Neaud in translation

April 15, 2010

And we almost immediately take a break from Press Release Thursday for a license request update! You may remember me carping for someone to publish an English translation of Fabrice Neaud’s Journal. In the comments, Travis McGee pointed to a script translation he had done of Neaud’s work, which drew the interest of Neaud’s publisher, Ego Comme X, and not in a cease-and-desist kind of way.

The make a long story slightly less long, McGee and Ego have worked together to create and share an English-language version of Neaud’s “Émile” on the Ego Comme X web site:

“Who will finally publish one of Neaud’s astonishing works in English ?… English readers, contact your favorite editors, make them read this English version of Émile !”

Yeah, who will finally publish one of Neaud’s astonishing works in English? Huh? HUH?

Update: At The Comics Reporter, Bart Beaty makes the case for Neaud.

Previews review April 2010

April 5, 2010

The first thing I’d like to note about the current edition of Diamond’s Previews catalog is that the addition of new “premier publishers” to the front makes the midsection look even sadder and slimmer. That said, there are still many promising items contained there.

CMX offers a one-shot, The Phantom Guesthouse, written and illustrated by Nari Kusakawa, creator of the well-liked Recipe for Gertrude, Palette of Twelve Secret Colors, and Two Flowers for the Dragon. It’s a supernatural mystery that was originally published by that stalwart purveyor of quality shôjo, Hakusensha, though I can’t tell which magazine serialized it. (Page 127.)

It’s been some time since the last collection of Tyler Page’s Nothing Better (Dementian Comics), the story of college roommates with very different backgrounds and personal philosophies. I’m glad to see more of the web-serialized comic see print. (Page 279.)

It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that we got the fourth volume of Drawn & Quarterly’s lovely collection of Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, but here comes the fifth. According to the blurb, “this volume features the final strips drawn by Tove Jansson and written by her brother Lars for the London Evening News.” It’s utterly charming stuff. (Page 280.)

Speaking of utterly charming stuff, how can you possibly resist a book subtitled The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans? Well, okay, knowing nothing else, that’s pretty resistible. But what if I told you it was the new installment of Rick Geary’s outstanding A Treasury of XXth Century Murder? Singing a different tune, aren’t you? (Page 298.)

Netcomics busts out what seems to be the manhwa equivalent of josei with the first volume of Youngran Lee’s There’s Something About Sunyool. It’s about a pastry chef who gets dumped just after her trip to the altar and, rebuilds her life, and then is faced with her “lawyer ex-husband and her gay would-be lover.” I hate when that happens. (Page 299.)

In other josei news, Tokyopop spreads joy throughout the land (or at least the corner of it that I occupy) by listing the fourth volume of Mari Okazaki’s glorious office-lady drama Suppli. (Page 317.)

Vertical really brings the joy, though, offering not only the first volume of Kanata Konami’s eagerly anticipated Chi’s Sweet Home but also the second of Kou Yaginuma’s Twin Spica. I’ve already discussed Chi’s Sweet Home at perhaps monotonous length, but you should really consider this the eye of the storm, because I’m sure I’ll natter even more as we approach its summer release. I read the first volume of Twin Spica and liked it very, very much. It’s the kind of low-key, serious, slice-of-life science fiction that will probably appeal to fans of Planetes and Saturn Apartments. (Page 324.)

Did you enjoy Natsume Ono’s Ristorante Paradiso (Viz)? I did. If you did, you can learn more about the mysteriously handsome, bespectacled restaurant staff in Ono’s Gente and “follow these dashing men home and witness their romances, heartaches, hopes and dreams.” (Page 325.)

That’s a good month right there.

Second chances

February 28, 2010

I mentioned yesterday that Fanfare/Ponent Mon is re-offering Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators in the new Previews catalog, and I felt like I should note some other “offered again” items of note:

  • Dining Bar Akira vol. 1, written and illustrated by Tomoko Yamashita, Netcomics. I’ve heard great things about this boys’-love series.
  • Mail vol. 1, written and illustrated by Housui Yamazaki, Dark Horse. Supernatural sleuthing and a nice mix of humor and horror make this a fine companion series for The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.
  • Manga: The Complete Guide, written and edited by Jason Thompson, Del Rey. This is a terrific buyer’s guide filled with succinct reviews and informative essays. I can’t tell if this is an updated edition or just a reprint, though.
  • Satsuma Gishiden vol. 1, written and illustrated by Hiroshi Hirata, Dark Horse. This series got a lot of praise but fell off of Dark Horse’s schedule halfway through. Three of its six volumes have been published, the last in March of 2007.
  • Translucent vol. 1, written and illustrated by Kazuhiro Okamoto, Dark Horse. I like this series a lot. It’s a coming-of-age drama about a girl who turns invisible against her will. It was originally serialized in a seinen magazine (Media Factory’s Comic Flapper), but I think it would click with the shôjo audience. Dark Horse just solicited the fourth volume after a long hiatus.
  • As you may have surmised, Dark Horse is re-offering just about all of their first volumes.

