New news for the upcoming Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 3rd at comic book stores all over. This time, from the Viz Media imprint Perfect Square: “Hello Kitty and her friends star in all-new comic book adventures, and this time they’re letting their imaginations run wild! Plus: Don’t miss the sneak peek of Perfect Square’s upcoming tribute book celebrating Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary. Bonus feature! Perfect Square introduces exciting Bravest Warriors adventures featuring the irrepressible Catbug!” More on this and other Free Comic Book Day offerings can be found at the official web site.
Think of your favorite so-cute-it-hurts art meme, and chances are at some point it was inspired by the success of Sanrio’s Hello Kitty line. The little white cat with tiny black eyes (first designed in 1974 by Yuko Shimizu) has become a billion-dollar yearly world phenomenon since first breaking out of Japan in 1976. Now, this October Abrams will bring us Hello Kitty, Hello Art!, a hardcover collection of kitty-inspired illustration. “Hello Kitty, Hello Art! is a celebration of the iconic Hello Kitty character and other beloved Sanrio characters through the eyes of dozens of contemporary artists and Hello Kitty fans, including Gary Baseman, Ron English, Luke Chueh, CRASH, Anthony Lister, Eric Joyner, Camilla d’Errico, Amanda Visell, Colin Christian, Huck Gee, Luke Chueh, Deph, and Yosuke Ueno, among others. This hardcover collectible book features a variety of well-known international artists and their unique interpretations of Sanrio characters in various media, including canvas, spray paint, watercolor and ink, aerosol and acrylics on wood, mixed media, oil on panel, and silk screen. The pieces in the book reflect the many ways Hello Kitty and Sanrio have influenced and inspired so many artists around the world.” Pre-order it on Amazon.
Unexpected licensed merchandise of cartoon anthro stars are nothing new. There is the Spongebob Squarepants child’s rectal thermometer, for example. Most of it is for children’s products, though.
Not Hello Kitty. The mouthless one, Kitty White, was created as a little girl’s merchandising icon by Sanrio Ltd. of Japan in 1974, to appear on school notebooks, junk jewelry, coin purses, and the like. Today those little girls have grown up, and want Hello Kitty on adult merchandise.