On Being Alone with Manga Art

Manga mural art in Tokyo, 2019

When you live in a large city such as New York City, more often than not, you feel disconnected. A lot of people move fast to deal with their own lives while leaving many things behind. Not many people say hi to each other in a comforting manner. I recently got through a book about a woman’s perspective on dealing with loneliness in major cities. What was great about this book was her focus on certain well-known artists and learning from their works to combat loneliness.

The book left me thinking about how much looking at manga art over the years has helped or not helped any fans that feel isolated from the rest of the world.

The book was called The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone” by Olivia Laing. Laing wrote about living in NYC while she was in her thirties. She described her time there to be very lonely, but found solace in exploring the city via art. Laing spoke about very notable artists (Andy Warhol was her first big mention) that went through loneliness in their lives and somehow tried to communicate their experiences through their works. In a way, art helped Laing process her own loneliness for the better.

Reading the book made me think about my own experiences seeing manga art throughout my years of being a fan. I thought about some of the manga art exhibitions I visited. There was a part in Liang’s book where she talks about one artist by the name of Henry Darger and his drawings of young naked girls who lead hyper-violent men in a civil war that sounds like a dark fantasy. The first thing that came to my mind was Kentaro Miura’s Berserk.

I once remember browsing through …continue reading