Longtime Dig art director Tak Toyoshima has put a collection of his "Secret Asian Man" comic strips together in his first book, Secret Asian Man: The Daily Days. The book features every single daily comic strip he produced for over two years of syndication with United Feature Syndicate. "My goal was never to get picked up for syndication in daily papers but when it happened, I took a good look at what was out there and was shocked," he tells former Dig colleague Craig Kapilow. "SAM was touted by United Features as being the first daily syndicated comic strip featuring an Asian-American lead, which was unbelievable and sad at the same time." MORE: Ever wanted to see video of a topless porn starlet setting a book of comics on fire? You're in luck, thanks to the latest "Comic Book Witch Hunt" video from Nick Gazin, in which Ryan Keely sets The Daily Days aflame. (Depending on where you work, this may or may not be NSFW.)
His position for the syndicate -- editor of acquisitions and development -- has been eliminated. Over the past few years, Rall had successfully brought several alt-cartoonists into the fold at United, including Keith Knight ("The Knight Life") and the Weekly Dig's Tak Toyoshima ("Secret Asian Man"). Rall, who had held the acquisitions job since 2006, says he will still be drawing comics and writing columns for United.
You read that right -- 2012. The Dig published two covers this week imitating the look and feel of Boston's two dailies, the Globe and the Herald, which predict the headlines four years into prospective McCain and Obama administrations. Managing editor Laura Dargus says the idea was to provide a little humor to the overwrought election. "I'm so sick of this already, so it seemed natural to just move beyond 2008 and have fun with 2012 before it, too, becomes overdone," Dargus says in a release.
Local CBS affiliate WBZ-TV says this week's cover is "raising quite a controversy in Boston," and in classic local TV news style, finds three (count 'em, three!) residents to prove it, their reactions ranging from "weird" to "crazy" to "sick." The WBZ reporter even tracks down Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to give him a glimpse. "It's totally irresponsible to have a photo like this in a paper that's widely distributed around our city," Menino says. "Young children can see it. It's not what we should be showing our young people." Menino also says he's going to look into whether he can remove the Dig's news boxes from "nearby city buildings." Dig art director Tak Toyoshima tells WBZ that "the point of the cover is to celebrate summer, the end of summer -- it's the last hurrah." He adds that the illustration, done by Syracuse artist Phil McAndrew, "is not, to me, sexual at all. They're nude, but there's nothing sexual happening."
Both the Boston Phoenix and Boston's Weekly Dig have been "a springboard" for journalists from the university, BU Daily reports. Among the alums on the Beantown alt-weekly scene are Phoenix founder Stephen Mindich and senior managing editor Clif Garboden; Dig art director Tak Toyoshima and staff writer Chris Faraone; and countless others, including former Phoenix reporter Kristen Lombardi, who broke the story of Cardinal Bernard Law's protection of pedophile priests, and former Phoenix media critic Mark Jurkowitz, who is currently the associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. "[BU] is a great resource for us," says Dig publisher Jeff Lawrence. "These kids come out with great energy and a sense that they want to do something different."
As we reported last month, Tak Toyoshima's comic strip, which originated out of the Dig and appears in many alt-weeklies, has been picked up by the United Feature Syndicate and will become a daily feature in papers nationwide beginning July 16. In an interview with the San Francisco-based Japanese-American newspaper Nichi Bei Times, Toyoshima talks about his goal for his new expanded audience: "I want readers to see a strip that isn't afraid to talk about things that most cartoon cats wouldn't touch but also feel like they are not being hit over the head by some overbearing agenda."
The comic strip by Weekly Dig art director Tak Toyoshima has been picked up by the United Feature Syndicate and will become a daily feature in papers nationwide, Editor & Publisher reports. "Thanks to all of you who have been supporting the strip for years and to those who criticize me, disagree with me and tell me I'm a moron," Toyoshima says on his site.