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Sixty Years Of Japanese Comics

MANGA: Sixty Years Of Japanese Comics
Written by Paul Gravett
Designed by Peter Stanbury
US $24.95, UK £19.95
ISBN 1 85669 391 0

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Japan’s output of manga is massive, accounting for a staggering forty percent of everything published each year in the country. Outside Japan, there has been a global boom in sales, with the manga aesthetic spreading from comics into all areas of Western youth culture through film, computer games, advertising, and design. Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics presents an accessible, entertaining, and highly-illustrated introduction to the development and diversity of Japanese comics from 1945 to the present. Featuring striking graphics and extracts from a wide range of manga, the book covers such themes as the specific attributes of manga in contrast to American and European comics; the life and career of Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and originator of story manga; boys’ comics from the 1960s to the present; the genres and genders of girls’ and women’s comics; the darker, more realistic themes of gekiga - violent samurai, disturbing horror and apocalyptic science fiction; issues of censorship and protest; and manga’s role as a major Japanese export and global influence. Read an online preview of the book here.


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

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

“...a celebration of an often misunderstood aspect of modern comics...”
The Observer

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

“...thanks for producing such a great book.”
That’s Entertainment Book Store

“...hits the mark amid the genre's massive explosion.”
Fabrice Piault

“...Gravett covers manga's development in every area, from girls' stuff to hentai.”
The Rough Guide to Manga

“I recommend it unreservedly.”
Warren Ellis

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

“The stunningly illustrated book is filled with the heroes and creators of manga from the last 60 years.”
Dazed & Confused

“...very well written in a journalistic style and enjoyable to read...”

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

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

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

“...lands you in a reeling variety of weird worlds and graphic technique...”
Contemporary Magazine

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

“An excellent overview of the medium.”
The Beguiling

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

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

“ essential purchase for any mangaphile's library. Highly recommended.”
Neo Magazine

“...this book stands to this day as the best introduction of Japanese comics.”
Beaux Arts

“Gravett's style is conversational and engaging, and the pages fly by.”
Comic World News

“...a worthy addition to any serious manga fan's coffee-table library.”
Jonathan Clements

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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My Books

1001 Comics  You Must Read Before You Die edited by Paul Gravett

Comics Art by Paul Gravett from Tate Publishing

Comics Unmasked by Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning from The British Library

All contents © Paul Gravett, except where noted.
All artwork © the respective copyright holders.