Pest management

June 29, 2009


There’s a new Flipped column up at The Comics Reporter.

Go to DMC!

June 22, 2009

There’s a new Flipped up at The Comics Reporter. I think you can guess the topic. For added value, I wanted to get your opinion on an important matter:

Manga 101

June 17, 2009

One of those random bits of curiosity has taken root, and I might try and get a column out of it if I can find sources. So, does anyone know of any folks who are teaching or have taught introductory manga courses at the college or university level? I’m thinking primarily of survey courses rather than ones that focus on creating comics. If you know of anyone, or if you’ve taught such a course yourself, drop me a line.

manga_60yearsI think if I were constructing a course like that, I would probably use Paul Gravett’s Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics as the primary text. I like the book’s structure, and I think it provides a great overview of the history and various demographic categories. It’s also packed with illustrations from all kinds of titles (including a rather energetic hamster-like creature that got the book banned in Victorville, California).

The reading list would be tricky. I would want to include examples from the major demographic categories (shônen, shôjo, seinen, josei), but I think I’d have to be careful to find stuff that’s representative but doesn’t end up in a cripplingly expensive trip to the bookstore. That would mean picking titles that give a reasonable amount of story in a single volume but still do a good job embodying certain common traits about the category. I’d probably just plan on taking whatever lumps come in the form of complaints about not getting the full story. (I could always include a paragraph on the syllabus that gives the total price tag for complete series included on the reading list; some of the best examples are really long, and even if the price of individual volumes isn’t that high, when you ask someone to buy twenty of them…)

I’d also want to include works by the greats, particularly Osamu Tezuka. That gets a little tricky too, as I’d want something relatively accessible. Astro Boy seems like a reasonable enough choice in terms of accessibility (and Dark Horse offers this two-volume paperback), though I’d much rather have them read something like Ode to Kirihito. Since there’s so little of the work from the Year 24 Group available in print and in English, I’d turn to Vertical for To Terra… (I know it isn’t shôjo, but it’s a great book, and it provides an early example of a woman creating comics targeted at boys, which seems like an interesting teachable moment.)

I’d probably leave anime to the film studies program, or whatever those units are called these days.

So what would you include on your reading list?

Update: Speaking of manga scholarship, Simon (NSFW) Jones finds an interesting piece on international demand for a National Center for Media Arts.


June 8, 2009

One of the things I like about Twitter, aside from the genial conversation with lots of other comics nerds and, truly, nerds of every variety, is the ability to linkblog quickly without having to go to the effort of composing an entire blog post to point out something interesting when all I’d basically be saying is, “This is interesting.” And since recent tweets are right there in the sidebar, it’s just like linkblogging but much, much lazier! It’s like it was designed just for me!

This is only marginally related to the fact that I’m doing my weekly linkblog of something I’ve written, this week’s Flipped over at The Comics Reporter. And yes, I was almost too lazy to linkblog to myself.

Shop of dreams

June 1, 2009

This week’s Flipped started with a visit to one of those excellent comic shops that demonstrates a healthy appreciation for manga. It got me thinking about what qualities add up to making a comic shop great for manga fans. It’s fairly easy to find all of the shônen and shôjo one could want at a chain bookstore, so it always behooves a specialty store to go beyond that and offer something different.

Instead of looking at the underlying qualities and philosophies that make a comic shop a great manga shop, I decided to go the lazy route and come up with a frankly arbitrary checklist of specific comics and categories that add up to represent a generous and discerning view of this corner of the comics world. Feel free to add your own and mention shops you really like. (Mine include Alternate Reality Comics in Las Vegas, Midtown Comics in Manhattan, Laughing Ogre Comics in Columbus, OH, and Big Planet Comics in Georgetown, DC.)

Here’s my checklist:

  • Shelf copies of at least three volumes of Eden: It’s an Endless World and The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Bonus points for shelf copies of either volume of Tanpenshu or Ohikkoshi.
  • Shelf copies of at least two books from Fanfare/Ponent Mon. Bonus points for shelf copies of each additional title.
  • Shelf copies of at least three volumes of Genshiken, Mushishi and Nodame Cantabile. Bonus points for shelf copies of any volume of Love Roma and/or Me and the Devil Blues.
  • Shelf copies of at least one Japanese comic published by Last Gasp. Bonus points for each additional shelved title.
  • Shelf copies of volumes of at least three series by Fumi Yoshinaga.
  • Shelf copies of volumes of at least four series by Osamu Tezuka. Bonus points for copies of the Black Jack hardcover.
  • Shelf copies of at least two volumes of Dragon Head, Planetes and Tramps Like Us.
  • Shelf copies of at least three volumes of Nana. Bonus points for shelf copies of any volume of Paradise Kiss.
  • Shelf copies of volumes of at least five series from Viz’s Signature line. Minimum requirements: two comics by Naoki Urasawa and Uzumaki. Bonus points for any volume of Oishinbo. Double bonus points for three or more volumes of The Drifting Classroom.
  • Shelf copies of at least two volumes each of Emma, Gon and Crayon Shinchan.
  • Shelf copies of at least one out-of-print title.
  • Rack copies of Yen Plus with the other monthlies.
  • A prominently displayed sign that says something like, “Don’t see what you’re looking for? Ask us, and we’ll try and order it for you!” Smiley-face optional.
  • And for extra credit:

  • Bonus points shelf copies of Sexy Voice and Robo.
  • Bonus points for a clearly identified section for yaoi and boys’ love titles.
  • Bonus points for Rica ‘tte Kanji.
  • Bonus points for shelf copies of two or more out-of-print titles.
  • Bonus points for a selection of ero-manga from Icarus Publishing.

  • Wishful thinking

    May 18, 2009

    That’s pretty much the entirety of this week’s Flipped. No, seriously.

    I can’t wait for the sequel

    May 11, 2009


    This week’s Flipped focuses on Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life (Drawn & Quarterly).


    May 4, 2009


    I told myself to wait until two volumes of the new Naoki Urasawa series were out until I wrote about them at any length, and I’m glad I did, as I thought 20th Century Boys improved dramatically in the second volume. (Not that the first was weak, just that there seemed to be more of a voice and a style in the second.) Pluto I pretty much loved from the beginning.

    But I’m giving away the shocking secrets of this week’s Flipped.

    Carrion luggage

    April 27, 2009

    I’m sure I’ve used that joke before. Anyway, there’s a new Flipped up, in which I talk a bit about four-panel comics to camouflage the fact that I’m going on about Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro yet again.

    The future is now

    April 21, 2009

    Will the day come when we evolve from bestseller lists to “largest number of unique visitors” lists? I have no idea, but one might anticipate future press releases from Viz talking about how many people have popped by TheRumicWorld. Just a theory, mind you. And as you may have guessed, that’s the topic for this week’s Flipped.