Finally getting into manga (discussion/reviews)

Health insurance rip off lying FDA big bankers buying
Fake computer crashes dining
Cloning while they're multiplying
Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson
Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson
You're all fakes
Run to your mansions
Come around
We'll kick your ass in

Postby sevenarts » Sat May 25, 2019 4:05 pm

Magazine wrote:Does anybody have Jiro Taniguchi's The Walking Man they can upload or point me to? It seems pretty rare.


Finally found this and posted in the members thread. Great book.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby sevenarts » Sun May 26, 2019 1:09 am

Image
Blame! by Tsutomu Nihei
Another thread rec (from traced out), and wow is it really something. This is distinctly not for everybody but it's clearly something special. Post-apocalyptic cyberpunk dystopias are more than played out at this point but Nihei's epic sets itself apart with its absolutely unshakeable confidence in this world and the slow-burn storytelling that explores it. Nihei makes very few allowances for the casual reader here - there's little exposition, little dialogue even, just this very gradual unfurling of what his story is about, what this world is like, and what place these characters have in it. It takes a few hundred pages to even orient oneself within the basics of the story, which seems like a pretty bold over-estimation of most readers' patience, but it does eventually pay off. Nihei largely dispenses with the usual technobabble word-stew and though the result is often hard to parse without that crutch, it's also really evocative and darkly beautiful. Nihei's pages are densely slashed with black, all these moody vistas of crumbling cities and gory, messy battles. The main characters, the mysterious Killy and his companion Cibo, spend the bulk of the book simply walking through a sprawling metropolis that seems to have taken over the entire Earth. The nature of this world is only gradually revealed, but it's obvious from the start that it's a lonely, depopulated world, filled with remnants of a past technological civilization - all these machines still running on their own, their masters long gone, responding in baffling and often hostile ways to the few humans still trying to survive in these mostly empty chambers. The book is often chilly and inhuman as a result - Killy's a pretty inscrutable protagonist, and Cibo (at least initially) only seems warmer by comparison. Emotion, too, takes a while to creep in, but it shows up in the duo's encounters with occasional enclaves of humanity or the weird, sad tableaux they stumble across on their journey. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated or bored or confused at times, but Nihei's darkly gorgeous drawing and the obvious care with which he's constructed this world make it all worth the journey to get there. The last few volumes are especially powerful and go to some unexpected places, particularly with some of the monstrous antagonists who surprisingly have some depth beneath their spiky metal exteriors. A really fascinating and one-of-a-kind work from an obviously unique creator.


Image
A Worthless Person by Yoshiharu Tsuge
My first exposure to Tsuge, and it turns out one of his last books before he retired from manga altogether. It's real good, a series of introspective, depressing anecdotes about - probably tellingly - an aging former manga artist who's cast as a somewhat stereotypical tragicomic good-for-nothing, pouring his misplaced creative energies into a series of harebrained get-rich schemes that never seem to amount to anything. Tsuge's art is an interesting mix - it can get almost photorealistic at times, dense with cross-hatching, especially for the backgrounds, but his characters have this lumpy, cartoony quality, like they're all slightly askew, grotesque. The stories are tonally queasy as well - so deeply infused with sadness they're almost maudlin, but at the same time they're bizarrely funny, mocking the narrator and the parade of similarly inept males with whom he engages in utterly useless faux-philosophical conversations. It's downright hilarious at times - like the rock collector who gets flustered and sweaty while showing off a blatantly vaginal stone - but its absurdity and frequent use of exaggerated cartoon-gag body language never take away from the overall tragic vibe.

Image
Claudine by Riyoko Ikeda
A slim 70s volume from one of the pioneers of shoujo manga, and one of the first manga to include a transgender protagonist. Claudine identifies as a man, and falls in love with several women, sometimes having intense romances with them, but ultimately always runs up against prejudices, betrayals, and tragedies. Though Ikeda seems to have her heart in the right place, this is SUPER-melodramatic and falls into all the typical pitfalls of this kind of work - the queer protagonist can only lead a life of outsized tragedy and destruction. It's pretty short, too, so a lot of its beats play out really quickly which only emphasizes the wild melodrama even more. There are a lot of complex relationships and elements that could be unpacked at length in a multi-volume saga but instead get just a couple pages here. The main appeal, besides its historical interest, winds up being Ikeda's art which is extremely pretty, and which really sells the intense emotions of the characters even when the narrative is lurching ahead. Ikeda's romantic images are especially strong - like a couple pages showing Claudine reluctantly falling in love with another woman, his greatest love, after having had several tragic experiences before.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby sevenarts » Tue May 28, 2019 12:15 am

