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I'm curious when you say that Mad Bull 34 is so outrageous it could only be published in Japan 30 years ago; it sounds to me, from your description, an awful lot like y'alls favorite cartoonist Ben Marra, or Fantagraphics' new acquisition Jason Karns. But admittedly I have read none of the 3! So perhaps you could illuminate where you see the differences (perhaps that Karns and Marra operate in an "alt" or "indy" environment as opposed to a "mainstream" one?).

That is part of it - or, maybe the whole of it, since "indy" vs. "mainstream" is a multifaceted thing. First, there's the issue of accessibility - Fukitor, despite its recent adoption, is still a fringe item with a triple-digit print run that Fantagraphics isn't even planning to distribute to the vast majority of comic book stores or, apparently, any big box bookstores, while Marra continues to self-publish the great majority of his work. In contrast, Young Jump is a 600,000+ circulation magazine (undoubtedly into seven figures back when Mad Bull was a going concern) that releases every week, through average distribution channels, via the same publisher as Dragon Ball. This is like if Fukitor came out at the same rate as Spider-Man, and enjoyed similar (if probably not *equal*) visibility.

Like - I'm not just talking about content here. I'm talking about the prominence with which the content was made available, and the company it would inevitably share.

Second, there's the issue of tone. Fukitor adopts a sort of John Kricfalusi half-parodic, half-indulgent pose, always remaining keenly aware of the 'outrageous' legacy it aims to share with earlier shock comics dating back to EC in the '50s. Marra is not quite so openly nostalgic, I don't think, but he does tend to operate in a mode that emphasizes intensity and conviction through imperfect rendering, 'bad' dialogue, disrepute, etc. - specifically definable traits used to access an of-the-moment feel.

Mad Bull is also pretty knowingly outrageous, and not a little parodic, but it communicates entirely in a present-tense jocular action comics vernacular. Noriyoshi Inoue didn't draw Fist of the North Star, but *could* have. The action scenes are very directly, even laboriously exciting, and lots of drawings are meant to turn you on. When there is rape in Mad Bull, what you hear is "it's okay to masturbate to this, if you want." Even the worst issues of Crossed at least flaunt the pretense of saying something 'dark' about the world; Mad Bull is both risible and sentimental. A "stress-relieving" comic sold like canned tea, but much more direct and sensational and no-looking-away than Japanese comics in that position today, that tonal and accessible position (so, barring actual pornography or small-ish circulation work). That's what I mean by the uniqueness of the series.

Thanks! Very interesting.

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