Slum Wolf by Tadao Tsuge, translated by Ryan Holmberg / ISBN 9781681371740 / 328-page paperback from New York Review Comics
A gritty collection of graphic short stories by a Japanese manga master depicting life on the streets among punks, gangsters, and vagrants.
Tadao Tsuge is one of the pioneers of alternative manga, and one of the world’s great artists of the down-and-out. Slum Wolf is a new selection of his stories from the late Sixties and Seventies, never before available in English: a vision of Japan as a world of bleary bars and rundown flophouses, vicious street fights and strange late-night visions. In assured, elegantly gritty art, Tsuge depicts a legendary, aging brawler, a slowly unraveling businessman, a group of damaged veterans uniting to form a shantytown, and an array of punks, pimps, and drunks, all struggling for freedom, meaning, or just survival.
With an extensive introduction by translator and comics historian Ryan Holmberg, this collection brings together some of Tsuge’s most powerful work—raucous, lyrical, and unforgettable.
Tadao Tsuge is one of alternative manga’s cult stars. Debuting as a cartoonist in the rental kashi-hon market in 1959, he was a leading contributor to the legendary magazine Garo during its heyday in the late 1960s. He has drawn extensively for magazines like Yagyo and Gento, often pulling from his experiences growing up in the slums of Tokyo, working for ooze-for-booze blood banks, and daydreaming while fishing. He currently lives in Chiba Prefecture, north of Tokyo, where he splits his time between cooking for his family and drawing even stranger manga.