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The Definitive Guide to Asian Comics

Brimming with vibrant reproductions of rarely seen comics art from all across Asia, Mangasia is a fascinating and authoritative survey of manga’s impact on the kaleidoscope of creativity and cross-pollination that is Asia’s comics industry. Paul Gravett charts the manga style as it travels throughout Asia, detailing the changes in its defining myths and themes as it evolves into the multi-platform industry we see today.

He tracks the genre from its roots in 19th-century Japan through to rapidly-growing branches in China and Korea, and pinpoints new blossoms in regions as far flung as Indonesia and Mongolia. Indispensable maps and timelines present key dates, locations and events at a glance, allowing instant comparison of different countries’ evolving styles. A beautiful and engaging volume, Mangasia is the ultimate companion for manga fans around the world.

Mangasia has inspired an accompanying exhibition, curated by Paul Gravett and organised by The Barbican Centre, London. It opened in October 2017 n Rome, and toured to Monza, near Milan in Spring 2018 and Nantes in France in Summer 2018. A global tour of up to five years is being planned, with venues for 2019 to be announced shortly.

‘A fat and lushly illustrated volume that is as likely to work for fans of manga as for those who remain entirely baffled by it’

‘A rich overview of the evolution of a distinct and vital visual culture and its origins’
ArtReview Asia


“...a massively-stuffed anthology from a person with good taste, well-selected, at a terrific price.”
The Comics Reporter

“...this book demands space on your shelf.”
Comics International #175

“...presents a popularly written, fully illustrated history of the development of Japanese manga from 1945 to the present.”
100 Books For Understanding Japan

“...this book reveals [Paul's] other side: a lover of comic books' ability to shock and surprise...”

“...seize upon this useful, incisive, intelligently arranged guide.”

“Anyone with a soft spot for English popular culture is likely to find this book utterly absorbing. ”
The Comics Journal

“Non-PC heaven.”
The First Post

“...a second disc of interviews with his collaborators really brings the state of the modern comic book into focus.”
Jamie S. Rich

“...hard to beat for its breadth of coverage.”
Bear Alley

“ enthralling stalk through the mean streets of comics from the pulps to the present.”
The Independent

“...the most definitive guide to the best work in the genre...”
The Times

“Congratulations on a splendid book.”
Philip Pullman

“...the best primer on British comics I've ever read.”
Alan Woollcombe

“ is a nice stocking stuffer and the kind of thing you never mind receiving from someone else.”
The Comics Reporter

“...Krigstein's work outshines the mediocre stories he has to work with.”

“We can only be grateful to Paul Gravett for keeping us informed about some of the greatest modern comics works.”
Strip Vesti

“...our faves are the dirty ones...”
SFX Magazine

“The range and quality of the artwork is stunning”
Dave Gibbons, artist/co-creator Watchmen

“Comics and fine art may sometimes inhabit vastly different worlds, but at least these days when they meet they have a little more to say to each other than "Ka-boom!".”
BBC Collective

“This guide is smartly designed and a joy to use.”
Paws & Reflect

“ of the best introductions to the comics medium and its graphic novel form.”
International Journal of Comic Art

“...the best comic anthology of the year for your dollar.”
Amazon Customer Reviews

“...the best of the [Mammoth] collections I've seen so far...”
The Kirby Museum

“If you want to know what to read and how to read it....Graphic Novels... is the place to start.”
Brian Appleyard

“...masterfully mischievous commentary...”
Page 45

“...many foremost comics talents continued turning out tales of miscreants and murderers.”

“One of the finest books on sale at the moment, and one of the best bargains in the shop...”
Gosh! Comics

“I found [Paul's] talk to be thought provoking. I also left looking to buy some work I wasn't familiar with... always a good thing.”

