Sunday, January 3, 2010

History of Manga, Part 15

Garo started out as an outlet for gekiga stories - manga that took a more realistic, adult approach in protest against the "comics are for kids" attitude that Tezuka, the Tokiwa Manor gang, and various publishers helped foster through the late 40's and 50's. Realizing that there was a potential market, and an outlet for some of his own work such as The Phoenix, Tezuka created a rival gekiga magazine called COM. As a part of the comparison between Garo and COM, I'll start out by commenting on the stories appearing in the July, 1971, issue of COM.


永井豪 (Nagai Gou)
やっこらショ (Yakkora-sho)

Go Nagai is best known for his Mazinger Z, Devilman and Cutie Honey manga. But, he had to get started somewhere. This is an early gag strip featuring a young, and fairly dense, boy that wants to prove himself by taking up baseball, kickboxing and sumo, while being humiliated at each. In the end, he's asked if he wants to learn ice skating, but he misunderstands the question and runs to a restaurant to order an "ice skate". Which he does proceed to eat. (Yakkora-sho appeared 1 year before the start of Go's first successful series, Devilman, which started in June, 1972.)

政岡とやし (Masaoka Toyashi)
どうりいむ (Dream), vol. 35

A young man suffering from a several case of constipation runs afoul of a pretty girl in a bar who drugs him and takes his pants and wallet. He then gets chased across the city by a trigger-happy cop, only to come face-to-turret with a group of tanks in the middle of a city parade.

Toyashi Masaoka did go on to create a few manga as shown on the chestjp page, and he did write some golf books. But, no one's gotten around to writing up an entry on him in the Japanese wikipedia and there's nothing on him in English.

川崎のぼる (Kawasaki Noburo)
初夏 (Early Summer)

A young boy and girl venture out into the countryside where they meet some friends, do some fishing, have a mud fight and go swimming. No dialog at all. Very simple story of kids having fun. At the end, the boy goes home, washes his clothes, and then goes to sleep in the only "night clothes" he can find - a pair of his father's over-sized underwear (he fits in one leg).

Noburo Kawasaki won the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1969 for "Animal 1". The Japanese wiki gives credits for him for about 10 different titles, most of which were based on someone else's original works, including "Star of the Giants" and "New Star of the Giants".

藤子不二雄 (Fujiko Fujio A)
禁じられた遊び (Prohibited Game)

This story, vol. 6 in the "shiroi douwa" ("white fairy tales") series, is actually one that FAF ran in Black Humor, except that he rewrote it later to remove the boy that does the actual killing, turning the small girl into the sole villain. The story's roughly the same though - a small girl goes through a number of pets, developing an addiction to holding funerals for them. When people start complaining about her behavior, she aims for bigger victims.

FAF went on to create Smiling Salesman, among other titles as can be seen from my earlier review on him.

黒鉄ひろし (Kurogane Hiroshi)
マコト君のクソおやじ (Makoto's Damn Old Man)

A school boy reads in class a paper that his sick friend, Makoto has written, about various mishaps that have happened to Makoto's family. Turns out Makoto was just playing around, and the paper was never intended to see the light of day. In the final panel, Makoto's father sits down next to the boy's futon, saying, "we have to talk".

The only real entry on Hiroshi Kurogane in English simply mentions his award-winning manga Shinsengumi and Sakamoto Ryoma, which are historical works about the Shinsengumi during the Meiji Restoration, and one of its leaders. In 2004, he was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon according to the Japanese wiki, which also lists 8 major works by him. These works include Shinsengumi and Sakamoto Ryoma, plus End of Tokugawa Shoganate Era Assassination. He's cited mainly for manga featuring in-depth historical research.

上村一夫 (Kamimura Kazuo)
初恋漬け (Pickled First Love)

WW II has ended and Japan is just picking up the pieces. The boy pictured above is nicknamed "pumpkinhead" by the American soldiers that laugh at the children chasing their jeep. The soldiers toss fireworks and sticks of chewing gum to the kids. Pumpkinhead has been smitten by a young woman that lives in a nearby abandoned factory with her abusive father, but the boy's mother considers the girl to be trash and wants her son to join in on the family's insults. Later, Pumpkinhead goes out to light up one of the sparklers, meets the girl, and they go into the factory to get out of the wind, where he sees the abusive father passed out behind some barrels. The two talk and the boy goes back home. In the middle of the night, there's a typhoon and the wind causes the factory to collapse. The next morning, the villagers gather around the ruins, and the old man's crushed corpse. The girl can't be found and rumors immediately start flying that she'd probably killed the old man before fleeing away. This feels like part of a longer series, but apparently was a stand-alone story.

