License request day: Rescues

December 25, 2009

We’ll take a break from the usual license request agenda today. I’ve been trying to think of something seasonal to highlight today. Unfortunately, I’ve already asked for Hikaru Nakamura’s Saint Young Men, so I can’t go with the whole “reason for the season” angle. While it doesn’t feature a virgin birth, reliable sources inform me that Makoto Kobayashi’s Chichonmanchi does launch with a virgin death, but I try to cap this blog at PG-13, so I’ll hold off on that for now.

But it is the time of year when many of us turn our thoughts to the neglected and abandoned. So what better way to mark this time of year than to ask for the rescue of three terrific titles that have yet to see their entire runs printed in English?

In fairness, Makoto Kobayashi’s Club 9 has been published in English in its entirety in Dark Horse’s defunct Super Manga Blast, but it hasn’t been collected in its entirety. It’s a sweet, hilarious tale of a country girl who goes to work in a big-city host club. Sophisticated slapstick is difficult to achieve, and this is one of the finest success stories I can conjure. Three of the five volumes of the series are still available from Dark Horse, and I suppose I could try and track down all the back issues of Super Manga Blast, but I gave up back-issue bins when I gave up super-hero comics.

Is there a title that’s inspired more seemingly fruitless yearning than Even a Monkey Can Drawn Manga by Koji Aihara and Kentaro Takekuma? Viz serialized some of it in its defunct Pulp magazine and published one volume, but there are two more out there, shivering and hungry in some sad corner of manga limbo. Is that a just fate for this hilarious parody of instruction manuals and the manga industry as a whole? Do those of us who have read and loved the first volume deserve to be left hanging like this when we yearn to see what heights of satire and questionable taste Aihara and Takekuma reach in later chapters? That sounds pretty Grinch-y to me.

Once upon a time, before Taiyo Matsumoto’s Tekkonkinkreet won an Eisner and GoGo Monster blew many of our minds, Viz tried to publish a little series called No. 5. The two volumes Viz published tanked rather spectacularly, but this was before everyone recognized that Matsumoto is a genius, right? Times have changed, haven’t they? And while releasing Matsumoto may not exactly be printing money, perhaps it’s time to give the rest of the eight-volume series? This was also before Viz had its excellent SigIKKI initiative, and guess where No. 5 was originally serialized? That’s right: IKKI magazine. Perhaps the time is right to at least try and publish it online to see if there’s more of an audience today than there was in 2002?

While I won’t repeat myself on the subject, I’ll just throw out a reminder that it’s rather tragic that we only ever got two volumes of Atsushi Kaneko’s Bambi and Her Pink Gun from Digital Manga. What rescues are on your wish list?