“Reading through it front-to-back is to walk through the growth of an emerging art form.”
Bleeding Cool

“...the book I'm going back to again and again.”
Diana Green, University Of Florida

“Here's an ideal Christmas gift.”
David Lloyd, co-creator/artist V For Vendetta

“...the major [graphic novels] (and some obscure ones)... are astutely summarized...”
New York Times

“Hard-boiled movies on every page.”
The Guardian

“Highly recommended.”
Broken Frontier

“...a pretty successful take on what is quite a difficult brief: how to inform without preaching; involve without hectoring...”
Space In Text

“...a damn good job of attempting to provide some kind of definitive statement of the ninth art... (5 stars)”
Comic Heroes Magazine

“Where other guides to comics may fall short, Paul Gravett's Graphic Novels triumphs.”
Publishers Weekly

“Some of the most interesting and important work in comics scholarship...”
Broken Frontier

“A thorough and entertaining exploration of the history of manga...”
The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels

“...the book is an inspiration.”
Garen Ewing, The Rainbow Orchid

“...undoubtedly the best book about graphic novels to sashay this way in a long while...”
Robert C. Harvey

“...the most bizarre, hilarious, disturbing curiosities ever to appear in sequential-graphic form.”
Comics DC

“'s epic!”
The Burley Observer

“ A perfect present to convert that literary die-hard...”

“'s an amazing line-up of talent and the quality of the stories justifies every inclusion.”
Bear Alley

“The result is an attractive and well-researched overview...”

“...the contents will be an inspiration to me over the coming years.”
John Allison, Scarygoround

“It's good tough stuff...”
Eddie Campbell

“This book does it all... You won't be disappointed. ”
Erin Gray, librarian

“Buy it, and buy it now.”
Pulp Pusher

“...gloriously odd little book...”
Ella Wredenfors

“...this definitely looks like the best Christmas present around...”
Gosh! Comics

“An excellent overview of the medium.”
The Beguiling

“...sumptuously illustrated book... a feast for the eye...”
Norman Wright & David Ashford

“...the book is a source of great anecdotes...”
Tor Arne Hegna

“An irresistible glimpse at the weirdest comics ever made.”
Bizarre Magazine

“...a strong, engaging retrospective with a fine sense of perspective, and a great deal of eye candy.”
Page 45

“...the most useful, most illuminating appreciation of graphic novels in print.”
Dallas Morning News

“...the book for anyone who wants to understand the manga phenomenon.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“ enchantment for comics fans.”
Thierry Groensteen

“...a huge thank you for publishing 'Stories to change your life'.”
David Pye

“...belongs on the reading list of any student interested in Japanese popular culture.”
Roger Sabin

“Nobody puts the love, the lack of ego, and the knowledge into a book on comics like Paul Gravett.”
Alex de Campi

“...30 'masterpieces'... are presented, analysed and decoded...”
State Of Art

“...comics of truly unusual sensibilities, aka authentically weird through and through.”
The Comics Journal

“ historian's lucidity matched with an aesthete's judgement...”
9eme Art

“5 Stars”

“...a superb introduction to a medium that is finally... coming into its own.”
The Daily Mail

“...communicating a bottomless enthusiasm for comic book culture in all its forms...”
BBC Collective

“...a fat compendium of two-fisted, pistol-packing action...”
Comic Mix

“...a visual feast of well-known and obscure comics.”
Nude Magazine

“...insightful looks at most of the notable graphic novels ever created...”
Comic Book Galaxy

“Best Comics Of The Decade: Works On The Subject Of Comics”
Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

“Open your eyes to the richness of a much-maligned art form.”
The Independent

“The cream of crime.”
Morning Star

“Beautifully designed with a passionate and informed text.”
Dave Gibbons, artist/co-creator Watchmen

“...exactly the sort of thing [Jonathan Ross]'d have made a Channel 4 series out of ...”
Forbidden Planet International

“...its 176 pages bountiful full-colour illustrations that do not shirk the erotic and horror sides of adult manga.”
The Times

“ educational and fun read.”
David Lev

“This is a captivating little book.”
Fredrik Strömberg

“There are many talented people featured in this big, thick tome.”
SF Crows Nest

“ talents, true grit and real bang for your buck...”

