March 14, 2008

At Manga Recon, Kate Dacey and Erin F. take an entertainingly thorough (and thoroughly entertaining) look at the translated works of Fumi Yoshinaga. I’m a big fan of Yoshinaga’s work, and I’m thrilled that so much of it is available in English. And since I never pass up a chance to lazily develop blog content, here’s my list of her works ordered from favorite to least:

1. Flower of Life (DMP)
2. Antique Bakery (DMP)
3. Tie — Ichigenme: The First Class Is Civil Law (801 Media) and The Moon and the Sandals (Juné)
5. Gerard and Jacques (Blu)
6. Don’t Say Any More, Darling (Juné)
7. Garden Dreams (DMP)
8. Tie — Lovers in the Night (Blu) and Truly, Kindly (Blu)
10. Solfege (Juné)

I’ll probably annotate these at some point, but I haven’t had enough coffee yet, and as I said… lazy blog content development.

Quick comic comments: Road reading

November 7, 2007

There’s always plenty to do in Las Vegas, not least of which is compensating for the feeling of complicity in propping up a fundamentally unsustainable and wasteful human settlement. But a trip to Alternate Reality Comics always helps me forget the guilt, at least briefly, because it’s an awesome shop. It has a really great selection, and the staff is always helpful. And since it’s located between the airport and our hotel of choice, I was totally justified in stopping there before we checked in.

I haven’t read all of my haul yet, and I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with what I’ve read so far.

First were two second volumes of Fumi Yoshinaga series: Ichigenme… The First Class Is Civil Law (801) and The Moon and the Sandals (Juné). It’s Yoshinaga, so neither is anywhere close to bad, but it seems like she concentrated all of the heavy lifting in terms of character and nuance in the first volumes so she could concentrate on the hot couple action in the second rounds. And hey, at least she did that initial heavy lifting at all, which gives the action some welcome depth.

Then there was Girl Genius: Agatha Heterodyne and the Golden Trilobite (Airship). Don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy this series and would strongly recommend it. It’s just that this volume focused more on the narrative spine of the series than its heart. In other words, Agatha got pushed to the sidelines, which served to escalate the tension in the story but left me disappointed. I like the supporting cast, many of whom were pressed into service to rescue Agatha, and it was nice to believe that a bunch of people would run around risking their lives for the lead. A lot of times, creators will try and pass their lead off as beloved without doing any of the set-up needed to make it credible. Phil and Kaja Foglio have earned this kind of development, though.

Of course, it just reminds you that Agatha is terrific and plucky and smart and that you aren’t seeing very much of her in action. Which was a downer.


May 29, 2007

I love this story:

801-chan, pronounced ‘Yaoi-chan,’ is the mascot for the Misonobashi 801 shopping district, not far from Kyoto’s World Heritage Kamigamojinja shrine. And true to its roots, the character was inspired by Kyoto-grown vegetables.

“But what really made the mascot an unexpected smash with young otaku geeks is the accident of its name. ‘Yaoi,’ which was chosen by locals as a pun on the shopping center’s name, is also a slang term for a cult genre of manga comics on homosexual themes.”

Of course, the shopping district isn’t the only enterprise to find the 801-chan mascot appropriate for their ends. I smell a crossover!

Previews review

January 31, 2007

It’s time again for a trawl through the current edition of Previews. There’s lots of interesting new stuff, but there are also new versions of excellent comics that have been published previously and re-lists of some great books.

The first in DC’s Minx line of books, The Plain Janes, rolls out in this edition, and DC provides some preview pages that look nice. It’s interesting to see how much effort DC is devoting to getting these books in comics specialty shops, but I sure hope there are concurrent efforts in the kind of outlets where the target audience actually shops.

On the CMX front, there are a few attractive preview pages of Tomomi Yamashita’s Apothecarius Argentum, another period poison piece. But will it be completely insane?

The solicitation for 801’s Affair by Shiuko Kano catches my eye with phrases like “real adult relationships.” It’s also a collection of shorts, which is one of my weaknesses.

I’ve already enjoyed David Petersen’s terrific Mouse Guard (Archaia) in floppies, but I’m glad to see that the publisher hasn’t wasted any time in putting out what will surely be an attractive hardcover collection.

The manga-with-princess-in-the-title wars rage on as Del Rey debuts Yasunari Mitsunaga’s Princess Resurrection. The tiara and the chainsaw balance each other out rather nicely, don’t they?

Also from Del Rey is the first volume Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte, which has generated considerable anticipation. It’s one of their “older readers” books at the $12.95 price point.

Drawn & Quarterly re-lists the first volume of Moomin: The Complete Tove Jannson Comic Strip for anyone who may have missed it. I’m crazy about this book and will mention it at any opportunity.

The story described in the solicitation for Gipi’s Garage Band doesn’t immediately grab me, but First Second has demonstrated impeccable taste in the books they choose to publish, and I’ve been wanting to sample Gipi’s work.

I like the idea of the multi-generational story described in the blurb for Morim Kang’s 10, 20 and 30 from Netcomics. I’ll have to swing by the publisher’s site and sample a few chapters when they become available.

Oni focuses on new versions of already-published material, collecting Scott Chantler’s terrific Northwest Passage in an omnibus edition and delivering a “Definitive Edition” of Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber’s bottom-of-the-world thriller Whiteout. They also re-list a bunch of great books from their catalog, so if you’ve missed stuff like Past Lies, Capote in Kansas, or Banana Sunday, now’s your chance.

New from Oni is James Vining’s First in Space, a 2006 Xeric Grant recipient, telling the tale of “a chimpanzee Americans trained for the first sub-orbital spaceflight.” I’m intrigued, but my “sad animal story” radar is pinging.

Say what you will about the prospect of OEL from Avril Lavigne. It’s bound to be The Rose of Versailles compared to the Bratz Cine-Manga (Tokyopop).

Tokyopop’s Blu imprint delivers more Fumi Yoshinaga in the form of Lovers in the Night. How many of her titles are left to license? It’s like we’re in the middle of a Yoshinagalanche. That’s not a bad thing, obviously. I didn’t like the opening gambit of Gerard and Jacques, but the series of explosions in the second volume was one of the funniest pieces of cartooning I’ve seen all year.

Top Shelf delivers a new volume of Andy Runton’s Owly, A Time to Be Brave, which would be generosity enough for one month. But after taking a look at the preview pages for Christian Slade’s Korgi (via Blog@Newsarama), I realize that they’re determined to spoil me.