Random weekend question: guilt trips

Melinda (Manga Bookshelf) asked folks to confess to their guilty graphic pleasures, so I thought I’d approach the question from the other direction. What comics or graphic novels, if any, do you feel guilty about having not read? Are there any much-loved classics or high-tone titles that you just can’t be bothered to read?

33 Responses to Random weekend question: guilt trips

  1. judi(togainunochi) says:

    The first that comes to mind is Pluto. Also, Kimi no Todoke, and Twin Spica. I read so much about them, but my wallet just doesn’t move in that direction. But, I never say never.

  2. Johanna says:

    Chris Ware’s work, but I don’t feel particularly guilty about it. It’s all so downbeat and depressing!

    • davidpwelsh says:

      I know what you mean. I do feel vaguely guilty about not having read virtually any of Lynda Barry’s work, but there’s something about the look of what I’ve seen that doesn’t really trigger my buy reflex.

      • Johanna says:

        I look on the positive side — it’s a great thing that there are so many options now that one can’t really afford all the wonderful comic books.

    • Brigid says:

      Johanna, I’m with you. I look at those finely polished books and the enthusiastic part of my brain clicks right off.

    • Robin B. says:

      Chris Ware is someone I have read half-way, and all I can manage to say is the design is gorgeous, but for me, the soul is lacking.

  3. Eric Rupe says:

    I have a hard enough time buying and trying to find the time to read all the stuff I know I want to read to feel to bad about ignoring the works of any particular writer or a comic I’m “supposed” to have read.

    Occasionally I feel like I should read more a certain type of comic or genre though but, again, time and money are usually against me making a big effort to do so.

  4. All the manga on my overflowing to-be-reviewed shelf! Even now, they stare at me, accusingly. Also From Eroica with Love which I just can’t seem to get myself to pick up no matter how many people tell me I should.

  5. JTabon says:

    Alan Moore’s work. Watchmen was depressing and unappealing, and I haven’t read a bit of his work since.

  6. Caddy C says:

    There are so very many for me!

    I’ve never read any Tezuka. Gasp! I’ve never read Fruits Basket, or much shoujo at all, for that matter. There are lots of genres and writers and series I feel I should read more of, but like the other commenters, I just don’t have the cash.

    • davidpwelsh says:

      I still haven’t finished Buddha or Phoenix, though I’ve read some of each. And I doubt I’ll ever get through all of Astro Boy, just because it seems like one of those books where you don’t need to read all of it.

  7. I’m with JTabon: what little I read of Alan Moore was thoroughly off-putting, so I didn’t press on to read the whole Moore canon. I’m also not very keen on Harvey Pekar; I’ve never really gotten the fuss over his work, which I find kind of turgid.

    • davidpwelsh says:

      I’ve managed to avoid Pekar’s work too, and I don’t honestly feel that bad about it. I’ve probably read more Moore, but nothing since Lost Girls, which seemed like a supremely smug concept to me.

      • Glad to know it isn’t just me, David!

        And while I’m at it, I have to say that I’ve always had a similar reaction to Lynda Barry’s work: I feel like I ought to be buying and liking it, but it doesn’t really grab me.

  8. Ken H. says:

    Pluto and some of Tezuka’s works like MW and Ode to Kirihito. I do plan on getting to them eventually though.

  9. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    The only Moore I’ve read is Watchmen (which my brother forced on me–but I did ultimately love) and Swamp Thing which I thought was brilliant but only read due to the Gaiman/Sandman connections.

  10. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    As for my own list–there’s not a lot of translated material I feel like I should be reading–but both Pluto and Monster top my list. There’s also some Tezuka (Buddha mainly) that I need to get to–and after following this blog for so long I feel I should delve into One Piece.

  11. I feel somewhat guilty that I haven’t moved beyond volume two of Fullmetal Alchemist or read any of Kekkaishi. It’s not that I don’t find them appealing—I do! And I have bought each new volume as it has come out! It’s just… I end up reading other things instead.

  12. Aaron says:

    I have never read the walking man instead I took the money I was supposed to use to buy it and bought the first three volumes of Black Bird if this where a different era I would commit seppuku to atone (kidding about the seppuku of course;)

  13. Rij says:

    Poor Naoki Urasawa. Everyone tells me to read him. Based on what I know about his works, I’m fairly sure I’d enjoy them too. I just never get around to starting.

  14. […] Welsh asks, the readers answer: Which manga and graphic novels do you feel guilty about not reading? Also: What would you like to see the Japanese publishers do with their new web […]

  15. Katherine Farmar says:

    I’ve never read The Dark Knight Returns, and I suspect I never will, because every time I try, every line of dialogue turns into “What, are you dense? Are you retarded or something? I’m the goddamn Batman!” and I have to put it down.

    Manga-wise, I’ve started reading a bunch of SigIkki titles, and then never caught up with them when further chapters were posted (or bought the paper copies). I will catch up with House of Five Leaves and Saturn Apartments one of these days… Also, Jiro Taniguchi. I loved The Times of Botchan but for some reason I’ve never read anything else of his. Just last night I caught sight of my unread copy of The Ice Wanderer on the shelf and felt a guilty twinge. I’ll get to you, Taniguchi-sensei, I swear…

  16. Erica says:

    For me, my not-read but not guiltily is Deathnote, and the self-indulgent Bakuman by the same team.

