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Leonard Rifas

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Two books examine the complex relationship between American comics and Japanese manga

Eike Exner’s Comics and the Origins of Manga: a revisionist history was awarded the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in the category of “Best Academic/Scholarly work” at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Exner’s...

A graphic novel about the only woman reporting from the battlefields in the first...

Cold War Correspondent: A Korean War Tale tells of Marguerite Higgins’ experiences as the only woman reporting from the battlefields during the first months of the Korean War in 1950. This eleventh and most...

An extensive history of a century of Thai cartooning

The Art of Thai Comics, a handsomely-produced and colorfully-illustrated volume, offers an absorbing and fun history of a century of Thai cartooning. It would work well as a compact coffee-table book and would be...

A 2021 manga take on Sōseki Natsume’s early 1900s classic “I Am a Cat”

The loved and celebrated Japanese novelist Sōseki Natsume (1867-1916) achieved instant success with his first novel, Wagahai wa Nekodearu (I Am a Cat), which was serialized from 1905-1906. It remains one of his best-known...

Graphic novel faithfully adapts artist Yayoi Kusama’s unusual and fascinating life story

Unlike pop-phenomenon Yayoi Kusama’s own artwork, with its bright familiar colors that contribute to its near-universal popular appeal, Elisa Macellari’s new graphic biography of Kusama uses mostly cool, hard-to-name, unsaturated colors (plus a bright amaranth red.)...

Tsuge Yoshiharu creates in his readers a “lingering reverberation” with “The Man Without...

For many years, those, like myself, who rely on English translations to read manga, have heard intriguing hints about a Japanese comics creator with a cult following: Tsuge Yoshiharu. Only small samples of his...

Manga describe experiences of workers at Fukushima power plant

Two very different Japanese manga, now available in English translation, describe the experiences of bottom-tier workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. One describes working conditions decades before the tsunami of 2011 and the...

‘The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye’—Sonny Liew’s graphic novel weaves history, art masterfully

A book may have many layers, but unless it can be enjoyed on a superficial level, that book will not be read, and those layers will remain undiscovered. Sonny Liew’s graphic novel, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, has been able to attract an outpouring of rapturous praise from both around the world and within Liew’s adopted nation of Singapore because, its author has created an enjoyable story.

‘God of manga’ Osamu Tezuka a multi-faceted artist

Osamu Tezuka was revered during his lifetime as the manga no kami-sama—the “God of manga.” More than any other individual, he was responsible for the rise of Japanese comics (manga) and animation (anime) in...

Lent’s ‘Asian Comics’ a supremely knowledgeable guide

Lent's 'Asian Comics' provides overview of cartooning in Asia for those who already study Asian comics as well as who are not familiar with this area by over hundred illustrations and examples in 16 Asian countries.