Wanting far too much for far too long

This week’s glorious news has left me with a question: should I just change the name of this feature to “Pestering Matt Thorn”? The idea appeals to me, but I’m reluctant to limit myself when it comes to begging. That doesn’t mean that I can’t… shall we say… fixate for a while.

But even this leaves one with a question: fixate on what? Should I focus on the kind of manga that seems to track with Thorn’s scholarly interests in his work as a part of Kyoto Seika University’s Faculty of Manga? This wouldn’t exactly be a stretch, as I routinely beg for classic shôjo, edgy shôjo, josei, and the various mix-and-match possibilities of all of those.

And then one notes that, in spite of the partnership with Shogakukan, one of the first two announcements from Fantagraphics is still in serialization in Enterbrain’s Comic Beam. And, as we all know, Comic Beam is awesome. I remember talking about Comic Beam’s curatorial sensibility during that Inkstuds podcast with Deb Aoki, Chris Butcher and Ryan Sands, so it makes me feel validated that Thorn drew from that particular well.

When one factors in the Fantagraphics brand (comics they admire from wherever or whenever), and the breadth and depth of Shogakukan’s catalog, and even Thorn’s own list of the best manga of the early 2000s, the possibilities seem satisfyingly vast. And while Gary Groth may not be the cuddliest messenger in the world (on this or any other subject), one can rest assured that his sensibility is as curatorial as it gets, and The Comics Journal wouldn’t have done an issue about Japanese comics for girls if it hadn’t been for Dirk Deppey, who was matchmaker for this whole initiative.

But really, where, oh where, to start with the begging? Thorn has noted that Moto Hagio’s The Heart of Thomas “changed [his] life,” and it’s a defining work of boys’-love manga, so it’s not unreasonable to keep one’s fingers crossed on that front. Along the same lines, Thorn included Hagio’s Otherworld Barbara among the previously mentioned best comics of the century so far, so that title doesn’t seem to represent excessive optimism either. (And, frankly, Fantagraphics triggered my want reflex for Otherworld Barbara in the first place by using art from it on the cover of The Comics Journal #269. They basically showed the gun in the first act, so somebody better be bleeding on the stage by the time the curtain comes down, is all I’m saying.)

Even just confining oneself to Hagio manga published by Shogakukan leaves one with a veritable smorgasbord. What more perfect way could there be for Fantagraphics to enter the vampire game than to publish The Poe Clan? Hagio’s award-winning A Cruel God Reigns (17 volumes of brutal family dysfunction) sounds like just the kind of challenge Fantagraphics would embrace.

And there’s the whole wide world of non-Hagio Shogakukan titles. I’ve seen Yumi Tamura’s 7 Seeds mentioned in the course of Fanta-Thorn elation, and why shouldn’t it be? Post-apocalyptic shôjo-josei about cryogenically frozen teen-agers destined to repopulate the Earth? Why yes, thank you, I’d love some!

So basically what I’m saying is that every possible request calls to mind seven or eight more. In fact, I’m on the verge of collapse under the weight of possibilities, so I throw it open to you. What titles are in your dream vision of Thorn-curated manga from Fantagraphics?

18 Responses to Wanting far too much for far too long

  1. Judi says:

    All with Fantagraphics manga line is fascinating and amazing considering the “state of manga” in America.
    As for Groth, curmudgeon would be my description, having known him since early 80’s. Maybe you should loan him your title?

  2. Shelly says:

    I hope they bring some of the great SF that the shoujo mangakas used to do. It’s great because it’s not just space opera, but it does what good sf does and twists things so that we might examine our own cultures and selves better. There’s so little of it being written today for women (Silver Diamond is one of the few I can think of). Hagio’s Marginal and maybe a re-release of They were Eleven would be a good beginning. 🙂

  3. KrebMarkt says:

    I would love those ones.

    If along the way they manage to pick Vinland Saga & Yokohama Kaidashi Kikô, i will allow Phantagraphic to brag about how awesome is their manga catalog.

  4. Lorena says:

    All I have to say is this: “josei, josei, josei, please!”

  5. Dave Carter says:

    I published my ‘please translate these’ list a few years ago, and it still stands…

  6. davidpwelsh says:

    Great list, Dave. I’m particularly keen on Palepoli.

