Monday, January 19, 2009


It's about time for the latest news on one of my absolute most-anticipated books of 2009, AX(Vol 1): A Collection of Alternative Manga... coming out from Top Shelf! Since we last heard the announcement of the project, editors Sean Michael Wilson (author, manga creator) and Mitsuhiro Asakawa (journalist, Japanese editor of Ax) have been working hard on production for the collection's first English release.

According to Amazon and Top Shelf's site, the book will be published in December 2009! ($29.95, ISBN 978-1-60309-042-1)

Here's the latest news sent by Sean in the comments to my previous post:
All 33 creators that will be featured have been selected now; amongst the pages already made into English versions is the 22 page story by Tatsumi - a wonderfully odd but understated story of big city alienation; and a well known designer has just made a great cover for the book.

An incomplete list of confirmed mangaka in this first volume includes:
Akino Kondo
Minami Shinbo
Shinichi Abe
Namie Fujieda
Mitsuhiko Yoshida
Yuichi Kiriyama
Osamu Kanno
Shigehiro Okada
Yunosuke Saito
Yeong Choi
Kazuichi Hanawa
Yoshihiro Tatsumi

As Sean notes, the final book cover will NOT be the image above, and we can hopefully expect a preview of the real deal coming in the near future.

Finally, I wanted to post the pics I've been sitting on from the talk Sean gave at Alternative Press Expo 2008, on November 2 in San Francisco. Sean showed off scans from rare manga and magazines, and outlined the history of gekiga and underground manga for the audience. I ran the presentation and chipped with occasional asides (while sneaking photos quietly). Sean and I didn't have a lot of time during the busy weekend to hang out, but we've be in touch ever since over email. Please enjoy these photos:

A blurry Sean introduces the audience to the world of gekiga.

The book that basically launched the modern form of manga, New Treasure Island by Osamu Tezuka; The cover to one of the first magazines showcasing gekiga, Kage #1.

Scans from Matenrou, one of the early anthologies popularizing gekiga works. Check out the snazzy group photo of late-60s mangaka studs.

Images from books by heta-uma pioneer King Terry, and early panels by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.

Panels from one of Tatsumi's earliest works, Children's Island, alongside recent panels from the end of his epic autobiography, A Drifting Life.

The early, badass "Gekiga" logo and cover to Gekiga Fan magazine #1.

Early works by seminal underground manga figure, Yoshiharu Tsuge (check out those cover designs!!).

Pages from Tsuge's (and possibly, alternative manga's) most influential work, Nejishiki.

Example panels from the more recent, Ax anthology. Seen here: Shinichi Abe's "Me".

Enthusiastic manga fans talk shop with Sean and vie for copies of the Ax Anthology sampler from Top Shelf.

That's all the news fit to print. Will share more in the coming months as we hear it from Sean and Leigh!


Azraelito said...

Increible increible bravo bravo clap clap!!

I really want this now in order to read it now!

It is amazing,that a lot of underrated artists deserve a book like this!I hope they can also publish more things like this with more artists or mangas!!

awesome pics!!Tatsumi a really god of the gekika!!I am really looking foward to his biography that will be released by dq of 800 pages!!

in conclusion this rules and great for people like sean that can make such a dream come true!!

viva ax!!!

saludos from argentina

ps: I also hope more interesting things from last gasp!Hanakuma for president!!!

Ryan S said...

@Azraelito: Thanks for the kind words, dude. It's gonna be an impressive book, and open up folks to new mangaka, just like SECRET COMICS JAPAN and COMICS UNDERGROUND JAPAN did in the past.

PS: Last Gasp has some new manga up their sleeves, don't you worry :)

Anonymous said...

damn....decembre 2009...sounds like quite a good book.we just had decembre...we seriously need more manga-collection-releases in the style of "comics underground japan". mind-blowing.

Sean Michael Wilson said...

Hi Azraelito and tree,
Thanks again for your interest. We are working away at the AX book everyday now, but as you can imagine making good translations and nicely designed English text versions for 400 pages of alternative manga takes time...
Then Top Shelf wants to giev it enough promotion time before publishing, hence the Dec release date.

BUT, i think TS will be putting out some promos from it on the Top Shelf 2.0 service. So please keep up wth the book, arigato!
Sean Michael

Anonymous said...

hi ryan.have you got a nice scan of that group photo in the Matenrou scan? I would be love to have it,and frame it,of course!


Ryan S said...

Good question! That photo is from Sean's presentation, so it may be best to ask him directly. I have a feeling it will most definitely be included in his Gekiga history book in the future!