Upcoming 5/21/2008

There wasn’t much room for manga in the April graphic novel sales figures at ICv2. Only eight titles cracked the top 100, and only one (the 10th volume of Path of the Assassin from Dark Horse) cracked the top 50.

There isn’t the metric tonnage of new manga arriving in comic shops this week, which is kind of a relief, to be honest.

My personal highlight is the fourth volume of Yuki Urushibara’s Mushishi (Del Rey). Gorgeous, episodic fantasy stories about a wandering shaman who helps people cope with their environments and the powerful, primordial bugs that share them.

I’m glad I have a vacation coming up, because it means I’ll have time to catch up with series like Yuki Nakaji’s Venus in Love (CMX), which releases its third volume Wednesday. It’s a sweet, low-key romantic comedy about a boy and a girl in love… with the same boy. I think I’m going to fill a whole tote with “wallow manga.”

Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books) has gotten some good some good early response, and I must say I’m intrigued by the premise: “Depression, love, sexual identity, crushes, manipulative peers–teen life in all its dramatic complexities is explored in this touching, pitch perfect, literary graphic masterpiece.” Now that’s the high school I remember.

And not to beat an undead horse, but if you must spend money on a comic by Jessica Abel this summer, go for the paperback collection of La Perdida (Pantheon). It’s about a young woman who tries to find herself in Mexico and ends up in dramatically over her head. No vampires, but lots of flesh-and-blood drama.

11 Responses to Upcoming 5/21/2008

  1. John Jakala says:

    No love for Kekkaishi? Hey, wait a second. You’re not reading Kekkaishi, are you? You’re part of the problem!!

    I’m thinking I’m going to have to give Mushishi a second look. The first volume didn’t wow me, but everyone seems to love this series, and I’m remembering that even Bleach didn’t knock my socks off at first. (Time to revive the “Two Volume Test” for giving new manga a chance.)

  2. Huff says:

    John: The manga is a little bit tough to get into, partly because of some flaws and limitations with the author’s writing IMO. Of course I still like it (a lot), but I think some of the criticism it gets is understandable. If you wanted to get into the series I’d actually recommend the anime, which is shockingly superior in every way and probably the best thing released domestically last year.

    Anyways, slow week, but that’s all right since I still have to get Color of Rage and the new Hellboy companion. After finally hearing about Yotsuba&!’s apparent death I’m not a real manga-reading mood anyways.

  3. davidpwelsh says:

    Huff, do you know how much of the manga is covered by the anime? I don’t usually get too enthusiastic about anime, but I’d love to see Urushibara’s designs move.

    John: Okay, I admit it. I’m part of the problem. But maybe I’ll pick up a big pile of them for vacation reading and become a convert. (Oh, and there’s a totally extraordinary story in the second volume. I can read it over and over.)

  4. Huff says:

    I think about seven volumes or so worth of material (there are 26 episodes). The stories are out of order though, so your going to get some things you have read and a lot that you haven’t. In almost every case I preferred the anime episode to the manga chapter. The music, sound-effects and animation create an incredible sense of atmosphere that makes the story’s emotional impact that much more potent.

  5. […] Welsh looks over this week’s new manga at Precocious Curmudgeon and continues his look at Eisner nominees, including New Engineering, […]

  6. John Jakala says:

    A Manga Holiday sounds like a really nice idea for a vacation. Maybe I should bring a stack of manga to read at the wedding I have to go to this weekend.

  7. davidpwelsh says:

    Depending on how far back you’re seated, you could read the manga during the ceremony.

  8. Tania says:

    davidpwelsh, Huff: The Kekkaishi anime is actually 52 episodes. I think it covers most of the action in the volumes that are out here so far (v13+).

  9. Tania says:

    And you can ignore that ‘cos you were talking about Mushishi. Haha, sorry about that!

  10. John Jakala says:

    I should bring extra volumes of One Piece so everyone can get the tears flowing.

    Tania, actually I’m glad you mentioned that. I was just looking at the Kekkaishi anime and wondered what it covered. Based on the episode titles on Wikipedia, it looks like the anime’s end corresponds with the end of the Kokubourou castle arc in the manga (vol. 13). So does this mean the anime wasn’t that popular in Japan if they ended it after only 52 episodes?

  11. Tania says:

    John: Word has it that budget cuts, extensive broadcasting hiatuses, and relatively mediocre ratings had a lot to do with it. There was also some confusion about the status of the series when it was bumped from its prime time slot with Detective Conan. But if you’re a fan of the manga, the anime definitely has its (occasionally stellar) moments.

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