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Plate 1.

An opening page from Subterrocean (Daichiteikai, 1950–52). The caption for the street scene tells us, "Our story, like so many other science fiction manga, begins fifty years in the future . . ." COURTESY KOMATSU SAKYÔ.

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Plates 2, 3 and 4.

Cover and three interior pages from Subterrocean (Daichiteikai, 1950–52). At the top of the middle image, Dr. Bourdeaux explains his "Tectonic Manipulator," which can control the movement of the Earth's crust. Originally designed to prevent earthquakes, these machines have been installed in the world's great deserts as part of an elaborate experiment to depress the surface and raise the underlying strata, to eliminate the vast water pocket that exists beneath these deserts. But this subterrocean is inhabited by a tribe called the Demones . . .

In one of the concluding frames, an inky figure introduces himself as "the shadow voice—the author," and tells the reader that the story is at an end. "Can you understand how Kishibe Ichirô could come to do such a horrible thing?" it asks. "Was it his sin? His nature? No. What delivered him into the hands of the devil was the miserable society of the time. He was just one of its poor and oppressed. And what can save people like this? Not the gods, but other people and their love. If we are to live as human beings, we must build a more humane world." COURTESY KOMATSU SAKYÔ.

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Plates 5 and 6.

Front and back cover art for Laboratory No. 5 (Dai go jikkenshitsu, 1950s). COURTESY KOMATSU SAKYÔ.

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Plates 7 and 8.

Cover art and two interior pages from Andromeda, Terror of the Cosmos (Dai uchû no kyôfu Andoromeda, 1950s). In this scene, the villain Dr. Ryuryu self-destructs, leading to the death of the heroine Yurii, who is revealed to be the doctor's creation. "I am a robot controlled by his thoughts," she confesses to the hero. "My electric brain was so finely put together that I started to have feelings. In other words I became a living being—just like a human."

In the following frames, it is announced that Dr. Ryuryu's gravity device has been destroyed, and the Earth is out of danger. "We have been saved," says the speaker. "The crisis has passed, and peace has returned to the earth. You see, ladies and gentlemen, in the face of a trial unlike any we have ever before faced, the patience, the hard work, and the courage of humanity have prevailed, aided by a love that stirred even a machine." COURTESY KOMATSU SAKYÔ.

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Plates 9, 10 and 11.

Title page and opening and concluding pages from Ivan the Fool (Iwan no baka, c. 1950), based on the short story by Leo Tolstoy. The story opens with the reader standing at the entrance to the Demon's Palace, home of the devils who will tempt Ivan and his brothers. "What lurks behind these doors?" the narration asks. "Let us enter together and find out."

The concluding page of the manga paraphrases the final passage of Tolstoy's story. While the demons have capitalized on the greed and bellicosity of Ivan's brothers, they are unable to corrupt Ivan, whose hard work and generosity earn him a kingdom of his own—a place where no one goes hungry if he or she is willing to work. The final panels read: "In Ivan's kingdom, there is one unwritten law: Those with the lily-white hands of the leisured must eat the leavings of others." COURTESY KOMATSU SAKYÔ.

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Plates 12 and 13.

Back and front cover art for Our World (Bokura no chikyû, c. 1950). COURTESY KOMATSU SAKYÔ.

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