Playing favorites

January 12, 2009

I always feel kind of Tom Sawyer-ish when the effort I expend on a Flipped column is limited to writing a couple of transitional sentences and begging other people to contribute the rest, but I always enjoy the results. This week, I asked some folks in manga publishing to offer up their favorite titles from 2008.

Oldies, goodies

January 12, 2009

Deb Aoki is still going strong with her manga polls over at About.Com, this time asking readers to vote for the Best New Edition of Classic or Reissued Manga of 2008. Strong as the field is (though it’s sad that there’s only one eligible title by a woman), I had to go with Osamu Tezuka’s Dororo (Vertical), which was funny and moody and tragic and bizarre in that singularly Tezuka way.

Speaking of Tezuka, Matthew J. Brady has a great back-and-forth with his younger brother Noah, over at Warren Peace Sings the Blues. Tezuka features prominently in the discussion, and while neither demonstrates proper reverence for the Creepy Little Tumor, the Dororo love is rewarding.

Big reader

January 12, 2009

Writing for The New York Times, publishing beat reporter Motoko Rich mixes things up by reporting some good news for a change. According to a survey conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts, adults are reading more books just for the pleasure of it:

“‘There has been a measurable cultural change in society’s commitment to literary reading,’ said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. ‘In a cultural moment when we are hearing nothing but bad news, we have reassuring evidence that the dumbing down of our culture is not inevitable.'”

The NEA initiative is called The Big Read, and it has its own blog. Here’s the link to the survey, though it doesn’t seem to be loading for me at the moment.

I haven’t had enough coffee yet to figure out how they might do this, but it would be neat if comics publishers participated in some way. The Times article doesn’t specifically mention graphic fiction, but I don’t get the impression that it’s excluded. I’d like to see the NEA ask if the increase in reading for pleasure (or just what portion of reading for pleasure) is contributed by comics.