“This is a must-have for die-hard fans everywhere.”

“Twenty-five of the best crime comics ever published.”
Comics DC

“... it's a beautifully designed and well-conceived treasure trove of a book...”
Gary Sassaman

“Fine artists... have even published their own comics, attracted by the medium's ability to reach and influence a wider audience than a conventional gallery show.”
The Birmingham Post

“...a lively compendium of mostly hard-boiled fare...”
The Observer

“Letting Gravett loose on a book like this is like asking John Peel to compile a genre anthology album.”
Comics Village

“ informative and entertaining history of Japanese comics...”
The 101 Best Graphic Novels

“This collection is felony-level fun.”
LA Times

“This is one hell of a cleverly-conceived book about comics...”
The Comics Reporter

“One of those laurels I continue to rest my weary head on is Longshot Comics, which is discussed in [The Leather Nun]...”
Shane Simmonds

“...a small sample of the "darker" side of the comics medium...”
Ernesto Priego

“An unmissable collection.”
Crime Time

“...a virtual who's who tour of crime comics... this is real deal crime...”
Kevin Burton Smith

“We've sold a lot of copies...”
Travelling Man

“...the hit of the series so far...”
Page 45

“ excellent survey of a century of British comic art...”
Broken Frontier

“Best Comics Of The Decade: Archival Editions & Re-Releases”
Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter


UK & US: Thames & Hudson
France: Hors Collection
Italy: 24 Ore Cultura
Italy: Under Pressure - special exhibition cover and introductions, in English & Italian editions
South Korea: IU Books


UK: Tate Publishing - 1st edition, November 7th 2013
USA: Yale University Press - 1st edition, February 28th 2014

78 Mins, Over 202 Mins of Exclusive Bonus Material
20-Page Booklet, Foreword by Michael Moorcock, Introduction by Dez Vylenz
16:9 Widescreen, Dolby 5.1 & Dolby Stereo
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Disc 1:
Film: The Mindscape Of Alan Moore
Interviews with the director, composer, FX artist
Selected scene analysis with director’s commentary

Disc 2:
An introduction to Alan Moore’s work by Paul Gravett
Interviews with:
Melinda Gebbie (Lost Girls)
Dave Gibbons (Watchmen)
David Lloyd (V For Vendetta)
Kevin O’Neill (League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
José Villarubia (Promethea, Mirror Of Love)


UK: Aurum Press, 2008
ISBN-10: 184513320X
ISBN-13: 978-1845133207

US: St. Martin’s Press, 2008
ISBN-10: 0312533950
ISBN-13: 978-0312533953

Every Shade Of Noir: If your only real exposure so far to crime comics has been the Sin City graphic novels by Frank Miller or maybe their faithful big-screen adaptations, you’d better fasten your seat belt, you’re in for a foot-to-the-floor ride through this compendium of the cream of crime comics. Along the way, you’ll see how several of Miller’s acknowledged masters and peers enthrall with their pacing, atmosphere and verbal and visual panache. You’ll also see how Miller’s battered, bandaged Marvin belongs in a long line-up of lean, mean machismo going back to the Thirties and before, when gangsters fought the cops for control of America’s cities. More…

My new book, once again sharply designed by Peter Stanbury, is The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics, officially out July 18. You may have seen their previous fine comics anthologies, clocking in at around 500 pages, like Best New Manga 1 & 2 (the all-colour third volume is coming this autumn), or Best War Comics and Best Horror Comics.

When Constable approached me to do a Crime collection, they were still looking at doing this book, as well as War and Horror, in the same smaller manga format, which would have seriously shrunk the comics pages down way too small. Thanks to our insistence, they enlarged the format of this series, and in fact for Crime Comics, expanded it a little further still, letting the pages breathe and fill the page area far better.