    I watched exactly one episode of Deathnote and it went like this:

    “Does he know it’s me?”

    “No, he can’t possibly.”

    “But what if he does?

    “What’s he thinking, does he know anything?”

    “No, he can’t know anything.”

    “But what if he does?”

    …for 22 minutes. I realize that an anime isn’t a manga, but this was dire in so many ways, I never really care to learn more.

    The idea that two guys want to be mangaka and see it as a man’s world is not exactly breathtakingly exciting material for me. The same thing was done with humor and sex in “Eve no Ringo” and was sort of vaguely appealing, I don’t need to see the frat-boy version. Limited perception of one’s own biases isn’t a selling point.

    Same with Moore. He had some talent, yes. So do I. My fanfic is as good as his and less full of disdain for the readers. If I write a sex-filled romp with characters out of copyright can I be famous too?

  17. laurie says:

    less then a chapter of pluto made me not want to read it. something to do with androids being human like just didnt appeal to me cause I’ve seen so many variations of it. (would like to read monster)

    will not be reading 21st century boys (or the other one) because I heard the artist kinda lost the story when he had to take time off.

    I’m not reading Tezuka’s stuff and dont feel bad about it. I don’t feel bad for not reading Death note either.

  18. Robin B. says:

    I think my greatest blind spots are with indie graphic novels, like Charles Burns, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine, etc. I have read some of each, but loved none, so I do not go back and read their work. I get so very tired of ennui and the angsty musings of thirty-something boy-men. No matter how artful, I just…can’t…care.

    In the world of manga, I’m feeling stupid for having not yet read Inoue’s Vagabond. I want to, I just…don’t currently have the time! And I even have the nice new VIZBIG editions here at my library.

    • davidpwelsh says:

      I used to feel bad about not having read Blankets until I actually tried to read Blankets. And, while there are some examples of boy-men confessionals I’ve actually enjoyed, I feel almost no guilt about exhibiting a blanket aversion to the entire category.

      Jeffrey Brown… Shudder.

  19. Robin B. says:

    BTW, from another reading survey I once took, I’ve always thought it fascinating to consider what you’ve lied about reading (or at least nodded along as if you’re in the know when someone is raving about a particular title, even though you haven’t read it.) What we’re usually guilty about reading has to do more, I think, with what we fear other people will think of us! The shame of getting caught out having not read some masterpiece is a uniquely intellectual, reader-driven shame.

    • davidpwelsh says:

      I love this comment so much, partly because it flatters my reader-driven shame. And it’s certainly a shame that applies to prose I haven’t read, movies I haven’t seen, music I haven’t listened to… I could go on and on!

      • Robin B. says:

        Oh, yes! So many books I should have read by now. And movies. Movies I feel less bad about, somehow, and I’m starting to own my lack of reading the classics. But…I mean, I still haven’t read Jane Eyre. And I’m not sure I ever will.

    • Connie says:

      This is exactly why I wind up reading so many things I hate. Because I fear that somehow, somewhere, I will be caught in a conversation unprepared. I will lie to be cool, and then be caught in the lie and ostracized.

      Nevermind that I am shy and almost never enter said conversations. I am well prepared if they come across my path.

  20. Ahavah says:

    1. A Drifting Life-I tried to read it, and found it very loooong, and boring. What’s up with writing a memoir in 3rd person POV w/a pen named protagonist?

    2.I never got through Sandman. I read the first volume and enjoyed it fairly well. I think Sandman’s older sister Death is the Bee’s Knees, but unless Death is a major character in the story, I can’t get into the other volumes.

    3.Things I’ve bought but never read (including Watchman, From Eroica with Love, and some volumes of Swan).

    4. Stuff I’ve read scanulated but never bought or checked out of the library

    5. I feel like the only person who likes Shonen Jump titles-or at least reads them if they’re fairly popular-but I just don’t “get” One Piece! Sorry. I do love Gintama, though…;)

    • davidpwelsh says:

      It took me forever to get into Sandman, mostly because it was always on those patronizing “chicks dig it” lists, which I should remind myself is not always the book’s fault.

      Also, I’ve never owned a copy of Watchmen, and I skimmed about half of the copy I read. I did like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which is my favorite Alan Moore comic that I’ve read.

      And don’t feel bad about One Piece. I’ll speak up for you after the revolution.

  21. Connie says:

    My biggest manga sin of omission at this time is probably Emma. I just finished collecting all the volumes of it, though, so I will rectify that soon. I’m probably way less cool for not having read Sexy Voice and Robo, too, or Yotsuba&!

    Sometimes Naruto comes up, I haven’t read that. I have read enough Shounen Jump to not feel bad about Naruto, though.

    Blankets and Love and Rockets are my biggest regrets on the American side of things, though I own a copy of Blankets and can’t bring myself to read it because it sounds a little… boring. And long. You’ve confirmed my fears.

    I periodically become overrun with guilt about not being caught up with DC crossover/Crisis continuity, and that always results in me reading another story arc. Then I remember why I don’t read those.

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