Brooklyn-based autobiographical cartoonist Julia Wertz published her first graphic novel, Drinking at the Movies, through Three Rivers Press, an imprint of Random House, during a brief period which she depicts in her second book, The Infinite Wait, as something of a minor boom in interest in comics from mainstream book publishers. However, once this period was over and the sales of Drinking at the Movies had proved lower than expected (in the words of Wertz’s publisher, ’these numbers would be great if it was with a smaller comics press, but since it’s with a major publisher whose standards are much higher…’) (Wertz 2012: 91), Wertz found herself dropped from her publisher. The Infinite Wait was published in 2012 by Koyama Press, a Canadian small press. Wertz is more comfortable with this arrangement, as evidenced by her autobiographical stories’ portrayals of events. Drawing herself writing to Annie Koyama, publisher of Koyama Press, she says ‘I just want to be with my people,’ (Wertz 2012: 93) the implication being that mainstream book publishers, despite their ability to pay her enough money to enable full-time cartooning, are not a home for the work of an alternative cartoonist. This article will explore the relationship between small presses and alternative comics, with Wertz’s two graphic novels and their publishing background as a case study, examining Wertz’s above implication that her work is best suited to being published with a small press.
Tag Archives: alternative comics
From Random House to Rehab: Julia Wertz, The Small Press, Auteurism and Alternative Comics by Paddy Johnston
Manga Studies #4: Traversing Art and Manga: Ishiko Junzō’s Writings on Manga/Gekiga by Shige (CJ) Suzuki
I. Who is Ishiko Junzō?
Arguably, one of the first Japanese critics to discuss graphic narratives (story manga) for mature audiences is Ishiko Junzō (1928 – 1977). Initially active as an art critic who explored a wide range of contemporaneous artistic and popular movements, he began to publish writings more specifically on manga between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s. To many English-language readers his name might be obscure, perhaps even more so than his contemporary, philosopher and cultural critic Tsurumi Shunsuke, whose book Sengo Nihon no taishū bunkashi (A Cultural History of Postwar Japan 1945-1980)—a chapter of which is devoted to postwar manga—is available in English. Yet, in present-day Japanese-language manga research, Ishiko is repeatedly referenced, especially in relation to his media-specific discussion of manga. This article shall introduce art critic Ishiko Junzō and his scholarship, concentrating on his contribution to Japanese comics criticism and manga studies.
Tags: adult readership, aesthetics, alternative comics, alternative manga, art, Artists, “anti-art” movements, censorship, Charles Hatfield, children readers, comics industry, Dick Higgins, digital media, Doryun Chong, dōjinshi, education, fandom, film, formalism, Garo, gekiga, Gondō Suzumu, graphic narratives, historiography, hyōgen-ron, intermediality, Ishiko Junzō, Japan, Japanese manga, jaqueline berndt, Kajii Jun, Kajiya Kenji, kashihon-ya, Kikuchi Asajirō, Magnificent 49ers, manga, manga criticism, Manga geijutsu-ron, manga studies, Manga to eiga, Mangashugi, mature readers, Miryam Sas, Miwa Kentarō, Mizuki Shigeru, MOMA, Negative Perceptions of Comics, Osamu Tezuka, psychology, Scott McCloud, seinen, Shirato Sanpei, shōjo, social class, structuralism, taishū bunka, Takano Shinzō, Tatsumi Yoshihiro, Tezuka, Tezuka Osamu, Tsuge Yoshiharu, Tsurumi Shunsuke, Uryū Yoshimitsu, USA, Walter Benjamin, Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Yamane Sadao