I’m glad The New York Times is devoting more coverage to comics and graphic novels, I really am. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that their reportage consisted of recycled, rah-rah press releases from Marvel and DC. Now we get a weekly graphic book best seller list (which, say what you will, is no more opaque or arcane in its methodology than most of the other ones) and a fair number of meaty pieces from George Gene Gustines.
What we don’t get, at least not yet, is much qualitative discussion of comics from Japan. When you walk into the average bookstore and see at least half of the graphic-novel shelf space devoted to these comics, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect at least some coverage of the category beyond sales figures supplemented by sometimes carelessly written plot summaries (which are better than no content descriptions at all, obviously, but only just). At the same time, I don’t really want to force anyone to write about something that doesn’t interest them, because the outcome from that sort of thing never serves anyone very well.
But I must admit to a certain degree of irritation when I saw this Gift Guide of 2009 Graphic Novels and didn’t see a single comic from Japan. After venting on Twitter, Erica Friedman (@Yuricon) sagely suggested that manga bloggers just do it themselves. I’ll be posting mine on Thanksgiving Day (just in time for Black Friday), and I would be happy to link to anyone else’s suggestions or host yours if you don’t have a blog of your own. Just drop me a line at davidpwelsh at yahoo dot com if you’d like to throw out some recommended manga for the nerds (or non-nerds) in all of our lives.