Upcoming 2/3/2010

February 2, 2010

I was surprised to discover that Tsutomu Nihei’s Biomega (Viz) isn’t an adaptation of an existing video game. Its set-up and execution are exactly like a good first-person shooter, with a well-armed guy on a tricked-out motorcycle entering hostile territory with a mission and a subset of shifting objectives. There’s melee combat with a horde of shambling zombies, timed vehicle rescues, and malicious opponents in the form of a shadowy government conspiracy. There’s even a holographic wrangler providing useful information and reminding the protagonist of pending tasks. A more suggestible person might try and turn the book’s pages with their Xbox controller. (It doesn’t work.)

With its fast pace and progressively escalating stakes, Biomega actually does a better job capturing the experience of playing a video game than comics that are actually adaptations of existing franchises. As a result of that, the characters are thin and serviceable and their consequence is a distant second to event and spectacle, but there’s rarely a shortage of either of those ingredients. It’s also drawn extremely well, with clear, kinetic staging and some inventive bits of design (but not too many, because if you stare at how neat things are, the zombies will get you). There’s also a talking bear with a rifle for reasons that are probably no more complex than “just because,” but he’s welcome, as he keeps things from being entirely functional.

Biomega isn’t a book that inspires any contemplation, and it only takes itself as seriously as it absolutely must. There’s nothing wrong with that, though, any more than there is spending a few hours shooting digital zombies in the head and making a last-minute motorcycle jump from a burning building. It’s a time-waster executed with style and craft. (Review based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.)

Now, let’s move on to the rest of this week’s ComicList, which offers a bounty of potentially appealing books for young adults:

I picked up Raina Telgemeier’s mini-comics at a Small Press Expo a few years ago and really liked them a lot. It was no surprise that publishers asked her to work on adaptations franchise properties like Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club (Graphix) and X-Men: Misfits (Del Rey). But it’s especially nice to see that Graphix is giving her original work such lovely treatment with Wednesday’s release of Smile. It heightens the average obstacles of life in middle school with a big bout of dental drama.

I expressed my enthusiasm for Chris Schweizer’s Crogan’s March (Oni) over the weekend, so I won’t repeat myself.

Collections of Jimmy Gownley’s terrific Amelia Rules! have been available for a while now, but they’ve found a new home at Simon & Schuster. One of those trade paperbacks, Superheroes, is due out Wednesday, and if you haven’t sampled the series yet, this is a perfectly good opportunity.

It’s also time for Viz’s monthly mangalanche, and the emphasis is on titles from their Shojo Beat and Shonen Jump lines. There’s lots of good stuff on the way, but I find myself unproductively fixated on the first volume of Ultimo, a collaboration between Stan Lee and Hiroyuki (Shaman King) Takei, with assists from inker Daigo and painter Bob. With that many credits, it’s easy to suspect that Lee has already been a bad influence. To be honest, I’m not quite ready to issue a verdict on the book, but please do go read thoughtful reviews from Erica (Okazu) Friedman and Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey. In the meantime, I’ll continue my fruitless stare-fight with the book as I try and figure out what it is about it that irritates me so.


Upcoming 1/13/2010

January 12, 2010

This week’s ComicList gives us all an opportunity to dig out from under last week’s avalanche. There are still items of note, of course.

“David,” you may ask, “just how many comics about people who see dead people or other supernatural beings can one actually read?” My answer is, “All of the ones that sound any good at all.” Your answer may be different, obviously. This week’s entry into the crowded, often awesome genre is Lola: A Ghost Story (Oni) by J. Torres and Elbert Or. Bask with me in the enticing familiarity of the blurb text:

“Jesse sees dead people, monsters, demons, and lots of other things that go bump in the night that no one else can see. No one except his ailing grandmother — a woman who used her visions to help those living in her small town. The same rural community in all the scary stories Jesse’s heard as a child. Man-eating ogres in trees. Farmhouses haunted by wraiths. Even pigs possessed by the devil. Upon his grandmother’s passing, Jesse has no choice but to face his demons and whatever else might be awaiting him at grandma’s house.”

I’ve reached the point that I would inject Banri Hidaka’s V.B. Rose (Tokyopop) directly into a vein if such a thing was possible, but I’ve been a little slow in exploring her other licensed work. For instance, Tears of a Lamb (CMX) reaches its conclusion with the seventh volume. This just means that I can order the whole thing in one massive, presumably discounted order and spend an entire weekend reading it. A plot that features both eating disorders and amnesia sounds like a really good week on All My Children in its long-ago prime, and that’s always a selling point for me.


