Upcoming 8/19/2009

August 18, 2009

astralproject4Before I delve into this week’s ComicList (which is impressive), I wanted to make sure to point you towards Christopher Butcher’s examination of San Francisco’s New People center and what it might mean for the evolution of otaku culture in North America.

Okay, moving on to the “bitter complaint” agenda item: as regular readers of this blog surely know by now, I’ve been obsessively stalking the progress towards English-language publication of Fumi Yoshinaga’s award-winning Ôoku: The Inner Chambers for a really long time. It’s included on Diamond’s shipping list, but @Toukochan informs me that the quasi-monopolistic distributor evinces a winsome disregard for residents of “the Northwesteast Corridor” and often makes us wait for a week or more for new Viz titles. So when I said to myself, “Gosh, I really want to support manga for grown-ups in the direct market, and I also want to make sure I get a copy of this in a timely fashion, so I should pre-order it,” I should have replaced “in a timely fashion” with “at some point.” Screw you, Diamond. (Update: Apparently, the problem is not with Diamond but with garden variety slapdash-ery at the local level. There will always be reasons to say “Screw you, Diamond,” but this is not among them. Apologies.)

On the bright side, Diamond will manage to deliver the fourth and final volume of Astral Project (CMX) in a timely fashion. I’m not sure how marginal and Syuji Takeya are going to wrap up the many concurrent threads of the story, but I’m sure it will be fascinating. I’m also sure that I will wish there were more volumes. (And I really need to track down a copy of Mai Nishikata’s Venus Capriccio, which has gotten a lot of review love. The second volume arrives Wednesday.)

delreyxmenDel Rey continues with the manga-fication of Marvel’s mutant franchise with X-Men: Misfits, written by Raina (Smile, The Baby-Sitters Club) Telgemeier and Dave (Agnes Quill) Roman and illustrated by Anzu. It’s all about Kitty Pryde’s admission to Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, which sounds like a promising take on the property.

Random House releases Josh Neufeld’s A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge, a journalistic look at various citizens’ experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina. I’m planning on posting a full review later this week, but Neufeld has done a fine job with the subject matter. It’s excellent graphic-novel reportage. Tom Spurgeon recently ran a meaty interview with Neufeld about the genesis and evolution of the project.

I already picked up a copy of the fourth volume of Naoki Urasawa’s excellent 20th Century Boys (Viz) over the weekend at a bookstore, which is what I probably should have done with Ôoku, not that I’m bitter or anything. Urasawa continues to fold complications into his thriller while introducing and expanding on his complex cast of characters. It’s well worth your money, though Northeast Corridor residents may have to wait. Also promising is the first volume of Shiro Miwa’s Dogs: Bullets and Carnage. I really enjoyed the prelude volume.