Previews review March 2010

There’s plenty of interest in the new Previews catalog, as befits that Hallmark Holiday known as “Manga Month,” so let’s dive right in.

Dark Horse celebrates the month in style, though it passes on the Manga Month logo. Still, they’re releasing the first volume of their omnibus treatment of CLAMP’s beloved Cardcaptor Sakura, and this excites me immoderately. I thought Dark Horse did an absolutely beautiful job with their Clover omnibus, so this qualifies as the month’s “must buy.” (Page 51.)

CMX will release Miku Sakamoto’s Nadeshiko Club, a shôjo series from Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume, which is a well-known crack mine. (Personally, I find series from Hakusensha’s LaLa slightly crack-ier, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.) This one spins out of the possibly sexist premise of a girl getting dumped for being insufficiently feminine and joining her school’s home economics club to girl up. CMX has demonstrated excellent taste in shôjo, so this one goes right on the “to buy” list. Rando thought: Hakusensha’s trade dress is really boring. (Page 126.)

Hey, you like Adam Warren’s Empowered, right? He’s writing a one-shot for Marvel, Galacta: Daughter of Galactus, with interior art by Hector Sevilla Lujan and a cover by Warren. I’ll buy anything from Warren, but this does raise the question: who’s this girl’s mother? I really love Warren’s renderings of Marvel stalwarts from the cover image. (Marvel’s insert, page 31.)

Okay, so maybe Cardcaptor Sakura has some competition for book of the month, as Fanfare/Ponent Mon finally releases Korea as Viewed by 12 Creators. “Twelve insightful short graphic stories into the ‘Hermit Kingdom,’ six by European and six by indigenous creators,” the publisher notes. They’re also offering Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators again, so if you’re sick of hearing people recommend it and not being able to find a copy, now’s your chance. (Page 251.)

I’ve liked some comics written by Kathryn Immonen, and I think Stuart Immonen is a terrific artist. They collaborate to explore a potentially fascinating story in Moving Pictures (Top Shelf): “During World War II the Nazis pillaged much of Europe’s great art collections. Museum curator Ila Gardner and SS officer Rolf Hauptmann are forced by circumstances to play out an awkward and dangerous relationship in a public power struggle.” Sounds like a winner to me. (Page 292.)

Cats and comfort food sound like an extremely promising combination, so I’ll take a chance on the first volume of Kenji Sonishi’s Neko Ramen: Hey! Order Up! (Tokyopop). It’s about a “former kitten model” (an actual kitten, apparently, so be at ease) who leaves celebrity behind to become a ramen cook. The only possible down side to this is that it’s a manga based on an anime, which sometimes has mixed results. (Page 297.)

I don’t actually think Kumiko Suekane’s Afterschool Charisma is a good comic, but I find it addictively ridiculous. Viz has been serializing the tale of clones of famous historical figures on its SigIKKI site, and now it’s releasing a print version. It’s probably worth the price of purchase just for the thrill of watching the clone of Sigmund Freud torment his classmates. “Daddy. Daddy. Daddy!” (Page 303.)

You all already known how awesome librarians are, right? But did you know that there’s an action-packed shôjo manga that celebrates that awesomeness? It’s Kiiro Yumi’s Library Wars: Love and War, original concept by Hiro Arikawa, and Viz will release the first volume: “In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves – the Library Forces!” SOLD. This is an example of the crack-iness of Hakusensha’s LaLa anthology. See what I mean about the trade dress? (Page 305.)

If Cardcaptor Sakura isn’t quite enough CLAMP for you, Yen Press accommodates with the first two volumes of the super-group’s Kobato. It’s about a girl who tries to have a wish granted by mending the wounded hearts of people she meets and “fill a magical bottle with the suffering she has relieved.” This sounds like the kind of CLAMP manga that can be injected directly into a vein. (Page 308.)

Oh, and that Twilight graphic novel is due. (Page 309.)