Stories by Alan Moore top and tail the book perfectly and other contributors include Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, Will Eisner, Jack Cole, Jack Kirby, Jacques Tardi, Muñoz & Sampayo, Neil Gaiman and more. Another distinction is in Peter’s exemplary graphic design, which lends the whole 480-page compendium class and atmosphere. Peter also put in amazing effort to restore and refurbish the comics pages, which appear mainly in crisp black and white with no murky greys, to suit the strong, black-and-white noir style. And the contents really are some of the very best, no padding, no also-rans, but two dozen of the cream of crime comics, first-class throughout.


UK: Robinson Publishing, 2008
USA: Running Press, 2008


Secret Agent X-9:
Two pages, pages 150 and 151, are out of order in the Secret Agent X-9 story. After reading page 142, please jump to ahead to pages 150 and 151. Then return to pages 143 to 149 and resume from page 152. Apologies for this production error.

Murder, Morphine & Me:
Murder, Morphine and Me first appeared in True Crime No. 2, May 1947, not No. 3, July-August 1948.

A painting has been smashed and stuffed into a wastebin. It’s the ultimate in art criticism. Not just any painting, but an artist’s self-portrait from 1973, out of which floats a thought balloon saying: "There’s a lot of art around these days that’s not getting the kind of recognition it deserves." In fact, quite a lot of art directly or more obliquely inspired by comics, was getting some recognition at the time. A year after its creation, this work The Thoughts of Robin Page No. 1 was part of the Fluxus artist’s solo show, Off to the Front in the Great Art War, in 1974 in Düsseldorf’s Kunsthalle. Also exhibited were Page’s originals of a four-page comic strip which he had produced in 1970 about some of his past performance pieces, dating back to The Door in 1962, told in a mock-remorseful romp starring his bald, bare alter ego Whildon. A fine artist like Page might have been allowed to exhibit comics in art galleries back then, but the commercial comic artists toiling in the industry were generally not so welcome. Why should they be, when they had never set out to produce something to be recognised and exhibited in frames? They were drawing entirely for reproduction and publication. It should be enough that their recognition came from the millions of readers who read and enjoyed their printed stories and who afterwards might happily throw it into a wastebin. More…

As Robert Crumb once said, “It’s only lines on paper, folks!” But as he knew well, there’s much more to comics than that. The artwork for them may be drawn specifically to be printed and sold in multiples rather than being framed and hung in galleries, but in recent years the original art from comics, now fetching high prices, has been increasingly exhibited in major institutions in the UK and USA. Crumb himself has had several solo shows, including London’s Whitechapel Gallery, and is currently spotlighted at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco, where at the same time the city’s Asian Art Museum presents Osamu Tezuka, Japan’s ‘God of Manga’.

So comics are no longer being considered solely as commercial products, found objects or anonymous source material. In their newly ‘respectable’ forms as works of art, drawing and ‘authorial illustration’, and as works of literature as graphic novels, comics are being re-evaluated, both in their own right and as formative and provocative influences on all kinds of visual artists. Reflecting this cultural shift, The Hayward Gallery has brought together comic artists, including Crumb, and fine artists inspired by comics in a new touring exhibition, Cult Fiction, to show their work alongside each other and on an equal footing. And starting this month, Art Review is commissioning a series of special comic/art pages, inviting artists featured in Cult Fiction to produce a two-page intervention into the magazine: art magazine, as comic, as art!

As long ago as 1967, Salvador Dali, who at the age of 12 had drawn comics for his sister and later as a storyboard for an unmade film, had predicted comics’ ascendancy. On a visit to one of the first Parisian antiquarian bookshops to specialise in ‘bande dessinée’ rarities, balancing a carafe of iced water on his head to cool his boiling brain, Dali proclaimed, “Comics will be the culture of the year 3794. So you have 1827 years in advance, which leaves me the time I need to create a collage with these eighty comics I am taking with me. This will be the birth of Comic Art, and on this occasion we will hold a gigantic opening with my divine presence on March 4th 3794 at 19.00 hours precisely.” Perhaps Dali’s ethereal form will manifest itself a little earlier at the opening of Cult Fiction’s tour in Walsall this month.

