Breakdown Press, currently the most interesting outfit operating in UK comics, continues apace with the publication of exciting book after exciting book. Earlier this year, in June, it announced the launch of a new line of translations of classic and avant garde Japanese comics in association with manga scholar and translator Ryan Holmberg (who previously worked with PictureBox in a similar capacity), the first of which was Seiichi Hayashi 1969 'blues manga,' Flowering Harbour.

The second book in the publisher's alternative manga line will be Masahiko Matsumoto's The Man Next Door, collecting four gekiga stories from the 1950s. The book will be released to coincide with the London Cartoon Museum’s Gekiga exhibition, which begins on September 23rd, and will be available online at the Breakdown Press store shortly after.

I'm not familiar with Matusmoto's work -- I believe this is actually the first of his books to be translated into English (his autobiographical Gekiga Fanatics has been translated into a few languages), although you may recall Top Shelf announcing it had licensed Matusmoto's short story collection, Cigarette Girl, back in 2010, with a view to releasing in 2011, although nothing came of it. The SP7 anthology later ran an eight page preview of the same book in 2012, so it appears to be on a back-burner somewhere.

Matsumoto was a significant figure in the gekiga movement, along with Yoshihiro Tatsumi, which bought more realism to manga at the time, dealing with (in Tatsumi's case) social issues, for example, the lot and treatment of the working class, and I'm interested to see where Mastumoto's work fits on that spectrum.

It's fantastic, too, to see Breakdown quietly forge forward. The publisher has got upcoming books with two of my favorite cartoonists, Lala Albert and Ines Estrada, this year alone. I only wish it would do a little more in regards to press, so that more people were aware of the great work it's doing in publishing a range of excellent comics.

Here's a hot tip just for you if you're curious: start with Connor Willumsen's Treasure Island books. There'll be no going back.

You can find the Breakdown Press site here, and also on Twitter here.



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