  7. Tony Salvaggio says:

    For some reason I always hope that Chojin Locke is on these lists. Maybe one day. I
    ‘m psyched about the Fantagraphics announcements. I hope that older manga can make it. When I first started writing for Tokyopop I talked to their editors about how much I enjoyed Cyborg 009, Lupin, etc. They said (jokingly of course), “Oh, you’re the person buying them.” I’m just glad they finished the run of Cyborg 009.

  8. I WHOLE-HEARTEDLY share your desire for 7SEEDS and every single one of the Moto Hagio titles you mention. Here are a couple others I’d like to see:

    * marginal – Moto Hagio. Thorn and Hagio discuss this title in their interview (which I’ve been reading over at TCJ) and it sounds really interesting.

    * The Song of Wind and Trees – Keiko Takemiya. I mean, if you’re going for classic BL, you’ve gotta have this one!

    * Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou – I’m with KrebMarkt on this one. I think it’d fit with the Fantagraphics catalog quite well.

    Mostly, I’d be happy with anything from the Year 24 Group or the Post Year 24 Group. Of the latter, I’m particularly curious about the works of Shio Sato; I liked her “Changeling” story in Four Shojo Stories quite a bit.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Anything and everything from Moto Hagio and Yumiko Ōshima.

  10. […] of High School Debut… David Welsh debates the wisdom of renaming his License Request column “Pestering Matt Thorn”… Kris dedicates her latest Bento Bako Weekly column to 9th Sleep… Greg McElhatton swabs […]

  11. […] announcement of Fantagraphics’ new line of manga (to be edited by Matt Thorn), David Welsh considers the many possibilities for license requests and asks for help from his readers (who cheerfully oblige). David also goes back and revisits his […]

  12. davidpwelsh says:

    That does sound pretty amazing, Hniu, and it doesn’t sound like something Viz would snap up for SigIKKI in spite of its IKKI origins.

  13. Hniu says:

    Fingers crossed )

  14. Ephidel says:

    I would love to see them (or anyone, really) releasing 7SEEDs and more Moto Hagio, and was glad to see Dirk Deppey saying that Drunken Dream won’t be the last Hagio they do. I’m particularly interested in Marginal and Otherworld Barbara but I’d be happy with anything, really 😉

    A Diffusion Disease by Hideji Oda (released as Dispersion in french and italian). Its only two volumes long, and while it was released by Kodansha originally it received a rerelease from Enterbrain / Beam Comix in 2008.

    Enterbrain also have Otoyomegatari ^^
    And Thermae Romae, which you mentioned in one of your awards-inspired requests which sounded interesting.

    Beyond 7SEEDs Shogakukan also have other Yumi Tamura stuff too (There Goes Tomoe! is one I’d love to read)

    I also stumbled across this, published by shogakukan, which seems to be a collection of shorts from a number of authors… so is it cheating to wish for an anthology? 😛
    Going by the first review theres quite a range of authors;
    Hatsu Akiko (part of the post year 24 group)
    Tamura Yumi
    Keiko Nishi (Love Song)
    奈知未佐子 (No idea. Their wiki page suggests they debuted in 1979 and won some form of prize in 1997 and links to [url=http://flowers.shogakukan.co.jp/interview/interview_15.html]this interview[/url] with some of their art/book covers though)
    Shimomura Tomi (listed as Shinomura Fumi on the old skynet listing. Going with Tomi because thats how her name is written on the KSU faculty list)
    Endou Kayo (no idea what her work is like, but Haute Couture and Hurricane Boy have some simple yet striking cover art)
    Sasaya Nanae (year 24 group)
    有留杏一 (can’t find anything here)
    Moto Hagio
    Yoshi Masako (has released a lot of shoujo/josei by the looks of things. debuted in 1979 and still releasing things now)
    Yoshino Sakumi (has also released quite a lot of titles, debuted in 1980)

    • Ephidel says:

      Gah, can’t believe I stuck a bb code link in the middle of that, and then missed actually linking to the anthology on top of that 😦

      It was meant to be a this.

  15. Alpha says:

    My hopes for Fantagrahics are consistent quality, as well as well for those underlooked series( 7 seeds and most of MOTOMI Kyousuke series:) to finally make their way over here

  16. […] This is the first time they’ve announced an actual line-up and there’s already lots of anticipation for what chances this could give more obscure titles when it comes to seeing a release in North […]

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