What sells, and where?

August 30, 2007

It’s a couple of days old, but I found this comment at Journalista to be really interesting. It’s a very well-informed compare-and-contrast between what sells in comic shops and what sells in bookstores:

“I have a comic book shop, my girlfriend owns a bookstore. Here’s a quick list of what we’ve found:

“Naruto sells well everywhere.”

Okay, there’s a lot more, but given the big news of the day, I couldn’t resist. Anyway, go read, especially if you’re geek-ishly interested in the different audiences between the two kinds of retail outlets.

(Also, it’s kind of gruesomely fun to imagine creators rolling out comic-shop friendlier versions of work like Fun Home. I’m easily amused.)

I’m sure this won’t become tiresome at all

August 29, 2007

Well, that’s cutting it close. With only eight months to go, Publishers Weekly Comics Week is finally getting around to previewing the next New York Comic-Con. Which is in April.

I do think it’s a nice idea to make attendance easier for small-press operations, though I tend to agree with Chris Mautner that an example or success story would have been nice. Then again, with two-thirds of a year before the event, perhaps organizers will have time to execute the plan.

I kind of wonder why the story couldn’t wait until they could name-check an indie house or two, because… well… eight months is a long time. I’m sure it’s not Reed Exhibition’s strategy to use PWCW to alert indie houses to the opportunity when they could just e-mail them. Hell, I can e-mail them, and I use a Yahoo account.

Upcoming 8/29

August 28, 2007

What evil lurks in the heart of the current ComicList? Well, none to speak of. I’m just trying to keep things fresh.

Aurora releases the first volume of Chihiro Tamaki’s Walkin’ Butterfly. In it, a girl confronts her body image issues by trying to become a model. (I thought models caused body image issues. Help me out here.)

There’s a lot of Del Rey product shipping this week. Depending on my mood, I’d peg either the sixth volume of Fuyumi Soryo’s ES or the second of Ai Morinaga’s My Heavenly Hockey Club as the highlight. I’ve already read this installment of MHHC, and it’s as delightful as the first. There are fewer deranged encounters with wildlife, but there’s a chapter where the elite titular team meats a plucky group of paupers out in the sticks that’s just a riot, even by this book’s standards.

On the down side, I found the first volume of Shiki Tsukai just too packed with inscrutable rules to be very engaging, kind of like Shakugan no Shana (Viz). As Katherine Dacey-Tsuei puts it:

“Even with the generous assortment of charts, appendices, and sidebars clarifying the nuances of its underlying “power to control the seasons” premise, however, I found this book fiendishly hard to follow, thanks to the characters’ jargon-heavy dialogue.”

A new release from Fanfare/Ponent Mon is always worth a look. This time around, it’s Tokyo is My Garden, by Frédéric Boilet and Benoît Peeters, with back-up from demi-god of manga Jiro Taniguchi. It’s about a cognac salesman living large in the title city. Having just read Ed Chavez’s enticing Otaku USA column on booze manga, this is a timely arrival.

As others have noticed, Viz begins its Naruto onslaught this week. Stock in dry goods and bottled water and pre-order those poor books that might get buried in the ninjalanche.

Two that shouldn’t be overlooked, also from Viz, are Kiyoko Arai’s pricelessly silly Beauty Pop (now in its fifth volume) and the second volume of Hideaki Sorachi’s quirky, action-packed Gin Tama (discussed here already). I wouldn’t go so far as to say all of the same people would like both, but they share an off-kilter sense of humor that serves each really well.


August 27, 2007

This week’s Flipped offers a look at two different manga magazines — Viz’s Shojo Beat, now with added Honey and Clover, and Otaku USA.


August 27, 2007

Part of my weekend reading included the 14th volume of Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist (Viz). It’s a really entertaining series, and if you’ve avoided it because it’s really popular, you might reconsider, because it’s also very, very good.

That said, the latest installment left me feeling a little at odds.

(Spoilers after the cut.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Fabulous prizes

August 24, 2007

The winners in Lambda Legal’s “Life Without Fair Courts” cartoon contest have been announced via a press release from Prism Comics. Entries can be viewed here. All of the finalists are solid, but I think I probably would have given the prize to Ted Rall.

