Waiting on the Trade Reviews The Way of the Househusband

Last Christmas, I gave the Waiting on the Trade crew a gift: The first volume of Kousuke Oono’s The Way of the Househusband. I also bought a copy for myself, and I loved it, and I wanted to see if my friends loved it as much as I did.

So, I made them write about it. (I wanted to do a group audio discussion, but if you’ve ever tried to organize one of those across international time zones, you probably understand why we didn’t do that.) Below, you’ll find our crew’s thoughts on the hilarity that is The Way of the Househusband. I asked everyone to talk about their favorite moments; most everyone picked different ones. That, more than anything, should tell you how genuinely funny and touching The Way of the Househusband is.

I’m now going to shut up, and leave you in the hands of your capable guest writers:

Kat Prince

(Co-host for Hitman: A Rage in Arkham, Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness, Barrier, Seconds)

Comics are tricky to dissect – how do you choose a favorite part? By the technical skill of the artist, the flow of the action, or the context within the story? If I were to choose a favorite spread or panel on the merits of the art alone, I would have to pick literally anything that has a cat in it. Because I am so very charmed by how this artist draws cats.

However, one of my favorite pages in the first volume of The Way of the Househusband is the one where Tatsu cooks hamburgers for the traveling salesman.

Is there anything that is more awkward than a traveling salesman? It surely takes a certain shamelessness that could be mistaken for bravery to pursue a career that brings you into the homes of people that do not know you, where you make them uncomfortable but they bear your presence nonetheless because they are citizens of polite society. I’ve never cared for extractive social interactions like this, where conversation is merely a formality disguising an end goal (give me your money or get out of my house) and nothing more. And even though the era of the traveling salesman is waning, people continue to endure extractive interactions all the time: networking at a business conference, for example, or answering the grocery clerk’s ‘How are you?’ with your own recitation of an acceptable American response like ‘Fine-thanks-how-are-you?’ so they can get on with scanning your items because neither of you really cares how the other one is doing.

How refreshing, then, to veer off into the unknown by taking the knife salesman’s wares and using them to cook him lunch! I find this page rather inspiring – maybe all it takes to change an extractive social interaction into a meaningful connection is to recognize that your counterpart is human too, and extend some unexpected hospitality.

Plus, the salesguy’s face while he watches Tatsu debone the fish is so funny! Those two panels could easily become a meme.

(Ed’s Note: I tried.)

Callum Smith

(Co-host for Geis: A Matter of Life and Death, The One Hundred Nights of Hero, and My Love Story!!, author of The Unheimlich-y X-Men)

This is my favourite page from Way of the Househusband

I think it encapsulates what I love about the series. Tatsu’s totally earnest love for his wife is deeply dorky without being directly ridiculed. He’s not lesser because of his love for her, or for the things that it makes him do, but we still get to enjoy how silly his expressions of this love can be. Also, she heard you the first time Tatsu!

Jono Gurney

(Co-host for The Private Eye, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie, DIE)

It was tough to choose a chapter that I felt best encapsulated my enjoyment of The Way of the Househusband. That sounds cliched, but I prefer to think of it as an endorsement of the wholesome humour that defines the series. With that said, Chapter 7 was my choice for this review.

In the first panel of Chapter 7, we are introduced to neighbourhood boy Ryota. The art does a fantastic job of clueing us into the kind of character Ryota is – his downcast, half-lidded eyes give him a serious expression and his body language beautifully conveys his shyness.   

This seriousness contrasts nicely with the earnestness that Tatsu exudes as he tries to forge a connection with Ryota. The art, again, does a tremendous job of adding Tatsu’s unique flair to what should be fairly innocuous questions.

After failing to bond with Ryota over the kind of gambling games you can imagine being played in smoke filled dens of iniquity, Tatsu doesn’t take the path of least resistance. At no point does he berate Ryota or insist that these are “manly” pursuits, and that the boy should enjoy them. Instead, he somewhat sorrowfully expresses that Miku would have done a better job.

Enter Cobalt Police – a nice callback – and art that manages to capture the clumsy enthusiasm of youth. Vale Cobalt Police. Tatsu does not use this an opportunity to scold Ryota, though. Rather, when his order for Cobalt Police to pull itself together fails, he falls back on the skills he was taught when he was (hopefully) slightly older than Ryota.

The two do eventually bond over the shallow grave of a poseable action figure. This is just in time for Miku to arrive and serve up the final laugh of the chapter – a single frame of her brandishing super glue.

10/10 – would gladly get in a car with Tatsu if he offered me sweets.

Andreas Hager

(Developer of Mazebert TD, friend of the podcast)

This is Karo’s (Ed’s Note: Andy’s fiancee) and my favorite scene. The pages before and after are equally great though! The kid breaking the puppet and our faithful househusband helping to cover up the tracks. And finally, the super glue brought by his wife.

Also! We watched the anime of this on Netflix and had a blast, too!

Patrick FitzGerald-Fleck

(My forever co-host, I will never let him leave)

My favorite part of the first volume of The Way of the Househusband has to be Chapter 6. The whole chapter is great, but the first few pages really exemplify how Kousuke Oono struck comedic gold.

We open on Tatsu cleaning a mysteriously dirtied blade and answering a call informing him that “the big boss” is on their way. In order to finish the job in time he has to rely on some new muscle. But first, they need to prove themselves.

This opening could easily be a flashback to Tatsu’s time as the yakuza’s Immortal Dragon. He’s in the middle of dismembering a body and needs the assistance of some new recruit to finish up before the boss gets there. Kousuke’s use of shadows and dramatic angles really sells the tension as Tatsu grabs his sheathed katana and menacingly leans over the newbie. Then … he presses the power button on the roomba.

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