Seiichi Hayashi’s cult-classic comic will make you cry. The experimental black-ink work pays homage to Godard films as much as underground comic books. It completely immerses you in a fractured world of love, failed revolutionary politics, and art. Any word I can use to review this book feels false compared to the stark beauty and emotional viscosity of the book itself.— Gabe
An influential and experimental work, in an all-new paperback edition!
Ichiro and Sachiko are young artists, temperamental and discouraged about what life has to offer them. They fall in and out of love, jealous of each other's interests and unchallenged by their careers. Red Colored Elegy charts their heartache, passions, and bickering with equal tenderness, creating a revelatory portrait of a stormy love affair.
A cornerstone of the Japanese underground scene of the 1960s, Seiichi Hayshi wrote Red Colored Elegy between 1970 and 1971, in the aftermath of a politically turbulent and culturally vibrant decade that promised but failed to deliver new possibilities. Sparse line work and visual codes borrowed from animation and film beautifully capture the quiet lives of a young couple struggling to make ends meet. Ichiro and Sachiko hope for something better, but they're no revolutionaries; their spare time is spent drinking, smoking, daydreaming, and sleeping together and at times with others.
Red Colored Elegy is informed as much by underground Japanese comics of the time as it is by the French New Wave. Its influence in Japan was so large that Morio Agata, a prominent Japanese folk musician and singer/songwriter, debuted with a love song written and named after it. This new paperback edition features an essay on Red Colored Elegy and Hayashi's contributions to contemporary Japanese comics from the art historian Ryan Holmberg.
Born in Manchuria in 1945, Seiichi Hayashi published his first comics work
in Japan’s influential underground magazine Garo. A prolific artist, he is also a film and commercial director, a children’s book author, an animator, and an illustrator.
“[Red Colored Elegy] is a condensed visual poetry that still feels avant-garde nearly forty years later.” —The Believer
“Traced photographs, blank word balloons and nearly cubist sex scenes . . . beautifully lament Ichiro and Sachiko's failed relationship . . . The story is heartbreakingly universal.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)