Nostalgia is a powerful force and it can even hold sway on us with stories we’ve never seen before. YouTube is currently replete with compilations of 1980s Japanese City Pop set to clips of Urusei Yatsura and City Hunter to the delight of people that weren’t even zygotes when this stuff was out. But the easy breezy melodies combined with the intoxicating intermingling of neons and pastels captivates people and wraps them in a warm blanket of alto saxes. Sazan & Comet Girlby YurikoAkase and published bySeven Seas Entertainment, goes for this same sort of pseudo-nostalgia, but in comic form.
First published in the US in 1976, the magazine Starlog was conceived by Norm Jacobs and Kerry O’Quinn initially as a Star Trek centric magazine, but became an all encompassing look into the burgeoning world of science fiction a scant year before the release of Star Wars. 1976 was the year before Star Wars would hit the big screen in the US, which Starlog was primed to take advantage of. American sci-fi films seemed poised to take over the world, but Japan was also voraciously consuming scifi (or SF for speculative fiction) for decades. Japanese magazines and fanzines on science fiction go as far back as 1957’s Uchujin.
Peach Momoko is an artist that has been steadily gaining acclaim for her covers and illustrations that have been used by DC, IDW, Marvel Comics and Magnetic Press. These covers have become highly coveted by collectors and have sent the artist from Japan to tour the United States convention circuit (until Covid put a stop to all that). Her soft pastels, and use of heavy inks give her covers a cute and dreamlike feel, and her convention commissions are often chibi versions of popular American comic characters. Though these illustrations of Harley Quinn, Batgirl, and Spider Woman belie a more sinister world she is constructing within her comics.
Jean Giraud (1938 - 2012), also known as Moebius, took the comics and science fiction medium to new heights. Arzach, The World of Edena, and The Incal reverberated beyond just the medium of comics and affected film, animation, and art. Combining simplistic characters with other worldly details, Moebius’ work traveled from France to the US thanks to the comics anthology Heavy Metal, while his work had already spread across Europe, but what about Japan? In this article we'll be looking at how Moebius' work made it's way to Japan and influenced some of the biggest names in anime and manga there.