A DRIFTING LIFE reviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times

Graphic novel roundup

Chicago Sun-Times    |    Josh Elder    |    April 20, 2009

A Drifting Life is the slightly fictionalized memoir -- the author changes a few names, most notably his own -- of manga (literal translation: "irresponsible pictures") pioneer Yoshihiro Tatsumi. The legendary Japanese cartoonist founded the gekiga (dramatic pictures) movement in the '50s in order to encourage the development of more serious works that catered to adult sensibilities. In keeping with his gekiga philosophy, Tatsumi uses a subdued and naturalistic art style, deliberately eschewing most of the artistic tropes like big eyes and speed lines stereotypically associated with manga here in the States, but his artwork remains just as expressive.

Less an autobiography and more a chronicling of Tatsumi's development as an artist, A Drifting Life details the birth of the gekiga movement as well as providing a unique window into Japan's postwar period cultural renaissance. A Drifting Life is a recommended read for comic literati and mangaphiles both.

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