Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s been drawing manga for decades, but he got his big break in America a few years ago with A Drifting Life, especially after it won two Eisner awards in 2010. America is now getting more of his works, including this collection.
The Push Man and Other Stories is a collection of short manga stories, most of them 11 pages long, all written and drawn by Tatsumin in the 1960′s. Each is a modern, realistic story about ordinary people dealing with blue collar lives.
The artwork features simple, clean character designs and rich, detailed backgrounds. The contrast is sometimes striking, and is a wonderful metaphor for the stories themselves. The characters are typically simple people living in complex situations.
My primary complaint lies in Tatsumi’s story structure. Most of the stories end abruptly, as if we’re missing a final page or two. Moreover, the climaxes aren’t merely
Perhaps this was Tatsumi’s intent, but I had to ask: why these moments? It’s the manga equivalent of a movie that just films people exiting a train. Sure, one can fantasize about the lives of each individual as they stride or stumble or walk or run, but that’s all the film lets you do.
FictionThatMatters’ review points to two recurring themes in The Push Man: powerlessness and isolation. Those certainly appear, as does an overpowering sense of displacement. The characters just don’t know who they are or what they should be doing. Moreover, their actions seem pointless: statements against power are quickly reversed.
If you can get past the fundamentally