Eddie Campbell has this to say about Seiichi Hayashi’s 1970 manga, “Red Colored Elegy.”
Red Elegy is a good read, though this reviewer at amazon says he had trouble making sense of it. I would guess that’s because today’s reader has a more linear brain than 1970’s reader. It reminds me of ‘world cinema’ in the ’60s and of that noble movement in which cinema viewers were expected to be viewing at a somewhat higher level than tv consumers in their sitting rooms. There was an idea abroad in the world that cinema was the art of our times, absurd in these times now that the whole medium appears to have descended to the level of comic books.
Now, part of me says, yes, this is true, especially in terms of subject matter. But in terms of plotting, modern Hollywood thrillers (for example) ask quite a lot of its audience, and often seem to exist only to battle all that’s come before. A thriller with only one twist would be unheard of these days.
But the sort of elliptical, compact narrative that happens in the pages of Love and Rockets, has no equivalent in filmmaking, even in the works of Hou Hsiao Hsien. (Then again, nobody writes like the Hernandez Bros.)
Japanese Manga, however, often zips by like…watching a movie. If you want a real page-turner, read a manga. If you want to get bogged down in words, pick up an American comic. I started reading Marvel’s “Ultimates” on the recommendation of a friend, and I found it a very long slog. Lots of static panels full of word balloons. Check out old American comic books…they’re also like this. Oy.
Wait, what was my point?