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Highway Star



Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 225
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:08 pm Reply with quote
Well, Not A Jellyfish suggested we have a thread for discussion of manga that falls into the realm of art-nouvelle, experimental, underground, obscure etc. (basically most manga out of the mainstream).
If you're unfamiliar with the above terms, then here's a selection of manga that fits the bill for discussion;
Tokyo Zombie, The Walking Man, New Engineering, Barefoot Gen, Me & the Devil Blues, Red Colored Elegy, Tekkonkinkreet, Black Jack. If you are indeed reading this and scratching your head, feel free to ask for recommendations if you'd like to try some out-of-the-norm manga.

Naturally, discussion of future releases is encouraged as well.
And on that note, I open this thread with news of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's A DRIFTING LIFE;
http://comics212.net/​2008/​12/​18/​drawn-​quarterly-​solicitations-​for-​items-​shipping-​in-​april-​2009-​awesome/​#​comments
To coincide with the release of this mammoth autobiography, D&Q are also reprinting the three collections from the last three years (The Push Man, Abandon and Goodbye) which means there's no better time to dive into Gekiga!

So, what other manga are y'all looking forward to next year?
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Mushi-Man



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 1537
Location: KCMO

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:20 pm Reply with quote
I've been meaning to get around to reading, as you mentioned, Me and the Devil Blues. I've heard that it's very good and the I already love the idea behind it. But when ever I ask people about it, it seems to be unknown to them. There are allot of good "underground" mangas. So I'm glad that you started this thread and I hope it takes off.
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Moomintroll



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 1600
Location: Nottingham (UK)

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:47 pm Reply with quote
Highway Star wrote:
So, what other manga are y'all looking forward to next year?


Awabi - Kan Takahama's last short story collection (Monokuro Kinderbook) was sublime and I'm expecting big things of this one. Her work has a very European, Boilet-influenced flavour - quiet, understated, intelligent and atmospheric.

AX Collection - the next best thing to a Garo collection...
Hopefully this anthology will be the first of many. In any case, from what I've read about it, it'll be packed full of obscure stuff and there's bound to be at least some essential stories in the mix.

Distant Neighbourhood / Summit Of The Gods / the continuation of The Times Of Botchan - because more Jiro Taniguchi has got to be a good thing.

Fancy Gigolo Pelu - I have to be in the mood for Junko Mizuno's self-consciously ultra-kitsch cuteness-and-carnage stuff but when I am, nothing else scratches the itch. And it's nice to see Last Gasp publishing more manga in any case.

Korea As Viewed By 12 Creators - okay, it's not manga, but I can't be the only one looking forward to getting a glimpse of the underbelly of Korean comics. Can I?
Anyway, if it's half as good as Japan As Viewed By 17 Creators was, it'll be well worth the wait (it was originally slated for a 2008 release and there's still no concrete release date for 2009).

But, like Highway Star, A Drifting Life is top of my wants list for 2009. Nothing of Tatsumi's that I've seen thus far has disappointed and his work still seems fresh, contemporary and relevant forty years after it was first published.
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Not a Jellyfish



Joined: 21 Feb 2007
Posts: 539
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:37 pm Reply with quote
Thank you, Highway Star. Thank you, thank you. And thanks to everyone who will keep this thread alive. Since the Missing Girl thread, I ordered New Engineering, Travel, and Tokyo Zombie into my B&N. Hopefully I'll be able to pick them up after Christmas with some gift cards.

I've also been reading Me and the Devil Blues. I'm taking it a bit slow. But I'll let you guys know when I finish.

I too am seriously looking forward to A Drifting Life. The price tag slays me, but if it's at all like any of D&Q's other releases (as I'm sure it will be), it will be worth every damn penny.

Also, thanks for the heads up about the Korea as viewed by 17 creators. With a general interest in Asian cultures as well as graphic art, I imagine this will be great, too. Now if I could just get a hold of the Japan one....
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HellKorn



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
Posts: 1669
Location: Columbus, OH

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:32 pm Reply with quote
I guess we're looking at stuff that's considered alternative by an English-speaking audience?

If we're talking "art manga," I don't think that there can be a justifiable discussion without mention Seiichi Hayashi's Red Colored Elegy. It's really experimental in the purest sense of the word, using the elliptical nature of comics to an extreme that I've not read anywhere else -- be it or Japanese origin or otherwise. It's also a very dense book, even if it can be easily appreciated by a mere surface reading. Hayashi uses a lot of visual cues, symmetry and symbolism to indicate passage of time, character motivation, etc. that you'd more commonly associate with experimental filmmaking.