A couple more recent reads:

Image
Gold Pollen and Other Stories by Seiichi Hayashi
More Hayashi, and another in a long line of nicely curated Ryan Holmberg manga books. This one is split in half between two rather different modes: the first two pieces are more-or-less autobiographical vignettes inspired by the artist's relationship with his mother, while the next two pieces are more abstract, freely incorporating a mix of pop culture and traditional Japanese cultural references. Though Hayashi's best known as an experimental artist, I'll admit the more accessible mode of those first 2 stories appealed to me more here. "Dwelling In Flowers" is pulled directly from the artist's life, written in the wake of a break-up with his fiancee, chronicling his increasingly poisonous relationship with his mother, a traditionalist upper-class woman who'd been brought to poverty after WW2, raising a son alone and gradually giving in to neurosis and isolation as a result. The form is simple and direct, mostly a six-panel grid with variations, a series of stifling domestic scenes rendered with a minimum of lines and textured riso-like colors. "Red Dragonfly" is a shorter but equally affecting piece about a boy and his mother in a rural village, receiving a visit from a shadowy man whose face is never seen. Hayashi adapts more of a cartoony style here, particularly for the kid, who's often depicted as a pair of big eyes on an otherwise empty circle. Everything's stripped down to resonant symbols in stark black and white.

For me, Holmberg's essay does a lot of the heavy lifting for the last 2 stories, which have narratives and characters pulled from Buddhist mythology, kabuki theater, folklore, and Japanese history, as well as Batman, Superman, and other representatives of American pop culture hegemony. The form is more scattershot, and there seems to be a heavy assumption that the audience would know the underlying stories very well - which Japanese fans of the time certainly would have, and I certainly didn't; fair enough. So these stories are kind of unsatisfying to read at first, beyond just the visual energy of all these disparate styles and ideas clashing on the page, and then opened up a lot upon reading Holmberg's essay. He unpacks the references and also relates these stories to the same preoccupations about tradition and motherhood that more blatantly drove the first two pieces. Good book overall and I always appreciate Holmberg's approach to not just presenting this kind of difficult material but contextualizing it and drawing out the full richness of the text.

Image
A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio
Here's a quite different short story anthology from a quite different influential creator. Rather than aiming for a coherent collection here, Fantagraphics and Matt Thorn mined stories from throughout Hagio's long career, and included pieces in very different styles, obviously intended for very different audiences. The result is a hodgepodge but a fascinating one. There are a few shorts in a relatively straightahead, deeply emotional shojo/josei style: these melancholy romances and getting-over-tragedy tales executed with clarity and precision. (Then there's one that seems like it fits that mold until the hilarious shock-horror conclusion.) Others are in Hagio's sci-fi mode, like the title story's drop-dead gorgeous rumination on a tragic recurring time-loop, fully colored in pale, watery hues. And there's the utterly unique "Iguana Girl," which uses its goofy central image as a really potent metaphor for self-image, difference, and the differing expectations placed on girls based on their appearance. Similar themes run through "Hanshin: Half-God," the most famous story here thanks to being published way back in the Comics Journal - it's a great, compact little mind-twister about conjoined twins that really shows off how elegant Hagio's story construction can be. Lots of other great stuff here, too, and everything shows off both Hagio's total precision as a storyteller, and the startling depths of emotion that always seem to be embedded in her work.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby HotFingersClub » Tue May 28, 2019 5:01 am

Great stuff. I hope to be starting my own Blame journey in the next few weeks.

