I spent tonight diving into my own personal archives (by which I mean piles of old stuff) to research a potentially epic-length entry involving childhood memories, games, and psychological damage. A particular magazine box proved to contain only one of two items relevant to the search, but I stumbled across a small stack of posters I forgot I owned. I flip through a few of them and, lo and behold, find myself staring at a beauteous work of art by the Hayao Miyazaki, nearly the entire length of our card table.
I don’t remember owning this, but here it is.
Once upon a time, our local comic book shops used to give out free posters to customers, usually promotional pieces from various publishers. Also once upon a time, a small cadre of companies translated and reprinted Japanese manga for the American market in our standard 32-page monthly format. Not until the 1990s did the smaller paperback format (what we once called “digest-sized”) become the norm and all the rage.
This poster, then, was an ad for Viz Media’s forthcoming 1988 presentation of Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, written and illustrated by Miyazaki and serialized in his homeland from 1982 to 1994. Though he’d worked as an animator since the 1960s, for a time he plied his wares in paper form, quite some time before he went on to form his own animation studio. Years later Nausicaä made its way to our comic shops.
I didn’t immediately catch the manga wave, but I accepted any and every freebie my LCS owners handed me. Some freebies went straight to File 13; some were tucked away on a whim, held onto for decades, and probably forgotten mere hours after their acquisition. Well, until now. In the ’80s I didn’t know Miyazaki from Michelangelo. My introduction to his skills was 1997’s Spirited Away. So this unexpected souvenir was officially ahead of its time.
I imagine more surprises lay in store in my various containers. More to come, quite possibly, while my next overlong memoir is in progress…