When I originally put this little article together about Black Dog’s practise with regard to reprinting and revising his books, I did it to coincide with my first Black Dog release using my own scans. To some of you, this may already be common knowledge, but I suspect most people aren’t aware of it, which is why I’m writing this post. So if you have no idea what I’m talking about, and would like to learn a bit more about Black Dog’s doujin, and a bit about doujin in general, then read on!
First thing to know about Black Dog, is unlike most doujin circles/authors, he’s pretty good about reprinting his books. Which is to say, most doujin by other authors don’t get reprinted at all, for one reason or another… though the primary reason, I suspect, is just the simple fact that people are less likely to buy an old book than a new one, particularily when the new one is sold at a convention that thousands of people go to. And so, it’s just less financially feasible for an author to reprint something, particularily when you consider that they may only have enough money to pay for one book to get printed. And when it comes down to a choice between printing something new that’s guaranteed to sell out immediately, and something old that will take longer to sell… well, you get the idea.
But anyway, that’s not the primary reason for why I’m writing here. The reason I’m writing here is because Black Dog DOES reprint his stuff, and I’d like to explain the difference between a first run print of something by Black Dog, and a reprint. The short answer is the reprints are generally “better” than the first runs. First print run is released at a convention, typically Comic Market (Comiket), and he usually does a reprint a few months after that. The reprints are not usually released at a convention, so I assume he just sells them off to doujin retailers or something. Maybe there’s a way to buy them directly from him in Japan? I dunno. But what makes the reprint better? Well, allow me to illustrate with pictures!
These are from Hierophant Green: Compare the image on the left (first printing, older scan) to the one on the right (reprint, my scan), I’ve circled the applicable differences so it’s easier to tell here. You’ll immediately note that the censorship is a little less severe in the reprinted version. Also, the man’s body, and the entire lower-left panel were just pure black and white in the original, whereas in the reprint, they’ve got shading tones. The degree to which the shading is unfinished, and the censorship is heavier is not universal… some panels are finished in the original, and others are not. Some panels have lighter censorship in the revised edition, while others are identical, or nearly identical. However, in more severe cases, we get something like this:
These are from Cream Starter and Cream Starter+ (neither are my scans, and yes, I misnumbered them): Compare the first two to the second two… The differences should be obvious. Basically, I think in this case, Black Dog just ran out of time and couldn’t finish the book properly for Comiket. Even more importantly, you’ll note that second page in the original book is the last page before the credits, whereas in the “Plus” version, there are a full extra four pages afterwards. Cases like this are pretty rare though… The only other books where he’s done a “Plus” revision are Submission Mercury (which is almost an entirely different book), Jupiter, and Sex Pistols. There was also an early, unfinished release/teaser type thing of the first 30 or so pages from Submission Sailorstars (compared to the final version’s 150+ pages).
So then, how do you tell if you’ve got a reprinted copy or not? Well, aside from the obvious page-by-page comparison method above, you can look at the credits page at the back (if they’re there, which they aren’t always in scans). It usually looks something like this:
Again, from Hierophant Green: Highlighted in blue is the first print run’s release date; in red, the reprint date; in green, is the convention it was released at. Date goes by Year/Month/Date, and Black Dog’s newer books usually have the year written with in “Common Era” format, but his stuff from a few years back or earlier will have the Japanese “period” year, in this case, Heisei period (you can read more about it on Wikipedia). The easiest way to figure it out is to just subtract 12 from the year… so if you subtract 12 from 15, you get 3, so it was 2003 (and of course if you start with a number less than 12, you’ll work it out to be in the 1990’s). The convention, in this case, was Comiket 65 (this isn’t always listed), though he does release stuff at other conventions. Easy way to tell if it’s from Comiket is if the date is in mid August, it’s Summer Comiket, if it’s late December, it’s Winter Comiket (the back of the books also sometimes will say “2003 Winter”, in this case).
So then, how many Black Dog doujin are out there that have been reprinted in this fashion? Well, I don’t know, to be honest. He does this mostly with his Sailor Moon books released at Comiket. For all I know, he’s done this with nearly every book since he first revised Submission Mercury, but aside from the early Mercury/Jupiter Plus books, the only earliest evidence I have of him revising books like this is Baby Face.
Why does he do this? Well, I can only speculate, really. The unfinished shading tones and whatnot might just come down to not enough time to finish everything before it has to be sent off for printing. The more severe censorship might come down to just the difference between selling something at Comiket and selling it through dedicated doujin retailers. Or both these things, to a degree, could be influenced by the fact that he wants to provide further incentive for people to purchase the reprinted copy, which for serious collectors, means buying it twice, so he makes more money.
Anyway, I think that about covers everything; this article’s huge enough as it is, but I hope that if you did make it all the way through, you learned something, or at least found it mildly interesting. A lot of what I’ve written here is speculative or “first hand research”, so it’s quite possible I’ve made some mistakes. Please feel free to let me know in the comments if I’ve gotten something wrong, or you have something you think I should add.