Upcoming 10/6/2010

October 5, 2010

Time for a quick look at this week’s ComicList:

Oni Press gives me a good opportunity to check out a series I always meant to try but could never find an easy point of entry. It’s Hopeless Savages Greatest Hits, and it features stories by Jen Van Meter illustrated by the likes of Chynna Clugston, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Ross Campbell and more. It’s about a pair of punk rockers raising a family in the not-so-quiet suburbs.

Hey, it’s time for a new volume of the greatest shônen series currently being published in English! That would be Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece from Viz, which is in the midst of a big, crazy prison break story, but you can always head to the front with relatively cheap, three-volume omnibus versions, which I strongly recommend you do if you like really brilliantly crafted adventure stories.

I’ve got to tell you that a really dismal adaptation of Kaori Yuki’s Godchild left me with a lingering aversion to her work, but many smart people find her work positively addictive, so perhaps I’ll use the arrival of Yuki’s Grand Guingol Orchestra (Viz) to try and reconsider my position.

If that doesn’t work, I can always console myself with the fourth volume of Yuki Midorikawa’s excellent Natsume’s Book of Friends (Viz).

Two years later

October 5, 2010

Lots of people have posted interesting and valuable reactions to yesterday’s news about Kodansha and Del Rey, particularly Christopher (Comics212) Butcher and Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey, and I only have a couple of things to add.

First, I’d like to thank Del Rey for publishing some really interesting manga and doing a very nice job of it. I always appreciated the level of care they took with translation, adaptation and annotation of their translation choices. All of those elements really added value to the reading experience, and I hope that Kodansha continues to uphold those production values.

Some of my favorite manga came from the Del Rey imprint: Minoru Toyoda’s Love Roma, Fuyumi Soryo’s ES: Eternal Sabbath, Yuki Urushibara’s Mushishi, Kio Shimoku’s Genshiken, Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi’s Kitchen Princess, and Satomi Ikezawa’s Othello, among many others. I hope that this excellent back catalog stays in print, regardless of how things ultimately shake out between Kodansha and Random House. We have enough excellent, orphaned series already.

Some of my current favorite series and titles I’ve hoped to catch up on were also on Del Rey’s slate: Clamp’s xxxHOLic, Tomoko Ninomiya’s Nodame Cantabile, Koji Kumeta’s Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, and Ishikawa Masayuki’s Moyasimon. I hope that Kodansha doesn’t dawdle in the continued publication of these interesting and satisfying works.

But I would be lying if I said I was optimistic. It’s been over two years since word first leaked that Kodansha was taking its English-language distribution into its own hands, and the results have been rather pathetic. The net result has been that significantly less of Kodansha’s catalog is available in print than before. I understand that the economy isn’t friendly to new initiatives, but results thus far have been miserable, especially for a publisher of Kodansha’s size and stature. I hope that this development indicates that Kodansha is going to finally get in gear in terms of shoring up its existing catalog and increasing the number of titles licensed for English publication and that we aren’t asking the same rueful questions in 2012.