(This post is part of a series I've tagged as "early manga days", chronicling rare/weird gems from the beginning of manga's now 30+ year history of publication in English)
Today, I'm happy to share another piece of history from the early days of manga publishing in English. This one was provided to me by Paul, a manga fan in Holland. Below are the pages to "Landed" by Keiichi Koike, an 8 page comic published in Epic Illustrated #26 -- the October 1984 issue on pages 83-90.
This post features scans from Epic Illustrated found online by Paul, but I was just able to order a copy of the original publication off eBay for only 5 bucks. (Thanks internet, you the bestest).
I didn't know too much about Keiichi Koike before digging around for this post. Koike began his career as a published cartoonist in the late '70s, with a steady stream of series in the 1980s and some in the '90s too. You can see a full bibliography of his long career on his Japanese Wikipedia page. Unfortunately for English speakers, "Landed" seems to be the only work of his that's been translated and published.
As usual when it comes to art/indie manga, the Europeans have it way better than us. Glenat has released a French collection of his stories called Heaven's Door (2003), and is currently releasing his ULTRA HEAVEN (2008-2010) books. You can read about Volume 1 and Volume 2 on their site, which also featured a 20 page online preview of the book.
The third volume came out pretty recently in Japan, here's the cover:
As you can see, Keiichi Koike looks to be another mangaka heavily influenced by the French science fiction comics of Philippe Druillet and Moebius. According to the JP Wikipedia article, he won the Tezuka Prize for New Talent for his comics URASHIMA in 1976, at the age of 16(!). His books often muse on psychedelic experience and transcendental philosophy. I just saw that the July 2009 issue of Seidosha's magazine about manga EUREKA is themed "Moebius x Manga" and features comics & articles by Naoki Urasawa, Jiro Taniguchi, Koike and others!
His line work also reminds me of the '80s style of super-detailed cityscapes/technology and tones from SF and cyberpunk manga, a la Katsuhiro Otomo. I really don't know much beyond that Wikipedia page, but would love to hear more about him (especially from folks in Europe that have read the Glenat releases).
Without further ado, I'm happy to share with you "Landed" by Keiichi Koike from 1984:
(Click for full size pages)