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Phenomena - Dario Argento, Jennifer Connelly, and Donald Pleasance

And don’t forget the chimp, the gimp, and the swarms of six-legged creatures. Jennifer Connelly stars as Jennifer, an American at a creepy European boarding school (see Suspiria). She’s pretty and rich, but lonely. Her parents have abandoned her and she’s WAY too friendly with bugs.  What’s a girl to do? Why become friends with a slightly creepy entomologist dude, that’s what. I’m sure she only had an eye for his bags and for his cute assistant, a chimpanzee. Something that is now a thing, I’m sure. Like many Argento flicks, there are decapitations and attempted decapitations. Also lots of blood and broken glass. And mirrors. And useless cops. An excellent follow-up to Suspiria which I’d like to talk about in the future.

Starry-eyed heroes of Akira 'Leiji' Matsumoto

Hello, friends and manga-philes.      You probably know that my interest in Japan was originally fueled by a combined interest in Japanese animation and martial arts. My interests expanded somewhat over the years, but one big change happened about the age of 15 when I bought my first Japanese collected comic. From that moment on, I became more interested in comics than animation and eventually after moving to Japan, I started to collect the comics of Mr. Leiji Matsumoto .       At first, I was put off by the heavy-lined art and blocky characters, but the more I got into the stories, the less I cared about the style. Eventually, though, I started to appreciate the artistry much in the same way it took me a while to warm to Jack Kirby's art.      Like most Leiji fans, I was heavy into Space Cruiser Yamato , Captain Harlock , Queen Emeraldas , and finally, Galaxy Express 999 . These comics were created in the 70's and are representative of Matsumoto's style of that time. After

Ninjas vs Cowboys, Top 10 Cowboy Manga

I talk about US ninja comics and Japanese cowboy comics on Tim Young's Deconstructing Comics . Listen to it here ! I based on the lecture I gave last year at the Koshi Manga Museum . First slide from my Ninjas vs Cowboys presentation. Here are my Top 10 Cowboy Manga: 10. Bullet Tommy  『弾丸トミー』by Shige SUGIURA This is a classic, one of the earliest comics. It's a "gag manga" for kids and so pokes fun at the various Western movie tropes. The art resembles Shoney's Big Boy, doesn't it? 9.  The Cactus Kid  『サボテン君』by Osamu TEZUKA This is one of Tezuka's early Western manga when he had only seen a few westerns at the time. I like the idea of a guy who wants to turn his parents' saloon into a milk bar. 8. The Belle Starr Gang  『ベル☆スタア強盗団』by Akihiro ITO Ito is known for his Geobreeders  saga, but this is his take on the real-life outlaw Belle Starr and her gang. I like the art and the attempt to incorporate real-life events into the