Friday nattering

April 17, 2009

At The Beat, Heidi MacDonald rounds up the discussion of the New York Times Graphic Books Bestsellers list. I have to admit that I don’t really see why these lists are any more problematic or opaque in their methodology than any of the other sales rankings. I always assumed that the odd or counter-intuitive products that sometimes show up on the lists were more a function of the fact that there are 30 slots posted weekly than of the way the entrails came out of the goat or how the 30-sided die landed on Friday morning.

I guess what I’m saying is that just about all of these bestseller lists seem at least partly suspect, random, or susceptible to manipulation. With its greater frequency and wider scope, I at least find the Times lists suspect, random, and susceptible to manipulation in ways that are a little more interesting than the monthly versions.

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Has Barnes & Noble hired a new graphic novel buyer? I stopped at the local store during lunch yesterday and was surprised at the number of unusual suspects present on the shelves. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gantz in a chain bookstore before.

As a side note, have you ever been to a bookstore and seen a theoretically sealed-for-your-protection title that actually had its plastic wrap intact?

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This week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory was hilarious. Penny accompanied the geeks to a comic shop. I particularly loved the bit where she innocently tried to buy a Spider-Man comic for her nephew. I think they should do an episode where Sara Gilbert’s Leslie is revealed to be a hardcore fujoshi, adding another layer of conflict to her acrimonious relationship with Sheldon.

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I absolutely appreciate Bryan Fuller’s desire to finish the story he meant to tell in the wonderful Pushing Daisies. I don’t think many of the things that made the show so special will translate to a comics page, though. Comic timing and chemistry made up a huge chunk of the show’s appeal. I’d still buy them if they added those greeting-card chips that would allow me to hear Olive Snook bursting into song.

(There used to be online comics featuring the characters, but ABC seems to have removed them.)


It’s RumicWorld, and we just live in it

April 15, 2009

It’s always nice when a manga-ka is prolific and awesome, and Rumiko Takahashi is certainly both. Viz is very aware of that, so it’s announced that it’s simultaneously releasing Takahashi’s new manga in Japanese and English. I’m sure there’s a little preemption built into the strategy as well, but who cares? New Takahashi every week!

The full press release is after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


Shojoholics anonymous

April 15, 2009

Over at Sporadic Sequential, John Jakala has a terrific piece on “Addictively Readable Manga” and the qualities that make it so. John also posts a poll with some excellent representatives of this category-spanning group of titles.

The shôjo addict in me immediately thought of some comics in that category that certainly apply, and I wanted to open up a parallel line of discussion. So what, say, five titles in the shojo category meet your “Addictively Readable” standard? Here are some of mine:

  • After School Nightmare by Setona Mizushiro
  • Flower of Life by Fumi Yoshinaga
  • Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya
  • Nana by Ai Yazawa
  • Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara
  • And I’ll throw out one wild card, since I’m not sure how to categorize it but do find it to be a total controlled substance: Wild Adapter by Kazuya Minekura.


    Upcoming 4/15/2009

    April 14, 2009

    What evil lurks in this week’s ComicList? Probably plenty, but let’s cast our eyes toward the light. Unless the evil looks like it’s having a much better time.

    Wolverine: Prodigal Son Vol. 1 (Del Rey): Del Rey and Marvel’s mutant-manga hybrid debuts with this story of a teen-aged Logan entering the big, bad world after years in a secluded martial arts academy in the Canadian wilderness. If the unexamined life isn’t worth living, than our pointy-haired X-Man’s life has added value like you would not believe. Doesn’t he have an entire ongoing series just devoted to his origin? Now we have the adventures of Wolver-teen to fill in one of the few remaining gaps, at least in an “Elseworlds” kind of way. (And yes, I know that DC did the “Elseworlds” books. You know what I mean.)

    Written by Anthony Johnston and illustrated by Wilson Tortosa, it’s an interesting fusion of two tastes (Marvel super-heroes and shônen manga) that have not traditionally tasted great together. It’s Logan without any of the baggage that might render his ongoing comics impenetrable to people who just liked the character from the X-Men movies and the upcoming solo flick starring Hugh Jackman in a sleeveless undershirt.

    Excuse me… I need a moment.

    Sorry about that. Anyway, I think it’s got enough recognizable character trappings welded to the young-man-with-a-quest structure that works so well for so many manga series. Purists may howl, but are there even any Wolverine purists left? Don’t they blink out of existence every time a new origin story is published? I don’t know how these things work. Sleeveless-undershirt-Jackman aside, I’ve never been that interested in Wolverine.

    Here’s Eva Volin’s review for ICv2.

    Nightschool Vol. 1 (Yen Press): One of the clear lottery winners in Tokyopop’s global manga program was undoubtedly Svetlana (Dramacon) Chmakova, who demonstrated buckets of raw talent in her debut work. This is her follow-up work, which has been serialized in Yen Plus and now sees the publication of its first paperback collection.


    Familiar sentiment

    April 13, 2009

    That last Amazon-related post was getting ungainly with the updates, and I did want to point to this excellent post at the Vromans bookstore blog:

    “The benefit of having a rich, diverse ecosystem of vendors and suppliers has never been more obvious: many sources of information equals choice, and choice equals freedom. It’s actually your freedom that’s at stake here, and putting things back the way they were, fixing the notorious ‘glitch,’ won’t change that. Because your freedom was at stake long before this recent de-listing experiment. Anytime you limit yourself to fewer suppliers, especially of something as vital as information (and if you purchase a Kindle, you’re effectively doing just that, limiting yourself to a single information provider), you’re putting yourself at the mercy of that provider.”


    Never can say goodbye

    April 13, 2009

    Call me a cockeyed optimist or tell me I just can’t let go. I just can’t believe I’ll never see any more volumes of Suppli.


    Amazon deforests

    April 12, 2009

    Remember how Amazon.com seemed marginally less provincial than some other big book vendors? Cherish those memories:

    “Yes, it is true. Amazon admits they are indeed stripping the sales ranking indicators for what they deem to be ‘adult’ material. Of course they are being hypocritical because there is a multitude of ‘adult’ literature out there that is still being ranked – Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, come on! They are using categories THEY set up (gay and lesbian) to now target these books as somehow offensive.”

    This open letter to Amazon from Booksquare sums it up nicely.

    Update: Christopher Butcher points to this comprehensive post at Jezebel.

    Update: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s blog shares a statement from Amazon admitting to a “ham-fisted cataloging error.”