I started reading more Tatsumi (though not a lot of it was/is available in English) and I started reading more about him. I learned that he was the originator of “gekiga,” a term which Tatsumi used to differentiate his work from the more child-oriented “manga.” Tatusmi’s short works and longer BLACK BLIZZARD became the basis for the alternative manga movement, and he emphasized the temporally specific qualities of comics.
His work proved highly influential, and reading his comics half a century after they first appeared, they still felt fresh and unique. None of the originality or technique of his work had been strip mined. Drawn & Quarterly should be commended for the work they’ve done to bring his work to American shores in the way that they have, and I will personally recommend every page of comics he drew. He is one of my all time favorite cartoonists–any language, any country. He’s also one of the most important cartoonists of all time, and his influence cannot be overstated.
Earlier today, historian and writer about comics Paul Gravett revealed that Yoshihiro Tatsumi had passed. Tatsumi was 79, and he had only begun making strides into the American market in the last ten years or so.
Tatsumi will be missed and his death is a loss to the whole of the international comics community. But that shouldn’t stop us from recognizing his stature and celebrating his achievements. Thank you, Yoshihiro, for the work you did and the work you influenced.