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Fukushima Devil Fish Launch Event: The Art of Gekiga with Ryan Holmberg

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Ryan Holmberg will be here on Monday 12th February 7.30pm - 9pm to celebrate the launch of Breakdown Press' latest, Fukushima Devil Fish by Katsumata Susumu, with a presentation on gekiga manga, focusing on the works of Matsumoto Masahiko, Tsuge Yoshiharu, Hayashi Seiichi, and Katsumata Susumu.

A comics and art historian who has become one of the West's leading manga scholars, Ryan Holmberg spearheaded the collections of classic manga produced by the late, lamented publisher Picturebox. Masterminding collections by artists such as Osamu Tezuka, Shigeru Sugiura, Seiichi Hayashi and Yuichi Yokoyama, Holmberg was responsible for casting light on a genre of manga little-seen by English language readers. In recent years he has worked closely with Breakdown Press to bring fresh translations of classic gekiga (or "dramatic pictures") manga, including their latest: Fukushima Devil Fish by Katsumata Susumu:


"More than twenty years before the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in 2011, Katsumata Susumu was using his cartooning skills to alert Japanese to the dangers of nuclear power.

Inspired by Katsumata's research trips to the now notorious facility and his background in physics, Fukushima Devil Fish begins with two stories from the 1980s on the subject of “nuclear gypsies,” the men who labor under oppressive conditions to maintain Japan’s fleet of nuclear power plants. The book then cycles back to the late 1960s and 1970s with a group of stories, originally published in the legendary alt-manga magazines Garo and COM, populated with creatures from Japanese folklore and lonely young men bereft of home and family.


At turns haunting and endearing, Fukushima Devil Fish reveals Katsumata as both a master of comics as a poetic form and a true friend to the victims of Japan’s modernization. The collection is rounded out with a suite of essays by the artist, historian Asakawa Mitsuhiro, and critic Abe Yukihiro, which illuminate Katsumata’s life and career and the importance of his work in a post-Fukushima world." 

This is a rare chance to learn about a field of manga that until recently was little-known in the English-language market, whose greatest practitioner's created works whose vibrancy and power have lost none of their potency. Ryan will be here from 7.30pm-9pm on Monday 12th February. Come along for what's sure to be a fascinating night!

Keep up with any updates on the Facebook event page.


Earlier Event: 27 January
Declan Shalvey Signing
Later Event: 14 February
Reads #26: Beautiful Darkness