Dororo (Vertical Inc., 2008) cover designs by the always excellent Peter Mendelsund: “In jacketing Manga, the art is preexisting, and the character of the jacket is set in advance by the character of the author’s drawing style. Though…I think, in the past, Manga has ghetto-ized itself through its cover treatments: By recapitulating verbatim the art that exists inside the book, (or worse, colorizing it) these jackets end up signaling “cartoon” to the prospective buyer, which completely undersells the genre. The first thing I did when working with this material is to attempt to use the art in a way that framed it in a more grown-up fashion. For Dororo I incorporated non-Manga art (the covers feature spot-lam Dororo characters on a matte background of human anatomy illustrations).
Every year, COMME des GARÇONS selects an artist to feature in its direct mails to clients. Manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo, who was the subject of a large-scale retrospective exhibition in 2012, is this year’s choice. The freshly published first issue features the cover illustration of the first volume of AKIRA. The layout design of the mails is directed by Rei Kawakubo.
The label has a long tradition of collaborations with artists for its advertising materials, one of the most notable example being the collaboration with Cindy Sherman who produced a series of surreal and grotesque photographs for the Fall/Winter 1994-1995 direct mail campaign.
This current format of direct mail was introduced in 2008 by a collaboration with Argentinian art collective Mondongo, followed the next years by motion animators the Quay Brothers, Ai Weiwei, visual and performance artists group Assume Vivid Astro Focus, and photographer René Burri of Magnum Photos.
Otomo, is the first Japanese to be featured. The collaboration will continue throughout 2013 with stores decorations and displays and special items created with the artist.