• Drawn & Quarterly (2006)
• various magazines (1970)
• Unrated/18+ (language, violence, nudity, sex)
The second in a series of Tatsumi books by Drawn & Quarterly. Like The Push Man and Other Stories, these are gloomy tales of life in the big city, starring mute blue-collar everymen and worn-out failures who walk the dark streets of 1970 Japan. The settings—dingy bathrooms, factories, and sewers—are drawn with rich detail, while the protagonists are drawn in a simple style, but without cartoon exaggeration. In the straightforward title story, a garbageman grows resentful of taking care of his aged mother; in “Beloved Monkey,” a factory worker uses his pet as a refuge from the outside world; in “The Hole,” a man is trapped in a pit by a deformed woman determined to take revenge on the male gender. While this collection is not quite as powerful as The Push Man, Tatsumi is a great storyteller and his pessimism is profound. It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when manga were so gritty that these stories were published in mainstream publications such as Weekly Shônen Magazine (as well as the classic underground magazine Garo).