Sneeze

Naoki Urasawa, trans. from the Japanese by John Werry. Viz, $17.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-974717-48-4
Eisner-winner Urasawa (20th Century Boys) brings together a diverse array of short fictional and autobiographical manga in this provocative collection, which originally appeared in Japanese magazines and anthologies. Per Urasawa’s signature style, much of the fiction grapples with monsters and the supernatural; the opening strip “DAMIYAN!” stars a yakuza underboss using a psychic teen’s powers to execute a hit, while “Kaiju Kingdom” explores a Japan that has made Godzilla-style attacks into a national tourism industry (a nuanced allegory for how the West fetishizes Asian cultures). Likewise, Urasawa’s nonfiction centers on his love for folk rock idols, among them Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Japanese singer Kenji Endo. These stories, while engaging and with no dearth of technical skill, also highlight Urasawa’s paternalism, particularly “It’s a Beautiful Day” and the lecherous (if unintentionally) “Musica Nostra,” which calls to attention his underdeveloped female characters. Still, Urasawa’s emotive art and clever humor remain unparalleled within the genre; plus, there’s lots to chew over in his commentary in the backmatter. Urasawa’s fans will consider this a must-read. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/03/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Comics
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