Upcoming 11/17/2010

I read the second volume of Hisae Iwaaka’s Saturn Apartments (Viz) last night, confirming my feeling that this is one of the best new series of the year. (I feel that way about several titles in Viz’s SigIKKI program, but which one of them I like best depends on which one I’ve read most recently.) For those who need a refresher, this is slice-of-life science fiction about the people who wash windows on a satellite habitat orbiting an environmentally devastated Earth.

Though episodic in a lot of ways, it does follow a single protagonist, Mitsu, who is following in his late father’s footsteps in a perilous, under-appreciated profession. Mitsu spends a significant portion of this volume considering his father’s legacy, or perhaps trying to construct what that legacy might look like. He talks to his father’s co-workers, now his co-workers, about how his father approached his work and, less directly, how he might have felt about it. As a neophyte, he’s also asking about the specifics of a dangerous job he still hasn’t mastered, so there’s an extra layer of intention in the question-and-answer sessions.

I enjoy series that have a strong grounding in a particular profession, whether that profession is realistic or fanciful. The grubby-fantastic quality that Iwaaka gives to her cast’s working world is very appealing to me, and I like the ways she resists canonizing her characters as salt-of-the-earth types. While she draws them in an innocent, vulnerable style, she writes them with a bit more frankness. The get cranky, hold grudges, drink too much, work too hard, get careless… they behave credibly and recognizably, in other words.

Other noteworthy items on this week’s ComicList include the 9th volume of Takehiko Inoue’s extraordinarily good Real (Viz). Melinda (Manga Bookshelf) Beasi named it her Pick of the Week, because she has excellent taste that way.

The other highlight of the week has to be the second collection of Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting (Fantagraphics). The publisher describes the comics as “witty and sublimely drawn fantasy [that] eases into a relaxed comedy of manners,” which is perfectly true. It’s really a treat of a series, one that I bought in pamphlet form and will buy in its collected state, which almost never happens.

What looks good to you?

8 Responses to Upcoming 11/17/2010

  1. JTabon says:

    I’m currently counting down the hours till the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali deluxe hc arrives on my doorstep.

    • davidpwelsh says:

      I was obsessed with that huge comic book when I was a kid, not for its content but for its hugeness. I remember one family camping trip only in the context of the fact that this huge comic was being sold at the camp store. Ditto the Superman/Spider-Man giant thing.

      • JTabon says:

        Nice. The closest comparison I can think of is the Marvel Super Special I recently got for Howard the Duck (I didn’t feel like spending a buttload of cash for the Giant-Size Man-Thing (yes, that STILL makes me titter; how the hell did it make it to print?) issues it reprinted). And, width aside, it dwarfs every other book I own. 🙂

        And I wish the heads of Marvel and DC weren’t so juvenile in their rivalry; the Superman/Spider-Man team-up is another great looking book deserving a deluxe edition reprint.

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  3. judi(togainunochi) says:

    All I can say is Real: unbelievable, moving, inspiring, and I cry at some point every time I read it.

  4. jim says:

    Really looking forward to getting the 2nd vol of Saturn Apartments. It’s probably my favourite SigIkki title.
    Slightly off topic but, do you have any idea how Viz gauges the popularity of series’ on the SigIkki site? The reason I ask is that I stopped reading the series’ that I liked and am collecting in print format (I hate reading comics on screen) and only bother to read those that I would not want to buy (and wouldn’t really miss if they took them offline, either.)
    My concern about this is that, if other people follow my approach and Viz use this data to decide which series’ to offer in print format, they will think there is no audience for the titles I actually like the most and will possibly stop printing them!

    • davidpwelsh says:

      I think, once they go into print, they’re probably more focused on unit sales, but that’s a good question. You could always leave a comment on the Saturn Apartments site saying that you loved it online but moved over to the print versions? I think they take comments into account as well.

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