From the stack: Manga: The Complete Guide

As Chris Butcher noted, there’s a whole lot of manga shipping every week. (Okay, so The Beguiling isn’t exactly representative of the average comic shop or even chain bookstore. It used to be the only place in North America where you could order books from Fanfare/Ponent Mon online.) Still, it’s a crowded field, and it never hurts to have a reference.

So what a handy coincidence that today marks the arrival of the eagerly anticipated, slightly delayed, wonderfully useful and readable Manga: The Complete Guide by Jason Thompson (Del Rey). Thompson and some colleagues have assembled a staggering number of reviews of basically every Japanese comic available in English at the time of publication. They’re well-written, succinct, and provide a clear sense of what the title has to offer (or what it fails to deliver).

Beyond that, there are informative pieces on different categories and genres, discussion of the history of manga, and profiles of some of its greatest creators. If Paul Gravett’s Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics is the ultimate introduction to the category (and I think it is), The Complete Guide is the ultimate user’s manual. It’s something that every library could use (and stock on its reference shelf), and it would be a great resource for retailers who want to start stocking more manga but may not know where to start.

It’s also terrific for fans. Aside from making me feel shockingly behind in my reading, it’s provided a potentially financially devastating number of additions to my “to read” list, which wasn’t exactly anemic to begin with. And it’s just plain fun to read. (The only thing I might have added is an appendix that listed books by rating, so that all of the four-star books were name-checked in one place.)

I’ve collected links to interviews, reviews and previews of the book after the jump. If I missed yours, just let me know in comments or via e-mail, and I’ll be happy to add it.

Interviews with Jason Thompson:

  • Flipped
  • PWCW
  • Comics in the Classroom
  • The Comics Journal
  • MangaCast
  • Patrick Macias
  • Reviews of the book:

  • Ferdinand at Prospero’s Manga
  • John T. at Mecha Mecha Media
  • Readilbert at MangaCast
  • Matt Blind at Comicsnob
  • Katherine Dacey-Tsuei at Manga Recon
  • Carlo Santos at Anime News Network
  • Steve Raiteri at The Library Journal
  • Kevin Melrose at Blog@Newsarama
  • Erin F. at Manga Recon
  • Julie at Manga Maniac Cafe
  • Other links:

  • Jason Thompson on “Best Worst Manga” (Part One)
  • Thompson on “Best Worst Manga” (Part Two)
  • Thompson on “Top Ten Manga for Newbies”
  • Otaku USA, Thompson’s regular gig
  • Thompson explains the super-hero/shônen connection at Blog@Newsarama
  • 6 Responses to From the stack: Manga: The Complete Guide

    1. Erin Finnegan will be posting a much longer write-up of the Thompson book at the end of the week that will be a lot more informative than my two-sentence plug. I’ll send you the link when it’s up. Thanks for doing this–I hope librarians and retailers follow your advice and buy themselves copies!

    2. davidpwelsh says:

      Great! I’m looking forward to seeing Erin’s take on it.

    3. [...] David Welsh is spot-on when he describes Manga: The Complete Guide as “the ultimate user’s manual”: It’s an ideal resource for librarians, retailers, reviewers, and manga readers — both longtime and new. I’d also recommend it to parents who want to know more about what their children are reading. Little Lulu, Vol. 17: The Valentine trade paperback Little Lulu, Vol. 17Chris: With Dark Horse putting out these collections and the Harvey Comics volumes, there really is no reason to complain that there aren’t any comics for kids anymore. [...]

    4. [...] Tokyopop, Top Shelf, Viz, Yen Press — davidpwelsh @ 4:30 am Just because Jason Thompson’s Manga: The Complete Guide (Del Rey) is clearly the must-buy item on this week’s ComicList doesn’t mean it’s the only [...]

    5. [...] David Welsh on Jason Thompson’s Manga: The Complete Guide. Elsewhere, Welsh catches up with later volumes [...]

    6. John T says:

      Sometimes when I gush about a book I fear I will be the only one, but I felt pretty confident that MANGA: THE COMPLETE GUIDE would get the respect it deserves, and am glad that is coming true.

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