- Those are rice bales, indeed, and the sound is “gara gara”, a kind of clattery noise, or maybe it’s supposed to imply chaotic tumbling… Japanese onomatopoeia still baffle me.

    Atmospheric panel- Sound effects are teke tette… etc. which I think is supposed to be the sounds of walking. The signpost is “Kintoki-mura”, I think, which is a place name (Kintoki village). “Kin” is gold, “toki” is time.

    Header- “Rikita ganbare”. Looks like the character’s name might be “Rikita”? Riki-kun would be a common diminuitive form of that, and since he’s big, he must have picked up the nickname “Dai-Riki”, thus the title. “Ganbare” is the action form of the verb “ganbaru”, or “do your best / stand your ground”, one of the most common words you’ll hear in Japan.

    Last panel- Dai-riki is dreaming big- I think that keshou-mawashi (sumo apron) he’s wearing is that of a Yokozuna, or grand champion.

  2. Pam Bliss says:

    Thank you very much. I’ll put the translations into the main body of the post when I get a chance.

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