This is a really interesting and informative post about the book.

Highway Star wrote:
So, what other manga are y'all looking forward to next year?

Awabi by Kan Takahama, for sure. And if Ponent Mon/Fanfare are able to get A Distant Neighborhood out...

Also looking forward to AX Collection, Children of the Sea (this is really, really, really accessible, people; don't miss out on it), A Drifting Life, and whatever that new license from Last Gasp is. Maybe a new Yokoyama book, too.
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Moomintroll



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 1600
Location: Nottingham (UK)

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:33 am Reply with quote
HellKorn wrote:
If we're talking "art manga," I don't think that there can be a justifiable discussion without mention Seiichi Hayashi's Red Colored Elegy. It's really experimental in the purest sense of the word, using the elliptical nature of comics to an extreme that I've not read anywhere else -- be it or Japanese origin or otherwise. It's also a very dense book, even if it can be easily appreciated by a mere surface reading. Hayashi uses a lot of visual cues, symmetry and symbolism to indicate passage of time, character motivation, etc. that you'd more commonly associate with experimental filmmaking.


Red Colored Elegy contains some hugely arresting individual pages and panels and I agree that it's a fascinatingly, inventive and innovative experimental work. On the other hand, I never really warmed to it. It was always interesting but only sporadically engaging - much more of an intellectual exercise than an immersive, moving or entertaining narrative. Reading it was a curiously academic experience.

Having said that, I'm very glad I bought it and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone with an interest in the medium (as opposed to an affinity for the familiar tropes of the medium).

---

There's a couple of out of print manga titles I'm considering picking up in the next couple of weeks, namely Domu: A Child's Dream and The Legend Of Mother Sarah.
Have any of you read either of them and if so, are they worth the £15 (US$23) or so they'll each be likely to cost me?
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Highway Star



Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 225
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:03 pm Reply with quote
Moomintroll wrote:
There's a couple of out of print manga titles I'm considering picking up in the next couple of weeks, namely Domu: A Child's Dream and The Legend Of Mother Sarah.
Have any of you read either of them and if so, are they worth the £15 (US$23) or so they'll each be likely to cost me?

I'd definitely recommend Domu. Its one of my all-time favourite stories, let alone manga. A lot of people compare it to Otomo's other masterpiece Akira, but there's little in similarities aside from the element of psychic powers and the innocence of children. One main criticism I've come across is its brevity; in my opinion, I think it works fine as a one-shot. More than anything, I think it was an experiment for Otomo himself, seeing as he previously had only ever drawn two or three volume length-series, and a multitude of 23-page short stories.
If anything, I'd recommend it for the art alone. Hyper-realistic attention to backgrounds, and Otomo's signature cinematic use of panel and space, plus his always lovably simple character designs.

I think the only problem you'll face with it is finding it. Dark Horse printed it three times, the last was a few years ago, and by now its completely OOP. I have the original Japanese edition I bought off eBay (along with two older Otomo anthologies), but I've been meaning to buy an English copy of it as well (if ever I should be so luck).

As for Legend of Mother Sarah...
Hmmmm... I don't know. I don't think I've read enough to judge just yet. I've read the first volume (Tunnel Town), and a bit of the next. The main problem is, Dark Horse never finished it. They didn't even get halfway! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there's around eight volumes. DH released the first three arcs (Tunnel Town, City of Light (?), City of Children) as single issues (the 34-page comic book way), around 7/8 issues for each arc. So that means there's roughly around thirty issues out there, and only the first eight were ever collected into a trade paperback. The easiest way to get the lot is definetely off eBay, you can find them in lots over there, for pretty decent prices.

As for the series itself, well, it concerns a rebel mother who was seperated from her children when the Earth split into two factions. She travels with a cross-eyed salesmen Tsue across the world looking for them. As I mentioned, its hard to tell where its going to go from just one volume, but like Domu, I'd buy it just for the art. Takumi Nagayasu's art is similar to Otomo's, but a lot less scribbley (less Moebius-influence for sure) and rough.

