Previews review July 2009

There’s quite a bit of interesting material in the July 2009 edition of Diamond’s Previews catalog. Whether it actually makes it to comic shops is always a question worth considering, but the theoretical abundance is certainly alluring.

First up is Reversible: A Dojinshi Collection by various artists, published by Digital Manga. I’ve never heard of any of the creators involved (“Kometa Yonekura, Shiori Ikezawa, Haruki Fujimoto, Goroh, and many more!”), but the prospect of a book full of fan-created yaoi is too intriguing to pass up. (Page 241)

Masayuki Ishikaway’s eagerly awaited, Tezuka Prize winning Moyasimon arrives courtesy of Del Rey. “You might think that life at an agricultural university in Japan isn’t exactly exciting. But Todayasu, a student, sees the world differently – he has the unique ability to see, and communicate with, bacteria and micro-organisms, which appear to him as super-cute little creatures.” I was sold on this before it was even licensed. (Page 244)

ayaIf you haven’t treated yourself to the first two volumes of Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie’s earthy, charming soap opera set in the Ivory Coast of the 1970s, then you should catch up, since the third, Aya: The Secrets Come Out, arrives via Drawn & Quarterly. “It’s a world of shifting values, where issues like arranged marriage and gay love have Aya and her friends yearning to break out of the confines of their community, while the ties of friendship and support draw them back into its familiarity.” (Page 246)

Every month is better with some Jiro Taniguchi in it, and Fanfare/Ponent Mon provides. In this case, it’s the second volume of The Summit of the Gods, illustrated by Taniguchi and written by Yumemakura Baku. The ascent up Mt. Everest continues, and I’m guessing Taniguchi draws the holy hell out of it. (Page 252)

Oni Press is wise enough to devote a two-page spread to Lola: A Ghost Story, written by J. Torres, because you get to see some really lovely sample pages illustrated by Elbert Or. It’s about a boy named Jesse, who “sees dead people, monsters, demons, and lots of other things that no one else can see,” and must take up his grandmother’s mantle as protector of a small town. The mere promise of “pigs possessed by the devil” is reason enough for me to jot it down on the order form. (Page 278 and 279)

alecTop Shelf drops a massive omnibus, available in soft- and hardcover versions, of Eddie Campbells Alec comics, called The Years Have Pants (A Life-Size Omnibus). It “collects the previous Alec books, as well as a generous helping of rare and never-before-seen material, including an all-new 35-page book, The Years Have Pants. The softcover is $35, and the hardcover is $49.95, each coming in at 640 pages. (Page 296)

wawwI saw this on Twitter yesterday, and there it is in the catalog. Viz releases two volumes of Inio (Solanin) Asano’s What a Wonderful World! “With this series of intersecting vignettes, Inio Asano explores the ways in which modern life can be ridiculous and sublime, terrible and precious, wasted and celebrated.”

stitchesI automatically become nervous when buzz about a book reaches a certain pitch, so I’m glad I read a comp copy of David Small’s Stitches (W.W. Norton) before that buzz became too frenzied. It really, really, really is an extraordinary book. Small fearlessly renders childhood horrors with restraint and dignity, re-creating “a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka.” That isn’t hyperbole, and the advance interest in the book is entirely deserved, as will be the raves after it’s released. Seriously, it’s the kind of book that will end up on Best Books of 2009 lists in addition to a whole lot of Best Comics of 2009 lists. (Page 311)

yotsuba6Last, but certainly not least, Yen Press brings boundless joy to the world (at least the world occupied by people with good taste) by releasing the sixth volume of Kiyohiko Azuma’s hilarious, completely endearing Yotsuba&! Yen also releases brushed-up versions of the first five volumes, previously published by ADV. “Yotsuba recycles! She gets a bike, learns about sticky notes, and drinks some super-yummy milk which she then decides she has to share with everyone!” Bless you, bless you , bless you, Yen Press. (Page 312)