From Picasso to pop and beyond, art and comics have long been closely intertwined, feeding off and reinvigorarting each other, and seem to be becoming closer, converging in their concerns. Cult Fiction responds to the expanded possibilities in comics, from substantial dramas to daring experimentation, which have coincided with a decline in the dominance of painting and its emphasis on the large, one-off work. Simultaneously, the show exmaines a renewed interest among artists in what comics offer: their use of icons, symbols and multiple drawings, smaller and more immediate, with or without words, and conceived for reproduction and dissemination, not the scale and exclusivity of the gallery wall. Meanwhile, the dominance of story in comics is also being questioned, liberating comics strict linear narratives to be ‘read’ as puzzles, maps, diagrams, poems, or, as Philip Guston described his word-and-image Poem-Pictures, ‘intimate and strange situations’.

Prepare for more such ‘situations’ as in future editions of Art Review.  This issue Paul McDevitt launches the series with an act of astronomical terrorism, the two culprits’ faces, if not their bottoms, masked beneath their speech balloons. Over the coming months, explore other personal worlds and approaches: Travis Millard’s toon-style fever-dreams; Killoffer’s self-obsessed visions; Marcel Dzama’s queasy storybook bestiary; Carol Swain’s soft-drawn yet hard-edged social observations; Laylah Ali’s fraught, fragile, ball-headed biomorphs; and yet others to come. What will fine artists make out of comics? What will comic artists make out of art? Turn to page 138 to find out.

This article by Paul Gravett first appeared in the May 2007 issue of Art Review, which introduced the first of a series of six (so far) original comic strips created for Art Review by artists featured in Cult Fiction.


UK: Hayward Publishing, 2007

Contrary to some pundits’ claims that British comics are “pretty much dead in the water” or “down the tubes”, with my new book Great British Comics I want to show how British comics today have continued and, if you look, are thriving, not just on the newsstands but also via other channels, for example in graphic novels, the indie and small press, in strips in newspapers and magazines, new ‘Original English Language’ manga, or via American companies and of course online. Great British Comics is not a misty-eyed nostalgia trip; it looks back with a clarity of vision to the past and comes bang up to date to show the continuities and changes in themes and styles across a century or more. More…

Peter Stanbury and I have been brewing a book on British comics for several years now, but it has been difficult to line up a publisher here, as so many of them are reluctant to invest in creating such a highly illustrated book without the support of an American co-edition. Luckily, Aurum were not deterred when some US companies decided not to do the book, complaining, rather absurdly, that it was “too British”! I’m convinced that there is a real interest here in Britain, as well as around the Commonwealth, to support a book on our own comics culture regardless of the US market. As it turns out, at the same time Aurum are also releasing an annual-style book on British sports comics called Sporting Supermen and two slipcased facsimiles of the first Dandy and Broons annuals from D.C. Thomson. There does seem to be an overdue resurgence of enthusiasm and appreciation for our heritage.

Several new ideas went into creating this new book. One was trying to revive and make sense of comics from the past. To many readers, including British people, these old comics can seem pretty alien, almost as baffling as manga. We want to put them into their social and cultural contexts, so we’ve sourced some related photos, documents, toys, etc to show alongside them. Photo research turned up some amazing period pieces. The husband of a friend of my Mum’s had a photo of himself as a boy from the Daily Mirror queuing for “rationed” comics in 1943. We found a huge seaside promotional shot from 1955 of dozens of young Eagle and Girl readers waving their favourite weeklies on the beach. Time-capsule shots like these show comics as part of the everyday way of life.

