Thursday, November 08, 2007


Let's visit pre-anime, pre-Naruto Japan ...!

So, the year before Raymond Burr played "Steve Martin" in GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, this book of playful cartoons, IT'S BETTER WITH YOUR SHOES OFF, written and illustrated by Anne Cleveland, was published by the Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc. of Rutland, Vermont & Tokyo Japan.

"Here's a clever book filed with cartoons and punchy captions which recount the hilarious adventures of an American family during their semi-permanent residence in Japan," said the Honolulu Star Bulletin in its review.

Hanako-San is always laughing at "The Wests." Mrs West sports a flippy hairdo ala Catherina O'Hara in WAITING FOR GUFFMAN.

Above is our cast of characters. Hubby looks like a grown up frat boy Tintin.

I saw this book in an antique store near the Manchester, NH environs. I liked Cleveland's clean brush style. And I had never heard of her or the book, despite my copy being a 20th printing from 1970.
The above paragraph sums up the whole POV of the book. This is the Baby Boomer generation's Japan.
Some lovely layout, lettering and detail here. Easy to make fun of the content, but the form is solid.

Ooh! Lower right hand corner of page 11: is that proto manga the bespectacled teen is engrossed in?

Hanako-San: always laughing at us silly Americans!

Little information on Ms. Cleveland today. The venerable Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter has more bio information on her, a list of known books, here. And Mike Rhode mentions her in a response to Tom's essay.

There' s some more of this book to scan, and, if there's an interest, I will.

UPDATE: Gee whiz, there's interest! Part 2 is here.


Keath said...

What beautiful pages - I'd love to see some more!

David King said...

I'd heard of this book before, but never seen it--what great cartooning!

Unknown said...

Oh, man, thank you for posting these! I've never been able to find a copy of this book.

I have a couple of booklets of Anne Cleveland cartoons published by her alma mater, Vassar College. I posted a few of the cartoons on my LiveJournal a while back:

Keath said...

Thanks to your samples here and a timely eBay search, I was able to pick up a copy myself in the auction's dying hour for a mere 10.25 (including shipping), definitely a small price to pay for such great style.

Thanks for hipping us to this Mike! Can't wait to follow along at home :)

Jack Ruttan said...

Yes, please!

Mike Lynch said...

Wow! Thanks for your comments. Part 2 is here.

Sandy said...

I recently bought this book in a Goodwill store in great condition. I thought it looked familiar and as I paged through the cartoons it brought back wonderful memories of living several years in Japan as a young girl. We lived in a Japanese house and I experienced so many of the things that Anne Cleveland did. I can still hear my mom moaning about the holes we accidentally poked in the rice paper door panels.
My sister reminded me that she had my mom's first edition copy which is why the book looked so familiar. The artist is not only a wonderful cartoonist, but absolutely nailed the culture as it existed then. What a great reminiscence!


Unknown said...

wow what an amazing find!! I wish I had a copy!!

Mark said...

Not surprisingly, not much about Japan has changed since then! Yes, more scans please!

Mike Lynch said...

Just looking at eBay this afternoon, I see 3 copies available.