If you've never read Seiichi Hayashi, pick up Drawn & Quarterly's Red Colored Elegy  

Red Colored Elegy (Drawn & Quarterly) is the longest sustained narrative produced by author Seiichi Hayashi, a cartoonist most recognized (when he’s recognized at all) for his opaque and elliptical short stories. His work tends to concern the interior lives of angsty young adults—most of them suffering from oppressive…

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Umami #1 draws from a range of influences to cook up a high-fantasy culinary comic

In the European and Japanese markets, comics about cooking aren’t uncommon. Take, for example, Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki’s Food Wars!—a popular, slick serial that runs in Shonen Jump magazine. In the United States, cooking is portrayed similarly to any other kind of action in modern mainstream fighting comics: It’s…

Yuichi Yokoyama’s Iceland highlights how loud comics can be

Comic books are a silent medium, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be loud. Yuichi Yokoyama’s comics are a prime example of this, and he creates gekiga (his preferred term over “manga”) that are fixated on the relationship between sound, images, and time. Iceland (Retrofit/Big Planet) is a new translation of Yokoyama’s…

Akira kicked open the door for manga’s rise to popularity in the U.S.

Back Issues discusses a major comic of the past, reevaluating its strengths and weaknesses while exploring the cultural context of its creation and how it has impacted the future of the comic-book medium and industry. This week: Katsuhiro Otomo’s award-winning Akira Vol 1., a seminal work frequently credited as the…

G.I. Joe: Deviations makes Cobra Commander’s victory a laughing matter

This past March, IDW released a series of “Deviations” one-shots for assorted licensed comics, offering What If?-style stories detailing how these characters’ lives would change if one key element was altered. What if the Ghostbusters never crossed streams in their fight against the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? What if…

Master Keaton, Shaft, an X-Force finale, and a haunting graphic memoir

The earliest of Naoki Urasawa’s works to be translated to English (pre-Monster, 20th Century Boys, and Pluto), Master Keaton (Viz) is a 12-volume series co-written by Hokusei Katsushika and Takashi Nagasaki, originally published between 1988 and 1994. It follows the “adventures” of Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, a…