Millions of tourists are churning up the gravel

November 29, 2006

The subsidiary industries of manga just keep expanding. This time it’s tourism, according to a piece in the Daily Yomiuri. Sure, Tokyo has its butler cafes and otaku ghettos, but Kyoto has history:

“The Kyoto municipal government and the university have played important roles in establishing the nation’s first comprehensive manga facility. The museum collects cartoons of historical value and other materials, cultivates people wishing to work in the animation industry and offers lifelong learning courses for local residents.”

In other news of cultural exchange, ICv2 picks up on part of the Times Clamp interview:

“As Clamp spokesperson Agetha Ohkawa put it, ‘It used to be difficult to find American comics in Japan, but they’ve become more accessible. As creators in Japan, we’re very curious about American work and are pretty sure we’re influencing each other.’”

Now I’m picturing Japanese children cluttering the floors of the local equivalent of Barnes & Noble, reading Identity Crisis, and putting it back on the shelf.


November 29, 2006

ComiPress offers a translation of an interview with Naoki Urasawa of Monster fame, focusing largely on the role of the editor in manga creation. It’s an interesting reminder of the strong role editors play and some of the associated problems:

“Although the relationship is like collaboration, ‘Manga artists don’t realize the importance of editors.’ Urasawa insisted. ‘If I build a good relationship with an editor who is in charge of me, the editor will be transferred away in the future. I have felt it odd that a companies’ convenience should affect the art of manga.’”

It’s an interesting companion piece to the recent interview with Clamp in the New York Times, since the group seems largely free of editorial influence aside from the group’s producer-director, Ageha Ohkawa.

And even legends like Moto Hagio have both bristled at and benefited from the influence of an editor, as demonstrated in this interview that ran in The Comics Journal. On Kodansha:

During that time they gave me a new editor [25], but both editors followed company policy, which was not to let artists do whatever they want, but to have artists do something that fits the theme of whatever project they are currently doing.”

Hagio had a happier relationship with Junya Yamaoto, who attained his own legendary status for his work with Hagio and the other members of the Year 24 Group of innovative shôjo manga-ka.

Short list

November 29, 2006

Once again, ComicList courteously offers regular and manga versions of the week’s offerings, which feature a focus on new printings of good books.

Evil Twin provides a second printing of Action Philosophers: Giant-Sized Thing #1. NBM rolls out a revised version of the soft-cover of A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Borden Tragedy, promising “a whole new section of newspaper clippings of the day!” And while I’m not familiar with the book, having been deep in spandex country during its initial printing, people are sufficiently excited about the new collection of Ragmop from Big Bang to make it their pick of the week.

But there’s plenty of brand-new material too.

A new issue of Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting (#3, in this case, from Fantagraphics) is always welcome.

I’ll throw in my lot with MangaCast’s Jarred on the manga front, singling out volume three of Fuyumi Soryo’s ES: Eternal Sabbath (Del Rey) as the pick of the week. It’s intriguing, character-driven science fiction.

Antique Bakery (DMP) has left me incapable of ignoring anything by Fumi Yoshinaga, even if I wasn’t crazy about some of the story elements of the first volume of Gerard & Jacques. But it’s Yoshinaga, so volume two is on the shopping list.