Birthday book: Real

January 12, 2010

Hey, today is the birthday of manga superstar Takehiko Inoue! How, oh how, shall I choose to observe this special occasion? Well, since I never pass up an opportunity to do so, I’ll suggest you celebrate by once again recommending that you buy yourself a volume or seven of Inoue’s brilliant Real (Viz).

If you’re sick of hearing me make recommendations of this kind, well, that’s just tough, because it truly is one of the best series of any provenance to be published in English in the last ten years. It just is.

And if that’s not enough, I’ll simply have to hit below the belt, because you know what? You people owe Inoue, not just for his own great comics, but for the fact that, were it not for Inoue, there might be no Fumi Yoshinaga as we know her. Yoshinaga came from the world of doujinshi, fan-created comics. And do you know what one of the series was that she repurposed to her own glorious ends? That’s right. It was Inoue’s Slam Dunk.

So if the fact that Real is amazing isn’t enough for you, if the fact that it’s Inoue’s birthday isn’t enough for you, do it for Yoshinaga. There must be sufficient incentive in there somewhere.

Upcoming 1/13/2010

January 12, 2010

This week’s ComicList gives us all an opportunity to dig out from under last week’s avalanche. There are still items of note, of course.

“David,” you may ask, “just how many comics about people who see dead people or other supernatural beings can one actually read?” My answer is, “All of the ones that sound any good at all.” Your answer may be different, obviously. This week’s entry into the crowded, often awesome genre is Lola: A Ghost Story (Oni) by J. Torres and Elbert Or. Bask with me in the enticing familiarity of the blurb text:

“Jesse sees dead people, monsters, demons, and lots of other things that go bump in the night that no one else can see. No one except his ailing grandmother — a woman who used her visions to help those living in her small town. The same rural community in all the scary stories Jesse’s heard as a child. Man-eating ogres in trees. Farmhouses haunted by wraiths. Even pigs possessed by the devil. Upon his grandmother’s passing, Jesse has no choice but to face his demons and whatever else might be awaiting him at grandma’s house.”

I’ve reached the point that I would inject Banri Hidaka’s V.B. Rose (Tokyopop) directly into a vein if such a thing was possible, but I’ve been a little slow in exploring her other licensed work. For instance, Tears of a Lamb (CMX) reaches its conclusion with the seventh volume. This just means that I can order the whole thing in one massive, presumably discounted order and spend an entire weekend reading it. A plot that features both eating disorders and amnesia sounds like a really good week on All My Children in its long-ago prime, and that’s always a selling point for me.

Go, vote: book about manga

January 12, 2010

I can’t believe we still don’t have a serious piece of popular scholarship dedicated to manga for girls and women. When such a tome is published, and if it’s any good, I’ll certainly vote for it in Deb Aoki’s Best Manga Book poll. In the meantime, I have no qualms voting for…