Great manga links

August 9, 2006

There’s a fascinating piece over at Bill Flanagan’s blog at the Translation Dojo on the rise of the $10, unflipped manga digest:

“From and editorial standpoint, it was a difficult change. Producing pamphlet manga meant that each graphic novel was coming out once every 6 months. A switch to quarterly graphic novels meant that production was doubled.”

Maybe they did teach us how to love. But seriously, go read it. It’s great.

And over at comics.212.net, Chris Butcher brings his inimitable perspective to the yaoi discourse.


Answered prayers?

August 9, 2006

One of the side points in all of the recent talk about yaoi was the timidity of the bulk of titles currently in translation. Where’s all the really sexy stuff?

At the recent Otakon, Digital Manga Publishing, often cited as one of the leading purveyors of the starry-eyed and tepid, gave hope to fans itching for something a little more hardcore. Kai-Ming Cha shared some new details on DMP’s 801 Media imprint in this week’s Publishers Weekly Comics Week (in the paragraph next to a picture of the coolest cosplayers I’ve ever seen):

“801 Media titles will be available only at online retailers, independent bookstores and comics shops. ‘You won’t find [801 Media books] in Borders or Barnes & Noble,’ said Rachel Livingston of DMP’s PR department. Livingston explained that while 801 Media is working with distributors, the books will not have a wide level of distribution because of their explicit content. She added that fans will be able to special order the books through Walden or retail chain stores. ‘We’re letting retailers know we’re not giving them inappropriate material while giving readers what they want and supporting online retailers,’ Livingston said.”

That’s a very interesting approach, and it neatly and preemptively skirts some potential problems. It doesn’t sound like anyone’s going to accidentally stumble across an 801 book. And DMP has done surprisingly well in the Direct Market, just judging by sources like the top 50 manga lists from Comic Book Resources. Every time DMP has new Juné books for readers, you can bet they’ll show up in the top 50 or even crack the top 100 graphic novels roster.

I’m also fascinated (and just a little horrified) by DMP’s other initiative:

“DMP also announced a bishonen (boys’ love) tour organized through Pop Japan, a travel agency owned by DMP that does tours to Japan for American otaku. The junket includes a shopping trip to Tokyo’s Otome Road for boys’ love merchandise and paraphernalia, and will feature a female take on maid cafes, which cater to men–there will be afternoon tea at a ‘butler cafe,’ where attractive young men dressed in traditional butler uniforms wait on the patrons.”

Now that, Tokyopop, is a publisher embracing the manga lifestyle, or at least a niche of it. Will DMP end up marketing a “Fangirls Gone Wild” video produced during the tour?


Yet another great give-away

August 9, 2006

Dave Carter strikes again with another cool contest at Yet Another Comics Blog. It’s multi-level generosity:

“Simply email [Dave] your recommendation of a comic that you think is worthwhile, but that you don’t think that very many people have read. What [Dave would] like to do through this contest is give you all the opportunity to share an undiscovered gem with the rest of the comics Intraweb. Thoughout the next week until the end of the contest on the 15th [he]’ll be posting [t]here on YACB the picks that you send [him].”

Click here for more details.


Sparks, spirits, etc

August 9, 2006

It’s a bit of a slow week in terms of comic shop arrivals, which is fine. I’ve got a huge list of fantasy titles to track down at the library, and I’m ready for some prose.

The ComicList shows the fifth volume of Girl Genius (Airship) coming out this week in both hard- and soft-cover formats. It came to the local comic shop last week, and I loved it a lot. I’m constantly amazed at the Foglios’ ability to pack their stories with new, distinct, and engaging characters in chapter after chapter. That means my favorite cast members might not get as much focus as I’d like, but it also means new favorites are always on the horizon. The Foglios also have a terrific knack for folding exposition into the story in creative ways that are handy for new readers but still entertaining for long-time fans. It’s just great stuff – funny, vivid, action-packed, and delightful.

CMX rolls out the first volume of Meca Tanaka’s Omukae Desu, a book I liked a lot. Afterlife bureaucracy, part-time teen employees, and bunny suits combine for something funny and weird. (Oh, and speaking of CMX titles I liked in preview form, prepare to become sick to death of me talking about Sakura Tsukuba’s Penguin Revolution. In spite of my disappointment that it featured no actual penguins, it’s a very funny piece of shôjo romantic comedy with some great characters.)

Graphix is rolling out the first of its Goosebumps graphic novels in comic shops, which means they’ve probably been in bookstores for a while now. These tween horror books were well after my time as a young-adult reader (though that didn’t keep me from exploring the shamefully tawdry world of Sweet Valley High as a twenty-something), but it’s interesting to see Graphix further establish itself with adaptations of kids’ classics. (No information is readily available on the Graphix web site. Here’s a preview piece from Publishers Weekly.)

On the self-promotion front, Brian Cronin was kind enough to ask me to do a guest entry at Comics Should Be Good. I immediately abused his hospitality by pimping a bunch of pet manga titles, figuring that I could bore a relatively new audience.

I did roughly the same thing in this week’s Flipped, with a healthy sprinkling of pet Oni books as well.