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Friday, December 05, 2008

Good-bye: NPR's Best of 2008

Yoshihiro Tatsumi's Good-Bye was selected by NPR's Laurel Maury as one of the best graphic novels of the year.

"Originally published in Japan in the early '70s, these deeply upsetting short stories deal with a post-war Japan on the cusp of the country's entry into global capitalism. Tatsumi's sexually grimy, emotionally barren tales of salarymen trying to squeeze a moment of warmth and meaning from life are both time capsules and striking works of social commentary that show the cost of linking the sense of manhood solely to work. In one brutal story, a monument to peace after the Hiroshima blast is used to conceal a murder. In another, a man spends his entire pension on gambling and fast women in order to exact revenge on his wife. Taken together, they create a bleakness reminiscent of Graham Greene on a hopeless day. Tatsumi, one of the pioneers of the realistic, intelligent gekiga style of manga, is a top artistic figure in Japan. If you associate Japanese comics only with teenie boppers and ninja, Tatsumi will astonish you."

And speaking of Tatsumi, we're wrapping up production this month on his mammoth 840 page autobiography, A Drifting Life. Written and drawn between 1996 and 2007, I'd say that this is the best work of his 50+ year career.


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