Sunday, April 25, 2010

Garo Feature #12

For the June, 1967, issue, I'm highlighting one story: Shinji Nagashima's "Life".  Click on the image to go to the media fire album.

A mother wolf and two cubs are out walking through the heavy snow one winter.  Conditions are harsh and one of the cubs dies.  They find a human hunter living in a cabin and the mother attacks him to get food for the other cub to eat. There's a fight, and the wolf rips off the guy's forearm while the hunter cuts off one of the wolf's ears.  Years go by and the cub has survived, having enough pups to start a new pack.  The mother wolf is now old and grizzled and has the respect of the new pack.  After killing a deer, there's a gun shot and the rest of the pack scatters.  The old one stands her ground and faces off against the hunter, who now has a sword blade attached to his stump.  They fight again and this time the wolf dies.  The hunter takes the body back to the cabin, while her daughter follows behind out of curiosity.  The hunter places the body on the ground across from the fire pit and sits down just as time catches up to the both of them.  The young wolf watches on as the cabin and its occupants turn to dust and are blown off into the wind.  40 pages.


  1. Thanks for posting these stories from Garo. I've only read through a couple so far, but they're quite interesting.

  2. Hi Mako, thanks for dropping by. I think modern readers have gotten spoiled with weekly and monthly magazines that do serialized stories. They let us bond with the characters, and watch a larger story unfold. Where Garo differs from this is that there were very few ongoing long-run serializations during the 60's period (only Kamui, really, and the one Hakuba Kitaro Night Tales story so far). This gave artists a chance to explore lots of little one-shot ideas from issue to issue, usually in the 10-page range, but occasionally up to 30 pages. Bottom line is that readers bonded to an artist based on their storytelling technique, their singular type of style or ability to cover a wide range of styles, or their mastery of a specific genre (such as gag or horror). As opposed to bonding to a reoccurring character such as we see now with Luffy, Gokuu or Naruto.

    The individual Garo stories are often very interesting, but as I say, it's not easy to be attracted to Garo as a result. I like Tsurita's light-hearted approach to gags, Mizuki's highly-graphic horror, and Kusunoki's brilliant visualization of Edo-period life. I'm not quite as taken by Yuu Takita's rough art style, but he does have many interesting ideas. I'd seen a number of Tsuge's short stories already and some of them work for me, others don't; he has a tendency to either be too cold, or occasionally rather cruel. Nagashima has good control of the artistic side, but his storytelling element reeks of Tezuka and Disney; he doesn't pull me in like Kusunoki does. Katsumata's yonkoma gag strips are often preachy, or tied too closely to current events to be topical today, but he does have a fascinating tendency to turn really black really fast (like with the woman and the fox stole coat). I'd love to see Kenji Nanba continue with his Battlefield story, but there's only been the one chapter prior to March, '68. His detailed splash page for the first character makes me want to see the next installment.

    Basically, I see Garo as an introduction to certain talented artists, rather than as a comic magazine. Hopefully, there will be people here that you didn't know about that you'll like and want to learn more about.