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The Devil Rides Again

Dan is still in Frankfurt, but I have returned from a weekend deep in the cold, dark Pine Barrens of New Jersey to bring you more comics talk.

Today on the site, Ryan Holmberg is back with another installment of his essential manga history column. This time, he responds briefly to a Japanese scholar who cast doubt on some of his earlier work, specifically Holmberg’s claim that Osamu Tezuka seems to have been inspired by pre-1945 American comics.

When I first presented my research on New Treasure Island at a lecture at Gakushuin University in Tokyo in July 2012, Ono Kōsei (who knows his American comics as deeply as his manga) voiced similar doubts, and I suspect that there are others who feel the same, at least in Japan. So visual evidence aside, it is an issue I need to address. Presently, I only have bits and pieces of circumstantial evidence and tangential hard evidence. I want to present them before you, as a way of asking if anyone has further thoughts or information on the matter, particularly from a non-Japan perspective. If you are not familiar with Tezuka’s relationship to American comics or with the visual evidence of Gottfredson, Barks, and Hannah’s influence on New Treasure Island, I urge you to first read the essays listed above. Assuming that you do have a basic grasp of the art history, I am going to limit discussion to questions that are necessary to respond to Watanabe’s claims.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews. At The New Yorker, Françoise Mouly and Mina Kaneko talk to Bill Griffith about his new memoir, Invisible Ink, and also share an excerpt.

Following Luc Sante’s review of Here last week, Richard McGuire appears on the New York Times Book Review podcast.

At The Beat, Alex Deuben interviews Maggie Thrash about her recent comics memoir, Honor Girl. I haven’t had a chance to read that yet, but my wife loved it and I plan to soon.

—Misc. Robert Boyd writes about buying original art from Jaime Hernandez, Sammy Harkham, and Dylan Horrocks.

—Funnies. For the New York Times Book Review, Chris Ware writes an essay in comics form about why he loves comics. (It’s probably easier to read this in print form than online, if you can still manage to find a copy of yesterday’s Times.)


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