Upcoming 1/6/2010

January 5, 2010

2010 hits the ground running, at least in ComicList terms. I hope you got cash for Christmas or are fit enough to supplement your income by shoveling the driveways of neighbors.

It’s been available in English for a few years, but that doesn’t stop me from making the hardcover collector’s edition of Fumiyo Kouno’s glorious Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (Last Gasp) my pick of the week. In my opinion, this is still one of the finest comics from Japan ever to be licensed. Don’t believe me? Check out reviews from Lorena (i ♥ manga) Nava Ruggero and Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey.

I only know what Drawn & Quarterly tells me about Imiri Sakabashira’s The Box Man, but I do know that they’ve got excellent taste in comics from Japan (and everywhere else). What does the publisher promise? An “absurdist tale in a seamless tapestry constructed of elements as seemingly disparate as Japanese folklore, pop culture, and surrealism. Within these panels, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the animate and the inanimate, the real and the imagined, a tension that adds a layer of complexity to this near-wordless psychedelic travelogue.”

Quick, something a little more undemanding! CMX to the likely rescue! They debut The World I Create, written and illustrated by Ayami Kazama. It’s about students with the ability to create virtual realities, and it looks kind of charming.

I was crazy about godly pantheons as a kid, particularly the Greek. It never translated into a particular love for comics versions of characters like Hercules, but I was always fascinated, probably because the mythology was so much like a soap opera with extra smiting. As I really admired George O’Connor’s abilities as a cartoonist in Journey into Mohawk Country as well, I’ll definitely give First Second’s Zeus: King of the Gods a good long look.

I’m apparently not supposed to call them “pamphlets” any more, though I thought that was the preferred term over “floppies.” “Flimsies” it is. There are two such publications out this week that show much promise: the fourth issue of Brandon Graham’s King City (Image) and the second issue of Stumptown (Oni), written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Matthew Southworth, and colored by Lee Loughridge. Thanks again for making my browser crash, Image.

Now, for the costliest portion of our program: the new shôjo, which I will simply list in alphabetical order because there’s so much of it:

  • Happy Café vol. 1, written and illustrated by Kou Matsuzuki, Tokyopop: I love romantic comedies set in restaurants, so I’ll certainly pick this up at some point.
  • Nana vol. 20, written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa, Viz: More awesome rock-and-roll drama.
  • Natsume’s Book of Friends vol. 1, written and illustrated by Yuki Midorikawa: I thought this supernatural series got off to a strong start.
  • Sand Chronicles vol. 7, written and illustrated by Hinako Akihara: Oh, the beautiful ache of growing up.
  • V.B. Rose vol. 7, written and illustrated by Banri Hidaka, Tokyopop: Awesome stuff about wedding dress designers and their impulsive apprentice.
  • So what looks good to you?

    Update: I forgot to mention this one, but Marvel does a really quick turnaround on producing a trade paperback of its Marvel Divas mini-series, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated by Tonci Zonjic. I enjoyed it very much in flimsy form, though I’m sad to see that they apparently use that hideous J. Scott Campbell cover for the collection. You’ll understand if I don’t illustrate this paragraph with a thumbnail, won’t you?


    Elsewhere in 2009

    December 30, 2009

    This isn’t really a “Best of 2009” list, as I don’t feel like I read enough comics from places other than Japan to make that kind of list with a sufficient degree of authority, but I didn’t want to neglect books that I really enjoyed this year. I’m not going to say that all of these books are equally entertaining or good in the same ways; I’m not shooting for an equivalent level of quality. I’m just saying that these are the books that lingered in my memory and that I’ll return to again in the future. I’ll subdivide the books into “New Stuff” and “Continuing Stuff.”

    New Stuff:

    The Adventures of Blanche, written and illustrated by Rick Geary, Dark Horse. Comics by Geary are always a cause for celebration, and this collection of stories about a feisty musician traipsing through genre-based dangers was one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.

    Asterios Polyp, written and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, Pantheon. I’m always a little surprised when someone describes this book as technically brilliant but cold. I thought it had a very solid emotional core beyond the astonishing level of craft.

