Building Towards Balance: Should You Be Reading ‘Days of the Dam’?
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
Days of the Dam isn't hung up on elaborate linework or extravagant character design. In the first two available chapters, it ponders heroism and interpersonal management, and raises some of the ennui that going relentlessly with the flow visits upon our real lives.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
A young father leaves his family to begin on-site living at the construction site of the dam he's building. Civil engineering: it's a life of quiet heroism and social pause, apparently. Grappling with his importance to his wife, daughter and son, as opposed to his responsibility to the wider community, Oinuma seems to see his life, his self as disappointingly unrecognised. Is fatherhood something you can win or lose at? What about your dreams for your own career? How do you value each; do they endanger each other? If you took our advice and met Space Brothers' Kenji, you might find this title an interesting comparative read.
WHO’S IT BY?
Shoichi Haga! Not a well-known name, with his amateur/debut title Inchiki-kun not available translated, a short or two likewise unimported, and only two translated chapters of Days of the Dam released so far. Unusually, he works office-bound with the Cork Agency --- who have an English-language twitter account, prop tip --- and he runs manga workshops in Shibuya, as seen in this toco toco video. You can have him draw your portrait if you like!
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Stories about the work/life balance, especially regarding parenthood, are fascinating. They can build or soothe fears, provide maps, or reflect dominant, normative narratives in ways that help us locate the loopholes and the moth holes. Fiction about men regaining a friendship lost in childhood aren't necessarily common, and there's a charming, stumbling tenderness to Oinuma's on-the-job reunion with his rowdy schoolfriend Kiji that adds some juice to a comic that's otherwise focused on "a normal man, who goes to work". It's characters' regularity makes it irregular, in the western market.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Dads, and people who like them. People struggling with the demands of their jobs, their place. People new to comics, not sure how to follow the panels --- Haga's work is very clear, very fluid.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?
Days of the Dam is being serialized in English on Crunchyroll.