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A Drifting Life

A Drifting Life

A Drifting Life back

Yoshihiro Tatsumi


Page 45 Review by Jonathan

"I've been feeling so tired lately. Ah... the days when I was flooded with energy are long gone... I've drifted along, demanding an endless dream from manga. And I... probably... always will..."

Ever wondered how someone becomes a manga master? What is it that sets them on that path and ensures they stay the course to develop into a master craftsmen? Although maybe it's not quite as black and white as that as perhaps the more observant of you may surmise from the title... Well, wonder no more with this brick of an autobiography from the visionary creator of THE PUSH MAN, GOOD-BYE and ABANDON THE OLD IN TOKYO! This tome concentrates primarily on the early years of one of the true innovators and pioneers of manga whilst set against the turmoil of post-war Japan and his parents' troubled if unconfrontational relationship.

Born in 1935 in Osaka, right from his initial interest in manga being piqued by Tezuka's early works, Tatsumi became obsessed with creating his own strips. At the time, manga was basically just four-panel gag cartoons, nothing like the rich and varied medium we know today, and the teenage Tatsumi along with his contemporaries soon set about radically changing that. They were constantly striving and competing with each other to push the boundaries with new techniques and style much to the delight of the burgeoning sophisticated adult audiences they were trying to reach. Tatsumi himself freely admits to being heavily influenced by western cinema which was rapidly becoming the primary social distraction in post-war Japan, and also the works of pulp fiction writers such as Mickey Spillane.

A fascinating read which wonderfully illuminates the rise to prominence of manga as well as revealing much about the private life of one of its finest exponents. I should also note that A DRIFTING LIFE is edited, designed and lettered by Adrian Tomine, he of OPTIC NERVE / SHORTCOMINGS fame.

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