    Johnny Hiro, written and illustrated by Fred Chao, AdHouse Books. This book didn’t do nearly as well as it should have in pamphlet form, so let me extend my heartfelt thanks to AdHouse for collecting the existing issues plus unpublished material. It’s simultaneously a winning genre mash-up and a warm, grown-up romance, and it’s a treat.

    Masterpiece Comics, written and illustrated by R. Sikoryak, Drawn & Quarterly. What do you get when you combine great works of literature with classics of comic books and strips? In Sikoryak’s case, you get breezy, inspired work that displays great versatility, intelligence, and a sense of fun.

    Mijeong, written and illustrated by Byung-jun Byun, NBM. It’s not as good as Run! Bong-Gu, Run!, but this collection of short stories is never short of very, very good and is often brilliant.

    My Mommy Is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill, written by Jean Regnaud, illustrated by Émile Bravo, Fanfare/Ponent Mon. Gloriously sad and sharply observed, this book offers one of the freshest looks at childhood and grief you’re ever likely to find.

    Nightschool: The Weirn Books, written and illustrated by Svetlana Chamkova, Yen Press. A comic featuring vampires and teenagers that doesn’t make me roll my eyes until they water? What strange magic is this? It’s actually just Chamkova fulfilling her prodigious promise as a graphic storyteller.

    Stitches: A Memoir, written and illustrated by David Small, W.W. Norton and Company. Aside from being strikingly drawn, I think this is a beautifully shaped memoir, functioning perfectly as a story in its own right. The fact that the terrible things Small relates actually happened just adds a layer of disquiet.

    Underground, written by Jeff Parker, illustrated by Steve Lieber, colored by Ron Chan, Image Comics: There should be more snappy genre comics like this, you know? It’s a smartly executed thriller set in the perilous depths of a cave in the Appalachians.

    Continuing Stuff:

    Aya: The Secrets Come Out, written by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie, Drawn & Quarterly. I was briefly afraid that this was the final volume of this wistful, multigeneration soap opera about life in the Ivory Coast in the 1970s. Fortunately, there seem to be at least two more volumes still to come of Aya and her unmanageable friends and family.

    Empowered, written and illustrated by Adam Warren, Dark Horse. I’m so glad that Dark Horse released a pamphlet chapter of this ongoing series of graphic novels, as that might help to build the audience it deserves. Smutty and sweet in equal measure, it’s as sharp a parody of super-heroics as you’re ever likely to find.

    Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, written and illustrated by Tove Jansson, Drawn & Quarterly. This is a golden age of reprints of quality comic strips, and this is my absolute favorite of the bunch.

    Salt Water Taffy, written and illustrated by Matthew Loux, Oni Press. Two brothers embrace the weird on a seaside vacation. This is my go-to all-ages recommendation, by which I mean I’m as strident in suggesting adults buy it as I am in suggesting that kids will like it.

    Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe, written and illustrated by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Oni Press. As long as this book is releasing new volumes, it will be on any list of this nature that I write.

    Yôkaiden, written and illustrated by Nina Matsumoto, Del Rey. This witty fantasy-adventure got even better with the second volume. Now we have to wait for the third.


    Previews review December 2009

    December 8, 2009

    Why just look at what’s arriving when you can look three months… into the future? Yes, it’s time to peruse the December 2009 edition of Diamond’s Previews catalog.

    New shôjo from CMX is always worth a look. This month’s offering is My Darling! Miss Bancho, written and illustrated by Mayu Fujikata. It’s a reverse-harem romantic comedy about a girl whose dreams of starting a new life go south when she realizes she’s the only female student at her new technical school. It was originally published by Hakusensha in LaLa, which has also given the world Ouran High School Host Club, Penguin Revolution, Venus in Love, and Vampire Knight, among others. That would make the magazine what one might call a “reliable source.” (Page 119)

    On the ongoing front, we have the second volume of Asuka Izumi’s adorable The Lizard Prince and the 15th volume of Yasuko Aokie’s mad classic, From Eroica with Love. (Page 121)

    CLAMP fans, rejoice! Not only is Del Rey publishing CLAMP in America, a richly detailed history of the manga-making super-group, it’s being written by the inimitable Shaenon Garrity. Del Rey also promises “a detailed guide to their work; a rare behind-the-scenes look at their creative process, together and separately; CLAMP’s role in the explosion of manga in America; interviews, and more.” Sounds like an essential for CLAMP fans, Garrity fans, and manga watchers in general. So that’s basically everyone, right? (Page 224)

