A gritty collection of graphic short stories by a Japanese manga master depicting life on the streets among punks, gangsters, and vagrants.
Tadao Tsuge is one of the pioneers of alternative manga, and one of the world’s great artists of the down-and-out. Slum Wolf is a new selection of his stories from the late Sixties and Seventies, never before available in English: a vision of Japan as a world of bleary bars and rundown flophouses, vicious street fights and strange late-night visions. In assured, elegantly gritty art, Tsuge depicts a legendary, aging brawler, a slowly unraveling businessman, a group of damaged veterans uniting to form a shantytown, and an array of punks, pimps, and drunks, all struggling for freedom, meaning, or just survival.
With an extensive introduction by translator and comics historian Ryan Holmberg, this collection brings together some of Tsuge’s most powerful work—raucous, lyrical, and unforgettable.
About the Author
Tadao Tsuge is one of alternative manga’s cult stars. Debuting as a cartoonist in the rental kashi-hon market in 1959, he was a leading contributor to the legendary magazine Garo during its heyday in the late 1960s. He has drawn extensively for magazines like Yagyo and Gento, often pulling from his experiences growing up in the slums of Tokyo, working for ooze-for-booze blood banks, and daydreaming while fishing. He currently lives in Chiba Prefecture, north of Tokyo, where he splits his time between cooking for his family and drawing even stranger manga.
Ryan Holmberg is an arts and comics historian. He has taught at the University of Chicago, CUNY, the University of Southern California, and Duke University, is a frequent contributor to Art in America, Artforum, Yishu, and The Comics Journal, and has edited and translated books by Seiichi Hayashi, Osamu Tezuka, Sasaki Maki, and others.
“As a collection of stories, Slum Wolf presents a fully realized view of the persistence of defeat and occupation on the Japanese culture. As readers follow the disaffected and maladjusted characters through their worlds, Tsuge consistently prompts the reader to consider the feelings and circumstances by invoking the reader's empathy and fears.” —Gregory Smith, Pop Matters
"Tsuge’s art veers wildly from cartoon abstraction to painstakingly detailed drawings of shadowy figures and looming city streets, rendered in harsh, energetic linework that propels the eye from panel to panel. The stoic attitude of these excellent pieces is summed up in one character’s reflection: 'Without receiving a dose of pain once in a while, it was hard to remember the point of staying alive.' This period piece holds lasting resonance.” —Publishers Weekly