Trash Market 'historically important, aesthetically raw'

“Review: Sean Rogers looks at new comics by Tadao Tsuge, Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond, and David B.” / The Globe and Mail / Sean Rogers / May 22, 2015

In Trash Market – one of the year’s major comics publications, historically important and aesthetically raw – Tadao Tsuge documents shabby, downtrodden life in postwar Japan with a crudity that hovers between realism and disgust. Originally published from 1968 to 1972, and for the most part in Garo magazine – once the hub for ambitious, innovative Japanese cartooning, like if Zap Comix had also been the Evergreen Review – the half-dozen stories collected here represent Tsuge’s belated introduction to English-speaking readers. These desperate accounts of once-proud men selling their blood, salaried functionaries wandering aimlessly away from their jobs and unemployed youths erupting into angry, bloody protest (“let’s kill them, it doesn’t matter who”) reveal a society wracked with economic and psychological defeat. The appendices, by Tsuge and historian Ryan Holmberg, help illuminate the autobiographical nature of many of these stories, rife with authentic evocations of the malaise and helplessness that beset the Japanese working class the author knew intimately – those “people who had their hands full getting through each day.”

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