Upcoming 4/9/2008

April 8, 2008

I’m so confused by this week’s shipping list. Things seem to have reappeared in spite of having shipped a while ago, or at least they were listed as arrivals on previous weeks. Ah well.

Surely the pick of the week will be the second volume of Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat (Pantheon). The first collection of this series was my introduction to Sfar’s work, and it was love at first sight. I can’t wait to catch up with the philosophical feline.

Has the third volume of Yuki Urushibara’s splendid Mushishi (Del Rey) been in bookstores for a while and is just now arriving in comic shops? Possibly. I reviewed it a couple of weeks ago, and I recommend it to anyone who likes smart, heartfelt science fiction and fantasy.

While I don’t feel any urgency to run out and pick up the new volume of Kanako Inuki’s Presents (CMX) the day they come out, I always pick it up eventually. Aside from its old-school horror charms, this series is an excellent palate cleanser. The short stories of gifts gone wrong and horrible things happening to terrible people are very pleasant diversions to enjoy between chunkier series.

Speaking of pleasant diversions, Shin Mashiba’s Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun (Viz) certainly counts. It’s certainly not the best paranormal-investigator manga you could select, but given how many entries there are in that category, that’s hardly a damning criticism. People plagued with bad dreams turn to Hiruko for help, though they shouldn’t expect any sympathy, and Mashiba turns out some amusing, generally effective episodes as a result. Mashiba’s beautiful, detailed artwork is the strongest selling point for this series.


Upcoming 1/9/2008

January 9, 2008

Now this is a light week in the comic shops. Really. It is. There are a few items of note, though.

Whenever I see people who don’t normally read super-hero comics recommend something from that category, it tends to go on my mental checklist. Combine that with people who don’t normally seek out comics by Warren Ellis recommending something from that category, and I’ve got a double, counter-intuitive recommendation on my hands. That kind of critical math worked out well with the first volume of Ellis and Stuart Immonen’s Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. (Marvel), so I’m looking forward to the second collection, I Kick Your Face.

Hey, is this the paperback debut of Black Hole (Pantheon) by Charles Burns? Maybe I’ll finally get around to reading it.

And while I don’t see it on the ComicList, consensus indicates that the first volume of Katsu Aki’s Manga Sutra: Futari H is due out from Tokyopop. White-hot edu-manga for newlyweds? Too weird to pass up. And I’ve been looking for something to pair with The Manga Bible for an upcoming Flipped column.


Previews review – Jan. 2009

January 6, 2008

It’s Diamond Previews time again. Let’s dispense with the formalities and get right to it.

There’s a clear and present Pick of the Month (that I probably won’t pick up at the comic shop because it will be widely available at a better price elsewhere). Pantheon is releasing the second volume of Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat, which is certainly cause for raucous celebration, at least in my house. The debut volume was my first exposure to Sfar’s work, and I’ve been watching like a hawk for more of this intriguing story. (Page 327.)

I’m not familiar with the work of Ulf K., but Top Shelf’s solicitation for the Hieronymus B. graphic novel is intriguing. The book is being simultaneously released by five international publishers, and the preview pages at the publisher’s site are appealing. (Page 354.)

I was thinking yesterday that people using “with Oscar-winner so-and-so” to entice viewers to watch a given movie should only be able to use the phrase when the cited individual actually won and Oscar for the movie in question. I’m thinking along the same lines when I see a publisher say a book is like Scott Pilgrim, even when the book is being released by the publisher of Scott Pilgrim. Maybe they could give Bryan Lee O’Malley some kind of signet ring, and he could grant approval for use of the comparison, but he’s probably too self-effacing to go along with something like that.

Anyway, Oni is pitching Lars Brown’s North World to fans of not only Scott Pilgrim, but Gross Point Blank, Lord of the Rings, and Buffy, which is some kind of ultimate ven diagram of geekery. There’s no information up on Oni’s site yet, but you can check out the webcomic here. It looks like fun in a game-logic sort of way, with Brown blending role-playing game elements with comedic slacker angst. So… yeah… like Scott Pilgrim. (Page 326.)

If Tom Spurgeon’s holiday interview with Simon Gane made you want to read something Gane has drawn, you really couldn’t do better than Paris, written by Andi Watson. It’s a gorgeous, romantic mini-series that seemed to have been conceived with the sole purpose of letting Gane draw the hell out of it, which is all the purpose it really needs. SLG offers the collected version again in case you missed it. (Page 213.)

