This May Drawn & Quarterly is publishing Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Black Blizzard ($19.95, 144 pages), the manga-ka’s first gekiga classic that was published in Japan in the late 1950s.  Black Blizzard, which demonstrates the influence of American crime films and hardboiled Mickey Spillane-type detective novels on Tatsumi, is the story of a 24-year-old concert pianist, who is arrested for murder and handcuffed to a career criminal.  When the train is derailed by an avalanche, the two men escape into a raging blizzard.


Tatsumi skillfully uses the conventions of the crime story to examine his characters who come from very different social backgrounds.  Black Blizzard is one of the first examples of the realistic, socially conscious, and adult (in the best sense of the term) gekiga genre of manga.  Like the works of Jiro Taniguchi (published by Fanfare/Ponent Mon), Tatsumi’s gekiga manga appeals more to those who enjoy serious alternative comics than to traditional manga readers.