Hi, welcome back. We've crossed into the new year. And Ryan Holmberg is starting us off right with an article about an early episode of Osamu Tezuka's career that Ryan calls 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 a series about comics-making and comics aesthetics for Manga Shōnen, the new prince of manga took a swipe at his foremost competitor, Fukui Ei’ichi (1921-54), who was older than him by seven years.
The series in question, Manga Classroom(Manga kyōshitsu), had begun serialization the previous year. It was partially modeled after Manga College (Manga daigaku), the best-selling tutorial Tezuka had created in 1950 for the Osaka publisher Tōkōdō.
After dominating the Osaka akahon market, Tezuka had only recently begun working for Tokyo magazines. The legendary Jungle Emperor (Janguru taitei, 1950-54), published in the same Manga Shōnen, was one of his first such serials. Manga Shōnen was famous not only as the home to this proto-Lion King title, but also as a venue to which young cartoonists could submit short four-panel work for review by Tezuka or the magazine’s editors or other contributing artists. Select submissions received critique within the magazine’s pages. The best received a small pin badge as award. Amongst the youngsters who got sucked into a life of cartooning through this exchange were Ishinomori Shōtarō, Akatsuka Fujio, both halves of Fujiko Fujio, Tatsumi Yoshihiro, and Sakurai Shōichi.
The Wall Street Journal has an article about the continually growing market for women readers of comics.
Chris Randle interviews Anne Ishii about Massive, among other topics.
Tom Spurgeon has a running list of "50 Comics Positives for 2014".
Chuck Forsman writes a revealing essay about his 2014 as a cartoonist.
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum has acquired the Jeff MacNelly collection.
And here is a video of Matthew Thurber's Mining the Moon musical as performed last year.