The Morning News: Book Digest reviews ABANDON THE OLD IN TOKYO

Book Digest

The Morning News    |    Robert Birnbaum    |    November 22, 2006

Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly, 194 pages)
Referring to Yoshihiro Tatsumi as a Japanese cartooning legend probably will carry small weight with most readers, but it should be sufficient to recognize that he is regarded as having laid the foundations for what is now called the American graphic novel movement—the most famous example of which is Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus. Handsomely printed and designed, Abandon the Old in Tokyo is the second in a projected three-volume series (The Push Man and Other Stories was the first) that spotlights Tokyo’s urban underbelly in the 1960s. Writer Koji Suzuki (The Ring trilogy, Dark Water, and Birthday) introduces this volume:

Tatsumi fans are growing in rank here and abroad now. This is because no one does minor villains and petty villainies of everyday life like him. His characters may be bad or even evil, but they are never “Evil” with a capital “E.” Tatsumi has a knack for presenting offbeat sexual impulses in such a way that they seem utterly—and depressingly—normal. They probably are, too. The sickly veneer on Japanese modernism finally reminds us that these very human accidents of the ego are a ceaseless reality…

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