Upcoming 11/10/2010

November 9, 2010

It’s one of those neat ComicList weeks where all kinds of interesting comics from throughout the space-time continuum are due to land.

Sean (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Gaffney tweeted about this book, and it has a definite allure for me as a person who read a lot of Archie comics in the back seat of the station wagon on long drives to various vacation destinations during his childhood. It’s Dark Horse’s Archie Firsts collection, which promises “first issues, first appearances, and other milestones, collected for the first time in one hardcover volume!”

I was a huge fan of Scott Chantler’s Northwest Passage (Oni Press), so it would stand to reason that I should pick up a copy of his Two Generals (McClelland and Stewart), which promises “poignant graphic memoir that tells the story of World War II from an Everyman’s perspective.” I’m not a history buff, per se, but Chantler is phenomenally talented.

The first volume of Lars Martinson’s Tōnoharu (Top Shelf) was very intriguing, so I’m looking forward to Martinson’s second look at a fish out of water teaching English in rural Japan.

Erica (Okazu) Friedman is crazy about Hayate X Blade (Seven Seas), written and illustrated by Shizuru Hayashiya, and that’s reason enough to seriously consider the purchase of the first omnibus collection of the series.

And I am crazy about Kou Yaginuma’s Twin Spica (Vertical), and I would never consider delaying in the purchase of the fourth volume. This is easily one of the great series debuts of 2010.

What looks good to you?

Upcoming 11/11/2009

November 10, 2009

In her look at this week’s comics, Kate Dacey delivers a succinct takedown of the latest example of that just-won’t-die-or-evolve artifact, the list of recommendations to help comics fans convince the ladies in their lives to share their hobby. I don’t really have anything to add, but I will just note that most of the women I know online who read manga are omnivores. They greet new romantic shôjo and new blood-and-guts seinen with equal enthusiasm. To my way of thinking, this makes the frequent exclusion of manga from these chick-bait graphic novel guides even more baffling.

Anyway, here’s what looks good to me on the latest ComicList:

I read a review copy of Tamio Baba’s Deka Kyoshi (CMX), about a detective going undercover as a teacher, joining forces with a mildly psychic student, and helping kids with their often dangerous problems. My reaction to the book tracks pretty much exactly with Brigid Alverson’s: “The stories are nice little self-contained dramas, but they never veer far from the predictable.”

UltimateVenus5It seems to be a week where publishers who’ve had something of a low profile lately deliver some new goods. There are new volumes from DrMaster, Seven Seas, and Go! Comi. I’m most enthusiastic about the Go! Comi offering, the fifth volume of Takako Shigematsu’s Ultimate Venus. It’s about an orphan who learns that she’s the granddaughter of a very wealthy, very formidable woman, and must prove her worth to inherit the family fortune. I can’t say I yet love it in the way that I loved Shigematsu’s Tenshi Ja Nai!!, but I loved that series a lot and heartily recommend it to people who like wacky, mean-spirited romantic comedy. Ultimate Venus is a bit tamer, but it’s still very enjoyable.

Viz finally rolls out a VizBig version of Rumiko Takahashi’s long-running, much-loved InuYasha, which is a welcome development for people who might enjoy the anime but be a bit daunted by the 42 existing volumes of the manga.

ikigami3Of more specific interest to me is the third volume of Motoro Mase’s Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, from Viz’s Signature line. Though I’m ambivalent about the series overall, I’ve liked it enough to review the first and second volumes of this series about a draconian government program that targets random people for death to help the remainder of the citizenry better appreciate life. A government functionary must notify these unlucky learning tools of their fate, and readers get to watch the victims flip out during their last hours. I still feel like it needs to go somewhere beyond episodic individual drama, but I’m intrigued enough to stick around. And the third volume has an awesome tag line: “Sometimes people do shoot the messenger.”

What if you could bring your cat to school? What if you and your cat were given amazing powers, and all you had to do in exchange was keep horrible demons at bay? These are the central questions addressed by Yuji Iwahara’s Cat Paradise (Yen Press). The second volume is due out on Wednesday and promises more mystery and adventure at a purportedly feline-friendly institute of learning.


Upcoming 6/3/2009

June 2, 2009

A quick look at this week’s ComicList:

moomin4The pick of the week is the fourth volume of Drawn & Quarterly’s collection of Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip. Click here and scroll down a bit to see a preview, and if you’re able to resist the gentle satire and high adventure of these strips, then I don’t know what to tell you. Personally, I think Drawn & Quarterly deserves some kind of international peace prize for publishing these.

In my ongoing effort to expose myself to as many “tour guides of the recently deceased” manga as I possibly can, I believe I pre-ordered Ballad of a Shinigami (CMX), illustrated by Asuka Izumi and based on an original story by K-Ske Hasegawa. I believe the shinigami in question also has a talking bat; stories with talking bats constitute another “manga I must at least try” subset, though I have no idea exactly why.

Oh, Mijeong (NBM), why do you make me stalk you? I know I pre-ordered you, and the ComicList says you arrive Wednesday, but I can’t seem to access Diamond’s site to confirm. And you aren’t listed in the e-mail from my local comic shop, so I shouldn’t get my hopes up. I’m sure you’ll be worth the wait.

