Upcoming 10/3/2007

October 2, 2007

Okay, it’s not entirely in keeping with Obscure Comic Month, but this week does offer a lot of titles that might be classified as under-read, in spite of varying amounts of critical appreciation.

Dark Horse offers the fourth volume of Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki’s The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, which I really, really enjoy. (Short version: unemployable psychic college students help dead bodies – or parts of dead bodies – with unfinished business in hopes of financial recompense.) There’s also the second volume of Adam Warren’s Empowered, which is simultaneously extremely tawdry, extremely funny, and very sweet. I can see how the tawdriness might easily overwhelm the other two qualities for some readers, but I think Warren keeps things in just the right balance.

If you missed them the first time around, Fanfare/Ponent Mon gives you another crack at the splendid anthology, Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, and Jiro Taniguchi’s The Walking Man. Japan collects short works from Japanese and European creators that range from really good to extraordinary. The Walking Man is one of the most serene reading experiences comics have to offer.

Tokyopop provides the eighth volume of the constantly surprising, sometimes terrifying series Dragon Head, by Minetaro Mochizuki. The seventh volume was probably the most haunting yet, and the relatively long wait between new installments hasn’t diminished my interest in what happens next.

Viz digs into its back catalog for a new addition to its Signature line. This time around, it’s Junji Ito’s extremely unsettling horror series, Uzumaki. I found the early chapters to be the strongest in the three-volume series, but it’s solid all the way through. It’s just scarier before the pattern solidifies and you aren’t really sure what you’re dealing with.

And okay, no one would call these obscure or underrated, but I like these series a lot, so I’ll mention new volumes of Ai Yazawa’s Nana (Viz), Kairi Fujiyama’s Dragon Eye (Del Rey), and Tenshi Ja Nai!! (Go! Comi). Alas, this is the final volume of the funny soap opera of cross-dressing pop idols that is Tenshi. I’ll miss you, emotionally unstable and fundamentally dishonest teens!

Tyranny of the tween

October 2, 2007

If you’ve ever bemoaned the apparent demographic homogeneity of the manga selection at your local bookstore, you might find sympathy from an unexpected source: Broadway. This New York Times article looks at the Great White Way’s new target market of choice, the tween.

“Increasingly, though, some worry that the sugar-and-spice enthusiasm may be misplaced, because while teenagers and tweens may be helpful in creating a hit, they are far from enough to ensure one. For that, you still need grown-ups — lots of paying grown-ups — to want to come to a show.

“Indeed, the producers of these new shows, as well as those of the $10 million ‘Legally Blonde,’ say they are hoping for a general audience, teenagers and tweens included. ‘Repeat business among that group is a big deal and does help you,’ said Bob Boyett, a producer of ‘13.’ ‘But you have to go for a broad audience.’”

It’s not a perfect comparison, I know, given the vast differences in method of distribution (thousands of chain stores across the nation versus a couple of blocks in Manhattan). But I did find some of the points in common kind of interesting.

Oh, and I’m sure somebody’s already got one in development, but why is it taking so long for somebody to mount a musical version of Bring It On?