    I loved Raina Telgemeier’s Smile mini-comics, so I’m thrilled that they’ve turned into a new graphic novel to be published by Graphix. Publishers Weekly calls it a “charming addition to the body of young adult literature that focuses on the trials and tribulations of the slightly nerdy girl.” Graphix doesn’t seem to have added it to its web site, so I’ll point you toward the Barnes & Noble listing. (Page 236)

    NBM has been translating a series of graphic novels created in conjunction with the Louvre museum in Paris. I loved the first, Nicolas De Crécy’s Glacial Period, and thought the second, Marc-Antoine Mathieu’s The Museum Vaults: Excerpts from the Journal of an Expert, was intriguing but problematic. But honestly, I’ll buy any of these books that NBM chooses to publish. Next up is Eric Liberge’s On the Odd Hours, about “a deaf night watchman who somehow manages to communicate with the souls of these ethereal and timeless works of art.” (Page 256)

    Oni offers a softcover edition of Scott Chantler’s terrific historical adventure, Northwest Passage. I’ve already reviewed the hell out of this series, so I’ll link instead of repeating myself. (Page 257)

    While I don’t usually point out books that are being offered again without any significant format changes, I have to make an exception for Osamu Tezuka’s demented bit of gekiga brilliance, MW (Vertical). If you missed it the first time around, now’s your chance. (Page 272)

    Viz sent me a preview copy of Natsume Ono’s not simple, and I’m even more convinced that 2010 will be the year she explodes in stateside critical (and hopefully consumer) consciousness. It’s an amazing book. This edition of Previews brings the happy news that Ono’s Ristorante Paradiso will soon be in our hands (if you consider three months soon). It’s about family secrets and a restaurant in Rome staffed by hunky men of a certain age. I can’t wait. (Page 277) You can check out Ono’s splendid House of Five Leaves on Viz’s SIGIKKI site.

    Other noteworthy Signature arrivals include the fourth volume of Detroit Metal City and the eighth and final volume of Pluto. (Page 277)

    And speaking of Viz’s online initiatives, a Shonen Sunday title sees print. It’s shôjo superstar Yuu Watase’s shônen debut, Arata: The Legend. (Page 280)


    From the stack: Stumptown

    December 3, 2009

    I’ve enjoyed a lot of comics written by Greg Rucka, but I have to admit that I haven’t read one in a while. His Whiteout and Queen and Country books for Oni were very good, and I’ve liked some of the super-hero stuff he’s done for Marvel and DC. I thought he did particularly well with stories set in DC’s noir-ish Gotham City, as those comics always had an interesting texture and sense of place. So it’s nice to have the chance to read a comic written by Rucka that has that same feel without the word “crisis” in the title.

    It’s Stumptown (back at Oni), a detective yarn set in the Pacific Northwest, and it gets off to a very promising start. It’s got one of those gender-neutral protagonists, a female private investigator with a lot of qualities that could stereotypically be tagged as male, but there’s no reason they should be. Women can certainly gamble too much and have smart mouths that get them in trouble. Rucka is particularly good at writing this kind of character; they may lack social graces and be prone to excesses, but they’re crafty and determined. They’re solution-oriented, or at least “end the problem” oriented.

    Our heroine here gets hired to find a casino owner’s granddaughter. She’s not getting paid, but success will erase her hefty gambling debt (until she builds it up again, one assumes). She’s not the only person on the girl’s trail, and while her rivals are a bit out of sleuth story central casting, Rucka writes them with assurance and some wit. His background in detective prose shows here. He can play with familiar elements and even trot out some hoary contrivances and get away with it, because he knows how to use them. He’s not satirizing or revitalizing P.I. drama; he’s just writing it very well.

    He’s helped by the gritty, shadowy but still restrained illustrations by Matthew Southworth, who seems very in synch with the kind of mood Rucka is trying to convey. Characters look right for their milieu, and the settings are evocative. Colors by Lee Loughridge are just right; they really help convey the passage of time in the protagonist’s difficult, complicated day.

    *

    Rucka’s Whiteout collaborator, illustrator Steve Lieber, is doing terrific work on another genre story in pamphlet form, Underground (Image), written by Jeff Parker. It’s a survival adventure set in a not-quite-mammoth cave in the Appalachians starring a gutsy park ranger trying to protect natural spaces from greedy developers. Three issues are available so far, and it’s a lot of fun.


