Upcoming 12/23/2009

December 22, 2009

I’m sure there’s a lot to delight many people on this week’s ComicList, but I find myself underwhelmed and a little bit relieved by that. My “to read” pile is sufficiently tall to get me through the upcoming holiday, so taking a break from compounding the problem is welcome.

There is one book of particular note this week, though I already own all of the comics collected in it: Evil Twin Comics releases More Than Complete Action Philosophers, written by Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Ryan Dunlavey. Van Lente and Dunlavey take a wild and wooly approach to educating about the lives and belief systems of some of history’s great philosophers, and the results are always lively and informative. I have a particular nostalgia for this title, as I discovered it at my first visit to a Small Press Expo and got my copies signed by Van Lente and Dunlavey. (“Keep thinking!”) If you enjoyed R. Sikoryak’s marvelous Masterpiece Comics (Drawn & Quarterly), then this would be an excellent piece of follow-up reading.

If you want something to read right now, here are some links:

  • Kate Dacey runs through the shipping list and tracks some of the recent Best Manga of 2009 lists that are out there. The most recent example is Deb Aoki’s excellent list of Best Continuing Manga of 2009.
  • Writing for CTV News, Reed Stevenson takes a look at Europe’s manga market. Any article that starts with a Van Gogh anecdote and uses Paul Gravett as a source is worth a look.
  • Over at The Comics Journal, Shaenon K. Garrity weighs in on the state of manga translation and the question of authenticity versus readability: “The thing is, you can’t have both.” Let it be known that I favor readability.

  • Previews review Sept. 2009

    August 31, 2009

    There’s a fair amount of interesting new stuff in the September 2009 edition of Diamond’s Previews catalog, along with a positively crippling number of new volumes of ongoing series that I simply must have. Let’s go in page order, shall we?

    chobitsDark Horse continues its CLAMP collection project with the Chobits Omnibus Edition, a 720-page trade paperback priced at $24.95 (page 44).

    It’s always unnerving when I read a quote from myself in something like this or on a book cover, because I sound even dorkier excerpted than I do in context, but I’m always happy to sing the praises of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, written by Eiji Otsuka and illustrated by Jousui Yamazaki (page 50). The tenth volume solicitation seems to hint at the participation of zombies, but you should all buy it anyway. It’s not like it’s vampires.

    CMX should have put some kind of sad-face emoticon after “Final Volume!” in their solicitation for the tenth volume of Kaoru Mori’s Emma. It’s back to focusing on the leads for the big finish (page 123).

    I really liked the first volume of Nina Matsumoto’s Yokaiden (Del Rey), so I’m glad to see the listing for the second installment (page 248).

    Digital Manga Publishing busts out the old-school shôjo with the first volume of Kaoru Tada’s Itazura Na Kiss (page 251). As the heroine seems to be something of an academic underachiever, I’d put good money on there being a scene where she’s late for school and runs out the door with a piece of toast hanging out of her mouth. That is not a criticism.

    yellowI’ve been meaning to read Makoto Tateno’s Yellow for ages, as it sometimes shows up on those lists of yaoi titles gay guys might like. DMP offers the first volume of an omnibus version of the series, just in time for the arrival of the first volume of Yellow 2 (page 253).

    If I didn’t already own all of the single issues, I would probably buy The More Than Complete Action Philosophers trade paperback from Evil Twin, written by Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Ryan Dunlavey. Actually, I’ll probably buy it anyway, because those comics are great, and I’d love to have them all bundled up (page 257).

    yourandmysecret5Oh, glorious day! Tokyopop finally releases the fifth volume of Ai Morinaga’s pointed and hilarious Your and My Secret. The body-switching, pansexual love quadrangle continues (page 292).

    Vertical gets in on the act with the eighth volume of Osamu Tezuka’s addictive Black Jack (page 300). I want a “Pinoko’s Most Unnerving Moments” edition. Though honestly, that would be all of them.

    childrenofthesea2Viz has been inching me towards financial ruin for ages now, but they really give it their best effort this time around. There are the second volumes of Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ôoku: The Inner Chambers and Daisuke Igarashi’s Children of the Sea, the third volume of Kiminori Wakasugi’s Detroit Metal City, and the sixth volume of Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, all on page 305.

    Last, but certainly not least, Yen Press delivers the second volume of Yuji Iwahara’s Cat Paradise (page 310). For those of you who skipped the first installment, it’s about a school that lets you bring your cat. Charming as that sounds, many of the cats and their owners pursue extracurricular activities that involve fighting big, horrible demons. Fun stuff.

    Shipping, shopping

    February 27, 2007

    There’s ample interesting reading arriving via Diamond this week, from classics to award-winners to fresh installments of favorites.