Perhaps someone else can offer their two cents?
(off-topic, but where has Kagemusha disappeared off to?)
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Mushi-Man



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 1537
Location: KCMO

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:00 pm Reply with quote
I don't know if this would fall under this section or not (we should try to find a definition or something), but I just got done reading a one shot called Personant. It was an ok manga, thought it had random comedic moments that it could have done without. But I over all enjoyed it. It was about the year 3333 and in this society everyone wares masks in an attempt to bring an end to discrimination. But one person refuses to ware a mask and becomes a rebel against society. it was made by Komi Naoshi (Island, Double Arts, ext.). It's 56 pages so its not a long read, I'd give it a try.
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Moomintroll



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 1600
Location: Nottingham (UK)

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:21 am Reply with quote
Highway Star wrote:
I'd definitely recommend Domu.


Thanks Highway Star - I've just bitten the bullet and ordered it.

Quote:
I think the only problem you'll face with it is finding it. Dark Horse printed it three times, the last was a few years ago, and by now its completely OOP. I have the original Japanese edition I bought off eBay (along with two older Otomo anthologies), but I've been meaning to buy an English copy of it as well (if ever I should be so luck).


For some reason the Australian edition (which has a slightly different title - Domu: The Dreams of Children - and predates all of the US editions) is somewhat cheaper (just over a tenner through Amazon Marketplace) so I picked that up.

Quote:
The main problem is, Dark Horse never finished [The Legend Of Mother Sarah]. They didn't even get halfway! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there's around eight volumes. DH released the first three arcs (Tunnel Town, City of Light (?), City of Children) as single issues (the 34-page comic book way), around 7/8 issues for each arc. So that means there's roughly around thirty issues out there, and only the first eight were ever collected into a trade paperback.


Yup. It was the one-volume collection I was thinking of getting. Jason Thompson reckons it works okay as a self-contained work despite being a small snippet of the overall story - I'm just wondering whether it's worth the money or whether I should wait until I happen to see it going cheaper and buy three volumes of something else for the same money in the meantime.

Quote:
(off-topic, but where has Kagemusha disappeared off to?)


I wondered the same thing myself. Maybe Hellkorn knows?

Mushi-Man wrote:
I don't know if this would fall under this section or not (we should try to find a definition or something), but I just got done reading a one shot called Personant.


I've not heard of Personant. I take it it's scanlated only?

As for definitions, I don't think we want to restrict things too much. If it's not otaku-orientated or mainstream shonen / shojo then it's probably suitable for discussion here.
I would have thought that underground, artsy, alternative and classic (i.e. '60s and '70s) manga and non-otaku orientated seinen and josei manga should all fit into this thread's remit.
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HellKorn



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
Posts: 1669
Location: Columbus, OH

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:13 am Reply with quote
Moomintroll wrote:
Red Colored Elegy contains some hugely arresting individual pages and panels and I agree that it's a fascinatingly, inventive and innovative experimental work. On the other hand, I never really warmed to it. It was always interesting but only sporadically engaging - much more of an intellectual exercise than an immersive, moving or entertaining narrative.

Further reading helps, and I found myself more or less becoming emotionally invested because of the technicality. This kind of shot is an obvious example, effectively contrasting the seemingly crude designs for much of the book to the passionate display there.

Oh, and even though you've already bought it, I'll just second Highway Star, anyway: Domu: A Child's Dream, is one of the best manga ever. It's criminal that it's currently OOP for English audiences.

Moomintroll wrote:
Highway Star wrote:
(off-topic, but where has Kagemusha disappeared off to?)


I wondered the same thing myself. Maybe Hellkorn knows?

He's been busy. Finals and other life-related business.
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_Emi_
Crazy FangirlCrazy Fangirl


Joined: 16 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:21 pm Reply with quote
Highway Star wrote:
...(along with two older Otomo anthologies

I've been interested in Otomo's shorter works but with not the slightest clue where to start. Any information you can impart about his anthologies would be much appreciated.

I find myself in the same bind with gekiga. I have the first two collected works that D&Q put out of Tatsumi's work, but I have no clue where to go from there. Any information about noted authors and works would, again, be much appreciated.

