Hagio Moto’s The Poe Clan: graphic novelty

The twilight zone …

An ambiguous bromance between teen vampire boys sounds a bit like Twilight slash fiction. However, Hagio Moto’s manga classic The Poe Clan predated the YA craze for pretty bloodsuckers by three decades.

Someone you really love …

Its first issue in 1972 opened in 19th-century England and featured brother-and-sister vampires Edgar and Marybelle Poe and their friend Allan Twilight. When Marybelle died, her love for Allan became Edgar’s. It established Moto at the forefront of a new “boys’ love” genre for female manga readers.

Blood and roses …

The fanged aesthetes with ornate hair and floral clothes chime with the late-19th-century craze for Japanese design. Alphonse Mucha’s decadent posters and Aubrey Beardsley’s libidinal line, both influenced by Japanese woodblock prints, come to mind.

Beautiful boy …

Moto had been introduced to gay magazines but it was seeing the 1964 French film Les Amitiés Particulières, a love story set in a Catholic boys’ school, that suggested the subject’s potential for beauty and tragedy.

Hagio Moto’s The Poe Clan

Included in Manga, British Museum, WC1, to 26 August


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