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.
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.
Kinoshita does a nice bear. He can also do an action scene.
(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.
I’m pretty sure something is coming over the hill there. And he can design an handsome chapter header as well.
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.
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.)