Previews review October 2009

The October issue of Diamond’s Previews catalog offers lots of promising material from all over the place. Let’s get down to it.

EmpoweredComicI’m always happy to see more of Adam Warren’s brilliant Empowered. This time around, Warren and Dark Horse take a different approach, offering the struggling super-heroine in “traditional comic-book format.” It’s 32 black and white pages for $3.99 featuring two stories – a desperate battle in a secret, super-hero mausoleum and the always-alliterative musings of the Caged Demonwolf. (Page 26-27.)

StolenHearts1It’s always wise to keep an eye on CMX’s shôjo offerings, as they’re usually pretty charming. New this month is Stolen Hearts, written and illustrated by Miku Sakamoto. It’s about a girl who befriends “the most intimidating guy at school” and becomes involved in his family’s kimono shop. I’m always looking for underrepresented careers in manga, and kimono model certainly qualifies. It was originally serialized in Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume. (Page 120.)

AfrodisiacA few years back, the big blogosphere hit was Jim Rugg and Brian Marucca’s Street Angel from SLG. A much-loved supporting character from that book gets a shot at solo stardom in Afrodisiac from AdHouse Books. It’s written by Maruca and drawn by Rugg and promises “cats, gats, spats, and feathered hats.” (Page 188.)

KingofRPGs1You may know Jason Thompson as the author/editor of the invaluable Manga: The Complete Guide, but he’s also a creator of comics. He’s authored King of RPGs, illustrated by Victor Hao, for Del Rey. It’s a “send-up of manga, gaming and geek culture,” which is subject matter well within Thompson’s sphere of experience. Thompson is also updating the guide and giving away manga over at (Page 242.)

Talk about long-awaited! I can’t remember the first time I heard about Fanfare/Ponent Mon’s Korea as Viewed by 12 Creators, but it appears at long last in the pages of Previews (page 250, to be precise). I can’t find any information on Fanfare’s site, but if Korea is half as good as Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, it will be a must-buy.

TreasuryFamousPlayersI’m crazy about Rick Geary’s Treasury books, but I’m cheap so I wait for the paperback versions. Happily, NBM slates the soft-cover version Geary’s A Treasury of 20th Century Murder: Famous Players for publication. It examines the murder of early Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor. (Page 271.)

I loved Crogan’s Vengeance, Chris Schweizer’s first look at the long saga of the Crogan family and its cross-century adventures. The second volume, Crogan’s March, is due from Oni Press, looking at life in the French Foreign Legion. (Page 274-275).

MercuryThe gifted Hope Larson delivers her next work, Mercury from Simon and Schuster. It looks to be a mystery surrounding a magnificent mansion in Nova Scotia. But really, it’s Larson, and that’s pretty much all you need to know. (Page 285.)

Even with setbacks, the last few months might be pinpointed as the beginning of Tokyopop’s comeback tour. They announced a bunch of titles in August, and one appealed to me in particular. It’s Kou Matsuzuki’s Happy Café, a romantic comedy set in a restaurant. I find it very hard to resist romantic comedies set in restaurants, even if they feature that old warhorse, the clumsy shôjo heroine. It was originally published in Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume. (Page 289.)

notsimplePage 301 promises more goodness from Viz Signature. My poor, poor wallet, how you will weep. New to the imprint are Natsume Ono’s not simple. Ono is the creator of House of Five Leaves, and I’ve become very intrigued by her work. not simple is told backwards and follows a young man as he travels the world in search of his sister. It was originally published in Penguin Shobou’s Comic Seed! and was later picked up by Shogakukan.

AllMyDarlingDaughters1And, of course, Viz triggers squeals across the internet by offering more manga from Fumi Yoshinaga. It’s All My Darling Daughters featuring an adult woman who still lives with her mother until mom’s new boyfriend drives a wedge into the family. It was originally published in Hakusensha’s Melody.

Last, and certainly not least, Yen Press continues to rack up manga karma by rescuing Kiyohiko Azuma’s Azumanga Daioh Collected Edition from limbo. This makes me so happy that I will simply run the solicitation in its entirety: “The classic returns! This four-panel comedy chronicles the everyday lives of six very quirky high school girls. Meet the child prodigy Chiyo, the animal-loving Sakaki, the spacey out-of-towner Osaka, the straight-laced Yomi and her best friend Tomo, and the sports-loving Kagura throughout their high school lives. As the first four-panel comic to gain popularity in the U.S., Yen Press is proud to present the complete fan-favorite in a single volume, complete with all the original color pages and an updated translation so new and old readers can enjoy the best, most authentic Azumanga available!” (Page 306.)