See that book over there, to the right? That’s A Drifting Life, the memoir of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, the manga-ka responsible for the short, emotional, sometimes quite disturbing slice of life stories that Drawn and Quarterly published in the collections The Push Man and Other Stories, Abandon the Old in Tokyo and Good-bye. It was eleven years in the making, and covers fifteen years in the life of a Tatsumi stand-in character.
Because of how well those previous collections were received in the states, as well as the important role Tatsumi played in the development of manga (and thus world comics as a whole) and the overall quality of A Drifting Life, it was almost certainly the biggest release of this past new comics day.
And, at 856-pages long, it’s also the biggest release of this past new comics day. Seriously, this is a very large comic book. While it’s only about eight-and-a-half-inches by sixe-and-a-half-inches tall and wide, the spine is two inches across. It is a thick book.
Given enough copies and some mortar, you could build a sturdy brick wall out of copies of it. You could throw it through the a glass display window during a riot to loot a store. You could lay it on the gas pedal of a car that you wanted to drive into a lake or off a cliff without being in the car.
In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a comic book this thick. I kind of wish I had a copy of Vertical’s 2006 release of Osamu Tezuka’s Ode To Kirihito in my apartment, as that might have been in the same neighborhood, but unfortunately I don’t. Let’s see how A Drifting Life stacks up to what thick books I do have lying around though, after the jump.
There’s A Drifting Life atop Showcase Presents: Justice League of America Vol. 4. SP:JLAv4 may have a much longer title, but it looks positively slim next to Tatsumi’s work. It’ s not even half the size, which seems remarkable, since I so often hear Showcases and Essentials referred to as “bricks.”
And speaking of Essentials, the Mighty Marvel’s macabre Man-Thing is no match for A Drifting Life either. The first volume of Essential Man-Thing is only slightly thicker than the Showcase is. Let’s see…I’ve got some more phonebook-style trades around here…
Neither Cerebus Vol. 2: High Society nor From Hell is in A Drifting Life’s weight class. Although if you put them both together, they at least equal the size of it, as they are both one-inch thick.
Now John Porcellino’s King-Cat Classix, also published by Drawn and Quarterly is close, but at one-and-a-half-inches wide still isn’t quite there. The closest I can come with a comic book is Fantagraphics’ Dennis The Menace reprints; they seem to be just about two-inches wide as well. Well, if comic books can’t compete, surely I have a book-book here that is wider.
Not my dictionary , that’s for sure. (For you younger readers, they used to publish dictionaries on paper as books, before computers and the Internet made them useless for anything other than flattening out wrinkled sheets of paper and holding doors open). I’ve got a Bible here too, and those are usually reliable for being big books, but the one I have is actually a small paperback one from college; it’s not even an inch wide.
Ah-ha! The Complete Works of Shakespeare is two-and-a-half-inches wide! Take than, A Drifting Life! It just goes to show that no matter how big a book may be, there’s always a bigger one.
This concludes this extremely important post about A Drifting Life. Join me next time for a post about the height and width of Kramer’s Ergot 7. Provided I can find a yard stick or tape measure around here.