Black Rock Shooter [Virtuoso Version]

Since sharing the video clip for the forthcoming Black Rock Shooter anime a few posts ago, I've been pretty much hooked on the BRS theme song. I even have it in my iPod playlist.

While scrollin' through my blog posts tonight, I felt the urge to check out the video again. When the clip ended, I noticed the link to the video posted above.

Featured in the clip is a mysterious violinist playin' over the instrumental of the Black Rock Shooter theme song. Pretty effin' impressive, methinks.

I also think that the video exemplifies some of the coolest aspects of the user generated content which drives sites like YouTube. The video features nothin' more than a hooded guy with a video camera and some serious violin chops. Already it's up to over 55,000 views.

Now, is this mysterious musician actually a professional violinist, or just some shy music student who dreams of a place in a symphony. It's possible that he's just some hardcore anime addict whose parents forced him to take violin lessons when he wanted to watch Pokemon instead.

Whatever the case, the guy rocked the hell out of the Black Rock Shooter theme song.


GR64 Pictorial

Barnes & Noble

Jason's Deli

Corned Beef


Huke: Black★Rock Shooter


David Choe - High Roller

Paco Taylor - Black East


Double Shot

Border's Books


Letters to Vaughn Bode

 As is true for many, the late cartoonist Vaughn Bode was a big influence on me artistically. In the second issue of Kung Fu Grip! zine, I published a biography on the artist as well as a comic strip that I wrote and illustrated which featured some of Bode's better known cartoon characters.

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from a gentleman by the name of Dan Osterman who found my zine on Etsy. Apparently Dan was a hardcore collector of sci-fi fanzines back in the '60s and '70s, and a lot of those publications frequently featured the cartoons of Vaughn Bode.

Dan had written to tell me about a handwritten letter than Bode had sent him back in '68. At the present time, he has it posted for sale on his Etsy page.

For a fan like myself, it was really cool to see, and I'm glad that he told me about it. But I really think that Ebay would be a much better venue to sell such a rare missive.

Frankly, I also think that the price on it is a little bit on the steep side (ten Benjamins) -- even for a handwritten letter. Bode's artwork on the other hand, can command that price with ease.

Too bad he doesn't have any of Bode's sketches.

Or maybe he's actually holdin' on to those.


The One Inch Punch

Two or three months ago I decided that I wanted to add something to my zine shop. Handmade one-inch buttons seemed like the way to go. There's just somethin' about fandom that translates well to the button format, and I wanted to explore that with the button sets that I came up with.

Button machines can be a little on the pricey side ($200) when you're ballin' on a budget. Once I got it in my head that I wanted to produce buttons, I spent a few weeks actually workin' on designs to make sure that I could come up with enough variations to justify the effort...and the expense.

The "Giant Robots" button set pictured above was the first of many sets that quickly came to mind. When I was six or seven-years-old, a set of buttons like that is somethin' that I woulda' killed to have pinned to my t-shirt or backpack.

Hell, even as a full-grown adult this set seems pretty desirable. (Haha.)

When my button machine arrived early last week, the Giant Robots set was the very first I cranked out. Featured clockwise are the Japanese kaiju (monster) characters Giant Robo, Goldar, Jet Jaguar, Mechagodzilla, Spectreman and Ultraman (center).

This past Saturday I put up a set of these in the pod at the day job and it added a nice change to the scenery. They're small, but they really pack a punch.

Yes, I'm well on my way with this process. After putting in some serious prep-work, I have nearly fifty different button sets already designed. This past Sunday, I even started posting 'em online through existing sales channels.

Tonight, just before starting this blog post I also received an e-mail from a prospective buyer, asking if I had any more of the set pictured above. I'd only made two sets last week, and after takin' the one for myself, the other was purchased soon after I posted it on Ebay.

I replied that I should have more of the buttons in question towards the end of the week. A few minutes later I received a fairly stirring response.

Apparently, the buttons are going to be a gift for the buyer's seven-year-old son, who he describes as a "huge kaiju fan." The child has cerebral palsy, and his dad helps him by collecting all of the vinyl kaiju figures that his son asks for. The button set will be a surprise addition to that growing kaiju collection.

Call me a softie, but I couldn't help but be a little moved by that. And maybe I was also moved by the thought of a seven-year-old receiving these buttons, and perhaps loving 'em as much today as the seven-year-old version of me would have loved them "yesterday."


Kodak™ Smile

This is a photograph of Lana Kim that I stole from the GR blog. I didn't know who Lana Kim was until I read the caption under the photo... and I still don't know. But the caption under the picture links her self-named web series The Lana Show, and a quick Google search reveals that she is Head of Music Videos at the Directors Bureau -- whatever that is.

Yeah, it's probably safe to say that I don't know much more about Lana Kim now than I did 5 minutes ago when I decided to steal the picture. But what I do know is that she's got one of the biggest smiles in the entire world as she poses for this picture with a copy of GR64.

And I know that my smile will look a lot like Lana's when I get mine.



The cover of GR64 was just posted today over at the Giant Robot blog.

Admittedly, my heart climbed into my throat a little when I realized what I was looking at. That's my issue -- the issue that my article is being featured in. There's even a cover blurb on it (note: Black Asians).

I'm not sure if that's the actual title. Martin (GR's co-editor) and I tossed a few ideas back and forth, and I left it up to him to decide which one worked best of those we both liked. Guess I'll see which one won out when I get my copy in the mail.

As of today, GR64 is only available at the Giant Robot vanity shops in LA, SF, and NYC, but it is promptly makin' its way out to newsstands, book stores and comic shops in your area. So be on the look out for it.

In the meantime, check out the trailer for the anime Black★Rock Shooter. HUKE, the creator of B★RS is featured in this issue. His kick ass art is also featured on the cover.


Art of Zines Addendum

Art of Zines runs through March 13 at Anno Domini Gallery, 150 S. Montgomery St., Unit B, San Jose, CA. For more information visit www.galleryad.com