Garo and the Birth of Alternative Manga – London talk announced

Garo no. 72, Feb 1970 cover

Garo Number 72, Feb 1970 cover

(Via Paul Gravett): From its founding in Tokyo in 1964 to its temporary demise in 1998, the monthly Garo was a beacon for experimentalism in Japanese comics. Next Wednesday (26th February 26th) US comics expert Ryan Holmberg is giving a free illustrated talk about the remarkable magazine, which revolutionised alternative manga in Japan.

This talk will survey the early years of the magazine, looking at its roots in the rental library “kashihon” culture of the previous decade, its relationship to contemporary political issues ranging from school curricula debates to the Vietnam War, and finally its embrace of a new generation of artists influenced by Pop Art, New Wave cinema, and the visual culture of the Japanese Empire.

Holmberg has written and exhibited widely about this subject, most recently in the collection Gold Pollen and other stories by modern master Seiichi Hayashi, published last year by PictureBox.

Paul Gravett says this promises to be a fascinating insight into this rich area of Japanese comics.

• Garo and the Birth of Alternative Manga 5.7pm, SOAS, College Buildings, Room G50, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG until 7.00pm. Tickets are free. Full details here on the SOAS web site

•  You can buy Holmberg’s Gold Pollen at the PictureBox website by clicking here


The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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