Monday, September 13, 2010

Manga Monday: Moto Hagio

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories HC
Moto Hagio

Moto Hagio is a real talent from Japan, where she was not only the first recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Culture Award grand prize, but was one of the Magnificent Forty-Niners who made comics for girls a real force to be reckoned with in the 70's.  It's not hard to see what all of the fuss is about.  Moto Hagio's artwork is stunning.  Her storytelling is fluid, her characters expressive, and her drawings in general are beautifully arranged and look effortless.  Each and every one of the ten stories in this "best of" collection of short stories featuring the talented Hagio are enchanting, full of warmth and wonderful characters, and brimming with emotion.  You have to have a heart of ice not to be moved.  From the strange Girl On Porch With Puppy to the eerie, yet sad Hanshin: Half-God to the rich family drama of Iguana Girl (my personal favorite), there's plenty here for everybody.

Fantagraphics' presentation of Moto Hagio's work in A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is to be commended.  They provide a great sample of Hagio's works: three from the seventies, three from the eighties, and four from the late 2000's, showing how Hagio's art has progressed (though it has always been powerful), while illustrating that her more modern work is just as exciting as the groundbreaking stuff she put out early in her career.  This book is beautifully designed in an oversized hardcover with beautiful gold foil detail, with a nice piece to give things a little context, as well as a pretty extensive interview with the artist.  This really is a publishing event and I hope that it sparks more interest in Hagio, as I'd love to see some her longer works translated.

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