Ten-Cent Manga

January 22nd, 2013 by Dan Nadel

We’re pleased to announce  new multi-volume series: Ten-Cent Manga, edited by Ryan Holmberg

Manga, or Japanese comics, has included styles and genres seen nowhere else in the world. Many of the greatest innovations in the medium, and some of its most eccentric expressions, grew directly out of contact with cartoons and comics from other countries, especially those from the United States, circulating widely in Japan since the 1920s.

“Ten-Cent Manga” presents the most stunning works in this untold history. It will include famous titles by superstars, as well as single-artist volumes and anthologies of comics by forgotten geniuses.

The first book is Last of the Mohicans by Shigeru Sugiura.

Shigeru Sugiura (1908–2000) is widely regarded as one of the masters of Japanese comics. His 1953 adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans sold some 70,000 copies, helping to establish him as one of the most sought-after cartoonists of postwar Japan. While his popularity had faded by the early 1960s, he made a comeback later in the decade with a series of surrealist, collage-like works that engaged with contemporary Pop Art and psychedlia, as well as Japan’s modern history of cultural appropriation

The present volume is Sugiura’s 1973-74 reworking of Mohicans in his new vibrant style. The book combines Sugiura’s signature brand of absurd action and exquisite drawing, veering constantly from lowbrow cartoon spoof to nuanced meditation on American cultural influence.

This PictureBox edition is the first book-length publication of Sugiura’s work in English and the inaugural volume in historian Ryan Holmberg’s Ten-Cent Manga series, focusing on manga straddling Japanese and American cultural influences. An introductory essay explores the complex art history of Sugiura’s Mohicans against the backdrop of the artist’s fascination with American comedy, Westerns, and “ten-cent” comic books. Also included is a translation of Sugiura’s 1988 article “Silent Movies”, in which he reflects on the origins of his lifelong love affair with Hollywood.

The second title, due out in October 2013 is Osamu Tezuka’s The Mysterious Underground Men (1948)

Edited, introduction, translation by Ryan Holmberg

While Tezuka Osamu’s New Treasure Island (1946-47) was the first major hit for the “god of manga,” the artist himself regarded a later book the first of his signature “story manga.” Originally published in Osaka in 1948, The Mysterious Underground Men tells the story of Mimio the talking rabbit, as he struggles to prove his humanity while helping his friends save earth from an invasion of angry humanoid ants. Inspired by Bernhard Kellermann’s Der Tunnel (1913) and drawing widely on European and American science fiction, as well as Milt Gross’ own pioneering “graphic novel,” He Done Her Wrong (1930), this full-color edition of The Mysterious Underground Men will not only introduce to English-language readers a founding monument in modern Japanese comics. It will also offer a rare glimpse at the wide-ranging Western cultural sources that made up young Tezuka’s world.

This is the second volume in PictureBox Inc.’s “Ten Cent Manga” series, edited by Ryan Holmberg, exploring that mysterious underground country between Japanese and American popular culture.


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  1. [...] comix publisher PictureBox has announced a new line: Ten Cent Manga, which will be curated by manga exert Ryan Holmberg (you can read some of his insightful manga [...]

  2. [...] premise of a fascinating new line of manga scholar Ryan Holmberg is editing for PictureBox. Titled Ten-Cent Manga, it will showcase manga that explore “that mysterious underground country between Japanese [...]

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