Tuesday, January 5, 2010

History of Manga, Part 16

I'll now conclude the comparison between COM and Garo by commenting on the stories that ran in the July, 1971, issue of Garo.


白土三平 (Shirato Sanpei)
カムイ伝 (Legend of Kamui), Ch. 74

In this specific chapter, Shirato wrapped up book 1 of what he intended to be a trilogy, and followed it up with a footnote explaining his intentions for the series (each book was to have a specific theme, and stating what the theme for book 1 was). Kamui himself doesn't factor into any of the plotline resolutions (that I can tell). First, we have a lord who is punishing a specific village by having the women whipped, when a messenger arrives ordering the whipping stopped. He then calls everyone's attention to a severely beaten man restrained in a palanquin. Initially the villagers are happy that their comrade from the palanquin is still alive, then outraged that he was the only survivor. Since he doesn't respond to them, the villagers accuse him of betraying everyone else and start throwing stones at him. But a relative discovers that the man's tongue had been ripped out and tries to defend him. Finally, everything ends with a riot between the villagers and the man's family, with the messenger standing on, watching. Second, the messenger, who turns out to be a higher-level lord, takes the previous lord out to smoke out the brigands living up in the mountains. Unfortunately for them, the leader they're after proves to be too crafty (using bear fur to panic the hunting dogs and horses into running off the edge of a cliff) and the pursuers are pretty much wiped out, with only the higher-ranking lord left standing in a river some distance downstream, looking at the corpses floating around him. Third, a merchant that had ruined people's lives as he clawed his way to the top suddenly loses everything when his partner, a relative of one victim, betrays him. In the end, the merchant shoots his friend, and mourns this final loss. Lastly, the relative of the merchant's partner, a scarred and crippled shark hunter, goes out on the ocean to do some fishing. He sees the body of the merchant's partner floating on the waves, then watches as a shark eats it. The hunter happily kills the shark, shouting that the ocean is both his mother and father, his friend and enemy, and the chapter ends with the boat being tossed in the face of a growing tempest.

It's easier to just cite the English wiki page and let you learn more about Shirato there. He was very prolific, and his "Watari" (1965) was said to have influenced the American movie "Platoon".

水木しげる (Mizuki Shigeru)
星をつかみそこねる男 (The Man Grasping at Stars), Ch. 10

It's the 1860's and the time of the Shinsengumi. Kondo Isami and crew are searching for dissenters.

Shigeru Mizuki is best known for "Gegege no Kitaro", which started in 1959. He debuted with "Rocketman" in 1957. Again, check out the English wiki for more information on him.

赤瀬川原平 (Akasegawa Genpei)
櫻画報 (Sakura Pictorial Report), Ch. 33

A young boy and his horse have a variety of strange dreams. Very surreal, with no actual storyline.

Genpei Akasegawa used one pen name for his artwork and another for his novels. He was a neo-dadaist, and his humorous essays achieved some popularity. In 1963, he sent out invitations to a gallery showing made up to look like 1000 yen notes, which caused him to run afoul of Japan's anti-counterfeiting laws. He was found guilty in 1967; he appealed twice, but the ruling was upheld in 1970. He is currently an avid collector of old cameras and has had photos included in various exhibitions.

淀川さんぽ (Yodogawa Sampo)
怪人Mと少年探偵団 (Mystery Man M and the Detective Team), Ch. 3

This entire thing is one big parody. Yodogawa Sampo is a play on Edogawa Rampo, an early Japanese mystery writer who in turn took his name from the Japanese pronunciation of Edgar Allen Poe. In fact, in History of Manga Part 7, I mentioned one of Rampo's stories - "Shonen Tantei Dan" ("A Troop of Boy Detectives"). "Mystery Man M" is then a parody of this specific work. Unfortunately, I can't find much else on Sampo, or the person behind him. The story in this chapter is just the lead detective taunting M and making bad jokes. On the last page, the tables turn and M prepares to fight the team along with some henchmen.

勝又進 (Katsumata Susumu)
勝又進作品集 (Katsumata Susumu's Creation Collection), #54

Here we just have a series of yonkoma strips. Most are either obscure sight gags, or silly word plays.

Susumu Katsumata
(1943-2007) is the creator of "Red Snow", the book published by Drawn and Quarterly in Oct., 2009, and one of the inspirations for this comparison between Garo and COM. "Red Snow" is a collection of the short stories that Susumu ran in Garo. He graduated from the Tokyo University of Education with a degree in physics, and studied nuclear physics as postgraduate work. He died at age 63 from melanoma.