    Previews review March 2010

    February 27, 2010

    There’s plenty of interest in the new Previews catalog, as befits that Hallmark Holiday known as “Manga Month,” so let’s dive right in.

    Dark Horse celebrates the month in style, though it passes on the Manga Month logo. Still, they’re releasing the first volume of their omnibus treatment of CLAMP’s beloved Cardcaptor Sakura, and this excites me immoderately. I thought Dark Horse did an absolutely beautiful job with their Clover omnibus, so this qualifies as the month’s “must buy.” (Page 51.)

    CMX will release Miku Sakamoto’s Nadeshiko Club, a shôjo series from Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume, which is a well-known crack mine. (Personally, I find series from Hakusensha’s LaLa slightly crack-ier, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.) This one spins out of the possibly sexist premise of a girl getting dumped for being insufficiently feminine and joining her school’s home economics club to girl up. CMX has demonstrated excellent taste in shôjo, so this one goes right on the “to buy” list. Rando thought: Hakusensha’s trade dress is really boring. (Page 126.)

    Hey, you like Adam Warren’s Empowered, right? He’s writing a one-shot for Marvel, Galacta: Daughter of Galactus, with interior art by Hector Sevilla Lujan and a cover by Warren. I’ll buy anything from Warren, but this does raise the question: who’s this girl’s mother? I really love Warren’s renderings of Marvel stalwarts from the cover image. (Marvel’s insert, page 31.)

    Okay, so maybe Cardcaptor Sakura has some competition for book of the month, as Fanfare/Ponent Mon finally releases Korea as Viewed by 12 Creators. “Twelve insightful short graphic stories into the ‘Hermit Kingdom,’ six by European and six by indigenous creators,” the publisher notes. They’re also offering Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators again, so if you’re sick of hearing people recommend it and not being able to find a copy, now’s your chance. (Page 251.)

    I’ve liked some comics written by Kathryn Immonen, and I think Stuart Immonen is a terrific artist. They collaborate to explore a potentially fascinating story in Moving Pictures (Top Shelf): “During World War II the Nazis pillaged much of Europe’s great art collections. Museum curator Ila Gardner and SS officer Rolf Hauptmann are forced by circumstances to play out an awkward and dangerous relationship in a public power struggle.” Sounds like a winner to me. (Page 292.)

    Cats and comfort food sound like an extremely promising combination, so I’ll take a chance on the first volume of Kenji Sonishi’s Neko Ramen: Hey! Order Up! (Tokyopop). It’s about a “former kitten model” (an actual kitten, apparently, so be at ease) who leaves celebrity behind to become a ramen cook. The only possible down side to this is that it’s a manga based on an anime, which sometimes has mixed results. (Page 297.)

    I don’t actually think Kumiko Suekane’s Afterschool Charisma is a good comic, but I find it addictively ridiculous. Viz has been serializing the tale of clones of famous historical figures on its SigIKKI site, and now it’s releasing a print version. It’s probably worth the price of purchase just for the thrill of watching the clone of Sigmund Freud torment his classmates. “Daddy. Daddy. Daddy!” (Page 303.)

    You all already known how awesome librarians are, right? But did you know that there’s an action-packed shôjo manga that celebrates that awesomeness? It’s Kiiro Yumi’s Library Wars: Love and War, original concept by Hiro Arikawa, and Viz will release the first volume: “In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves – the Library Forces!” SOLD. This is an example of the crack-iness of Hakusensha’s LaLa anthology. See what I mean about the trade dress? (Page 305.)

    If Cardcaptor Sakura isn’t quite enough CLAMP for you, Yen Press accommodates with the first two volumes of the super-group’s Kobato. It’s about a girl who tries to have a wish granted by mending the wounded hearts of people she meets and “fill a magical bottle with the suffering she has relieved.” This sounds like the kind of CLAMP manga that can be injected directly into a vein. (Page 308.)

    Oh, and that Twilight graphic novel is due. (Page 309.)

    And there are plenty of new volumes of noteworthy series:

  • 20th Century Boys vol. 9, written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, Viz, page 303
  • Black Jack vol. 11, written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka, Vertical, page 300
  • Children of the Sea vol. 3, written and illustrated by Daisuke Igarashi, Viz, page 303
  • Detroit Metal City vol. 5, written and illustrated by Kiminori Wakasugi, page 303
  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service vol. 11, written by Eiji Otsuka, illustrated by Housui Yamazaki, Dark Horse, page 53
  • Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture vol. 2, written and illustrated by Masayuki Ishikawa, Del Rey, page 244
  • One Piece vols. 49-53, written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda, Viz, page 305

  • Previews review February 2010

    February 6, 2010

    There are some interesting arrivals and very welcome debuts in the February 2010 edition of Diamond’s Previews catalog. It’s also nice to think about what things will be like three months from now. Most of this snow might have melted by then.

