We started our week with a question from Ryan Holmberg, and we end it with a full-blown column. This time in What Was Alternative Manga?, Holmberg looks at a Japanese-language comic from the Philippines, involving mad scientists and cloned women, and wonders about its origins:
Hypothesis: it was designed for sale to Japanese male businessmen and sex tourists, who were sometimes one and the same. This makes sense not only time-wise, but also content-wise.
Tourism exploded amongst the Japanese in the 1970s. Thanks to increasing affluence and a strong yen, more Japanese had the ability to travel both domestically and overseas. In Japanese studies, one often reads about the “Discover Japan” campaigns initiated in 1970, targeted primarily at young women, urging them to find themselves through trips to exotic corners of their country. This is also the period that young artists and middle-class Japanese began flying to the centers of European civilization, or hopping across America from San Francisco to the Grand Canyon and over to the Big Apple. In the pages of Tezuka Osamu’s COM circa 1970, there are a couple of articles about its artists visiting the States, Nagashima Shinji in New York, Fujiko Fujio meeting Roy Thomas. Meanwhile in Garo, Tsuge Yoshiharu was becoming famous with literary versions of his solitary sojourns to fishing holes and hot springs in the Japanese countryside – not organized tourism, obviously, but a sign that the romance of travel was beginning to grow in various corners of Japanese culture.
—The digital manga service JManga announced that it is shutting down at the end of May. Johanna Draper Carlson has commentary.
—The Harvey Awards are now accepting nominations.
—Dylan Horrocks draws Jack Kirby, and explains the provenance of that famous “Comics will break your heart” quote.
—Lea Hernandez remembers Toren Smith.
—Drawn & Quarterly has announced their fall list.
—Kickstarter kontroversy kontinues.
—The Robot 6 team talks about reading digital Marvel comics on the new app.
—Grady Hendrix at Film Comment writes a short history of Mad magazine’s movie parodies.