Originally published by Blast Books in 1996, Comics Underground Japan was – and still is – a trailblazing anthology that provided most American readers a first look at the powerful creative ferment bubbling under the surface of the massive Japanese manga scene, many of which appeared in English here for the first time (and a few for the only time!). In this anthology's 200+ pages, a dozen creators unleash their personal visions in a wide variety of graphic styles, ranging from brutally stripped down and simplified to painstakingly detailed, relating tales of humor, sexuality and violence, employing fantasy, grotesquerie and satire – sometimes all at once! Gaining plaudits from the like of S. Clay Wilson, Gary Panter and Joe Coleman, Comics Underground Japan remains one of the best single-volume anthologies of alternative/underground manga in English translation. Now, back in print!
Here's what – and who – you'll find:
"Hell's Angel" by Yoshikaze Ebisu, "It's All Right if You Don't Understand" by Yoshikaze Ebisu, "Steel Pipe Melancholia" by Masakazu Toma, "Future Sperm Brazil" by Takashi Nemoto, "A Love Like Lemons" by Carol Shimoda, "Selfish Carol's Summer, "Don Quixote #1 & #2" by Yasuji Tanioka, "Planet of the Jap" by Suehiro Maruo, "Mary’s Asshole" by Hanako Yamada, "Volvox” by, "Bigger and Better" by Muddy Wehara, "Laughing Ball" by Hideshi Hino & "Cat Noodle Soup" by Hajime Yamano & Nekojiro.
Also, worth noting is the fact that while the cover is oriented in the western fashion, the contents are "unflipped" and read right to left – a forward looking compromise for 1996!
Translated by Ryan Holmberg (of course), including the essays, "Why Is This So Good?" by Minami Shinbo, "About These Comics" by Ebisu himself. Holmberg also contributed his own essay, "Damn All Gamblers to the Pits of Hell.
We only ust took this one out of the box, so don't have anything to say right now but, "Can't wait to check this out." So we will hand the microphone over to Breakdown Press, who has this to say:
"Ebisu Yoshikazu. Television star, father of three, professional gambler, writer, cartoonist, pioneer.
Since his debut in the legendary alt-manga magazine Garo in 1973, Ebisu has been spinning out surreal nightmares that combine the edgiest styles of Tokyo’s artistic counterculture with the absurd and infuriating realities of work and life in the big city. A cult classic upon its publication in 1981, The Pits of Hell offers nine stories that established Ebisu as one of the leading figures of the ugly-but-amazing ‘heta-uma’ movement, the Japanese equivalent of punk and new wave. If you’ve ever wanted to sabotage a lecture about the Mughal Empire, control race boats through telekinesis, or rip your boss’s head off with a crowbar, this is the book for you.
148x 210mm -- 200 pages -- offset printed -- paperback -- ISBN 978-1-911081-08-1
The Pits of Hell was printed by offset lithography at Printon Trükikoda AS in Estonia."