    I really enjoyed Seth Grahame-Smith’s undead mash-up of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Chronicle Books). Del Rey has tapped writer Tony Lee and artist Cliff Richards to make the novel more graphic. It was only a matter of time. Here’s the listing at Amazon. (Page 230.)

    Speaking of adaptations, the only thing I know about The Last Airbender is that a lot of people like the Disney Nickelodeon series and that a lot of people were upset when the makers of the live-action movie version cast a lot of white people as non-white characters. Del Rey Manga will offer a Movie Prequel, which is notable for the fact that it’s been written by Dave (Agnes Quill, X-Men: Misfits) Roman, with Alison Wilgus, and illustrated by Nina (Yôkaiden) Matsumoto. (I’m not having any luck finding a cover image. Sorry!) (Page 230.)

    Chigusa Kawai’s La Esperança (Digital Manga) is quite a lovely series, full of semi-romantic schoolboy angst. DMP debuts another Kawai series, Alice the 101st, which features an elite group of musical students, one of whom is a complete novice who earns the contempt of his classmates. I’m guessing at least one classmate will probably revise his opinion in short order. (Page 245.)

    Ever since reading A Drifting Life, I’ve been eager to see some of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s early gekiga, the hard-boiled crime dramas that helped him build his reputation. Drawn & Quarterly will slake my curiosity with Black Blizzard, the tale of two convicts, cuffed together and on the run. (Page 249.)

    :01 First Second is sure to please fans of Gene Luen (American Born Chinese) Yang with the publication of his Prime Baby, which promises a “tale of mat, aliens, and sibling rivalry.” This was first serialized in The New York Times Magazine, but one can always expect nice packaging from First Second. (Page 255.)

    Viz offers more IKKI goodness in the form of Shunju Aono’s I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow, the ruefully funny story of a schlub who tries to make a late-in-life decision to become a manga-ka, and Hisae Iwaoka’s slice of life in orbit, Saturn Apartments. You can sample hefty chunks of both over at Viz’s SIGIKKI site. They’re two of my favorite series in that rotation, so I’m really excited. (Page 301.)

    It’s just the month for the arrival of eagerly anticipated manga, isn’t it? Vertical releases the first volume of Ken Yaginuma’s Twin Spica. It’s about kids who attend the Tokyo Space Academy in hopes of exploring the stars. (Page 306.)

    Wishes, hopes and dreams

    January 11, 2010

    After what feels like a solid month of gray skies and falling snow, it’s therapeutic to think of good things to come, like ice-free roads, the color green, and temperatures above freezing. That kind of optimism (or mitigation) was the inspiration for this week’s Flipped. But you know what? Awesome as those titles may well prove to be, I’m hoping they’re joined and perhaps even trumped by another 2010 possibility.

    Last week, a certain publisher was teasing the Twitterati about an imminent announcement of a new license of a work by Osamu Tezuka featuring a “great female lead.” If you’re me, this can only mean one thing.

    I could be wrong, but I’ll let that mistake live in my heart for as long as contrarian reality allows. This would make a certain publisher the fulfiller of two of my license requests, not to mention the only publisher to fulfill any at all. It’s a good thing I don’t make any unseemly promises when I make these requests.

    Okay, back to the exciting books we know we’re going to get in 2010: one of them is by Fumi Yoshinaga, who has a one-shot coming out soon, courtesy of Viz. Christopher Butcher also adds Yoshinaga’s Antique Bakery (DMP) to his roster of Ten Manga That Changed Comics. It’s an excellent choice, and I thought it was a particularly intriguing one in juxtaposition to his other recent choice, Gutsoon’s Raijin Comics. Raijin fairly dripped testosterone, as Chris notes, but what some might forget is that DMP’s manga catalog was also quite the men’s locker room pretty much right up until the publication of Antique Bakery. Bambi and Her Pink Gun, Worst, IWGP and the Robot anthology were the books that defined DMP’s output prior to the launch of Juné, and Antique Bakery certainly seems like the fulcrum point for that shift.

    Women in Comics Week

    January 7, 2010

    So as I mentioned in the previous post, Diamond declares March 21-27 “Women in Comics” Week in its latest Previews catalog (page 11). It’s designed to recognize “the women who work in the industry and create the comics and the women who star in the comics we read each month.” It’s a great idea, though I have to wonder how much time publishers had to buy in, as participation seems kind of sporadic. Few of the publishers you might expect to tag their books with the “Women in Comics” logo do; the only manga publisher to use it is Del Rey. Natsume Ono’s House of Five Leaves (Viz) is profiled as a “Staff Pick” on page 198, which is nice, but it doesn’t have a “Women in Comics” designation.

