cover image The Birth of Kitaro

The Birth of Kitaro

Shigeru Mizuki, trans. from the Japanese by Zack Davisson. Drawn & Quarterly, $12.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-77046-228-1

This collection features the English-language debut of one of the most beloved characters in manga, the yokai (monster) named Kitaro. Mizuki (Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths; Showa: A History of Japan) drew the adventures of his most popular character for more than half a century. Accompanied by an excellent introduction from Davisson, this volume showcases stories from the late 1960s, including the character's origin. In each tale, the one-eyed Kitaro, literally accompanied by his father's disembodied eye, does his best to protect the world from bad yokai: spirits and monsters that come from traditional Japanese folklore. The adorably creepy but eminently powerful Kitaro is an indefatigable force reminiscent of the tortoise of Yoruba legend or Coyote of Native American lore. Mizuki's canvas can move from the eminently realistic to the cartoonish, presenting a world beneath the surface of our own in a stunningly believable fashion. (May)