I’ve quite liked what I’ve read of Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl (Seven Seas), written by Satoru Akahori and illustrated by Yukimaru Katsura. It’s about a boy who’s transformed into a girl and ends up in a love triangle with two other girls, and I remember its sensitive moments outnumbering any cheesy fan-service by a fairly wide margin. So I’m glad that Seven Seas is releasing an omnibus version of the series.

The fifth volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack arrives courtesy of Vertical. That pretty much all that needs to be said, right?

Viz has an overwhelming volume of product on the way, much of it desirable, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll focus on just two: Chica Umino’s art-college romantic comedy Honey and Clover reaches its sixth volume, and Chika Shiomi’s Raretsu debuts. It’s a follow-up to Shiomi’s Yurara, which Kate Dacey re-reviews as part of her Chika Shiomi Appreciation Week.

Upcoming 12/12/2007

December 11, 2007

The theme of this week’s comic shop arrivals seems to be “new volumes of appealing series,” and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Dark Horse delivers the fifth volume of Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki’s The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. I didn’t think the fourth volume was quite up to standard, to be honest. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as solid a combination of gruesome mystery and strangely heartwarming comedy. I did appreciate the guest appearance by Reiji Akiba from Yamazaki’s other series, Mail, and I hope he returns.

I find Kaoru Mori’s Emma (CMX) extremely soothing. It’s so gentle and precise, and it’s really easy on the eyes. The sixth volume arrives tomorrow. (By the way, does the knowledge that this series was originally published in a seinen magazine influence your reading experience in any way? Or that Yotsuba&! Or Azumanga Daioh had similar origins? I was flipping through the latest Comics Journal at the shop last week, and most of the review of Translucent seemed largely devoted to that conundrum.)

Until the arrival of Ai Morinaga’s My Heavenly Hockey Club (Del Rey), Kiyoko Arai’s Beauty Pop (Viz) was the clear leader in the ridiculous shôjo category. It’s still awfully good, even if it’s moved into second place. The sixth volume arrives Wednesday. I also really enjoyed the preview chapter of Kiyo Fujiwara’s mafia princess comedy Wild Ones that ran in a recent issue of Shojo Beat, so I’ll have to move that up in my “to read” pile.

Among the other new series making their debut, Seven Seas offers a new take on Speed Racer, written by Dwayne Alexander Smith and drawn by Elmer Damaso, whose work seems to bear some resemblance to that of Mike Allred. That’s kind of a cool way to go with the material.

Upcoming 7/5

July 4, 2007

I’m planning to spend Independence Day in the traditional fashion – drinking vodka lemonade and reading comics. (In spite of the holiday delay, I still somehow have plenty to read.) It’s just as well, as it’s a bit of a slow week.

Okay, so no week with a new volume of Dragon Head (Tokyopop) can actually be called “slow.” Even if I like them, there are some series that sit around for a while before I get around to reading them. This is one of the books I read as soon as I bring it into the house.

There’s a whole heap of stuff coming from Seven Seas. Since I have a demonstrated weakness for people-who-see-dead-people manga, I think I’ll have no choice but to give Venus Versus Virus a look.

For other perspectives on the week in comics, here are some links:

  • Matt Blind at comicsnob.com
  • Christopher Butcher at Comics.212.net
  • Katherine Dacey-Tsuei at Manga Recon
  • Chris Mautner and Kevin Melrose at Blog@Newsarama

  • Steals, sales and solicitations

    March 20, 2007

    So the big story of the day is unquestionably the… what should I call it? … apparent difference of opinion between Central Park Media and Japanese boys’-love publisher Libre, uncovered by the watchful folks of MangaCast. MangaCast Master of Ceremonies Ed Chavez and Dirk Deppey are on the trail, and unless I miss my guess, Simon Jones will have interesting things to say on the subject sooner or later. (No pressure, though.) (Update: Ask and you shall receive, though as always, the blog is probably not safe for work.)

    On a less controversial front, MangaBlog’s Brigid looks through the Diamond graphic novel bestsellers for February and pulls out the top ten manga placers. Further down the list, I’m delighted to see the second volume of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Dark Horse) crack the top 100.

    At Sporadic Sequential, John Jakala digs up an interview with the gifted, under-licensed Usamaru Furuya on the intersection of art, commerce and editorial influence.

    Moving back into the present, it’s a pretty solid week at ComicList, including the third volume of Diamond bestseller Kurosagi. (I love typing that!) Also from Dark Horse is It Rhymes With Lust, one of the earliest graphic novels. Written by Arnold Drake and Leslie Waller and drawn by Matt Baker, the book was printed in a fairly recent issue of The Comics Journal, and fans of sexy pulp and noir would be doing themselves a favor in picking it up. If you’ve ever thrilled to Joan Crawford or Barbara Stanwyck stringing small-town suckers along for their own merciless gain, you’ll probably enjoy Rust’s amoral antics as well.

