Here’s an interview with Comix India Editorial Advisor Ryan Holmberg, manga historian and art critic, published by Tank magazine. His financial support to Comix India was instrumental in getting it off the ground. Ryan’s most recent translation of Japanese manga is Bloody Stumps Samurai by gekiga legend Hiroshi Hirata. It was earlier translated into Hindi and published by gekiga artist Yukichi Yamamatsu.
Japanese manga artist Shintaro Miyawaki drew this portrait of me while we were interviewing him in an old manga bookshop in Jimbocho, Tokyo, in 2008-9. He died in 2010.
Chidaruma Kempo (चिदारूमा केम्पो) by the amazing manga artist Hiroshi Hirata is the first Japanese manga to be translated into Hindi in 2005, thanks to the efforts of another manga artist Yukichi Yamamatsu. Yukichi’s quixotic mission to bring manga to India is documented in his manga travelogue Stupid Guy Goes to India. Both Hirata and Yamamatsu were part of the gekiga movement in Japanese comics in the 60s and 70s.
Another trivia- Hiroshi Hirata also draw the Japanese calligraphic logo of Akira (dir. Katsuhiro Otomo), the anime masterpiece.
A short profile on Hiroshi Hirata at work in his studio:
Here is a masterclass by Hiroshi Hirata, filmed at the Salon del Manga.
Comix India is excited and honoured to bring to Indian readers for the first time, critically acclaimed Japanese alternative manga, or more specifically ‘gekiga’, in the next and future volumes alongside Indian comics. Some of these manga authors were part of the legendary Garo manga magazine that was at the forefront of the alternative manga movement. These authors greatly expanded manga’s possibilities as a form for literary expression, and in the process created an adult readership for comics.
We thank Mitsuhiro Asakawa, our Editorial Adviser, who is responsible for this. But this is just the beginning. We hope to publish more great manga from recognised masters of the art in the years ahead, some of it previously untranslated in English.
In doing this, we sincerely hope that Indian comics artists as well as readers will be benefited through a genuine cultural exchange that will help in creating new Indian comics that are artistically ambitious while reaching out to a general adult readership. It could be the start of an ‘Indo-gekiga’ movement!