Another innovation is showing original artwork. This has been tried a bit before in books on British comics, but I don’t know of any other book with such a range of original artwork, reproduced as crisply as possible so you can see loads of detail. Often a lot is lost in the repro process, especially on full colour painted art, and even more can go if you shoot from the printed page. Collectors, artists and publishers were amazingly generous in lending their gems, from Frank Hampson, Frank Bellamy, Ron Embleton, Dudley Watkins, John Millar Watt, to Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid, Davey Law, Sydney Jordan, Mike McMahon, Joe Colquhoun and more.

It’s also been a revelation discovering from experts like Alan Clark, Steve Holland, David Roach, Craig Conlan and others just who some of these artists are. A few artists were allowed to sign their work, others, say in Eagle or of course 2000AD, were properly credited. But for decades, artists (and writers too) often worked in total anonymity. The sad result is that a lot of truly amazing British talents are unnamed, unknown, unappreciated and risk being forgotten entirely. Some of them have no idea of the impact their work made on young readers and the following that is still out there for it. For example, I know readers would love to meet Shirley Bellwood, who drew the weekly covers and cover paintings for annuals for Misty, which terrorised girls, and some boys, in the 1980s. I’m so happy that nearly all of the artists with work in this book are identified, some properly for the first time ever in a mass-market book.

The other concept driving this was not to gaze wistfully into yesterday but to bring the story right up to date and counter the doom-and-gloom merchants who insist that British comics today are “pretty much dead in the water” or “down the tubes”. We may never get back to the earlier decades when a huge variety and volume of comics crowded the newsstands. But by looking a bit further afield, to the small press, newspapers and magazines, onthe internet or in the US market, you soon find all kinds of vibrant creativity out there. As far as I’m concerned, a lot of comics by British creators published in the US are culturally British rather than American anyway, so I’ve included great stuff like Paul Grist’s Jack Staff, Andi Watson’s Little Star, Grant Morrison and Philip Bond’s Vimanarama and others that are rooted in life and people here, but just happen to be put out by American companies.

Rather than attempting any sort of single, sweeping, encylopaedic, all-in-one condensation of comics history, which others have tried more or less successfully, Peter and I are seeing our books on comics as part of larger part-work, that will hopefully grow into a series of five, ten, or maybe more different titles, each on a different aspect but building up into a multi-volume set of comics history and appreciation.

Like many people in Britain, my earliest comics-reading experiences were of British comics - I grew up on Beano and Dandy before being dazzled by TV21 and Look & Learn - but so many British comic fans become British fans of American comics. 2000AD, first and foremost, and later Warrior, Escape, Deadline and others did dramatically change all that. For the first time, a new readership was admiring our own homegrown talent. I remember the buzz queuing up in Forbidden Planet to meet Bolland, McMahon, O’Neill to sign those first annuals. This was a new fandom and these were our own superstar creators. Even so, most comic shops in Britain today are essentially American comic shops. I hope this book, and the Comics Britannia BBC series, might encourage a few shops to try appealing to the public by stocking more British material, because there’s a grwoing wealth of first-rate reprints and brand new stuff to offer.


With thanks to contributions from David Slinn, David Ashford, Steve Holland and Marc-André Dumonteil.

Page 4:
Caption for photograph on Page 2, the date of The Beezer issue is 12 May 1956.

Page 6:
Boys’ World cover is drawn by Edwin Phillips.

Page 13:
Egmont’s Toxic has been running since 2002, not 2004.

Page 37:
The story that Graham Dury dropped The Fat Slags from Viz was apparently just a myth perpetrated by a maverick press officer.

Page 51:
Adam Ant illustrated is drawn by Maureen and Gordon Gray.

Page 69:
Tim’s real name is William Timym, not Timyn.

Page 88:
Sandy Dean’s Schooldays is drawn by Bruce MacDonald.

Page 113:
Cap Condor: Art by Neville Wilson

Page 114:
Robot Archie: Art by Ted Kearon

Page 138:
This particular Pansy Potter strip is not by Hugh McNeil. To be identified.