    Upcoming 11/4/2009

    November 3, 2009

    It looks to be a manageable lot on this week’s ComicList, at least for me. That’s just as well, as I used a Borders buy-four-get-the-fifth-free deal as an excuse to overspend on manga last weekend.

    fireinvestigatornanase3Fire Investigator Nanasd (CMX), story by Izo Hashimoto and art by Tomoshige Ichikawa, is the kind of book that makes me happy for a handful of reasons. It’s not brilliant, but it’s entertaining, and it combines mystery and adventure in pleasing ways. It’s got an appealing, highly competent female lead and puts her through the arson version of The Silence of the Lambs as she fights fires and looks into their origins with the aid of a serial arsonist. And, unrelated to the book’s quality but still welcome, the first search result for the series actually takes you to the publisher of the book, which almost never happens. I know. Weird things make me happy.

    ludwigii2One of my Borders purchases this weekend was the first volume of You Higuri’s Ludwig II (Juné), which is… well… weird. As Kate Dacey noted in her review, it contains the holy trinity of Higuri historical fantasy: “beautiful people in beautiful clothes, political intrigue, and darkly handsome protagonists who are touched by madness.” The titular protagonist is one of those rulers every citizen of a monarchy should dread: a delusional opera queen. As is usually the case with Higuri yaoi (or near-yaoi), the gorgeous art and weird nuances are carrying me past the sordid but strangely listless seme-uke shenanigans between Ludwig and his devoted manservant. We’ll see if those features continue to offer sufficient compensation to make me want to track down volume two.

    stumptown1Do you miss the days when Greg Rucka did creator-owned work? Well, there’s good news for you, as he returns to Oni (home to his Queen and Country and Whiteout) with a new detective series, Stumptown, illustrated by Matthew Southworth. Once again, he seems to be following the gritty misadventures of a strong female protagonist, a private investigator named Dex in the midst of a high-stakes missing-person case. The art looks terrific, and Rucka certainly has a strong track record with undiluted noir.

    hikarunogo17Viz unleashes a thundering herd of titles, many of which I like very much, but I’ll fixate on one because it’s great and I feel like I’ve been neglecting it: Hikaru no Go, written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, which reaches its 17th volume. This looks to be a particularly eventful installment. Protagonist Hikaru has lost his ghostly go mentor Sai, and he faces off with his rival, gifted prodigy Akira. It’s a great series, smartly written by Hotta and beautifully drawn by Obata.


    Birthday book: Salt Water Taffy

    October 20, 2009

    saltwatertaffy1saltwatertaffy2saltwatertaffy3

    The Comics Reporter notes that it’s Matthew Loux’s birthday, and while I’m rather fried this evening, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to remind you that Loux’s Salt Water Taffy series of books (published by Oni Press) is an awful lot of fun. Here are my reviews of the first and second volumes. Need additional persuason? Here’s what Greg McElhatton had to say about volume one and volume two. And here’s Kate Dacey’s review of The Legend of Old Salty at Good Comics for Kids.


    So many comics

    October 8, 2009

    goodneighborskinHow is it that I didn’t know that Ted Naifeh was working on graphic novels adaptations of with young-adult fantasy novels by novelist Holly Black? Admittedly, I’m not familiar with Black’s work, but I’m crazy about a lot of Naifeh’s comics (particularly Courtney Crumrin and Polly and the Pirates from Oni). And Graphix doesn’t even seem to have done the “bury the adaptor’s illustrator’s credit” thing that plagues so many projects of this type.

    Anyway, there are two volumes out so far: The Good Neighbors: Kin (in hardcover and paperback) and The Good Neighbors: Kith (just in hardcover so far). (By the way, does the Scholastic store site look as horrible in other browsers as it does in Firefox?) I’m not wild about stories that involve someone being kidnapped to faerie, with the exception of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Still, it’s Naifeh doing work in narrative territory where he generally excels, and I have a coupon from Barnes & Noble. It is settled.

    Thanks to Michael May for tipping me off to the books in his post at Robot 6.


    Previews review October 2009

    October 7, 2009

    The October issue of Diamond’s Previews catalog offers lots of promising material from all over the place. Let’s get down to it.

