May 23, 2007

Gosh, it’s getting so you can’t even use the phrase “the recent unpleasantness” with confidence, because there’s always something new. Aside from noting that I think the much-discussed Heroes for Hire cover is really grotesque, I think I’ll focus instead on things that don’t make me nauseous and do, in fact, bring joy, or at least the promise of future joy.

  • The July issue of Shojo Beat, featuring an excerpt from Osamu Tezuka’s legendary Princess Knight series, inches ever closer to release. It’s a comic about a heroic girl who has adventures and fights injustice, and it’s widely credited as one of the most influential shôjo manga of all time. I hope this isn’t a one-time deal and that more chapters of the story are forthcoming from Viz.
  • Even sooner, you will be able to experience the mad glory that is Ai Morinaga’s My Heavenly Hockey Club (Del Rey). Remember when I put out a call for seriously daft shôjo comedies? Based on the preview copy Del Rey sent me, this series is like the platonic ideal of what I was seeking.
  • Bryan Lee O’Malley has shared a page from the fourth volume of his Scott Pilgrim series. Ah, just looking at it gives me hope.
  • Amazon has finally sent me the third volume of Mail (Dark Horse), along with the innocent books held hostage by its tardiness.
  • Shawn Hoke has adopted a puppy so adorable that she looks like she sprang fully-formed from the brow of a shôjo manga-ka.

  • Make your own Wednesday

    May 22, 2007

    I’m just not feeling the ComicList love this week. Maybe it’s because I’m in the midst of minor home improvement chaos and the thought of bringing new items across the threshold is kind of terrifying.

    The clear highlight is a book I already own in hardcover, but it’s still exciting to see a paperback version of Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat be released by Random House’s Pantheon imprint. This is one of my favorite works by Sfar, and it makes for lovely companion reading with Klezmer (First Second), if you liked that. Dare I hope that this means that another collection of The Rabbi’s Cat will be coming from Pantheon soon?

    And hey, since I’m already in the wayback machine, I’ll take the opportunity of a lean week to mention some underappreciated books that you might want to check out if you’re hard-pressed to pull together a respectable shopping list on Wednesday:

  • 12 Days, by June Kim (Tokyopop): Kim is currently nominated for a 2007 Lulu Award in the Best New Female Talent category, and it’s easy to see why. The book is an absorbing, unconventional look at grief and healing. (I reviewed it here.)
  • Past Lies: An Amy Devlin Mystery, by Christina Weir, Nunzio DeFilippis and Christopher Mitten (Oni): I don’t think there are nearly enough murder mysteries in comics, and this is a stylish and solid example. Are we going to see a follow-up? (I reviewed it here.)
  • Sexy Voice and Robo, by Iou Kuroda (Viz): An utterly beguiling oddity and probably one of the best books Viz has ever published. Magnificent character study, amazingly fluid shifts of tone, and a real sense of discovery throughout. Lots of people should buy this so that Viz will be motivated to publish more books like it. (I reviewed it here.)

  • Yoshinagarama

    May 22, 2007

    In this week’s Flipped, it’s all Fumi Yoshinaga, all the time. I think I’ve finally figured out what distinguishing factor makes Ichigenme 801 and The Moon and the Sandals Juné, which isn’t really relevant to my central thesis that she’s generally awesome.

    Conscientious objectors

    May 21, 2007

    You would think that little could stand up in the face of the combined Direct Market power of the terms “Civil War” and “X-Men,” but a certain orphan and her passel of cursed friends and acquaintances managed it, with Fruits Basket Vol. 16 (Tokyopop) trumping some of the masses of Marvel event trades that compose most of the top 10 graphic novels for April.

    Another group of orphans are hot on Tohru’s heels, however, as the seventh collection of Marvel’s Runaways comes in 9th place. In fact, two of Marvel’s digest-sized books cracked the top 100, the second being the eighth volume of the much-admired but almost-always-nearly-canceled Spider-Girl, landing in 67th place. These books are similar in size and price point to, say, Viz’s Shonen Jump Books, though they’re printed in full color. Runaways is, I believe, the last survivor of Marvel’s vaguely manga-influenced Tsunami line, and Spider-Girl pretty much lives in its own little world, continuity wise. (I wish more regular and complete bookstore figures were readily available, as I suspect both titles do pretty well there.)

    I had wondered about last month’s somewhat lackluster performance of the 12th volume of Fullmetal Alchemist (Viz). It’s back this month, slightly higher in rank that it placed last month, but well below the 13th volume, which earns a more customary placement on the list (23rd in GNs overall, 4th in manga). Frequency of publication doesn’t seem to be hurting Death Note, with the 11th volume coming in 2nd in manga and 15th in graphic novels overall, compared to last month’s 2nd in manga and 7th in graphic novels overall. (Last month didn’t present quite so many Civil War trades.)

    It’s another happy month for yaoi in the Direct Market, with three Juné titles making the top 100. When Dark Horse does manage to ship titles like Oh My Goddess, they do well in this market, with vol. 26 placing fifth in the manga pack and leading the rest of Dark Horse’s releases. And Del Rey has an unusually good Direct Market month, with three titles making the top one hundred. Genshiken isn’t surprising, but School Rumble? Who knew?

    Oh, and kudos to not-safe-for-work Icarus for landing three titles on the top 300 comics list. How often can a manga publisher say that?

    April showers

    May 21, 2007

    Newsarama has the Direct Market graphic novel figures for the month of April, and 32 manga titles made the top 100. That’s about 10 more than usual. More on the list later, but for now, here are the manga entries (and a couple of interesting digest-sized successes from Marvel) after the cut.

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    From the stack: The Plain Janes

    May 18, 2007

    I don’t doubt that there’s a great graphic novel to be made about the healing power of civil disobedience in paranoid times. I don’t think that The Plain Janes (Minx) is that graphic novel, though. It’s too crowded and shapeless.

    (Spoilers after the cut.)

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    Koontz, Chan team for OGN from Del Rey

    May 17, 2007

    News comes from the Del Rey Manga Newsletter that Dean Koontz (aided by Queenie Chan of The Dreaming fame) will join Avril Lavigne in the imprint’s original graphic novel roster, bringing Koontz’s Odd Thomas to OGN life.

    (Press release after the cut.)

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