The devil is definitely in the details in this award-winning manga that comes highly recommended by Noir Caesar Entertainment's founder himself, Johnny O'Bryant III, and is fervently backed by staff as one of the most poignantly powerful manga presently in existence.
Many instinctively recognize the name Robert Leroy Johnson as belonging to the man who is credited with being The Father Of Blues. Robert was a prophetically gifted Bluesman that old lore states him as having once made a pact with the devil in exchange for the talent he would later become famous for.
What many don't know much of is that of his past, which has long since been mired in such mystery, that only two authenticated photos of him are said to exist, with another's authenticity being called into question as early as November 2017 by the New York Times.
In the award-winning seinen manga, Me and The Devil Blues, creator Hiramoto Akira (also famous for the infamous series, Prison School) creatively fills in the blanks by weaving a dramatic tale that balances a variety of supernatural elements with plenty of psychological horror thrown into the mix.
This loosely-based historical manga (titled after an actual Robert Johnson song by the same name) isn't shy about highlighting what little is truthfully known about Robert Johnson (often referred to as 'R.J' in the manga).
Such as his early love of Blues music, as well as his (perceived) total lack of talent for it:
(All panels read left to right)
His initial grasp on what it takes to master the blues is what leads to the not-so-innocent divulgence of the longstanding legend that would be tied to Robert's legacy, even eighty years after his death:
And as evidenced by both the final panel and history itself, sometime after Robert visits the Crossroads (and subsequently becomes known as the best Bluesman in town) his pregnant wife, sixteen-year-old Virginia, dies in childbirth, taking their unborn child with her.
Robert leaves town, hoping to free himself from the guilt, and seeks solace within the embrace of the same music of which he traded his soul for.
His departure sets off a rapidly-spiraling chain of events that leads to page-clenching plot twists, and unforgettable encounters; all while delivering a narrative that brilliantly blurs the lines between fiction and fact.
The artwork is dark, gritty, and the narration and dialogue between the characters reads as believable (though sometimes exaggerated, as is often the case when portraying Black characters, particularly during this time period).
Me and The Devil Blues is an absolutely haunting series; one that can and should be dutifully added to the ever-growing list of exalted manga featuring Black protagonists---and of course, added to your personal list of manga to read.
(Bonus: Volume one features a very in-depth Afterward written by the renown Takashi "Hotoke" Nagai; one of Japan's most influential blues and jazz musicians. For more information on him and his music, you can check out and purchase his music here!)