And there are plenty of new volumes of noteworthy series:

  • 20th Century Boys vol. 9, written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, Viz, page 303
  • Black Jack vol. 11, written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka, Vertical, page 300
  • Children of the Sea vol. 3, written and illustrated by Daisuke Igarashi, Viz, page 303
  • Detroit Metal City vol. 5, written and illustrated by Kiminori Wakasugi, page 303
  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service vol. 11, written by Eiji Otsuka, illustrated by Housui Yamazaki, Dark Horse, page 53
  • Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture vol. 2, written and illustrated by Masayuki Ishikawa, Del Rey, page 244
  • One Piece vols. 49-53, written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda, Viz, page 305
  • 12 Responses to Previews review March 2010

    1. Judi says:

      Ah, I’m sad to think the you don’t find Afterschool Charisma to be a good manga. I’m apeshit for it and really admire this storyline. Yes, Siggy is the best. Maybe it’s just cracktastic to me. I’ll take it over kittens any day. Guess I’ve gone to the dark side,

    2. davidpwelsh says:

      Oh, I think it’s compulsive reading. I just think it’s completely over-the-top.

    3. lys says:

      I sort of think that Hana to Yume books’ design appeals to a certain sense of nostalgia for the imprint. They’ve used that same layout since 1975 with only minor recent changes—around the mid-2000s a lot of the illustrations started to burst out of the inside square, which has allowed the artists/designers to get more creative and create more exciting looking illustrations—and it is kind of fascinating to look over the covers from over three decades and see the how the art styles have changed, with the consistent layout serving as a framework for the comparisons. Way back when, Ribon and Margaret books (and many others, I believe) used a similar format, but they’ve mostly all modernized (only a couple years ago, Margaret manga phased out the diamond-pattern that once adorned the top of every volume. I didn’t grow up with the books, but I felt a little pang of loss even so).

      So yeah, I agree that it’s boring and not particularly attractive from a design perspective, but if you’re building on the history of Hana to Yume Shoujo Manga over the past 36 years, maybe it serves some purpose. Those red and blue stripes and blocky title format are iconic, in their own way. (I know you don’t care for Otomen, but this tribute to Glass Mask is just wonderful to me; it works so well because the combination of the format and the illustration immediately bring the original to mind.)

      (yes, this is something I have thought about a fair amount. heh.)

    4. lys says:

      (for comparison, the original Glass Mask 1 cover.)

    5. davidpwelsh says:

      Lys, that’s an excellent argument for that kind of visual branding. And I admit, it would make it easy to find Hakusensha crack.

      Still… not heart-stopping design. ;-)

    6. I’m not entirely sure how you found that Neko Ramen article, but I’m glad you’re looking forward to it.

    7. [...] I mentioned yesterday that Fanfare/Ponent Mon is re-offering Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators in the new Previews catalog, [...]

    8. Ephidel says:

      Heh, even ignoring the trade dress, this post was an example of more than one dodgy cover design.
      That cardcaptor sakura collection looks so lifeless… I don’t know if its the layout colour or the font or the combination of them. And that moyasimon book looks like it wants to burn out peoples eyes.

      It won’t stop me buying either of them, mind you.
      The fact I already own the first six books of CCS twice over from the two sets of tokyopop releases might though :\

    9. [...] Welsh previews the March Previews, picking out June’s best new releases… Sean Gaffney jumps on the license request [...]

    10. The book I am most excited to see here is Library Wars! I discovered the existence of this accidentally a while ago and to see an English version is beyond exciting. (Mainly, I’m a librarian so anything like this is a “must read” for me).

      As to the covers, the CCS is simplistic and I think fitting for an omnibus. I also suspect that the cover will grab those who all ready own at least one set from ages ago, new readers, or people with an inner teen going “OOOU” (Almost me).

    11. [...] Welsh looks at some new and re-offered manga from the March Previews at The Manga [...]

    12. I adored Nadeshiko Club, but the end ruined it for me. The premise could be sexist, but the author handles it well. Unfortunately, there’s a twist in the last volume that just destroyed all the previous careful handling…

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