The year isn’t over yet

November 10, 2009

As if to provide additional evidence that “Best of…” lists might be a wee bit premature before Thanksgiving or, you know, New Year’s Day, Viz sent out the following press release:

VIZ MEDIA OFFERS AN EMOTIONAL MIX OF THE REAL AND IMAGINARY IN THE DEBUT OF TAIYO MATSUMOTO’S GOGO MONSTER

New Manga Release Blends Bold Art And A Clever Story Of A Young Boy Who Tries To Balance His Own Lonely World With a Fantastic Supernatural Realm Only He Can See

GoGoMonsterSan Francisco, CA, November 10, 2009 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the upcoming release of Taiyo Matsumoto’s celebrated manga GOGO MONSTER on November 17th. GOGO MONSTER will be published by the company’s VIZ Signature imprint, rated ‘T’ for Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $27.99 U.S. / $36.00 CAN.

Third grader Yuki Tachibana lives in two worlds. In one world, he is a loner ridiculed by his classmates and reprimanded by his teachers for telling stories of supernatural beings that only he can see. In the other world, the supernatural beings vie for power with malevolent spirits who bring chaos into the school, the students’ lives, and even nature itself.

“Taiyo Matsumoto’s clever stories and striking art have placed him among the best of a new generation of influential manga artists and we are privileged to present GOGO MONSTER to U.S. audiences,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President Sales & Marketing, VIZ Media. “This story continues to show Matsumoto’s fascination with youth as he seamlessly blends themes of alienation with the paranormal. For anyone with an overactive imagination or has even just daydreamed during class, GOGO MONSTER offers an emotional tale that shows how what we see and imagine, whether real or imaginary, shapes our personality in profound ways.”

Taiyo Matsumoto made his manga debut in the Japanese magazine Comic Afternoon with the short story STRAIGHT. He went on to travel throughout France and became heavily influenced by the French comics he studied there including those created by pioneering European artists like Moebius and Enki Bilal. Matsumoto has become internationally acclaimed for stories that capture the essence of disaffected youth and adolescent alienation. His other notable works include BLUE SPRING, NO. 5 and TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE, which are all published in North America by VIZ Media. TEKKONKINKREET won a prestigious Will Eisner Award in 2008 and was also adapted for an animated feature film. Another Matsumoto manga story, PING PONG, was turned into an award-winning live action film that is available from VIZ Pictures.


Upcoming 11/11/2009

November 10, 2009

In her look at this week’s comics, Kate Dacey delivers a succinct takedown of the latest example of that just-won’t-die-or-evolve artifact, the list of recommendations to help comics fans convince the ladies in their lives to share their hobby. I don’t really have anything to add, but I will just note that most of the women I know online who read manga are omnivores. They greet new romantic shôjo and new blood-and-guts seinen with equal enthusiasm. To my way of thinking, this makes the frequent exclusion of manga from these chick-bait graphic novel guides even more baffling.

Anyway, here’s what looks good to me on the latest ComicList:

I read a review copy of Tamio Baba’s Deka Kyoshi (CMX), about a detective going undercover as a teacher, joining forces with a mildly psychic student, and helping kids with their often dangerous problems. My reaction to the book tracks pretty much exactly with Brigid Alverson’s: “The stories are nice little self-contained dramas, but they never veer far from the predictable.”

UltimateVenus5It seems to be a week where publishers who’ve had something of a low profile lately deliver some new goods. There are new volumes from DrMaster, Seven Seas, and Go! Comi. I’m most enthusiastic about the Go! Comi offering, the fifth volume of Takako Shigematsu’s Ultimate Venus. It’s about an orphan who learns that she’s the granddaughter of a very wealthy, very formidable woman, and must prove her worth to inherit the family fortune. I can’t say I yet love it in the way that I loved Shigematsu’s Tenshi Ja Nai!!, but I loved that series a lot and heartily recommend it to people who like wacky, mean-spirited romantic comedy. Ultimate Venus is a bit tamer, but it’s still very enjoyable.

Viz finally rolls out a VizBig version of Rumiko Takahashi’s long-running, much-loved InuYasha, which is a welcome development for people who might enjoy the anime but be a bit daunted by the 42 existing volumes of the manga.

ikigami3Of more specific interest to me is the third volume of Motoro Mase’s Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, from Viz’s Signature line. Though I’m ambivalent about the series overall, I’ve liked it enough to review the first and second volumes of this series about a draconian government program that targets random people for death to help the remainder of the citizenry better appreciate life. A government functionary must notify these unlucky learning tools of their fate, and readers get to watch the victims flip out during their last hours. I still feel like it needs to go somewhere beyond episodic individual drama, but I’m intrigued enough to stick around. And the third volume has an awesome tag line: “Sometimes people do shoot the messenger.”

What if you could bring your cat to school? What if you and your cat were given amazing powers, and all you had to do in exchange was keep horrible demons at bay? These are the central questions addressed by Yuji Iwahara’s Cat Paradise (Yen Press). The second volume is due out on Wednesday and promises more mystery and adventure at a purportedly feline-friendly institute of learning.

catparadise2