    It seems like each week brings another volume of the works of Fumi Yoshinaga to the shelves, and this is all to the good. This time around, it’s Solfege from Juné. For those unfamiliar with Yoshinaga who might wonder what all the love is about, check out these overviews at Yaoi Suki and Guns, Guys and Yaoi.

    Seven Seas was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of the second volume of Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, though I would have bought it anyways, because this series is such a pleasant surprise – funny, thoughtful, romantic, and often surprising.

    And if you’re wondering what next month’s best-selling manga title might be, Viz rolls out the 12th volume of Fullmetal Alchemist, which makes for one of those happy intersections of quality entertainment and commercial success.

    Seinen sign-in

    January 9, 2007

    This week’s Flipped is up with reviews of Housui Yamazaki’s Mail (Dark Horse) and Kashimashi ~ Girl Meets Girl (Seven Seas).

    While looking stuff up for the column, I was interested to see the titles that have been serialized in seinen anthology Dengeki Daioh, mostly because many of them don’t fit with my conventional (and probably too narrow) definition of seinen.

    I mean… Yotsuba&! is seinen? Who knew?

    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.)

    Updates, reviews, and long-awaited Scandinavian cartoons

    November 15, 2006

    Lyle has shared the cover of that issue of SF Weekly that featured the article on Yaoi-Con. It’s been suggested that they modified the artwork without the creator’s consent. Brigid has also found some letters to the editor in response to the article.

    At The Beat, Heidi MacDonald links to an article from the Associate Press on controversial graphic novels in libraries, sparked by the dust-up in Marshall, MO. It’s a well-sourced and interesting read.

    At Journalista, Dirk Deppy has heard reports from a reliable source that Yumi Hoashi left her post as head of Viz’s magazine division for a new gig, a theory posited by Simon Jones (whose blog might not be safe for work). Jones also provided me with my heartiest guffaw of yesterday, which was much appreciated:

    “Won’t somebody think of the children!… who… read… the Comics Journal…”


    Brigid has also reviewed Inverloch from Seven Seas for Digital Strips. I liked the first volume a lot and keep meaning to track down the second. Johanna Draper Carlson reviews one of my favorite books, Girl Genius from Airship Entertainment. And Jamie S. Rich, author of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her from Oni, also loves June Kim’s 12 Days from Tokyopop.


    As for today’s comics, the clear front-runner (for me, at least) is Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip Book One from Drawn and Quarterly. (Go here, scroll down, and click for a preview.) I’ve been looking forward to this since Free Comic Book Day, and my anticipation has only intensified thanks to the Moomin references in at least two of the manga versions of Train Man.

    Speaking of that subway Romeo, Del Rey offers its one-volume shôjo take on the story. (Count Jog among the unmoved.)

    If forced to pick only one item from Viz’s rather substantial list of product, hunger would win out and I’d opt for the second volume of Yakitate Japan.

    The ComicList has thoughtfully compiled a manga-centric list of the week’s releases, and the MangaCasters have gone through it with a fine-toothed comb.

    Regional specialties

    October 31, 2006

    The Mature Graphic Novel section has not yet reached north-central West Virginia. I swung by Books-A-Million last night to see. It did look like there were fewer Juné and Blu titles than usual, so maybe they’ve been sorted out and it’s in the works. (The manager, who’s an acquaintance, wasn’t on hand to ask.)

    One thing did strike me as I was browsing. It’s too bad Viz didn’t put out a Bleach box set in time for the holidays, like Tokyopop did with Kingdom Hearts. A conveniently bundled, nicely packaged chunk of the early volumes might entice the curious.


    I’m kind of baffled by the ComicList for the week. The list itself says the only Del Rey offering for the week is the second volume of Basilisk. Jog seems to think that the fourth volume of Love Roma is arriving. The e-mailer from the local comic shop suggests that the seventh volume of Genshiken will arrive. Should I focus on the happiness of new Genshiken, or wallow in the bitterness of delayed Love Roma gratification?

    There does seem to be general consensus that this week will see the arrival of the second volumes of Off*Beat and The Dreaming and the fourteenth of The Kindaichi Case Files from Tokyopop. Okay, so maybe it would be nice if these suspenseful stories had dropped the day before Halloween instead of the day after. But it’s close enough.

    Not to be outdone in the second volume category, Seven Seas releases the sophomore installment of Inverloch, a web-to-print fantasy story from Sarah Ellerton. I liked the first a lot.

    It seems like it’s been weeks since a new volume of a post-apocalyptic survival manga showed up. Dark Horse leaps into the breach with the fifth volume of Eden: It’s an Endless World! For more science fiction, you could always check out June from Netcomics.


    There seems to be a mad flurry of manga reviews of late, and MangaBlog’s Brigid has been staying on top of them.


    So I’m glancing at the Taiyosha Top Ten over at MangaCast, and I can’t help but notice that Nodame Cantabile has really parked itself there. Volume 16 debuted at number one, with a special taking eighth place the same week. And it’s still in the top 10.

    No particular point to that observation, aside from the fact that I like the book and its success makes me happy.