    I got Aya (Drawn & Quarterly) last week and reviewed it here. It’s got charm to spare, and I’m glad to hear (via Jog) that a sequel has already been published in France.

    Vertical unleashes the first volume of its translation of Keiko Takemiya’s science-fiction classic To Terra… I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

    New volumes of two of my favorite Del Rey series arrive: the fifth of quirky romantic comedy Love Roma and the fourth of intelligent, character-driven sci-fi ES: Eternal Sabbath.

    The demented scholars at Evil Twin keep coming up with great names for installments in their Action Philosophers series. Number eight answers to Senseless Violence Spectacular.

    And The Comics Journal delivers its “Best of 2006” edition, which is always worth a look.

    The suspense is killing me!

    November 30, 2006

    Well that was a pleasant surprise. I thought NBM was only shipping a new printing of Rick Geary’s The Borden Tragedy, but a copy of the paperback version of The Case of Madeleine Smith showed up in my reserves yesterday. New installments of A Treasury of Victorian Murder are always gratefully accepted.

    Speaking of the accused Glaswegian, she’s made her way onto the list of nominees for the American Library Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens. (Yes, I’m still obsessively tracking those. Thanks for asking.) Nominations are now closed with a projected drop date for the final list in mid-winter of 2007.

    It’s a little hard to tell what joined the list when, but accounting for my shaky memory, recent additions include:

    • Action Philosophers: Giant-Sized Thing #1 (Evil Twin)
    • American Born Chinese (First Second)
    • Brownsville (NBBComics Lit)
    • Chocalat (Ice Kunion)
    • Crossroad (Go! Comi)
    • Fables: 1,001 Nights of Snowfall (Vertigo)
    • Infinite Crisis (DC)
    • Inverloch (Seven Seas)
    • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Dark Horse)
    • Livewires: Clockwork Thugs, Yo! (Marvel)
    • Pride of Baghdad (Vertigo)
    • Same Cell Organism (DMP)
    • To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel (Simon and Schuster)
    • Young Avengers Vol. 2: Family Matters (Marvel)

    I hope the nomination list is still available after the final roster is chosen, because there are some great books on it. But barring some bizarre failure of decision-making, it’s hard to see how the final list could be anything but excellent.

    (Edited to note: If I missed anything new to the nominations, let me know, and I’ll add it to the list.)

    Short list

    November 29, 2006

    Once again, ComicList courteously offers regular and manga versions of the week’s offerings, which feature a focus on new printings of good books.

    Evil Twin provides a second printing of Action Philosophers: Giant-Sized Thing #1. NBM rolls out a revised version of the soft-cover of A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Borden Tragedy, promising “a whole new section of newspaper clippings of the day!” And while I’m not familiar with the book, having been deep in spandex country during its initial printing, people are sufficiently excited about the new collection of Ragmop from Big Bang to make it their pick of the week.

    But there’s plenty of brand-new material too.

    A new issue of Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting (#3, in this case, from Fantagraphics) is always welcome.

    I’ll throw in my lot with MangaCast’s Jarred on the manga front, singling out volume three of Fuyumi Soryo’s ES: Eternal Sabbath (Del Rey) as the pick of the week. It’s intriguing, character-driven science fiction.

    Antique Bakery (DMP) has left me incapable of ignoring anything by Fumi Yoshinaga, even if I wasn’t crazy about some of the story elements of the first volume of Gerard & Jacques. But it’s Yoshinaga, so volume two is on the shopping list.

    You’re always a day away

    November 7, 2006

    Another week, another opportunity to ponder the mysteries of the ComicList. Some weeks I get lucky, and Del Rey titles show up earlier than they do from Diamond (as with the excellent Genshiken vol. 7). Some weeks I’m left to writhe in jealousy as everyone else gets Love Roma vol. 4 before I do. MangaCast has a preview of Del Rey’s shôjo version of Train Man, which I believe is due in bookstores today, if not in comic shops tomorrow.

    I’m curious about Project Romantic from AdHouse, but it wasn’t a book that I was confident in buying sight unseen. I’m sure I’ll get the chance when I hit Columbus for the holidays.

    The concept for Hero Heel (Juné) tickles me, focusing on unexpected romance among actors in a super-hero TV show. Pick your favorite Heroes actors and play along!

    Looking for something in a chic, josei, nouvelle manga style? Fanfare/Ponent Mon is releasing a new printing of Kan Takahama’s Kinderbook.

    Mmmm… Greek food. Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey travel to the cradle of democracy for Action Philosophers #7: It’s All Greek To You.

