<<•>> edited by Sean Michael Wilson <<•>> This much anticipated anthology of manga from off the beaten path premiered at SPX and is now on our shelves. It weighs in at a substantial 400 pages and contains the work of 33 artists, including the recognized figures, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Imiri Sakabashira, Takashi Nemoto and Kazuichi Hanawa, who have had books published in North America by Drawn & Quarterly, PictureBox and Ponent Mon. More important, perhaps, is the first time looks at lesser known and unknown lights of Japan's alternative manga scene, and they are on ample display here. The material in AX runs the gamut from the crudely drawn and obscenely scatalogical work of Takashi Nemoto, who makes Johnny Ryan look tame by comparison, to the cutesy cuddly Shinya Komatsu, to the super-polished works of both Keizo Miyanashi (think Paul Gulacy) and Takato Yamamoto (think Suehiro Maruo), to the jaggedly angular Otoyo Mitsuhashi and a world of variety inbetween. Sexual relations are a common thread in many, but by no means all, of the works in AX, and are plainly on disply in more than one tale, making this a definite ADULTS ONLY item.
Originally published by Blast Books in 1996, Comics Underground Japan was – and still is – a trailblazing anthology that provided most American readers a first look at the powerful creative ferment bubbling under the surface of the massive Japanese manga scene, many of which appeared in English here for the first time (and a few for the only time!). In this anthology's 200+ pages, a dozen creators unleash their personal visions in a wide variety of graphic styles, ranging from brutally stripped down and simplified to painstakingly detailed, relating tales of humor, sexuality and violence, employing fantasy, grotesquerie and satire – sometimes all at once! Gaining plaudits from the like of S. Clay Wilson, Gary Panter and Joe Coleman, Comics Underground Japan remains one of the best single-volume anthologies of alternative/underground manga in English translation. Now, back in print!
Here's what – and who – you'll find:
"Hell's Angel" by Yoshikaze Ebisu, "It's All Right if You Don't Understand" by Yoshikaze Ebisu, "Steel Pipe Melancholia" by Masakazu Toma, "Future Sperm Brazil" by Takashi Nemoto, "A Love Like Lemons" by Carol Shimoda, "Selfish Carol's Summer, "Don Quixote #1 & #2" by Yasuji Tanioka, "Planet of the Jap" by Suehiro Maruo, "Mary’s Asshole" by Hanako Yamada, "Volvox” by, "Bigger and Better" by Muddy Wehara, "Laughing Ball" by Hideshi Hino & "Cat Noodle Soup" by Hajime Yamano & Nekojiro.
Also, worth noting is the fact that while the cover is oriented in the western fashion, the contents are "unflipped" and read right to left – a forward looking compromise for 1996!