    There are many potential reasons for that. Turnaround time might have been too short. Publishers who do very specific page layouts for their listings (CMX, DMP, Tokyopop, Viz) might not have wanted to include the logo in their designs for logistic or aesthetic purposes, no matter how many awesome women creators they publisher or how many interesting women characters appear in their comics. Or they might have just been reasonably confident that they were already in touch with women in their audiences and that the Previews catalog might not be the venue to lure more.

    The big four don’t actually do anything with it, though Previews interviews Gail Simone (writer of Secret Six and Wonder Woman for DC) contributes an interview. Marvel doesn’t identify this section of its mini-catalog as a “Women in Comics” offering, but there’s a six-page “Women of Marvel” section featuring Girl Comics, what appears to be a reprint book called Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades, and a few other books. Marvel also promises that 2010 will be “the biggest year yet for the Women of Marvel.” Dark Horse and Image both have books in Diamond’s “Recommended Reading” list which can be seen at the above link.

    Here are all of the individual items that bore the logo. I’ve got to say, there’s some what I think is counterintuitive material below, but I’m not a woman, and maybe women really love Tarot. I just don’t know. If I tried to link to every individual item, I’d lose my mind, and while I love you all, I don’t love you that much. If possible, I will link to the publisher on first reference, because I don’t think I’ve linked to even a third of these before.

  • Glamourpuss #12, Dave Sim (w/a), Aardvark Vanaheim, page 188
  • Terry Moore’s Echo #20, Terry Moore (w/a), Abstract Studio, page 188
  • Strangers in Paradise Pocket Volume 1, Terry Moore (w/a), Abstract Studio, page 188
  • Terry Moore’s Echo Volume 1: Moon Lake, Terry Moore (w/a), Abstract Studio, page 188
  • Rowena: It Takes a Giantess to Raze a Village, Eric Lindberg (w), Rock Baker (a), various, AC Comics, page 188
  • Nighmares & Fairy Tales Volume 1, Serena Valentino (w), FSc (a), Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics, page 188
  • Weird Fishes, Jamaica Dyer (w/a), Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics, page 188
  • The Killer Volume 1, Matz (w), Luc Jcamon (a), Archaia Entertainment LLC, page 194
  • Archie & Friends All Stars: Veronica’s Passport, Various (w), Dan Parent (a), Archie Comics Publications, page 198
  • Archie: The Love Showdown, Various (w/a), Archie Comics Publications, page 198
  • Best of Josie and the Pussycats Volume 1, Archie Comics Publications, page 198
  • Betty & Veronica: Bad Boy Trouble, Melanie J. Morgan (w), Steven Butler (a), Archie Comics Publications, page 198
  • Katy Keene Special, Andrew Pepoy (w/a), Archie Comics Publications, page 198
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch Volume 1: Magic Revisited, Tania del Rio (w/a), Archie Comics Publications, page 198
  • Female Force #13: Ellen DeGeneres, Sandra C. Ruckdeschel (w), Pedro Ponzo (a), Bluewater Productions, page 210
  • The Legend of Isis #11, Aaron Stueve (w), Silvo dB (a), Bluewater Productions, page 210
  • Nola, Chris Garak and Pierlugi Cothran (w), Damian Couceiro (a), Chris Brummer (c), Boom! Studios, page 228
  • The Unknown Volume 2: The Devil Made Flesh, Mark Waid (w), Minck Oosterveer (a), Boom! Studios, page 228
  • Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #61, Jim Balent (w/a), Broadsword Comics, page 232
  • Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #61 Deluxe Edition, Jim Balent (w/a), Broadsword Comics, page 232
  • Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #61 Previews Exclusive 10th-Anniversary Photo Cover, Jim Balent (w/a), Broadsword Comics, page 232
  • xxxHoLic Volume 15, CLAMP (w/a), Del Rey Manga, page 246
  • Jane’s World Omnibus Volume 1, Paige Braddock (w/a), Girl Twirl Comics, page 255
  • Jane’s World Volume 9, Paige Braddock (w/a), Girl Twirl Comics, page 255
  • Magic Trixie, Jill Thompson (w/a), Harper Collins Publishers, page 258
  • Finder: Sin Eater 10th Anniversary Edition, Carla Speed McNeil (w/a), Lightspeed Press, page 274
  • Finder Volume 2: Sin Eater Part Two, Carla Speed McNeil (w/a), Lightspeed Press, page 274
  • Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon, Lori Gentile (e), Moonstone, page 276
  • Zig and Wikki in “Something Ate My Homework,” Nadja Spiegelman (w), Trade Loeffler (a), Raw Junior LLC, page 283