The Pacific is a Big Ocean

Shintaro Kago is a Manga artist you’re unlikely to see at your local Borders or Barnes and Noble anytime soon, but boy, what I wouldn’t give for a collection of his work in English. Some of the craziest experimental comics since Art Spiegelman’s early comics in Arcade (later collected in Breakdowns).

An anthology or two have included short pieces, but because of the pornographic nature of a lot of the images, we’re stuck plowing through scanlation sites to see this master at work.

Rather than point to specific sites, I’ll just encourage you to browse Kago’s various scattered images and click on whatever looks cool, but do search for Kago’s brilliant “Abstraction” (NSFW!) for a real mind-bender.

Here’s an interview with the guy. And if you want to ask the Interwubs to translate it for you, Kago has a blog.

Discussion (10)¬

  1. Mealla says:

    I’ve recently came across this artist while looking for interesting and unusual stuff to read.

  2. Wood says:

    hey, this is unrelated, but I thought you might want to know :

    Kees Kousemaker, founder of “Lambiek”, the first comic store in Europe, passed away last tuesday :


    Lambiek is THE place to go if you like comics and visit Amsterdam.

  3. yes! 3d comics! I love this concept.

  4. There’s a good translation from 2007 at SameHat!:

    A fantastic lead here, Scott.

    At the same time, rather thin on story. It reminds me of your experimental “Choose your own Carl” webcomic. Both comics experiment formally with comics—Choose your own Carl gives a playful reinterpretation of the gutter and the way that the eye scans a comics page, forcing the reader to choose between two possible gutters, one to the right and the other below the current active frame.

    Kago in Abstraction II also plays with the formal qualities of the comics page, imagining that the 2-D page is just one surface of a larger, 3-D whole. I loved it on first read-through, and I plan to give it more attention soon, but my guess is that the payoff won’t be at the level of character.

    An intriguing exception to this pattern is Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile. Here, again, we have experimentation with comics form. And at first as we explore that book it seems like we’re dealing with familiar character types, similar to Carl and to Kago’s lovers. But Shiga’s puckish boy and kooky old scientist both prove by the end to be, well, spooky.

    Come to think of it, I got turned on to Shiga’s book by this blog as well. Thanks x2!

    • And in Meanwhile, the experimental form grows organically from the content of the story, and vice versa. It’s all about causality and multiple universes. The form is perfect. That’s what I love about it.

      • Yes. And I think that’s what makes the characters deep in Meanwhile: the experimental form doesn’t have stock characters grafted on for the sake of having characters.

  5. That is one of the most amazing mangas ive ever seen, when the first time i saw it, i couldnt belive it was a 3D manga, so rare, but brilliant.

  6. Will Curwin says:

    I got Secret Comics of Japan for Christmas and was very intrested Kago’s Puncture. But I think he’s more like S. Clay Wilson but it is like Spiegelman too. It does show how the infinate canvus can become a monster!

  7. I remember reading “Abstraction” a year or two ago.

    It *freaked the hell out of me*.

    Both in the “This is really, REALLY scary” way, and in the “What the hell this is way too weird and AWESOME” way.

    The guy’s just plain awesome. Thanks for the interview! It’s superb.