I missed the good news that Drawn & Quarterly’s bringing over Susumu Katsumata’s short story collection Red Snow. It’s surprising, as nobody remembered his work until Seirinkogeisha put out the collection in 2005. Unlike also-forgotten stablemate Tatsumi, Katsumata can’t claim to be historically important.
His stories are better than Tatsumi’s shorts, though: timeless, bawdy, mysterious, like an earthy Kwaidan. Cartoon figures sneaking bits of pleasure in the grass, water sprites breaking things. They reveal a handmade craft that fits next to the Moomins and Monsiuer Jean.
If timeless, these stories feel old, too. They appeared mostly in the anthology Manga Goraku between 1978-80; the feeling of reminisce echoes Tatsumi’s rue. Both are old men’s manga in their way, best read over milky homebrew and several packs of borrowed cigarettes. In August, under a fluorescent light, while grumbling over back pains.
Not too much to my taste, unlike the also-announced collection of Imiri Sakabashira. I’ve liked Sakabashira’s manga and artwork a good long time. It feels a lot less fusty than either Tatsumi or Katsumata. Actually, it’s more kin to Yo Gabba Gabba. With cigarettes. I’ll give some to the nephew when he’s considerably older.