Author Archives: Ryan Holmberg

Garo no. 102 (February 1972), cover by Sasaki Maki.

Back to the Avant-Garde: Sasaki Maki’s Nonsense

Sasaki Maki was the first Garo artist I tried to write about seriously, with the interests of the art world and art history in mind. Continue reading

Mizuki Shigeru, Kitarō Night Tales, vol. 1 (Sanyōsha, September 1960), showing Trunk Nagai with the sprout of the bloodsucker tree.

Blood Plants: Mizuki Shigeru, Kitaro, and the Japanese Blood Industry

Blood banks and comics? The topic’s not as arbitrary as you might think. It’s quite a natural pairing, actually, both in Japan and in the United States, though for utterly different reasons. Continue reading


Dharavi Comics Epidemic: An Interview with Chaitanya Modak

The Society for Nutrition, Education, and Health Action, based primarily in Dharavi, Mumbai, has recently initiated interesting community art and comics projects. Continue reading

Tatsumi Yoshihiro, photograph from Garo, special issue on the artist (March 1971).

Tatsumi Yoshihiro, 1935-2015

Tatsumi Yoshihiro, one of comics history’s greats, passed away on March 7, 2015. He was seventy-nine years old. He died of malignant lymphoma. Tatsumi is famous as the artist who helped fashion a new style of manga known as “gekiga” … Continue reading

Manga Shōnen (November 1952), cover by Ōtsuki Sadao and Nagata Toshio showing Tezuka Osamu doll in diorama.

The Fukui Ei’ichi Incident and the Prehistory of Komaga-Gekiga

Though generous to his fans, and generally warm with his peers, Tezuka Osamu (1928-89) was not above letting professional jealousy get the best of him. The first time this trait reared its head in public was in 1953, when, in … Continue reading

Matsumoto Masahiko, Space Express (Central bunko, 1958), revised version of pre-debut work When Worlds Collide.

Proto-Gekiga: Matsumoto Masahiko’s Komaga

One could say that Matsumoto Masahiko was the true innovator of gekiga and today’s manga. Sakurai Shōichi (cartoonist, publisher, brother of Tatsumi Yoshihiro), 1971-72 As an aside, let me point out that, around the time that the term ‘gekiga’ was … Continue reading

Garo no. 72 (February 1970), special issue on Hayashi Seiichi.

Manga vs. Art History: Hayashi Seiichi at SISJAC

Modern art, comics, and some words with Seiichi Hayashi. Continue reading

Koga Masao, “Longing for Your Shadow,” lyric and music sheet (Victor Records, January 1931); Mori Shin'ichi, Longing for Your Shadow, 12” LP (Victor Records, May 1968), cover art by Iwata Sentarō.

Enka Gekiga: Hayashi Seiichi’s Pop Music Manga

If his autobiographical reminisces are true, then Hayashi Seiichi’s literary life began with falling tears. As he recalled the early 50s in “Azami Light” (“Keikō,” 1972): “‘Look at you sniveling like a little girl,’ said my mother. She turned her … Continue reading