(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)
Noted in Manga! Manga! by Frederik Schodt as one of the first manga published in an American publication with "its original artwork intact", "Violence Becomes Tranquility" is a short and colorful 10-page story by Shinobu Kazu. It appeared in the March 1980 issue of Heavy Metal, the long-running science fiction and fantasy comics magazine published by Leonard Mogel.
Shinobu Kaze is given a detailed profile in this section of Manga Zombie, which I highly recommend you check out right now. This great article includes tons of fantastic covers and pages of his work from the '70s, '80s, and '90s, and a great overview on his "masterpiece", 'Ryū, Strongest Man on the Face of the Planet'(Chijō Saikyū no Otoko, Ryū). According to Manga Zombie, Shinobu Kaze was influences heavily by French artist Philippe Druillet, and found his creative home among Japanese and American Science Fiction fans. (They also mention he spent a lot of time hanging out at SF Cons in the States during the Eighties!).
Known in the late '70s and '80s for being home to "adult" comics by folks like Moebius and other European artists, Heavy Metal was an American spin-off of the successful French anthology magazine, Métal Hurlant. Coming out of the French comics and SF scene (which was always a bit hipper and faster to catch on to Japanese pop culture exports), it's not a huge surprise in retrospect that Heavy Metal was the first US home to this type of manga. At the time "Violence Becomes Tranquility", Heavy Metal's editor was a guy named Ted White, who worked as a magazine editor in the 1970s at the Science Fiction monthlies Amazing Stories and Fantastic. It's not clear from the issue itself who exactly was involved in choosing to feature a comic from Japan, but I'd be very interested to hear more from anyone with insights.
Only a few months later, the December 1980 issue of Heavy Metal featured the now-famous pin-up painting by 80s hotshot, Hajime Sorayama:
Sorayama continued to work for Heavy Metal in the '80s, producing the back cover painting for the August 1981 issue.
A few years after the volunteer-produced first English edition of Barefoot Gen, but a full two years before San Francisco published Educomics released their color comic "I Saw It" (another Nakazawa adaptation), "Violence Becomes Tranquility" marks an interesting milestone in the early history of manga publication in English.
Here for your pleasure, are scans of the complete 10-page comic, from the original copy I tracked down on eBay. Enjoy!
Violence Becomes Tranquility by Shinobu Kaze
Published in the March 1980 issue of Heavy Metal
Listed on the copyright page of the issue (March 1980, Vol. III No. 11):
"Violence Becomes Tranquility" by Shinobu Kaze © 1980, Shinobu Kaze and Hiro Media Associates, Inc. Tokyo.