    EmpoweredComicI’m always happy to see more of Adam Warren’s brilliant Empowered. This time around, Warren and Dark Horse take a different approach, offering the struggling super-heroine in “traditional comic-book format.” It’s 32 black and white pages for $3.99 featuring two stories – a desperate battle in a secret, super-hero mausoleum and the always-alliterative musings of the Caged Demonwolf. (Page 26-27.)

    StolenHearts1It’s always wise to keep an eye on CMX’s shôjo offerings, as they’re usually pretty charming. New this month is Stolen Hearts, written and illustrated by Miku Sakamoto. It’s about a girl who befriends “the most intimidating guy at school” and becomes involved in his family’s kimono shop. I’m always looking for underrepresented careers in manga, and kimono model certainly qualifies. It was originally serialized in Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume. (Page 120.)

    AfrodisiacA few years back, the big blogosphere hit was Jim Rugg and Brian Marucca’s Street Angel from SLG. A much-loved supporting character from that book gets a shot at solo stardom in Afrodisiac from AdHouse Books. It’s written by Maruca and drawn by Rugg and promises “cats, gats, spats, and feathered hats.” (Page 188.)

    KingofRPGs1You may know Jason Thompson as the author/editor of the invaluable Manga: The Complete Guide, but he’s also a creator of comics. He’s authored King of RPGs, illustrated by Victor Hao, for Del Rey. It’s a “send-up of manga, gaming and geek culture,” which is subject matter well within Thompson’s sphere of experience. Thompson is also updating the guide and giving away manga over at suvudu.com. (Page 242.)

    Talk about long-awaited! I can’t remember the first time I heard about Fanfare/Ponent Mon’s Korea as Viewed by 12 Creators, but it appears at long last in the pages of Previews (page 250, to be precise). I can’t find any information on Fanfare’s site, but if Korea is half as good as Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, it will be a must-buy.

    TreasuryFamousPlayersI’m crazy about Rick Geary’s Treasury books, but I’m cheap so I wait for the paperback versions. Happily, NBM slates the soft-cover version Geary’s A Treasury of 20th Century Murder: Famous Players for publication. It examines the murder of early Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor. (Page 271.)

    I loved Crogan’s Vengeance, Chris Schweizer’s first look at the long saga of the Crogan family and its cross-century adventures. The second volume, Crogan’s March, is due from Oni Press, looking at life in the French Foreign Legion. (Page 274-275).

    MercuryThe gifted Hope Larson delivers her next work, Mercury from Simon and Schuster. It looks to be a mystery surrounding a magnificent mansion in Nova Scotia. But really, it’s Larson, and that’s pretty much all you need to know. (Page 285.)

    Even with setbacks, the last few months might be pinpointed as the beginning of Tokyopop’s comeback tour. They announced a bunch of titles in August, and one appealed to me in particular. It’s Kou Matsuzuki’s Happy Café, a romantic comedy set in a restaurant. I find it very hard to resist romantic comedies set in restaurants, even if they feature that old warhorse, the clumsy shôjo heroine. It was originally published in Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume. (Page 289.)

    notsimplePage 301 promises more goodness from Viz Signature. My poor, poor wallet, how you will weep. New to the imprint are Natsume Ono’s not simple. Ono is the creator of House of Five Leaves, and I’ve become very intrigued by her work. not simple is told backwards and follows a young man as he travels the world in search of his sister. It was originally published in Penguin Shobou’s Comic Seed! and was later picked up by Shogakukan.

    AllMyDarlingDaughters1And, of course, Viz triggers squeals across the internet by offering more manga from Fumi Yoshinaga. It’s All My Darling Daughters featuring an adult woman who still lives with her mother until mom’s new boyfriend drives a wedge into the family. It was originally published in Hakusensha’s Melody.

    Last, and certainly not least, Yen Press continues to rack up manga karma by rescuing Kiyohiko Azuma’s Azumanga Daioh Collected Edition from limbo. This makes me so happy that I will simply run the solicitation in its entirety: “The classic returns! This four-panel comedy chronicles the everyday lives of six very quirky high school girls. Meet the child prodigy Chiyo, the animal-loving Sakaki, the spacey out-of-towner Osaka, the straight-laced Yomi and her best friend Tomo, and the sports-loving Kagura throughout their high school lives. As the first four-panel comic to gain popularity in the U.S., Yen Press is proud to present the complete fan-favorite in a single volume, complete with all the original color pages and an updated translation so new and old readers can enjoy the best, most authentic Azumanga available!” (Page 306.)