Kidd, Chip; Kolbeins, Graham; and Ishi, Anne, eds. Massive: Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It. Fantagraphics Books. 2014. $35.00. 280 pages. PB. 9781606997857.
Massive: Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It is a non-fiction survey of nine different Japanese artists who create Gei Manga or gay Japanese comics where, in this case, the male bodies are large and beefy, either chubs or muscular. Each artist profile includes an interview, a critique, and samples of art. The nine artists included are Gengoroh Tagame, Inu Yoshi, Kumada Poohsuke, Takeshi Matsu, Jiraiya, Gai Mizuki, Fumi Miyabi, Seizoh Ebisubasi, and Kazuhide Ichikawa. The book is heavily illustrated with black and white as well as color drawings and photographs.
While Massive is written in English, it is (in Japanese fashion) printed from right to left and meant to be read starting in the upper, right-panel of each page. Difficult at first, once the reader gets used to this arrangement, it is easy to follow. The book also includes an illustrated time-line running from 1687 to 2014 of “A brief history of male-male sexuality in Japanese culture” as well as a one-page bibliography of the contributors’ websites.
Massive is recommended for three types of readers: those who enjoy gay comics such as Stripped or the work of Howard Cruise; those who like Japanese manga, especially, shonan-ai (boys love) or yaoi (sexually-explicit manga); and those appreciate who comics with beefy eroticism.
Scott Sheidlower, Associate Professor, Library
York College/CUNY, Jamaica, NY