Comics Alternative, Manga: Reviews of Red Red Rock and The Osamu Tezuka Story

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“Oozy, goopy liquid”


On the July manga episode, Shea and Derek discuss two recent publications that highlight, in different ways, the history of the Japanese medium. They begin with Seiichi Hayashi’s Red Red Rock and Other Stories 1967-1970 (Breakdown Press). All but two stories that compose this collection were originally published in Garo, examples of the avant-garde coming from that publication in its heyday. Although not nearly as abstract and non-linear, Hayashi’s manga reminds the guys of Sasaki Maki’s Ding Dong Circus, which they discussed in December’s manga episode (and also a Breakdown Press publication). As both Derek and Shea point out, the stories collected in Red Red Rock represent some of the earliest of Hayashi’s efforts, and they’re noticeably more experimental, or at least less linear, than his other work available in English, such as Red Colored Elegy and the stories in Gold Pollen and Other Stories. Adding to this collection is an astute contextualizing essay by Ryan Holmberg, also the book’s translator.

After their trip down Garo-inspired memory lane, the Two Guys turn to a work that delineates a much earlier chapter in manga history. The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime is a graphic biography of a man often called “the god of manga” and published by Stone Bridge Press. Created by Toshio Ban (who served as Tezuka’s “sub-chief” assistant) and Tezuka Productions, and translated by Frederik L. Schodt, the book appears to be a collaborative, or even corporate, effort to tease out the dynamism and the many facets of its subject’s life. In fact, both Shea and Derek feel that there are too many details embedded in the narrative and that the book’s 869 pages of story (not counting the substantive Appendixes) could have been paired down significantly. What’s more, the tone of the the biography is blatantly reverential and becomes almost too much at times. Readers are presented with example after example of the seemingly superhuman nature of Tezuka, and with little insight into the contradictions and complications that would define any artist’s life. Still, The Osamu Tezuka Story is a recommended read and a useful, albeit lengthy, introduction to this manga legend.



Comics Alternative, Manga: Reviews of Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler and Message to Adolf

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This is NOT the History Channel


Another month, another healthy dose of manga! For November, Shea and Derek make it a themed episode, one whose binding tie is an unlikely and infamous historical figure. To coincide with the 70th anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg Trials, the guys discuss two masters of manga and their takes on Adolf Hitler. They begin with Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler, released earlier this month from Drawn and Quarterly. Since 2011, the Canadian publisher has been introducing English-speakers to the incredible work of Mizuki, and this most recent translation is of a curious graphic biography originally published in 1971. Mizuki approaches Hitler’s life as more of a character-study than as a historical determinant. Over the course of the book’s first half, we see a very human, very pathetic — and very troubled — Adolf Hitler, a man whose failures far outweigh his triumphs. But both Shea and Derek note that as the text carries us into the 1940s, Mizuki’s narrative is more rapid-fire and historically episodic, and the man that we’re left with is the failed, unstable dictator most often depicted in popular media. Next, the Two Manga Guys turn to a more epic undertaking, Osamu Tezuka’s A Message to Adolf (Vertical). Originally serialized in Shukan Bunshun magazine between 1983 and 1985, this is a work of fiction that heavily incorporates the historical figure. In fact, the entire narrative — totaling over 1,200 pages in Vertical’s most recent edition — is driven by questions surrounding Hitler’s possible Jewish heritage. The gist of the story, however, is devoted to the lives of two other Adolfs, both living in Kobe, Japan: one a German Jew growing up in the East, and the other a half-Japanese son of a Nazi Party official. The two become fast friends, only to have history, and fascist ideology, disrupt that relationship. Another character, a newspaper reporter named Sohei Toge, functions as the binding element of these various storylines, and both Derek and Shea highlight — and marvel at — the many moving parts that make up this narrative. This is a massive work that shows Tezuka at the peak of his artistry and storytelling abilities. There may be a lot of Hitler in this month’s episode, but in the hands of both Mizuki and Tezuka, it’s the kind of Hitler that the Two Guys can definitely stomach.


NOTE: This episode is dedicated to the memory or Shigeru Mizuki, who passed away in a Tokyo hospital the day that this episode went up.


More To Come 54: San Diego preview and Amazon’s Jet City


Recorded by the Comics World division of Publishers Weekly Magazine, it’s More To Come! Your biweekly dose of insider comics publishing news, discussion and controversy.  Starring Heidi MacDonald, the Eisner-nominated blogger of, Calvin Reid, Senior News Editor of Publishers Weekly and Kate Fitzsimons, More To Come’s intrepid producer!

In this week’s episode, the More To Come crew discuss the upcoming San Diego Comic Con, Amazon’s new publishing venture with comics from George R.R. Martin, Jimmy Palmiotti and more, DMP’s groundbreaking digital deal to carry Osamu Tezuka’s works in English, comics and digital news from Image Expo and much more on PWCW’s More to Come.

And stay tuned later this week for our upcoming special day by day interview coverage of San Diego Comic-Con International 2013 – there will definitely be More To Come!


Catch up with our in depth comics news, reviews and previous podcasts at

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Deconstructing Comics #314: Tiny Comics, Novel Manga, and Manga Translation for India

Okashi na FutariBrian John Mitchell talks about his Kickstarter project to fund the making of his matchbook-sized comics. Two of these books involved a collaboration with Dave Sim!

Rook Bartly” (US Air Force active duty member Jason) tells us about “Okashi na Futari”, the Japanese novel series whose author has hired him to draw a manga version of the story.

Then, Kumar returns to tell us about a couple of his recent manga translation projects, “Stupid Guy Goes to India” (which landed him an interview in the March 25 Mumbai Sunday Mid-Day, pg 38-39) and Osamu Tezuka’s “Adolf”.

All this, plus the announcement of the winning “what do you like about Deconstructing Comics” entry!

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Deconstructing Comics #231: Comics Translation

Thinking of looking for work as a comics translator? What issues are you likely to face in doing the work? Our very own Kumar, translator of dozens of Japanese comics for Dark Horse, talks to Tim about translating puns, accents, sound effects, song lyrics, and more.

Plus: Farewell to Frank Frazetta.

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