Upcoming 9/6

September 5, 2007

Why am I more lethargic after a three-day weekend than I was before? I have only a vague grasp of what day it currently is and whether I need to put the trash out, but I know that comics will be arriving at some point, because the ComicList tells me so.

The local comic shop has stopped ordering shelf copies of almost every manga series and unloaded its back stock. Plenty of people still pre-order, though I think the chain bookstores in the area have presented more competition than the management wants to wrangle. So it’s one of those comic shops, pretty much, though it’s still useful as an order point for things that won’t readily show up in bookstores.

One of the few series that get shelf copies is MPD Psycho by Eiji Otsuka and Sho-U Tajima (Dark Horse). This is handy, because I’m not quite ready to commit to putting the series on my reserve list. The first volume neared my upper limit of lurid violence, but it was intriguing enough to keep me reading for another volume.

I managed to enjoy First in Space (Oni), even though animals in peril make me even more uncomfortable than dismembered humans. I’m not sure I’ll have the emotional fortitude for Laika by Nick Abadzis (First Second). It looks terrific, and I’ll definitely keep it in mind for one of those days when I’m in the mood for a good cry, but the current emotional barometer readings suggest that now isn’t the time.

It had to happen sometime. After a long string of good choices, Go! Comi has finally picked a couple of licenses that really don’t work for me. This week sees the launch of Takeru Kirishima’s Kanna and Ryo Takagi’s The Devil Within. Kanna has some gripping scenes, but it doesn’t hang together as well as I’d like. (And twenty-something men reacting with varying degrees of inappropriateness to an eight-year-old girl will never sit well with me. Sorry.) As for The Devil Within, you know how super-deformed art sequences can sometimes be a happy break from pages of rich visual detail and emotional nuance, and can sometimes look like the manga-ka was just trying to turn his or her pages in on time? I strongly suspect the latter in this case, and the story and characters just aren’t engaging enough for me to overlook the inconsistent, rather ugly art.

(On the other hand, Hideyuki Kurata’s Train + Train just gets better and better. The series still isn’t taking advantage of the visual possibilities of its premise, but the characters and scenarios are gaining considerable emotional weight as things progress. It doesn’t come out this week, but the experience of saying negative things about Go! Comi’s catalog was odd enough that I had to compensate somehow.)