Editorial Adviser Mitsuhiro Asakawa on VÉRITÉ

In February 2017, Indian cartoonist/animation director Bharath Murthy contacted me through FB, and he wrote that he wants to publish an alternative comics magazine in India. He once made a similar attempt with Comix India, but it failed, unfortunately. Maybe it was slightly too early to publish comics for adults at that time, since according to what he wrote, to read or create comics/manga was not yet embedded in Indian culture.

He wanted to publish a Gekiga type magazine like Garo – the earliest alternative manga magazine in Japan, and I was an editor of the magazine in 1990s.

Personally I knew him when he started Comix India. Also I was quite in sympathy with him since he tried to start something new which no one had tried or perhaps never thought about in the past.

He asked me how to launch the new magazine in India, but I felt a bit of confusion about his request, since I didn’t know much about Indian society or reading habits of Indian people. I thought maybe this guy is something like a reckless type of person, but anyway, seems he was totally different from others. He wrote that he became a cartoonist because of Yoshihiro Tatsumi. He found a collection of Tatsumi at a bookstore, and that book Abandon the Old in Tokyo greatly impacted him. Abandon the Old in Tokyo – published in 2006 from Drawn & Quarterly was actually one of my earliest works as an editor to introduce Gekiga overseas. I compiled the stories and worked as an agent of Tatsumi at that time, so, at least I have some responsibility for him to open his eyes to something different – an alternative way of artistic expression. OK, I couldn’t deny what I’d done and there was no reason for me to refuse his request.

I decided to help him as an editorial adviser.

Bharath wanted to discover new talents in India. However, to begin with, if most Indian readers don’t have any reading habits for manga/comics, then we must show examples first. I selected the stories of Japanese gekiga artists – Tadao Tsuge, Susumu Katsumata, Yukichi Yamamatsu and Youji Tsuneyama. Other artists in Vérité are from India, US and France. Also one of the most, or maybe I should say one and only (except me) gekiga historian Ryan Holmberg wrote an article about the history of gekiga.

Vérité is quite a unique and unprecedented magazine and I hope this magazine will be a “explosion point” of Indian alternatives. Otherwise Vérité is small, non-profit magazine which is managed with one guy – Bharath Murthy. So your support to order the magazine will be really appreciated. Or if you are a journalist, coverage or interview for Bharath (or me, or artists) will be welcomed.

Gekiga itself is an artistic expression, but why are you just reading it?
I mean, Gekiga is at the same time an artistic tool to express yourself.
Use the tool, and express your own stories in your own way!

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