Kazuo Kamimura (1940-1986) collaborated with Kazuo Koike on "Lady Snowblood", which was picked up in English by Dark Horse Comics. The Japanese wiki lists about 8 major works, most of which were collaborations with other writers. He died in 1986 from complications from a tumor.

大内初実 (Oouchi Hatsumi)
はるちゃん の肖像 (Haru-chan's Portrait)

Haru-chan is a young girl who moved up to Yokohama with her parents, and is currently having a rough life. Her mother is critically ill, and her father was injured in an accident, lost his job and now mooches off her for sake money. She works at a bar near the docks as a hostess, but everyone complains that she's not feminine enough. Enter "the stranger", our lead character and the story's narrator (the guy above with the mustache and black turtleneck). He's an unknown artist who literally bumps into Haru when she runs out of her house to get a doctor for her mother. She drops a box of matches with the bar's name on it and he goes to the bar that night to strike up a conversation with her. He paints a few portraits of her around the time that she meets a black sailor from California, named Jimmy (shown above). The two start dating and Haru falls in love with Jimmy. Later, he returns to the U.S. and mails a letter to Yokohama. Haru can't read English and the rest of the bar staff starts acting weird around her. The artist arrives in the bar and Haru fantasizes that the letter is asking her to join Jimmy and start up a family. When the artist reads the letter out loud, saying that Jimmy is already married and has a kid, Haru collapses, crying that she knew that no one wanted an unfeminine person like her. The artist, who is also married, moves on to the next city. He comments that if Haru had never met Jimmy, he wouldn't have had to see her cry like that, but his portrait of her at her happiest after having met Jimmy became very popular at the art galleries.

Pretty much nothing comes up for Hatsumi Oouchi in English or Japanese. The main hits are for people auctioning off the July, 1971, issue of COM. His artwork is very polished, so it's surprising that he isn't cited for other titles. I'm guessing that he may have gone by a another name for any other works he may have drawn.

中島慎二 (Nagashima Shinji)
ダンサンの漫画博物誌 (Dansan's Manga Wide Learning)

Dansan's Wide Manga Learning is a series of sight gags featuring a specific theme. In this issue, the theme is "caterpillar", and there's about 8 pages of single-panel gags where the caterpillar is the central character. The above page is representative of the others.

Shinji Nagashima is another person with nothing on him in Japanese. The only hits I'm getting are for album jacket artwork from the 1990's. But, he has a number of links mentioning him in English. lists "The Cruel Story of a Cartoonist", saying that it's his best work, "Fuuten", Miwa" and "Wakamonotachi". He also adapted children's songs in the 1970's and worked at Tezuka's Mushi Pro studios as an illustrator. Lovehkfilm mentions "Kiiroi Namida" (Yellow Tears) as a 2007 live action film based on his manga. Nagashima died in 2005 from a heart attack.

手塚治虫 (Tezuka Osamu)
火の鳥 (The Phoenix) Ch. 6, Rebirth 9

Both Tezuka and the Phoenix are well-known enough that I don't have to talk about them here. In this specific chapter, our current hero has been discovered, with his crashed car and robot companion, buried under a layer of ice by a crew of bodysnatchers. The boy has fallen in love with the robot, and he's upset at learning that the bodysnatchers had left her behind in the car. The fact that they plan on carving him up and selling him to buyers off-planet doesn't seem to bother him as much. With the help of the crew's old doctor, the boy overpowers their leader, recovers the robot's body and flies off in their ship.

According to the wiki entry on COM, Phoenix debuted in this magazine, making it the primary vehicle for this title. However, the entry on "Phoenix" itself gives conflicting dates, saying that it started in 1967 yet had appeared in both COM and Manga Shonen; and the entry for Tezuka says that Phoenix started in 1956, but Manga Shonen only lasted from 1947 to 1955 according to the "Authentic Account" museum exhibit book, so that Phoenix couldn't have been in it (I think it really was, though). In any case, COM ended its run one year later, in 1972, meaning that Phoenix needed to find another outlet.

雑賀陽平 (Saiga Youhei)
我らの時代 (Our Era)

Technically, this manga doesn't belong here because it was one of the reader submissions. However, it was successful enough to help launch Saiga's career. The first part is a story of a man-eating dinosaur who has found enjoyment in eating cavemen. The second part is about an insectivore that wants to be more than just food for the big meat-eaters and a threat to the humans. He fails at both.

Youhei Saiga (1950-2005) is listed in the Japanese wiki for "Our Era", "Our Era - Don't Lose the World" and "Tono Oh". He was one of the victims of the Japan Rail train wreck in 2005 that resulted in over 100 killed and 400 injured. The JR West Train Management was indicted in the ensuing cover-up attempt. In the related links section of the Japanese wiki, there's an inactive link to Oshiri Penpenzu (I slap my butt at you), a band that his son was in.

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