Moto Hagio is a very tantalising creator for me; I've been lusting after her stuff since I read your Otherworld Barbara review but haven't been able to find anything that seems reasonably priced. Even on amazon it's 36 god damn pounds per volume
User avatar

HotFingersClub
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:31 am

Postby milknight » Wed May 29, 2019 6:15 pm

randomly got the first issue of Skip Beat! for like $3 in a used bin a while back. i thought it would just be kind of dumb trashy shojo like the other shojos ive gotten from same bin before but its like... really good. i wanna read more of it does it stay good? does anyone know that one i dont think i remember there being much shojo talk itt
User avatar

milknight
 
Posts: 16064
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:06 pm

Postby sevenarts » Wed May 29, 2019 6:49 pm

Haven't read that one but I'd love for there to be more shojo (and josei) discussion and recommendations here. So much of the western perspective on the manga canon is focused on shonen/seinen because it's the stuff that's similar to what's dominated western comics for decades.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby milknight » Wed May 29, 2019 7:01 pm

well its great its about a girl who harnesses the power of hatred for her famous ex in order to become a celebrity
User avatar

milknight
 
Posts: 16064
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:06 pm

Postby HotFingersClub » Thu May 30, 2019 4:45 am

Skip Beat is on my list, heard a lot of good things
User avatar

HotFingersClub
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:31 am

Postby sevenarts » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:26 pm

Image
Phoenix by Osamu Tezuka
Tezuka has been a huge blind spot for me. Generally acknowledged as the god of manga, such a towering and influential figure that he's basically unavoidable, and yet I've only read bits and pieces before. So now I jumped in with one of his very biggest works, an unfinished epic that he published off and on from the late 50s to his death in the mid 80s. It's a massive work, and yet its 12 volumes also don't entirely feel like a single work. Each story stands on its own, with the common threads being the presence of the immortal bird, the phoenix, and the ongoing themes of reincarnation, religion, and war.

It's really impressive stuff, big and messy and grandiose, sprawling across time, jumping back and forth from humanity's earliest days to the very end of the universe - Tezuka alternates stories between ones set in the distant past and ones set in a sci-fi future. And everything is rendered with Tezuka's astonishingly clean, clear cartooning, his beautifully rounded forms and elegant lines, everything so perfectly crisp and full of life. The fact that each volume kind of stands alone lets Tezuka really go wild with the individual stories, with some of the best ones being the sci-fi tales. The incredibly inventive "Resurrection" follows a man who's brought back to life but finds that he now sees people as inorganic abstractions; Tezuka uses a scrambled-chronology structure that creates a great deal of pathos from the story's unpredictable twists and turns. The second volume, "Future" also does fascinating things with time, with its apocalyptic story of a dying future Earth eventually leading to a loop that restarts time, restarts life, through multiple cycles, until it eventually loops back around to the start of the preceding volume.

There's also a lot here that doesn't work so well. Tezuka's sense of humor has always seemed grating to me, repeatedly breaking the fourth wall to make anachronistic, late-night-talk-show-host-level pop culture jokes. And some of the stories are riddled with downright baffling character motivations - like the mostly forgettable first volume, "Dawn," in which the main characters keep befriending and dedicating themselves to the people who do the most awful things to them. "Nostalgia," the sixth volume, is so bizarre it's tough to know what to even make of it: it centers on a woman who seeks to start a civilization on a remote planet by putting herself into stasis so she can wake up when her kids (and later, grandkids) are old enough to marry her and have more kids with her.

For the most part, though, this is great, jam-packed with epic journeys, generation-spanning wars and intrigues, and a succession of really out-there sci-fi concepts. For all the parts where it's a little shaky or just plain weird, there's something like the sprawling "Karma," a beautiful tale following two very different men across decades as they atone for past sins and organically change and grow over time. Even a minor piece like the shorter genre exercise "Space" is notable for the way it experiments with form, following four separate characters each in their own row of panels, which play with space and time on the comic page in unusual ways.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby vivian darko » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:49 pm

i fucking loved skip beat up until volume like...27. had the problem of most manga that gets that long which is that it really drives itself up to the cliff of A Thing Happening and stays perched there, shuffling a bit, for the next 700 chapters
User avatar

vivian darko
 
Posts: 10288
Joined: Sun May 03, 2015 8:04 pm

Postby HotFingersClub » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:32 am