Page 140:
This particular ‘Four Marys’ is not by Bill Holroyd. To be identified.

Page 140:
Jill Crusoe: Art by Reginald B. Davis.

Page 142:
The Sue Day Annual cover: Art may not be by Bill Lacey. To be confirmed or identified. Cover of June and School Friend Library 455 is drawn by Peter Kay.

Page 149:
Slaves of War Orphan Farm is drawn by Desmond Walduck.

Page 158:
Dick Turpin (TPL 223) is not by Derek Eyles but by Stephen Chapman.

Page 161:
His Sporting Lordship: Art by Mike Western.

Page 164:
Shipwrecked Circus is drawn by Paddy Brennan.

Page 167:
Roy of the Rovers Annual 1982, cover and left spread drawing of the team appear to be drawn by David Sque. Tiger April 16 1977 page is drawn by Yvonne Hutton.

Page 177:
Charlie Peace is drawn by Jack Pamby.

Page 184:
The French name of ‘Gaty’ is Gatignol.

What are graphic novels? You might think they are easy to define, but the term has become distorted with prejudices and preconceptions, riddled with confusion among the media and public, and a topic of dispute among ‘graphic novelists’ themselves, some of whom reject the label outright. The word graphic does not have to mean disturbing, extreme, and in your face, shown in hard outlines, grotesque caricatures, or lurid coloring. There is room for very different styles of art. In fact, graphic does not narrow down to drawing and illustration, as in graphics, since some artists create their comics using photos, 3D models, or found objects. The term novel can make people expect the sort of format, serious intent, and weighty heft of traditional literature, as if a graphic novel must be the visual equivalent of “an extended, fictional work.” True, some individual graphic novels can run to hundreds of pages, while others stretch to thousands across multiple volumes - but many are much shorter, or consist of collections of short stories, and they come in all shapes, square, oblong, from miniscule to gigantic. Even more importantly, a great many are definitely not fictional at all but belong in the categories of non-fictional - history, biography, reportage, documentary, or educational. More…


UK: Aurum Press: 1st edition, 2005
USA: Collins Design - 1st edition 2005, 2nd edition 2006
Finland: Otava - 1st edition 2007


With thanks to Steve Bissette, Lotta Sonninen and others who have kindly spotted mistakes and sent in corrections.

Page 6:
The date of this strip was actually July 11, 2004.
Page 58:
Commando has not quite reached 4,000 issues yet; it’s on its way though and has topped 3,500 already.

Page 74:
Captain Marvel is of course the “Big RED Cheese”.

Page 88:
L’Écho des Savanes was not founded in 1974 by a disaffected Moebius & Druillet, but in 1972 by Claire Bretécher, Marcel Gotlib and Nikita Mandryka.

Page 136:
Frank’s pet is called Pupshaw, not Pushpaw. This mistake arose from page 344 in The Frank Book which incorrectly bills the name of ‘Frank’s testy little bowser-box’ as Pushpaw in the title, but amends this to Pupshaw in the text beneath.

Page 171:
Steve Bissette has meticulously clarified the origins of Phoebe Zeit-Geist and thanks to Dennis Perrin’s incredibly detailed biography Mr. Mike: The Life & Work Of Michael O’Donoghue (1998, Avon Books) established that it was not inspired by Barbarella. Bissette writes further:

“O’Donoghue’s first published work in Evergreen Review appeared in the August/Sept, 1964 issue, a satirical article entitled “The Automation of Caprice” (Perrin, pg. 109). Perrin traces Phoebe Z-G’s origins to O’Donoghue’s great affection for Terry Southern’s novel Candy (1957, first US mass market publication 1964); it informed a character featured in O’Donoghue’s “Automation” essay, named Ramona Wedgewood, who evolved into what became Phoebe Z-G… So it appears that Phoebe Z-G evolved and its first chapters were completed before its creators, O’Donoghue and Springer, had seen or were aware of Barbarella; but it debuted one issue after Barbarella’s first translated chapter was published in the US. My statements about the 1950s and early ‘60s material it satirized was correct in terms of the pop cultural context, but Terry Southern’s novel Candy was the clear inspirational wellspring for Phoebe Z-G according to O’Donoghue himself."