    Oni releases the second issue of Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s The Damned, a solid fusion of mob drama and supernatural weirdness.

    I’m intrigued by 12 Days from Tokyopop, either in spite or because of its faintly nauseating premise. Here’s a preview from editor Lillian Diaz-Pryzbyl.

    And of course, there’s always Death Note vol. 8 (Viz – Shonen Jump Advanced). MangaCast notes that the first volume of this series keeps popping up on Japanese best-seller lists.


    It seems that John Jakala is not alone. At Read About Comics, Greg McElhatton looks at the first two volumes of Drifting Classroom (Viz – Signature) and finds them really, really loud:

    “With The Drifting Classroom two of its eleven volumes are now translated, and I can’t help but wonder if publishing the other nine books could somehow result in a worldwide shortage of exclamation points thanks to its relentless intensity.”


    And in this week’s Flipped, I take the really ill-advised step of reviewing Osamu Tezuka’s Ode to Kirihito (Vertical), in spite of the fact that tons of people have already done it really well. Here are some more successful examples:

    I want a bean feast

    September 30, 2006

    The latest Previews catalog has me in a Veruca Salt kind of head space.

    David Petersen’s splendid Mouse Guard (Archaia) concludes with issue #6, but the solicitation text describes it as “the first Mouse Guard series,” all but promising there will be more.

    I hadn’t noticed that Housui Yamazaki, who provides illustrations for the excellent Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, has his own book, Mail, also coming out from Dark Horse. This demands further investigation, particularly since the protagonist from Mail will apparently cross over into KCDS. (I don’t like typing “cross over” when discussing manga, but I’ll reserve judgment.)

    As I like Hiroki Endo’s Eden: It’s an Endless World!, and I’m also a fan of collections of shorts, chances seem good I’ll also like Endo’s Tanpeshu, also from Dark Horse.

    DC – Wildstorm gives me the opportunity to enjoy a comic written by Gail Simone without having to try and wade through seventy-three different crossovers with the debut of Tranquility.

    DC – Vertigo revives a book I enjoyed a lot, Sandman Mystery Theatre, with a five-issue mini-series, Sleep of Reason. Based on the pages shown in Previews, I’m not entirely sold on the art by Eric Nguyen, but I love the protagonists in this series.

    Do you like Masaki Segawa’s Basilisk? Del Rey gives you the opportunity to read the novel that inspired it, The Kouga Ninja Scrolls.

    Evil Twin Comics unleases another Giant-Sized Thing on the comics-reading public with the second collection of Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s excellent Action Philosophers!

    Dave Carter notes that the singles of the second volume of Linda Medley’s marvelous Castle Waiting (Fantagraphics) series aren’t doing that well, despite strong sales of the beautiful collection of the first. Fantagraphics gives you the opportunity to correct this sorry state of affairs with the December release of the fourth issue.

    Go! Comi rolls out its seventh title, Train + Train by Hideyuki Kurata and Tomomasa Takuma. (In the future, all manga publishers will have a book with “train” in the title.)

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about SoHee Park’s Goong (Ice Kunion), a look at what Korea would be like if the monarchy was still in place.

    Last Gasp, publisher of Barefoot Gen, offers another look at life in Hiroshima after the bomb with Fumiyo Kouno’s Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms.

    If Marvel’s current efforts at politically observant super-heroics make you roll your eyes, you might find respite in Essential Defenders Vol. 2, which includes mosst of Steve Gerber’s mind-bending Headmen arc. It strikes me as idiotic not to include the entire arc in one place, which this book just misses. It has Defenders 15-39 and Giant-Size Defenders 1-5, but not #40 and Annual #1, the conclusion of Steve Gerber’s deranged masterpiece of deformed craniums, clown cults, and women in prison.

    NBM offers two books that go onto my must-buy list. The first is the paperback edition of the eighth installment of Rick Geary’s superb Treasury of Victorian Murder series, Madeleine Smith. The second is Nicolas De Crécy’s Glacial Period. De Crécy contributed a marvelous short to Fanfare/Ponent Mon’s Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, and I’ve been hoping to see more of his work in English.

    Oni Press rolls out Maintenance, a new ongoing series from Jim Massey and Robbi Rodriguez. I reviewed a preview copy earlier this week; the book looks like it will be a lot of fun.

    Seven Seas unveils another licensed title, Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, a gender-bending comedy by Satoru Akahori and Yukimaru Katsura. If you’ve been waiting for some shôjo-ai to come your way, now’s your chance.

    Tokyopop – Blu promises that Tarako Kotobuki’s Love Pistols is “too crazy to be believed.” Human evolution isn’t just for monkeys any more, people.