Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking introduction to the most creative and cutting-edge works of Japanese independent comics, presented in English for the first time, AX is the premier Japanese magazine for alternative comics. Published bi-monthly for over ten years, the pages of AX contain the most creative and cutting-edge works of independent comics in the world's largest comics industry. Now, Top Shelf presents this collection of stories from ten years of AX history, and features work by such visionaries as Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Akino Kondoh, Kazuichi Hanawa, and Shinichi Abe.
"In the introduction, manga and comics expert Paul Gravett calls the stories in AX 'manga taken off its leash.' And he's largely right. Within the pages of this greatly anticipated manga anthology are some of the most imaginative, lush, grotesque, and ridiculous comics to come out of Japan. There is a vast array of both art and narrative, ranging from the plot-heavy, detailed 'Rooftop Elegy,' about a salaryman cum hit man, to 'The Neighbor,' an abstract but aggressive and combative look at neighborly love. AX includes gekiga godfather Yoshihiro Tatsumi (A Drifting Life) and heta-uma (bad-good) zombie humorist Yusaku Hanakuma (Tokyo Zombie) as well as the otherworldly storytelling of precision manga craftsman Kazuichi Hanawa (Doing Time). Neither commercial nor conformist, some shorts are at times absent of story, acting as scenes or commentary. In Einosuke's 'Home Drama: The Sugawara Family,' a father tries engaging his family in conversation over a dinner of soba noodles, a task against which the lush, visceral, and fully absorbing activity of eating wins. AX is a daunting size, but not impenetrable. (In the event of feeling overwhelmed, start in the middle.) It's an incredible selection and sampling of manga made in Japan without commercial intervention. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)