Big Comic » 1243 issues

    Volume » Published by Shogakukan. Started in 1968.

    Short summary describing this volume.

    Big Comic last edited by lowercase on 07/18/23 09:28PM View full history

    Proper Japanese Title: ビッグコミック

    Big Comic began publication in 1968 as one of the most mainstream and long-lasting magazines of the gekiga era with the early covers billing it as "Comics for Men". Originally a monthly magazine but switching to its current twice-a-month release schedule in 1969, the first years of the magazine more closely resembled its peers (Play Comic, Weekly Manga Action, Young Comic) in having a dedicated and distinctive cover artist. In 1970, the cover artist (Isaka Yoshitarō) died and the magazine abruptly changed its style to covers depicting caricatures of in-the-moment public figures and pop culture characters which it has continued to use ever since. The caricatures have included actors, athletes, musicians, mangaka and politicians from both Japan and abroad; with very few instances of the cover features directly relating to the magazine contents.

    Big Comic built itself in the 60's and 70's around a stable line-up of often incredibly prolific and influential veterans of the industry. Most of them actively published in other magazines but Big Comic became one of their most consistent magazines to work in and several remained actively publishing in it for decades until their death, for a few it was their primary place to publish new work for their entire late career. These early authors included Takao Saito, Shotaro Ishinomori, Osamu Tezuka, Chiba Tetsuya, Sanpei Shirato, Mikiya Mochizuki and Toru Shinohara. Over the decades it has significantly increased its line-up of ongoing serializations and brought in many more authors but generally authors new to the magazine are already established veterans with some decades into their career before their years/decades with Big Comic (Fujihiko Hosono, Tsuyoshi Nakaima, Yukinobu Hoshino, Kaiji Kawaguchi, Go Nagai, Kei Sadayasu, Kenichirō Takai, Hidenori Hara, Tsutomu Takahashi).

    It has had multiple decades-long serializations but by far its longest and best-selling is Golgo 13 which has appeared in nearly every issue of the magazine's history. The series began in 1969 but its author Saito appeared with a different series in all the issues before that and per his wishes, the franchise has continued on after his death with his production studio taking over fully. Other major serializations from mainstay authors include Shirato's Kamui, Ishinomori's Sabu to Ichi and Hotel, Hoshino's Munakata, Kawaguchi's Kubo Ibuki, Aoyagi's Ipponzuri, Ishizuka's Blue Giant, Hayashi and Takai's Yamaguchi Roppeita, Chiba's Notari Matsutaro, Nakaima's Ogon no Rough and Tezuka's Chikyū wo Nomu, Kirihito Sanka, Ayako, Barbara, MW, I.L, Shumari and Hidamari no Ki.

    Big Comic's oldest spin-off magazine is Big Comic Zōkan which has come to have its own line-up of serializations but still continues to have more explicit ties to Big Comic proper such as unique Golgo 13 chapters or the Golgo 13 Spinoff Series. But the Big Comic franchise itself has become one of Shogakukan's largest manga libraries and has included magazines like Big Comic Original (which started as a monthly zokan magazine, as seen here), Big Comic Spirits, Big Comic Superior, Shonen Big Comic (1979-1987), and Big Comic for Lady (1981-1990).


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