The full press release is after the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

More YALSA nods

August 23, 2007

One of the many nice things about the Young Adult Library Services Association is that they don’t compartmentalize graphic novels in their awards process. I took a quick look at the nominees for the 2008 round of Best Books for Young Adults and found the following:

  • Carey, Mike. Re-Gifters. 2007. DC Comics/minx, $9.99 (978-1-4012-0371-9).
  • De Crecy, Nicolas. Glacial Period. 2007. NBM Publishing/Comicslit, $16.95 (978-1-56163-483-5).
  • Lat. Town Boy. 2007. Roaring Brook/First Second, $16.95 (978-1-59643-331-1).
  • Lutes, Jason. Houdini: The Handcuff King. 2007. Hyperion, $16.99 (978-0-7868-3902-5).
  • Siegel, Siena Cherson. To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel. September 2006. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $17.95 (978-0-689-86747-7).
  • I’m particularly happy to see Glacial Period in there, and I think Re-Gifters is the best of Minx’s initial offerings. Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese made the top 10 in last year’s Best Books list.

    Quick comic comments: Gin Tama vol. 2

    August 22, 2007

    I’m going to have to stop saying things like “I don’t like comics about dim-witted lowlifes,” because every time I do, something like Hideaki Sorachi’s Gin Tama (Viz – Shonen Jump Advanced) comes along to contradict me. In my defense, I think Gin Tama is an uncommonly good comic about dim-witted lowlifes.

    The second volume builds smartly on the virtues of the first. Gin and his cohorts run through another round of decidedly odd jobs that range from the weirdly romantic to the disturbingly creepy. Sorachi’s aggressive approach to comedy ties everything together, and his cast (disarmed samurai Gin, scolding four-eyes Shinpachi, and adorably violent alien Kagra) really start clicking as a unit. (Okay, they don’t function well as co-workers, but they make quite a comedy troupe.)

    It’s fairly episodic, but there are enough recurring elements and hinted-at secrets to give it a little more heft than it might otherwise have. Gin’s uneasy relationships with both the local cops and the hometown terrorist cell have lots of promise for future stories; both factions are about equally morally iffy, which is interesting in its own right.

    And it’s very, very funny. Underlying all of the low-brow antics is some real wit and perceptiveness. There’s a very high rate of return on even the throw-away gags. The art is just right for the material, too.

    About a third of the way through the second volume, I said to myself that this is one of the best new shônen series I’ve read all year. For a book whose kanji title can be read as “Testicles,” this is quite a surprise, though it’s certainly a pleasant one.

    (This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.)

    Upcoming 8/22

    August 21, 2007

    With a relatively lean week on our hands, you’d think it would be easy to single out a pick of the week, but it’s a tough call.

    Fond as I am of comics about food, I can’t wait to check out a comic starring food. In this case, it’s David Yurkovich’s Death By Chocolate – Redux (Top Shelf). I’ll just let the first sentence of the solicitation do the talking:

    “Agent Swete — an unlikely hero comprised of organic chocolate and a member of the FBI’s Food Crimes Division — and his sharp-tongued partner, Anderson, investigate a series of bizarre, food-inspired crimes.”

    Sold! (“Food Crimes Division” inspires a lot of unkind Sandra Lee jokes, but I’ll spare you.)

    I’m a sucker for both hype and manga that lives on the border of shôjo and josei, so I’ll have to pick up a copy of the new Shojo Beat from Viz. It includes the debut chapter of Chika Umino’s Honey and Clover, an eagerly anticipated Kodansha Award winner about a group of students at an art college. It sounds right up my alley.

    A new issue of Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia Rules! is always worth noting.

    Netcomics re-offers the first volume of Morim Kang’s 10, 20 and 30. Katherine Dacey-Tsuei has already made an extremely persuasive case for the book over in her latest Weekly Recon column, so I’ll just point you there.

    Oh, and it’s Viz Signature week at comic shops with new volumes about endangered elementary school students, saintly doctors and the serial killers who fixate on them, and ruinously endowed assassins. Choose your poison.

    Because what I think just isn’t that interesting…

    August 20, 2007

    It’s another interview week with Flipped, this time around with t he good folks at CMX.