陰薄蠅兒 (Old-style kanji. Modern style is: 陰溝蝿児)
夢幻城殺人事件 (Dream Castle Murder Case), Ch. 3

I can't trace the original reference, but this is a murder mystery featuring Vincent Price in a castle where a police detective and assistants are trying to piece together the crimes. Vincent is killed right before their eyes, bringing the body count up to three. A fairly weak looking effeminate guy resembles Roddy McDowall, and the detective sometimes looks like Charlie Chan. Unfortunately, almost the entire cast looks like Vincent in various disguises at one point or another, so I don't know if this is intentional or a flaw in the artist's style.

This one is fairly weird. The kanji used in the author's name is old style, and has been superseded by a more modern version. However, this is obviously an obscene pen name, yet there's no standardized pronunciation given for it in hiragana. The few webpages that mention this author only have pictures for "Dream Castle Murder Case" and one other title, and none of them give the pen name in hiragana. In any case, this author did not write much under this name, and the name wouldn't translate well into English even if I knew how to spell it.

花輪和一 (Hanawa Kazuichi)
かんのむし (Kan no Mushi)

According to Lambiek.net, Hanawa Kazuichi got his start with this title, described as a horror story featuring a destructive little boy who is taken to a sadistic acupuncturist. In fact, it's a short little 10 page tale that starts with the boy, nicknamed "kan no mushi", tearing up a house in the countryside and the owners yelling at him and his mother for it. His mother brings him into town, where an acupuncturist sticks needles under his finger and toenails as a treatment to cure his affliction. Doesn't work, and he takes his destructive urges out on the back of his mother's head. In the last panel, he says that only time can cure him. Very off-the-wall artwork and unexplainable symbolism.

has got a really long credit list on the Japanese wiki, but probably the one title he'll most be known for in the U.S. is "Doing Time". Hanawa had been an avid collector of old rifles, and he got caught up by Japan's no firearms law. He was convicted and sentenced in 1994 to 3 years in prison. When he got out, he created "Doing Time" to chronicle his experiences, and it ran in Garo's rival magazine, AX. It was carried in the U.S. by Fanfare in 2004.

星川忠 (Hoshikawa Chuu)

An arrogant cop has his daydreams of unadulterated adulation disturbed by a dog that pisses on his boot. While beating the dog, a woman tells him to stop. So, he strips her down and threatens to eat her leg ala a George Akayama manga. A man laughs at the scene and he too gets stripped down and threatened. Other police gather around and protect their partner. Pretty soon, it's a war pitting citizens against the cops, with the cops resorting to shooting tear gas shells, and both sides calling the other "inu" (dog). Eventually, all the civilians are hauled off, and the first cop says, "it's your turn next" while drooling and pointing at the reader.

The only hits coming up on Chuu are for the volumes of Garo he appeared in. Nothing in the Japanese wiki.

古川益三 (Furukawa Masuzou)
紫の伝説 (Violet Legend)

Violet Legend uses pictures only, no text or dialog, to tell the story of three people that meet peripherally and never really interact with each other. It starts out with a farm boy wandering into a village and seeing some paintings for sale in the square. He asks about them and is pointed to a rundown shack out in the fields where a crippled girl lives alone with her paints and easel. He follows her around, and sees her longingly watching a love affair taking place between a second young girl and a local boy. Time passes, and the couple breaks up, with the second girl crushed, lying on the beach crying. At the end, the farm boy leaves the town, the artist lies limp in her bed with the easel propped up on her stomach, and the heartbroken girl takes her clothes off and jumps deep into the lake. There's a sense that the artist would have been interested in the farm boy if he'd only talked to her.

As described in the Same Hat article, Masuzo Furukawa was one of Garo's "1-2-3 writers", along with Oji Suzuki and Shinichi Abe (neither of whom appear in this volume. The only thing in English from either of them is Suzuki's "Red Kimono".) Masuzo went on to found the Mandarake used manga and cosplay chain located in Tokyo (and ironically enough, that was where I bought these issues of both Garo and COM). The Japanese wiki lists 6 manga titles by him, and 3 literary books.

It's interesting to me that three of the Garo titles published in the west in English are "Red Dreams", "Red Kimono" and "Red Snow".


A.B. said...

Amazing blog! Thank you so much for doing the legwork to flesh out the history of manga for the English-speaking world.

-Adam Buttrick

TSOTE said...

No problem. Glad you like it. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for future entries.