23 Feb / 20th Century Boys (vol. 19) by Naoki Urasawa, with the cooperation of Takashi Nagasaki, English adaptation by Akemi Wegmüller
Fast track north to the guitar-slinging stranger who calls himself Yabuki Joe who’s sharing fresh grilled fish riverside with police officer Chono. The pair end up in a bustling border town where the Kanto Army fortress looms and the great wall separates Tokyo from the rest of the world. The only way to get through the checkpoint is with a transit pass … but attempting to cross with a fake will get you killed.
Yabuki Joe and Chono get noticed by the border’s resident tough-guy cowboy named Ichi the Spade who introduces the twosome to a talented manga artist. Not only is he the forger who created the one transit pass that passed, but this manga-maker also turns out to be an old neighbor of Kanna’s.
While Yabuki Joe convinces him to start cranking out those passes (and promising him that manga can change the world), Ichi sells Chono back to the police. Not only does Yabuki Joe need to get those gates open for 200 anxious border refugees, but now he’s got some rescuing to do.
In the fortress awaits a decades-old trap of “pure evil” for our guitar hero. “It’s hard being evil. It’s a lot easier being the good guy,” our defender of justice intones.
Winner of the Eisner Award (the Oscar of comics) for Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia in 2011, 20th Century Boys remains an addictive favorite even after 19 volumes. A mere three more are forthcoming, and already I’m missing the rowdy gang. Surely I’ll be humming my made-up version of “guta-rara … suda-rara” for many sleepless nights to come!
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2012 (United States)
20 SEIKI SHONEN © Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc.