cover image Black Blizzard

Black Blizzard

Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly, $19.95 paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-77046-012-6

Penned, paneled, and illustrated in just 20 days by one of the architects of the gekiga (dramatic pictures) movement in Japan, this is a prototypical work of visual pulp fiction. Two convicts escape a train wreck while handcuffed to each other. As they flee the authorities, it quickly becomes evident that one of them must sacrifice a hand in order for them to escape. Neither is willing; one man is a card shark, the other a pianist. The story and layout of the graphics are simple, and the artwork is even crude at times. With a cinematic use of perspective, intensified via the characters and their circumstances, Tatsumi constructs a thrilling narrative with emotional depth. Originally published in 1956, when Tatsumi was only 21, Black Blizzard was one of his most innovative long-form stories. At the time, the story was forward thinking for comics and exhibited the ability of the visual narrative to act as a reading experience and a more sophisticated form of entertainment. The story was an achievement for Tatsumi and a cornerstone for the current genre of seinen manga. Any fan of Tatsumi, crime noir, or art house manga will want a copy of this. (Apr.)