I’m working my way through Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life (Tatsumi’s a manga artist with a career that stretches back almost to the beginning of the medium – especially known for pioneering more adult manga in the 60s and 70s.) He presents himself as a dopey, broad-faced naif – though of course, since he’s the artist he’s calculatedly making the decision to present himself thus. His avatar has a strong family resemblance to the naif-types that appear in his 70s stories, who inevitably get drawn into an inexplicable world of strange compulsions and degeneracy. I like the relationship arc he has with his brother, who I didn’t realize was also a manga artist – I’m sure you can imagine how that played out in their childhood.

The life of a mangaka as a neverending grind; the small questions of style that become the basis of bitter factionalizing; the exhaustive presentation of stories made in terms of publication details and page count (the content of the stories is usually only briefly mentioned): I find it weirdly inspiring. I know several other cartoonists who’ve said the same. We’re a weird, masochistic lot.