Good Phoenix review - it's interesting to see you engage with Tezuka for the first time. You’ve already identified the invention and technical skill that make him such a master, and make even his minor projects so good-looking. The slight derangement of characterisation you noticed also speaks to what I find frustrating about him sometimes. There’s often a very high emotional pitch and a weird see-sawing motion to his narratives as characters dash between locations and emotional tones. His best stuff I think is often the darker, more melodramatic pieces like MW and Ode to Kirihito where the pitch works better.
User avatar

HotFingersClub
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:31 am

Postby Wombatz » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:28 am

HotFingersClub wrote:The slight derangement of characterisation you noticed also speaks to what I find frustrating about him sometimes. There’s often a very high emotional pitch and a weird see-sawing motion to his narratives as characters dash between locations and emotional tones. His best stuff I think is often the darker, more melodramatic pieces like MW and Ode to Kirihito where the pitch works better.

dissenting opinion: i love the derangements (often less than slight), the sudden tex avery humor and other utter unpredictabilities, for me nobody does bonkers yet somehow still serious like tezuka (that's why i'm rating metamorphose much higher than you) ... i get bored by his historical narratives or when he takes the folk stuff too seriously (like in large parts of phoenix ... whereas the sf in there (i think vol. 5?) is hilarious) ... also i suspect one could often argue that the mood changes even make sense, e.g. the protagonists have sudden outbreaks of character clichés from the genre the book is moving in ... but yeah indeed ode to kirihito is amazing (and still sufficiently bonkers)
User avatar

Wombatz
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 5:40 am

Postby sevenarts » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:58 am

That's a compelling counter-argument. I do like the wild plotting a lot, there's this manic energy behind even the more serious bits of Phoenix (and the other little Tezuka I've seen) that I suspect comes from how fast he must have worked to produce such a huge volume of work year after year. It's all just beat, beat, beat - relentless forward momentum. The "derangement of characterisation" (what a great turn of phrase!) seems like a side effect of that plot approach in some ways, and it's where he kinda loses me - when the characters cease to make even a little psychological sense, or 100s of pages of patient development are tossed in favor of an abrupt shift, or characters with well-established reasons to hate each other suddenly become buddies. Parts of this are so nonsensical they read like, I dunno, Wally Gropius, except not intentional.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby j-ol » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:03 pm

i love reading your guys' deep analysis and interpretations of different books, helps me orient to the genre.

i've eyed tezuka's stuff before but there's just so much. the buddha biography looks interesting but i'm wondering how it could possibly hold my interest over, what, seven volumes? any feedback on that one?
User avatar

j-ol
 
Posts: 6027
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:22 pm

Postby Wombatz » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:55 pm

i got through maybe a volume and a half ... up until that, it's a very respectful rendering of the story and, like i said, i find his historical narrative mode boring ... i even found adolf boring (again, it's pretty subdued/serious, and also too far from any facts to be interesting).

speaking of boring, over the last weeks i also tried ambassador magma, dust 8, euphrates tree, and wonder 3, and they're all not for me, ranging from nerve-wreckingly jocular sf to half-hearted mythsploitation (like the worse parts of phoenix). of course i don't like reading on a screen, so that doesn't help. right now i'm half-way through yaketpachi's maria, which is also very silly but at least it has energy and a pretty far-out story (a schoolboy who's feared for his tantrums discovers he is pregnant, and gives birth to a female ectoplasm ... luckily his father sells sex dolls so she can live in that as a body and lots of violence and romance ensues) ... it's quite readable though i wouldn't recommend it.

maybe a third of his stuff is good? but there's such a lot to pick from.
User avatar

Wombatz
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 5:40 am

Postby sevenarts » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:42 pm

j-ol wrote:i've eyed tezuka's stuff before but there's just so much. the buddha biography looks interesting but i'm wondering how it could possibly hold my interest over, what, seven volumes? any feedback on that one?