DC releases a full-color omnibus collection of the first sixteen issues of one of the best super-hero comics of the last fifteen years, James Robinson’s Starman. It’s got gorgeous Tony Harris art, a terrific cast, and a really nice generational-hero set-up without ever seeming like an airless exercise in continuity flogging. It’s kind of pricey at $49.99, so I would probably be inclined to wait for a paperback version if I didn’t already own the collected issues in one form or another. (Page 92.)

And last but not least, one of my favorite manga series comes to an end. Tokyopop releases the final volume of Minetaro Mochizuki’s Dragon Head. Mochizuki has served up some incredible thrills and chills in ten volumes of character-driven survival drama. I still can’t understand why this series wasn’t a big hit. (Page 351.)


Must-y

December 2, 2007

It’s fickle of me, but I only ever pay attention to Entertainment Weekly when I agree with it. (And I won’t link to the magazine’s site because it’s pop-up hell.) This week (the December 7, 2007 issue) they’ve put Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together on “The Must List.”

“Behold, the fourth chapter of this story of a young Canadian dude looking for love and fighting crime and rocking out. And it’s a comic book! Woo-hoo!”

They didn’t run a cover image, because we apparently need to be reminded of what Edie Falco and Jay-Z look like, and I don’t really recall Scott fighting crime, but it’s the thought that counts. I hope bookstores start stocking up so people can find it when they go to Borders and Barnes and Noble. (I’ve heard that if you special-order a book from a brick-and-mortar outlet, they’ll order a couple of additional shelf copies as well. Just a thought.)

In other Must List news, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis snags the “Reader’s Choice” slot.


Make your own Wednesday

May 22, 2007

I’m just not feeling the ComicList love this week. Maybe it’s because I’m in the midst of minor home improvement chaos and the thought of bringing new items across the threshold is kind of terrifying.

The clear highlight is a book I already own in hardcover, but it’s still exciting to see a paperback version of Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat be released by Random House’s Pantheon imprint. This is one of my favorite works by Sfar, and it makes for lovely companion reading with Klezmer (First Second), if you liked that. Dare I hope that this means that another collection of The Rabbi’s Cat will be coming from Pantheon soon?

And hey, since I’m already in the wayback machine, I’ll take the opportunity of a lean week to mention some underappreciated books that you might want to check out if you’re hard-pressed to pull together a respectable shopping list on Wednesday:

  • 12 Days, by June Kim (Tokyopop): Kim is currently nominated for a 2007 Lulu Award in the Best New Female Talent category, and it’s easy to see why. The book is an absorbing, unconventional look at grief and healing. (I reviewed it here.)
  • Past Lies: An Amy Devlin Mystery, by Christina Weir, Nunzio DeFilippis and Christopher Mitten (Oni): I don’t think there are nearly enough murder mysteries in comics, and this is a stylish and solid example. Are we going to see a follow-up? (I reviewed it here.)
  • Sexy Voice and Robo, by Iou Kuroda (Viz): An utterly beguiling oddity and probably one of the best books Viz has ever published. Magnificent character study, amazingly fluid shifts of tone, and a real sense of discovery throughout. Lots of people should buy this so that Viz will be motivated to publish more books like it. (I reviewed it here.)

  • Mark your calendars

    February 28, 2007

    It’s Manga Month again in Diamond’s Previews, and while that’s not all the volume has to offer, there’s plenty of noteworthy new stuff from all over.

    Del Rey debuts the first volume of Ai Morinaga’s My Heavenly Hockey Club. I keep hoping someone will pick up the rest of Your and My Secret, which vanished after one volume from ADV. Maybe this will provide a satisfying, substitute Morinaga fix. (Page 269.)

    None of this month’s listings jump out at me, but it’s really nice to see Drama Queen’s offerings on the pages of Previews. (Page 288.)

    The Comics Journal #284 (Fantagraphics) will include an interview with Gene (American Born Chinese) Yang, and interviews with Yang are always worth reading. (Page 292.)

    :01 First Second unveils their spring season highlight (for me, at least): Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert’s The Professor’s Daughter, a Victorian romance between a young lady and a mummy. (Page 294.)

