Trash Market

Tadao Tsuge. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-77046-174-1
Tsuge explores the ennui of postwar Japan to great effect in this melancholy volume, comprising six stories originally drawn in the 1960s and ’70s. The book lingers on details such as trash in an alleyway and the chatter of bums waiting to sell their blood. It’s dark work, to be sure, but never maudlin, and thoughtful without falling into pretension. More than anything, it’s uncompromisingly frank about the least glamorous effects of war: the characters are never reduced to symbols of tragedy or degradation. The art borders on simplistic in the volume’s weakest moments, but there’s a stark loveliness to it at other times. If this volume has a major flaw, it’s a tendency to ramble. One story about a man’s unexplained disappearance is especially prone to this—though it’s an interesting tale, it should have been half the length it was. Regardless, this is an honest, uncomfortable look into postwar malaise and the world of avant-garde Japanese comics. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/08/2015
Release date: 03/24/2015
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