driftinglifeJust picked up a copy of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s manga A Drifting Life. I have been trying to read more adult manga lately. Adult in the sense of not being aimed at the teenage market, not in the sense of being R or X rated.

A Drifting Life is the somewhat autobiographical tale of growing up wanting to be a manga artist in post war Japan. From the publisher:

A Drifting Life is his monumental memoir eleven years in the making, beginning with his experiences as a child in Osaka, growing up as part of a country burdened by the shadows of World War II.

Spanning fifteen years from August of 1945 to June of 1960, Tatsumi’s stand-in protagonist, Hiroshi, faces his father’s financial burdens and his parents’ failing marriage, his jealous brother’s deteriorating health, and the innumerable pitfalls that await him in the competitive manga market of mid-twentieth-century Japan.

Hiroshi meets manga legend Osamu Tezuka (Atom-Boy, Black Jack and many others) and becomes involved with other legends in the manga business on his way up. Lots for manga lovers to gawk at as he moves through these manga legends. Tatsumi’s artwork is simple and clean, with clean lines and a sense of proportion rooted in the Disney influenced era he comes from, rather than the BESM style so prevalent. Everyday life is important and emphasized, look elsewhere for extra-dimensional monsters and power battles. Drawn and Quarterly publishing has printed this in Americanized left-to-right format, instead of the right-to-left Japanese style which might be an easier to read format for those who are not familiar with right-to-left reading. A Drifting Life is also very large, at 840 pages in a good paper stock.

Drawn and Quarterly also has a preview pdf available to look at here, which is a good way to get a feel for Tatsumi’s writing and art style.