Originally published in Japan in 1982, this collection of playful, one- (mostly) and two-page, black & white, pantomime comics is a special treat for the comics æsthete! There’s a feeling in these strips that brings to mind the great pantomime strips of Sergio Aragonés and Antonio Prohías (Spy vs. Spy) that appeared in the Mad magazine of the 1960s & ‘70s – with a bit of Don Martin thrown in for good measure. But while Tateishi’s strips certainly embody a strong sense of humor – and are a lot of fun to read – he is much more of a formalist than they, with his primary interest being in literally playing with line and illusion and also to address, in his own inimitable fashion, Buddhist concepts relating to the illusory nature of reality.
This edition of Cheat Sheets is co-published by 50 Watts Books of Philadelphia, PA and Nieves Books of Zurich, Switzerland. It is a no frills squarebound edition that runs 100 pages, cleanly printed on 7 1/2" x 10” flat white stock with flat white card stock covers – and it’s cover to cover comics! You can read more about the history of this book and its creator – as well as have the opportunity to check out a generous sampling of the strips – at the 50 Watts Books page devoted to it, HERE.
Read once for fun. Read again to ponder the illusory nature of reality. Then read (at least) one more time to study how Tateishi does it.