Black Blizzard by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, translated by Akemi Wegmüller; edited, designed, and lettered by Adrian Tomine
First published in Japan in 1956 by a then very young Yoshihiro Tatsumi (who memorialized his own artist-as-a-young-man development in his autobiographical graphic memoir A Drifting Life – in which you can also read more about this one!), Blizzard is a fast-paced adventure about love and honor.
When a train derails on a dark and stormy blizzard night (music and deep whoosh sounds, please!), two criminals handcuffed together make their daring escape. One, a young pianist, has been arrested for murder; the other, a hardened criminal, wants one last chance to see his daughter. In order to escape to freedom, somehow, the men must separate, even at the price of the hand that literally binds them together. In a gruesome bet (more music please, with lots of bass), one man will drink from the sleeping-powder-ed glass … both will be freed, but who will survive with all his appendages intact?
Only the reader will know …
Available in English translation for the first time ever, what makes this half-century-plus old manga remarkable is not necessarily the story but surely the presentation. While the characters might initially appear flat on the page, Tatsumi’s graphic prowess imbues them with constant movement, as if indeed you are watching a noir film rapidly unfold. From the drunken reflection on a quickly emptying glass, to the dripping sweat exerted in desperate escape, to the blinding blizzard in the midst of hot pursuit, to the light of the too-close policeman stalking the fugitives, Tatsumi’s panels cannot contain his characters. The pages turn fast and furious, providing readers quite the dark night thriller of a ride!
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 1956 (Japan); 2010 (United States)