I read a couple of volumes of Buddha as my first exposure to Tezuka a long time ago and it turned me off trying more for years, definitely a tough go. The best parts of Phoenix are way better - but I'm sure others in this thread can point you towards an ideal one-volume introduction. MW and Ode to Kirihito seem to get mentioned a lot, I'm gonna try those next soon myself.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby HotFingersClub » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:05 am

Wombatz wrote:ambassador magma, wonder 3, yaketpachi's maria


lol yeah these are all pretty bad. I thought Euphrates Tree was alright but it's still eminently skippable. When it comes to Tezuka it's probably worth sticking to the recognised classics
User avatar

HotFingersClub
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:31 am

Postby HotFingersClub » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:06 am

j-ol wrote:i love reading your guys' deep analysis and interpretations of different books, helps me orient to the genre.

i've eyed tezuka's stuff before but there's just so much. the buddha biography looks interesting but i'm wondering how it could possibly hold my interest over, what, seven volumes? any feedback on that one?


I found Buddha fairly absorbing to begin with but eventually lost steam and stopped reading about halfway through
User avatar

HotFingersClub
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:31 am

Postby carlagain » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:16 am

i really loved reading MW in highschool, I wonder what I would think of the politics now. loved astro boy too. i once did a presentation on Tezuka for a French class, unaware or willfully ignorant that I was supposed to a presentation on a French person, and failed because of it. i always think about the bit in Drifting Life where he talks about how Tezuka was so good at drawing people he could draw the appendages and fill in the body last. great thread btw
carlagain
 
Posts: 2316
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:53 am

Postby HotFingersClub » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:49 am

Haha I had forgotten that bit of Drifting Life but it makes total sense. The limbs project so much of the character in Tezuka's work
User avatar

HotFingersClub
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:31 am

Postby HotFingersClub » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:27 am

Image
Tsutomu Nihei – Blame!
Thanks for this, guys. I don't have much to say that hasn't already been covered but I really enjoyed my time spent in this vast empty world of endless murder. The story didn't end up being particularly important to me and often got in the way – everything but the broad strokes are quickly fading from memory now. This is one of those few books that's mostly appreciable purely on the level of its environment; I was always happiest when the robots and other characters dropped out of sight, and we were just left with Killy wandering the empty halls. It reminded me a little of Dark Souls and a little of the Josh Simmons book House, all about becoming trapped and lost in a hostile environment. Perfect atmosphere. The moment when he arrives at the top of the stairs into a room the size of Jupiter is going to stick with me a long time.


Image
Honda – Skull Face Bookseller Honda-San
Not for the first time and probably not for the last, I was attracted by the whimsical title and ended up being drawn in to a slice of life rumination on a mundane activity. Told in brief chapters originally online, this is a snapshot of what it's like to work at a manga shop in Japan. The titular bookseller is a simple fellow, easily bewildered, keen to do right by his customers and curious about their reading habits. Although it references specific manga (and, fair warning, a lot of culturally-specific stuff that went completely over my head) it doesn't get particularly passionate or in-depth; it's more about people-watching and formulating helpful generalisations about demographic reading habits. It's quite a charming book, dense but not joke-heavy, and much less surreal than the weird heads would suggest. I'm down to dip back in every now and again, and maybe check out the anime adaptation released last year.
User avatar

HotFingersClub
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:31 am

Postby sevenarts » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:54 am

Nice. It's actually pretty impressive how far Blame! gets on pure atmosphere, because it's so bare otherwise. But god the atmosphere is amazing, I'll definitely always remember the feel of it even though the details quickly slip away. Dark Souls is a good comparison, I'd love for From to make a game in an environment like that.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby HotFingersClub » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:26 am

Image
Shintaro Kago – Dementia 21
This was a semi-recent rec from Sevenarts which I loved. I've always been a fan of Kago's ceaseless formal invention and sense of fun but the guro shit and mutilation stuff doesn't really appeal to me. Dementia 21 still goes to some weird places, but overall it's more about creative improvisation on a theme (elderly care here, for no particular reason I'm sure) than rubbing your face in the fluids. People who had problems with Junji Ito's fluid approach to continuity will find similar issues here, as every insane scenario is taken to a massive crescendo and then abruptly dropped forever. For me it's like an album full of perfect pop songs: Kago explores a single conceit with ludicrous and hilarious intensity and then 3.5 minutes later it's all over right on schedule. I had a blast with this book. In a kind of prosaic sense I find Kago really inspirational: his willingness to run with every hare-brained story idea flouts the rules in the best way possible.