Manga are getting everywhere. Japanese comics are invading your local bookshops, comics and music stores, even libraries, as never before. This is not some passing craze or flavour of the month. Manga look set to follow their phenomenal success across Europe as well as in the States, where over the past four years they have become by far the fastest growing category of book sold in America. Hardly a month goes by without another publisher joining market leaders Viz and TokyoPop in the field. Leading anime outfit ADV were a natural to diversify into manga, but more surprising are two of the latest entrants: DC Comics, home to Superman and Batman, and the major global player Penguin Books. Still, despite the flood of new titles, as many as 30 in one week, so far what we are seeing in English is only the tiniest toenail clipping of the big, scary Godzilla that is manga. Comics are so massive in Japan that they make up nearly 40 per cent of the sales of all publications. More…


UK: Laurence King- 1st edition, 2004
USA: Collins Design - 1st edition, 2004
Brazil:  Conrad Editora - 1st edition 2006
Finland: Otava - 1st edition, 2005, 2nd edition 2006
France: Editions du Rocher - 1st edition 2005, 2nd edition 2006
Germany: Egmont - 1st edition 2006
Italy:  Logos - 1st edition 2006
Spain: OnlyBook - 1st edition 2006
Taiwan: Monkey Cultural - 1st edition 2006


With thanks to Béatrice Marechal, Mitsuhiro Asakawa, Yvan West Laurence, Tinet Elmgren and others who sent in their valuable feedback.

Page 22:
Bottom caption: Far right: In this scene, Tako no hacchan (‘Little-Eight the Octopus’) in naval uniform gets his chums to dress in sailor suits so they won’t walk around naked.

Page 42:
Last sentence at end of first paragraph: Its title, Garo, has been confused with a similar word for ‘art gallery’, but was actually named after a martyred warrior created by Shirato.

Page 47:
Last sentence: Here he helps Oshika carry out a daring horseback rescue of her husband, but there is no escaping their lethal pursuers. (Oshika/Sugaru is the mother.)

Page 56:
Caption for Go Nagai’s Grendizer: Above: The guy in the white sweater is Koji Kabuto, who as a teen piloted Go Nagai’s Mazinger Z in 1972. Later, in 1975, he joined Grendizer pilot Duke Fleed.

Page 63:
The two characters shown on the top left are Ultraman’s allies Andro Wolf in red and Andro Meros in green from the planet Andro. In the manga pages shown below, they join the Ultra Brothers to defend the planet Ultra from evil.

Page 66:
(Lower caption) Far right: Tatsuhiko Yamagami’s demented boy policeman Gaki Deka, naked save for his cap and tie, flashes his phallic daikon root vegetable. (Udon is a type of noodle, but the daikon root is a common phallic symbol.)

Page 98:
(Second paragraph, last sentence:) Hollywood itself has now started licensing manga and financing live-action adaptations of Akira, Lupin III and Lone Wolf and Cub. (Monkey Punch is the artist.)

Page 99:
The manga series Tokyo Story is called Tokyo Love Story.

Page 113:
(Last sentence) The artist’s name is Hitosi Iwaaki, not Awaaki.

Page 132:
Caption: The artist’s name is Shiriagari, not Siriagari.

Page 154:
(Left column, 3rd line from bottom, and right column, 1st line) Korean comics are called manhwa, not manwha.

Page 172:
The German edition of the book by Jaqueline Berndt is called “Phänomen Manga”.

Page 173:
The book by Wendy Siuyi Wong is called “Hong Kong Comics: A History of Manhua” (“Manhua” is the most commonly used term for Hong Kong comics).

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Comics Art by Paul Gravett from Tate Publishing


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