    I know printing money actually involves specialized plates and paper with cloth fiber and patent-protected inks, but it seems like there could be a variation involving delicately handsome priests at war with an army of zombies. Go! Comi will find out (as will we all) when they release the first volume of Toma Maeda’s Black Sun, Silver Moon. (Page 298.)

    Last Gasp promises “catfights, alien safari adventures, evil experiments, and a girl who dreams of becoming a pop idol singer” in its re-release of Junko Mizuno’s Pure Trance. Since its Mizuno, I’m sure that description doesn’t even begin to describe the adorable, revolting weirdness. (Page 313.)

    Mike Carey’s work as a comics writer is hit and miss for me. I’ve loved some of it, and found other stories to be pretty tedious. One of my favorite examples is My Faith in Frankie (Vertigo), illustrated by Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel. So I’m inclined to give the creative team’s Re-Gifters (Minx) a try. (Page 109.)

    Pantheon releases a soft-cover version of Joann Sfar’s sublime The Rabbi’s Cat. This was my first exposure to Sfar’s work, and I’ve loved it ever since. And in some cultures, the release of a soft-cover means a hard-cover volume of new material might be on the way, which would make me deliriously happy. (Page 324.)

    The Tokyopop-HarperCollins collaboration bears fruit with the release of Meg Cabot’s Avalon High: Coronation Vol. 1: The Merlin Prophecy. The solicitation doesn’t include an illustrator credit, which is an unfortunate slip, and neither does the publisher’s web site. Maybe Cabot drew it herself? (Page 333.)

    I’ve been hoping to see more work from Yuji Iwahara since CMX published Chikyu Misaki. Tokyopop comes through with Iwahara’s King of Thorn. (Page 335.)

    Top Shelf offered some all-ages delights last month, which made me happy, and presents a new (I think?) volume of work from Renée (The Ticking) French. Micrographica is a collection of French’s online strip of the same name and offers “pure weirdness.” I don’t doubt it will deliver in a lovely, haunting way. (Page 352.)

    Vertical rolls out another classic from Osamu Tezuka, Apollo’s Song, displaying the God of Manga’s “more literate and adult side.” For readers wanting something a little more contemporary, there’s Aranzi Aronzo’s Aranzi Machine Gun, featuring plush mascots on a tear. How can I choose? Why should I? (Page 355.)

    I can’t read every series about people who see dead people. I just can’t. I wouldn’t have any money left for food. But Viz ignores my attempts at restraint by offering Chika Shiomi’s Yurarara in its Shojo Beat line. Shiomi is enjoying quite the day in the licensed sun, with Night of the Beasts (Go! Comi) and Canon (CMX) in circulation. (Page 372.)

    And here’s an oddity, but an intriguing one: edu-manga from Singapore. YoungJin Singapore PTE LTD (you’ll forgive me if I hold off on adding a category) releases manga biographies of Einstein and Gandhi and adaptations of Little Women and Treasure Island. (Page 375.)


    Listing

    October 4, 2006

    Ah, the ComicList… some weeks are famine, others are feast. Guess which kind we have this week?

    • CMX releases the eagerly anticipated Emma, which I had reviewed in proof form a while back. The finished cover is quite lovely with an appealingly antique-y paper stock.
    • Pantheon brings the new Marjane Satrapi book, Chicken with Plums. The book made Entertainment Weekly’s Must List without any mention of it being a graphic novel.
    • Tokyopop offers the fourth volume of the little book that might, Dragon Head.
    • Viz has the fourth volume of Ai Yazawa’s Nana, which gets better with every installment. And it started really well.

    Okay, that isn’t quite as burdensome as it seemed at first glance, but there’s still lots of nice stuff. The MangaCast of characters hit the highlights of the week’s manga releases. And folks like Jog and Daves Carter and Ferraro take the week’s shipping list out for a spin.

    If you’re still looking for reasons to part with your hard-earned cash, there are lots of well-written reviews floating about the blogosphere:

    • Johanna Draper Carlson covers two of my favorite books (Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators and Girl Genius) in her latest column for Comics Unlimited.
    • Dirk Deppey thoughtfully examines the excellent American Born Chinese and continues his scanlation tour.
    • Lyle keeps watch on Shojo Beat previews with a look at Tail of the Moon.
    • Updated to add: Steven Grant reviews two Del Rey books, Ghost Hunt and Q-Ko-Chan, in the latest installment of Permanent Damage. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the first volume of Ghost Hunt, but it sounds like it may be worth another look.