Image
Hayao Miyazaki – Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Fuuuck this is so good. Was it seriously Miyazaki's only manga? Blows my mind that one guy could be so talented. Most of you will have seen the film, I'm sure – for me it's been long enough that I can't really remember where the story diverges, but there's a lot more richness here, and Miyazaki's pencils have an incredible detail and texture that gives this version a cramped, fecund feel compared to the open spaces of the film. I'm only halfway through right now and should probably have waited to write this but what the hey I can update you all later when I've finished the whole thing. It's an extraordinary book anyway, probably the most powerful expression of Miyazaki's ecological and feminist themes, and the drawing is just on another level.
User avatar

HotFingersClub
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:31 am

Postby sevenarts » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:44 pm

Nice, glad you dug that Kago book. The pop song comparison is a good one. Each story just has this perfect nutty idea and follows it through to its extreme and then ends just where it should. Real fun.

I really need to read Nausicaa soon too, it looks so gorgeous.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby sevenarts » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:45 pm

Image
Baby Boom by Yuichi Yokoyama
Been curious about this never-published-in-English Yokoyama book for a while, but since jca confirmed a while back that there's no dialogue, I finally just bought the French edition. Glad I did, this is a real unique Yokoyama book, very distinct in many ways from his other work. The most obvious difference is the color - this is all done in thick-lined marker with most pages using two different colors, favoring very bright contrasting hues. It's beautiful in a really strange way, and also quite loose compared to most of Yokoyama's other comics. Indeed, it looks quite a bit like thumbnails or rough layouts in preparation for a proper inked treatment, and I've seen rough layouts for other Yokoyama books that look similar to this - it seems like for this book he simply treated the marker roughs as the final product, favoring spontaneity and fluidity over the polished, pristine surfaces of his usual style.

It's also distinct in that it's the most obviously "human" Yokoyama comic. The bulk of its stories concern a father and son playing together or doing mundane activities like cleaning the house or getting a soda from a vending machine. Although most of Yokoyama's comics are similarly concerned with everyday life, there's seldom such a recognizably human relationship at the work's core. This is cute and funny and charming in a way Yokoyama seldom is, because he so seldom imparts any real motivation or emotion into his inscrutable characters. This, in contrast, reads like the kind of gentle poetic work about parenthood that artists often make when they become new parents - though that is apparently not the case with Yokoyama, and indeed it would be pretty shocking if he exposed his own psychology in a work so nakedly. In any event, it's perhaps a little less interesting, a little less unique, because its characters can be parsed so much more easily than the figures in other Yokoyama books - without the mystery and intrigue obscuring the motivations in most of Yokoyama's books, this reads more like a simple catalogue of prosaic activities.

Of course, it's an exceptionally beautiful and fun catalogue so it's not too big a problem. The vibrant colors make this frequently eye-popping to look through, especially in the sequences where Yokoyama plays with light and shadow in ways similar to how he did in Travel, except here in bold color - the disco scene jca pointed out, or a scene of walking in the forest on a sunny day, with sunbeams streaming through foliage and casting stark shadows on faces. This may not be the best Yokoyama book but it's fascinating anyway, revealing some quite different facets of his work. It's especially interesting because his work that's been published in English is essentially all of a piece - there are differences between books, of course, but it's all recognizably within the same territory. This is something else altogether, another side of the artist, who apparently also has a straight-up gag comic that's only been published in Japan. He's one of the most absolutely fascinating manga artists IMO so it's always great to see a new side of his work, to get a new perspective on what exactly he's up to.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby HotFingersClub » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:46 am

Damn I can't wait to read that damn book, Yokoyama is on another planet.

Speaking of which, I can't tell if Yokoyama is really doing something completely different than everyone else in manga, or if he's just one of very few modern experimental manga creators whose work has made it to the west. Does anyone know if he's widely read in Japan?

I think a recent TCJ article was saying about him that because mainstream manga is such a broad church in terms of genre and tone, there's much less of an experimental imperative than in Western comics, because anything could conceivably be mainstream. I don't think that would ever eradicate the drive to play with form but I also can't figure out why such a healthy market seems to produce relatively little experimental work
User avatar

HotFingersClub
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:31 am

Postby Wombatz » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:45 pm

or maybe it's all been done a hundred years ago ...

