Previews review

After a couple of months of overwhelmingly appealing product in Diamond’s June 2009 Previews catalog, the industry seems to take a bit of a breather. Here’s what caught my eye, mostly new volumes of entertaining, ongoing series.

taleThere are some debuts. I quite liked the first volume of Natsuna Kawase’s The Lapis Lazuli Crown (CMX), so I’ll certainly take a chance on the second volume (page 121) and the first volume of another Kawase series, A Tale of an Unknown Country Girl (also CMX, page 120), about a princess who goes undercover to see if her arranged fiancé is a total asshat.

Many people viewed Brandon Graham’s King City to be one of the great casualties of whichever Tokyopop meltdown put its future in peril. Those folks will be happy to see pages 138 and 139, which reveal that Image and Tokyopop will be presenting a floppy version of Graham’s comic. I find Image’s web site impossible to navigate, so I’ll just link to this Newsarama interview with Graham.

Two of Del Rey’s solicitations on page 237 catch my eye: the fifth volume of Ryotaro Iwanaga’s underrated postwar adventure, Pumpkin Scissors, and the third volume of Sayonara, Zetsubo-Sensei, a dark satire of school comedies that’s more heavily annotated than just about any book not edited by Carl Horn. Sayonara also has some of the tiniest print in the history of translated comics from Japan, and some fairly impenetrable humor, but enough of the jokes work for me to make it worth the eye strain.

Fanfare/Ponent Mon presents the second volume of Jiro Taniguchi’s A Distant Neighborhood (page 245). You scrambled for the order form right after I typed the publisher’s name, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU?

adI’ve enjoyed Josh Neufeld’s travel comics, though he tends to go places I would never personally consider for a vacation. My idea of roughing it is hotels with limited room service. But his A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge (Pantheon, page 273) promises to be one of the books of the year.

I thought IDW or someone had the CSI comic-book franchise. It isn’t exclusive apparently, as Tokyopop launches the two-part CSI: Interns, written by Sekou Hamilton and illustrated by Steven Cummings (page 283).

Viz Udon gets its sci-fi on with the return of Kia Asamiya’s Silent Möbius in an unflipped, all-new translation with restored color story pages (page 285). Trivia note: Asamiya was first introduced to many English-reading comics fans through the dubious distinction of illustrating some of the worst issues of Uncanny X-Men ever written.

If I’m going to be completely honest, I’m more intrigued by the Viz’s debut of Hiroyuki Asada’s Tegami Bachi (page 288), which I’ve seen described as being about postal workers called “Letter Bees” carrying the hearts of correspondents to their loved ones. I admit that most of my interest comes from the probably mistaken mental image of sacks full of human hearts and the shocked reactions of their recipients.

In the “new volume” category, Viz offers Oishinbo: Vegetables (written by Tetsu Kariya and illustrated by Akira Hanasaki), the fourth volume of Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, and the second volume of Kiminori Wakasugi’s Detroit Metal City, which is sick and wrong and I think I’m in love with it (all listed on page 292).