It's hard being an English language reader and having an interest in underground/art/alternative manga as not many get translated, and when they do, they never seem to stay in print for very long. I'm very happy to have been able to obtain a copy of Secret Comics Japan in near new condition.
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Mushi-Man



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:35 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, Otomo is definitely a person of interest in my manga readings. It's just sometimes hard to come by some of his works. (if anyone knows a good shop to get his works that would be great). I've really been wanting to read things like Short Peace and I can't find it any where.
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Highway Star



Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 225
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:04 pm Reply with quote
Well, Otomo has created over a hundred short stories, and the majority were collected into various anthologies (Short Peace, Highway Star, SOS Tokyo Metro Explorer, Hansel & Gretel, Memories and more), but only one of his short story collections were ever translated and released in English;
Memories : The Collection
Published by Mandarin Paperbacks, around 1992, its extremely rare and there's very little information online about it. It was Otomo's last collection, and collectes some of his stories from the mid 80's onwards. I'm pretty sure there's one or two copies available secondhand at Abebooks.co.uk. I've yet to purchase a copy myself (though was outbidded at the last second on a copy off eBay), but I've read a Spanish copy of it that was scanned, and the artwork is absolutely amazing. Actually, I have read one story in English; Marvel's imprint Epic Comics released two of the collection's stories in a single-issue formats;

- Memories (the centre-piece of the anthology, and the inspiration for the anime short Magnetic Rose)
- Farewell To Weapons (a story concerning a military group sent into a deserted city to destroy a rogue lethal robot)

I posess a copy of Memories (of that note as well, the single issue version is coloured, whereas the version in the anthology is B&W), and its a fanrastic and eerie space-opera story. And the great colouring is by Steve Oliff, who digitally coloured Marvel's print of Akira.
As for Otomo's other works, well, what's been released of his works in English is only a tiny amount compared to his entire output. At the moment, there's a few sellers on eBay (mostly Japanese) selling some of his anthologies at reasonable prices. I bought Short Peace, Highway Star and Domu off one guy from America, and while they weren't in great nick, I got them fairly cheap.
I've looked into Rinkya as well, and there's many auctions for collections of Otomo's work there as well, but I've no experience with that website.

As for Gekiga, it's a hard one alright. Since you've read the first two Tatsumi anthologies, you should check out the third and newest; Goodbye & Other Stories. Other than that, the recently released Red Colored Elegy has been highly praised, and is known in Japan as one of the greatest stories to come out of the Gekiga movement.
Also;
- Lone Wolf & Cub/Samurai Executioner/Path of the Assasin (classic historical samurai action drama)
- Golgo 13 (haven't read it myself, want to though)
- AX Collection (released next year, a promising compilation of Gekiga short stories from the magazine AX)
- A Drifting Life (also released next year, a monumental epic autbiogaphy of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, bound to be a stunner)
- Screw-Style (released four years ago in issue #250 of The Comic Journal - only a short story mind, and never reprinted, but absolutely essential reading for Gekiga enthusiasts)
- Ode To Kirihito/Adolf (not Gekiga per se, but Tezuka acknowledged the influence of Gekiga on these particular works)

Paul Gravett has an interesting article on Gekiga, which includes some more information on manga I mentioned there and other interesting titles; http://www.paulgravett.com/​articles/​058_gekiga/​058_gekiga.​htm
I'd also like to point out that most of Fanfare/Ponent-Mon's releases would be considered "new-age Gekiga", or more appropriately; "Nouvelle Manga".
Phew! Surprised

(Oh, and well done on getting a copy of Secret Comics Japan, I'd love to stumble upon it myself some day...)
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_Emi_
Crazy FangirlCrazy Fangirl


Joined: 16 Feb 2008
Posts: 465
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:29 pm Reply with quote
Highway Star wrote:
Well, Otomo has created over a hundred short stories, and the majority were collected into various anthologies (Short Peace, Highway Star, SOS Tokyo Metro Explorer, Hansel & Gretel, Memories and more)

A searching of e-bay turned up Short Peace, Highway Star, and SOS Tokyo Metro Explorer. Alas, I have no money.

Quote:
List of Gekiga

I've had my eye on Goodbye, have Adolf, not all that interested in Golgo 13, and the others I will most likely eventually pick up at some point. Thanks for all the help.

Quote:
(Oh, and well done on getting a copy of Secret Comics Japan, I'd love to stumble upon it myself some day...)

I put it in my Amazon wish list and checked on it every day until someone had a copy they were selling at a price point I was willing to pay. Did the same thing with Four Shojo Stories, A, A Prime, Short Program and the first volume of Adolf. They are now quite happily sitting on my bookshelf.
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HellKorn



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:42 pm Reply with quote
Highway Star wrote:
(Oh, and well done on getting a copy of Secret Comics Japan, I'd love to stumble upon it myself some day...)

I actually plan to sell my copy soon; same deal for Sake Jock, if anyone is curious about that, as well.

I'd love to get my hands on that copy of Memories, but the lone seller on AbeBooks.uk is stationed in Australia and doesn't have the best of ratings.
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