Image

Image

Image

:-)
User avatar

Wombatz
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 5:40 am

Postby sevenarts » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:00 am

That's an interesting question. Yokoyama definitely seems like he's truly one of a kind - not just in that he's original, which of course he is, but that he doesn't even seem to have any peers at all. Hard to say - of course there could be an army of experimental artists working in manga who we never see, but my sense is there's not.

The west has had several decades in which there's been these radical reactions against the mainstream which by necessity formed way outside the mainstream - the undergrounds, rising out of 60s counterculture, then inspiring and influencing later generations who built on that foundation. In Japan, I feel like the analogous creative urges were channeled into gekiga, and Garo, and things of that sort. And while I've certainly seen pretty experimental work in that context, it's definitely way more sublimated into the mainstream, into gritty realistic storytelling, than anything that was happening in American or British counterculture comics from the same era. Maybe it is that "broad church" idea, that these creators just had a place to go with this work that western creators never did, or maybe it's that manga seems so much more rigidly codified in terms of genre and audience - although the Japanese market is so much broader in terms of the types of material it publishes, all that material has to fit a particular mold, has to be able to fit into some magazine's aesthetic. There doesn't seem like there's a concept of a general "indie" or "experimental" scene the way there is in the west.
User avatar

sevenarts
 
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: NY

Postby Wombatz » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:53 am

i don't know ... simply judging from the kus mini and assorted other appearances of japanese artists

Image
http://kushkomikss.blogspot.com/2018/07/s-32-japan-preview.html

i see no reason to argue for any essential structural differentness ... (maybe sadly) ... although from what i read there are more bootleg comics in japan than artistic zines.

also yokoyama is a fine artist by background. judging from this here portrait

Image

it wasn't a million miles from, say, yoshitomo nara, who also made cartoons, though those are subverting a more mainstream pose.

a recent effort by yokoyama for nieves

Image

(which i don't have, being no rockefeller) looks safely within conventions for artist's zines, or books, e.g. i have plassein by joji koyama, which is very good in that lots of pictures always make a narrative kind of manner.

of course yokoyama is still totally unique when he's doing his formalist thing with manga!!! but it's interesting to look into his exhibitions when it's wall stuff:

Image

it looks more pop, more lichtenstein, that somewhat connects it to some of the garo experimentalists of the 70s, and also think mike kelley ...

i don't know, i'm sure there are thousands of future web designers churning out very artistic looking zines in japan, while there are u.s./european artists engaging with the mechanics of comics (e.g. from the molotiu abstract comics corner) but none as good as yokoyama.
User avatar

Wombatz
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 5:40 am

Postby Wombatz » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:28 am

oh and while googling i came across this very good blogpost, which contains most of the familiar titles but also some things i need to follow up on
http://www.wearecomplicated.net/2017/12/alternative-manga-gekiga-recommendations.html
User avatar

Wombatz
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 5:40 am

PreviousNext

Return to Mamma Mia... Here We Go Again....

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: a is jump, acapelli, Althea, Amblin, Annie May, Bad Craziness, baleen, brent, budlite supernova, chairkicker, chargie, Chyet, Daft Pun, danno, darger, davideotape, Decimal Place, deebster, dimetrodons 'r' us, Double McDouble, draw, dreamshake, Feech La Manna, fosse, Franco, Frank, furrowed brow, futurist, Google [Bot], Grand Epic, Grumby, guidance, Gutslab, Jabberwocky, jalapeño ranch, jewels, jon, KALM, kid_chameleon, KPH, Kuboaa, lemon rind, Lil Gugger, linoleum , mactheo, marble, Marza, Meeps, mego, Melville, mondays, mondrary, mooncalf, my piano, mynamerocks, nosebleeds, okelaadoke, paused anime for this, Phil, pink snake, Poptone, potentialgetawaydriver, Pris, razzle, rich uncle skeleton, robotculinaire, scrumptown, Self Destructive Zone, shankly, Shotfrog, shrinemaidens, Slaps, smartphone, sniplets, son of chucky, staple, strange potion, surly, sushi x, Tai-Pan, terminus, tgk, the moon the moon, The Producer, tolka, trampoline, trouble, turquoise albino, VHGisdead, villalobos, wakeman, walt, warmjets, worrywort, wuk