Here’s what we have for you today: Ryan Holmberg has left Japan, but luckily Japan has not left him. Here is his latest column, written as he was leaving Tokyo — a look at his favorite place in all of Manga Land: The Aomushi Showa Manga Library.
Housed in a former wood frame church, Aomushi is a spacious and atmospheric treasure house of manga from the postwar 1940s, 50s, and 60s. It is a pain to get to, but the returns for the manga lover – and even more for the researcher – far exceed all the museums combined. Mandarake might have more manga, but not as many gems, and besides you have to buy them to browse their insides. The museums might have fetish objects like Tezuka’s beret or Fujiko Fujio’s pipe, but since we are not talking about the Shroud of Turin, who really cares about relics. Only at Aomushi can you read old and rare manga freely (though not for free) and voluminously, since unlike at the Diet Library you can pull the books off the shelf yourself and unlike at the Naiki Library in Tokyo (a.k.a. Gendai Manga Toshokan) you do not have to pay for each and every book. And even more, you can take photographs (within limits), whereas everywhere else Xerox copying is not cheap and what you can copy is limited.
And Rob Clough reviews Joseph Lambert’s Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller. This is a really remarkable book — Lambert’s cartooning actually takes you inside the sensory experiences in a concise and subtle way.
-Here’s a fine appreciation of Brandon Graham’s Prophet comic book series.