Title: 101 (Big Spirits Comic Special)
Author / Artist: Taiyo Matsumoto
Publisher: Shogakukan (Japan)
Hardcover: approximately 100 pages
Dimensions: 8.5 inches by 12 inches
Year of Publication: 1999
Status: uncertain - probably out of print, definitely import only
As I've gone on and on about at some length, Taiyo Matsumoto is one of my favorite artists. I came to his work through his manga Tekkonkinkreet and GOGO Monster but was very pleasantly surprised to learn that two different collections of his art, illustration, and short comics had been released as oversized hardcovers in Japan. I tracked them down through ebay for around $75 each and was thrilled to discover that they were worth the risk. Each is a gorgeous, full color collection of all sorts of odds and ends that add up to an amazing visual feast.
The first to arrive at my doorstep was 101 (Big Spirits Comics Special). I am guessing that Big Spirits must be Matsumoto's manga publisher, or at least they were the publisher he was working with at the time these books were published. Since 101 is from 1999, it does show Matsumoto's work in it's earlier stages. There is far more ligne claire-style pen and ink work and his expressive, brushy style has yet to appear. Still, the book is a delight. Below are the front and back covers, with the typical Japanese obi band, with a dust jacket printed on a very nice thick paper stock with a matte finish.
At only around 100 pages, with about 85 of those pages being filled with art, it is not a very thick book.
You can also see a bit of shelf wear in that image. Since the book is 13 years old, it seems likely that almost all available copies are used. The condition of the one I received was quite good actually, with just some minor wear on the dust jacket.
Removing the dust jacket shows a beautiful design on the boards, a subtle contrast of dark gold ink layered on the pale gold cover, mirroring the cover illustration.
There is really very little text in the book (all of it Japanese) and nearly every page is devoted to big, colorful reproductions of Matsumoto's art, again on a beautiful, thick, matte-finish paper stock. The work appears to have been gathered from Matsumoto's entire career since the pieces collected run the gamut from illustrations to comics to personal work to sketches.
I'm really incredibly happy with this book and it is a fantastic addition to Matsumoto's manga. It is well worth the price and the trouble to track down and I highly recommend it.