summit_of_the_gods_vol1The Summit of the Gods vol. 1 (of 5)
by Yumemakura Baku and Jiro Taniguchi
328 pages, $25.00
Coming this fall from Fanfare UK

85 years ago today, on JUNE 8, 1924 at 12.50pm, was the last time that George Herbert Leigh Mallory and his companion Andrew Irvine were seen alive. They were observed by the expedition geologist, Noel Odell, when the clouds parted briefly and allowed him a vision of the summit ridge and final peak of Mount Everest with the two tiny black specks moving towards the summit. Then the scene vanished and became enveloped in clouds once more. They never returned. There has been much speculation as to whether they ever reached the summit and were on their way down when disaster struck.

Almost seventy years later in 1993, with Mallory’s body still undiscovered on the mountain, a Japanese expedition photographer, Makoto Fukamachi, stumbles across a 1920′s Kodak camera in a Kathmandu bazaar which sparks a whole series of questions with few answers.

The Summit of the Gods is an epic story of man and his personal conquests against his own limitations. No mountain is too high, no peak too distant in his pursuit of this passion for achievement.

But Taniguchi’s realistic art and Baku’s tireless script will take you to such heights that mountaineers only dream about!

- Winner “Best Art” Award at Angouleme Festival, France (2005)
- Winner “Excellence Prize Manga Division” at Japanese Ministry of Culture’s Media Arts Festival (2001)
- George Mallory’s body is discovered on Everest’s North Face minus his Kodak (1999)
- Original novel, Kamigami no Itadaki, winner of the prestigious 11th Shibata Renzaburo Award (1998)

It’s funny this was in my inbox this morning, as it was just this past weekend that I finished a previous release by Fanfare of Jiro Taniguchi’s work, The Ice Wanderer. A collection of nature-themed stories, including a few adaptations of the work of Jack London (Call of the Wild), The Ice Wanderer didn’t grab me on release the same way that other Taniguchi works have. I’m not much for the sort of man vs. nature, explorers and burly man stories, and so the prospect of reading manga versions of the same–even by one of my favourite mangaka!–was less than thrilling. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the volume, enjoying the material I thought wasn’t to my taste, and loving the non-nature stories of first love and a lonely mangaka that were also included. It’s a great release, and if you can find it I recommend it.

Before this weekend my excitement over Summit of the Gods was at a low ebb, after having read The Ice Wanderer I’m definitely on board now… Though I have to admit my real enthusiasm is for another Taniguchi work that’s on the way, A Distant Neighborhood. I’ve been waiting for this one in English since we first received the (beautiful) French edition years ago, just after I started working at The Beguiling actually.

What I guess I’m saying is that we have an embarassment of riches for the next 6 months when it comes to great manga, go out and buy it so we get even more.

- Christopher


2 Comments on “A Special Note From Fanfare, re: Jiro Taniguchi”

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  1. Dominic Bugatto says:

    I recently finished reading Taniguchi’s ‘The Quest For The Missing Girl’ , which I found an enjoyable read. Similiarly , there’s a mountain climber as the main protagonist.

    A great character study.

    Worth checking out if you haven’t read it yet.

  2. Myk says:

    Jiro Taniguchi is quite possibly one of my favorite manga auteurs right now. I think it´d be a split between him and Naoki Urasawa, if I HAD to name names.

    Taniguchi, while not as playful with genre and not as masterful at character juggling, brings an unabashed seriousness and uncompromising melodrama to the game that I find it hard to resist.

    And while A Distant Neighborhood might be great, Chichi no Koyomi and Hare Yuku Sora are even better.

    Yes, for once we´re ahead over here in Germany as we currently have to publishers releasing Taniguchi books left and right.

    Hare Yuku Sora – and I´ve yelled that into my Twitter account time and again – is one of the best books I´ve read so far this year. It might be a bit too much at times – I know of one person who returned all his Taniguchi books to the store after reading this – but those are heartless people. THIS is the first comic book that made me cry.

    Summit Of The Gods – for whatever that´s worth – was #2 on my Best of 2007 list.

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