From Publishers Weekly
The second volume of Drawn and Quarterly's ambitious reprinting of selected works by manga master Tatsumi picks up where the first left off. This outing once again showcases Tatsumi's pitch-perfect psychodramas, but this time with stories that are a bit more ambitious and sure-footed. Tatsumi more or less invented his own genre, making compelling manga out of everyday moments that otherwise pass unnoticed. His characters are anonymous faces we pass on the street, and he gives them an unsuspected inner life. In the opening story an artist for children's stories discovers a new, sinister vocation until he's found out. In another story a man is held captive by a woman who blames all men for her own psychological (and physical) scars. And in still another, an old man, once a proud business owner, returns to his derelict office day after day, despite the end of his company. Tatsumi lends all of these characters sympathetic voices through his minimal dialogue and deft line work. No one captures urban Japan quite like Tatsumi—even the streets feel nuanced. This collection of seminal work by a comics master is essential reading for anyone interested in the artistic development of the medium. (Aug.)
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*Starred Review* The stories in editor Tomine's second collection of this groundbreaking comics creator originally appeared in 1970, when Japan had recovered from the psychic setback of World War II and embarked on its "economic miracle." Tatsumi reveals, however, a segment of Japanese society that remained defeated, made up of weary, emasculated, working-class men, often paired with resentful women. In the title story, a frustrated truck driver taking care of his decrepit, demanding mother reaches his limit. In others, a disgraced businessman returns to his deserted office every day, long after the company has gone under, and a burned-out children's manga
artist turns his talents to more disreputable pursuits. It's hard not to read an autobiographical element into that last one, related to the fact that Tatsumi combined the words for drama
to coin a term,gekiga
, for his work to set it apart from comics aimed at children. His powerful drawing style depicts the characters with a starkness and simplicity that matches what is presented of their lives and conjures a convincing urban milieu through detailed backdrops. These decades-old tales are unlike anything published in the U.S. before or since, and it's gratifying that America is now finally catching up with Tatsumi's genius. Gordon FlaggCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved