Upcoming 7/21/2010

Some of the books I thought were coming out last week are actually coming out this week, but they’re still worth a look, so hop in the wayback machine to double-check. I’ll note that there have been a lot of fun-looking events around the release of Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, so go look at Kevin Melrose’s round-up at Robot 6. I can’t wait to read this book, and I’m grateful to everyone who’s resisted posting spoilers to those of us who don’t live near a shop that felt it could host a release party.

Not counting stuff that I mentioned a week early, this Wednesday’s highlight is the fifth volume of Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip from Drawn & Quarterly, which “features the final strips drawn by Tove Jansson and written by her brother Lars for the London Evening News, before Lars took over both the art and the writing.”

The manga highlight of the week is the 23rd volume of Hiromu Arakawa’s excellent Fullmetal Alchemist from Viz. This one wraps up in the 25th 27th volume, and I’m really going to miss it. It’s one of the best action-fantasy series I’ve ever read.

I will rename it "The Month of David"

Each June, comics publishers seem to join forces to drive me to poverty. Based on the latest Previews catalog, 2007 will be no exception. At least the weather will be warm.

The manga arrival of the month would have to be Masashi Tanaka’s Gon, in a new edition from CMX. Wordless, gorgeously illustrated stories about a tiny dinosaur who defends “the friendly and furry from the mean and hungry.” Sorry, Avril. (Pages 96 to 98.)

I’ve enjoyed a lot of comics either written or written and drawn by Andi Watson (Little Star, Love Fights, Paris, Princess at Midnight), so I’ll definitely give Clubbing (Minx) a look. It’s been illustrated by Josh Howard of Dead @ 17 fame. (Pages 113 to 115.)

In a couple of cases, well-written solicitation text was enough to interest me in books even though I knew nothing about them or their creators. First up in this category is Jamie Tanner’s Aviary from AdHouse Books, which promises “a world of mysterious corporations, foul-mouthed robots, drunken ghosts, amputee comedians, wealthy simian pornographers, and canine scientists.” Why not? (Page 215.)

I really liked the first volume of Kye Young Chon’s DVD (DramaQueen), about a dumped, possibly delusional young woman and the two slackers who give her renewed purpose (or at least are weird enough to distract her from despair). And now DramaQueen is offering the first four volumes. When they go Diamond, they don’t mess around. (Page 292.)

A new arrival from Fanfare/Ponent Mon is always worth a look. This month it’s Tokyo Is My Garden by Frédéric Boilet and Benoît Peeters. “With the collaboration of Jiro Taniguchi” is an effective extra inducement. (Page 295.)

The other Spring First Second release I’m eagerly anticipating (in addition to The Professor’s Daughter, recently given five stars by Tangognat) is Eddie Campbell’s The Black Diamond Detective Agency. Many gorgeous preview pages are available at First Second’s web site. (Page 300.)

Not everyone likes to buy even great books in hardcover, so kindly publishers almost inevitably offer soft-cover version eventually. Houghton Mifflin will roll out a paperback version of Alison Bechdel’s justly acclaimed Fun Home in June. (Page 312.)

I know nothing about Byun Byung Jun’s Run, Bong-Gu, Run! (NBM), but the preview pages at the publisher’s web site look absolutely exquisite. I may not like painted comics as a general rule, but I’m a sucker for watercolors. (Page 328.)

It’s been out for ages, but I’ve made a personal vow to mention Bryan Lee O’Malley’s wonderful debut graphic novel, Lost at Sea, at every opportunity, because I love it. Oni is releasing a new edition. Even if you aren’t eagerly anticipating a new volume of Scott Pilgrim, give it a look. (Page 329.)

Not being much of a webcomic reader, I didn’t check out the Young Bottoms in Love portal very often, but I liked what I saw when I did. Now Poison Press is releasing a print collection for geezers like me who don’t want to squint at a computer screen. Lots of talent, 328 color pages, $22. I can’t complain. (Page 335.)

As with Aviary, the solicitation text for David Yurkovich’s Death by Chocolate: Redux (Top Shelf) sells me. If anyone honestly thought I’d be able to resist “a series of bizarre, food-inspired crimes” investigated by “an unlikely hero comprised of organic chocolate,” they just don’t know me very well. (Page 364.)

Delayed gratification

Before I delve too far into this week’s ComicList, I have a self-serving question. Has the third volume of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Dark Horse) shown up at anyone’s comic shop? I think it was due out a couple of weeks ago, and I know I have it on reserve, but there’s still no sign of it here in the mountains. I’m wondering if I should start nagging.

While the list offers plenty of great stuff, the common trait seems to be that none of them are showing up here. I’m going to attribute this to the vagaries of regional shipping instead of a conspiracy to deny me the comics I want. For now.

Del Rey offers the eighth volume of Kio Shimoku’s hilarious, sharply-observed, yet still emotionally generous Genshiken.

DramaQueen delivers the first volume of Kye Young Chong’s Audition, which is pleasant enough reading about the search for the ultimate boy band, though I prefer the creator’s other DQ license, the funny, touching, odd DVD.

The fourth volume of Satosumi Takaguchi’s Shout Out Loud! (Blu) promises more romantic and familial complications, and unless things have changed drastically, they’ll be executed with wit, intelligence and warmth.

Viz is unloading a vast quantity of Shonen Jump books, and if I had to choose only one, it would be the ninth volume of Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata’s Hikaru No Go.

And Self Made Hero gets its Bard on with the release of two Manga Shakespeare books: Hamlet, adapted by Emma Vieceli, and Romeo and Juliet, adapted by Sonia Leong. Spoiler warning: In these issues, just about everyone dies!

Mark your calendars

It’s Manga Month again in Diamond’s Previews, and while that’s not all the volume has to offer, there’s plenty of noteworthy new stuff from all over.

Del Rey debuts the first volume of Ai Morinaga’s My Heavenly Hockey Club. I keep hoping someone will pick up the rest of Your and My Secret, which vanished after one volume from ADV. Maybe this will provide a satisfying, substitute Morinaga fix. (Page 269.)

None of this month’s listings jump out at me, but it’s really nice to see Drama Queen’s offerings on the pages of Previews. (Page 288.)

The Comics Journal #284 (Fantagraphics) will include an interview with Gene (American Born Chinese) Yang, and interviews with Yang are always worth reading. (Page 292.)

:01 First Second unveils their spring season highlight (for me, at least): Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert’s The Professor’s Daughter, a Victorian romance between a young lady and a mummy. (Page 294.)

I know printing money actually involves specialized plates and paper with cloth fiber and patent-protected inks, but it seems like there could be a variation involving delicately handsome priests at war with an army of zombies. Go! Comi will find out (as will we all) when they release the first volume of Toma Maeda’s Black Sun, Silver Moon. (Page 298.)

Last Gasp promises “catfights, alien safari adventures, evil experiments, and a girl who dreams of becoming a pop idol singer” in its re-release of Junko Mizuno’s Pure Trance. Since its Mizuno, I’m sure that description doesn’t even begin to describe the adorable, revolting weirdness. (Page 313.)

Mike Carey’s work as a comics writer is hit and miss for me. I’ve loved some of it, and found other stories to be pretty tedious. One of my favorite examples is My Faith in Frankie (Vertigo), illustrated by Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel. So I’m inclined to give the creative team’s Re-Gifters (Minx) a try. (Page 109.)

Pantheon releases a soft-cover version of Joann Sfar’s sublime The Rabbi’s Cat. This was my first exposure to Sfar’s work, and I’ve loved it ever since. And in some cultures, the release of a soft-cover means a hard-cover volume of new material might be on the way, which would make me deliriously happy. (Page 324.)

The Tokyopop-HarperCollins collaboration bears fruit with the release of Meg Cabot’s Avalon High: Coronation Vol. 1: The Merlin Prophecy. The solicitation doesn’t include an illustrator credit, which is an unfortunate slip, and neither does the publisher’s web site. Maybe Cabot drew it herself? (Page 333.)

I’ve been hoping to see more work from Yuji Iwahara since CMX published Chikyu Misaki. Tokyopop comes through with Iwahara’s King of Thorn. (Page 335.)

Top Shelf offered some all-ages delights last month, which made me happy, and presents a new (I think?) volume of work from Renée (The Ticking) French. Micrographica is a collection of French’s online strip of the same name and offers “pure weirdness.” I don’t doubt it will deliver in a lovely, haunting way. (Page 352.)

Vertical rolls out another classic from Osamu Tezuka, Apollo’s Song, displaying the God of Manga’s “more literate and adult side.” For readers wanting something a little more contemporary, there’s Aranzi Aronzo’s Aranzi Machine Gun, featuring plush mascots on a tear. How can I choose? Why should I? (Page 355.)

I can’t read every series about people who see dead people. I just can’t. I wouldn’t have any money left for food. But Viz ignores my attempts at restraint by offering Chika Shiomi’s Yurarara in its Shojo Beat line. Shiomi is enjoying quite the day in the licensed sun, with Night of the Beasts (Go! Comi) and Canon (CMX) in circulation. (Page 372.)

And here’s an oddity, but an intriguing one: edu-manga from Singapore. YoungJin Singapore PTE LTD (you’ll forgive me if I hold off on adding a category) releases manga biographies of Einstein and Gandhi and adaptations of Little Women and Treasure Island. (Page 375.)


Civic-mindedness seems to be the theme of the day in the manga blogosphere today.

Simon Jones of Icarus Publishing ponders the recent SF Weekly piece on yaoi and its consideration of a potential conservative backlash against the category, then moves on to remind publishers of every stripe that they have a vested interest in protecting and promoting freedom of expression:

“Most people bring up the First Amendment only when their own rights are at stake. They support majority rule as long as they’re in the majority, they are okay with exceptions as long as they are not the ones being excluded. Is it really difficult to see the fallacy of this kind of thinking? It doesn’t take courage to be part of the crowd. Popular ideas don’t need to be defended from the masses, as they don’t come under attack by the masses.”

At MangaBlog, poll volunteer Brigid wants to make sure everyone’s ready for next Tuesday’s election:

“Every year there are stories of people who are turned away from the polls or have their votes stolen in some way. (Don’t believe me? Check here and here for updates on election issues.) A bit of advance work can prevent a lot of hassles.”

At MangaCast, Ed Chavez freely expresses his appreciation of the improved web sites of DrMaster and Infinity Studios:

“Have they both simultaneously figured out that communication with their small fan base will be the key to their futures. Either way site improvements are one of many steps both groups need to take to keep and expand their readership. Both of these pubs have many other hurdles to overcome.”

Love Manga’s David Taylor relocates to a different precinct, joining the MangaCasters, but exercises his right to appreciate DramaQueen’s new Rush anthology before he closes the shutters:

“So that left me pondering what should I write about on my last post here, and well I‘d thought I’d talk about one title that has been published this year which made an impression or just stood out for me. Boy that was a stupid idea.”

Speaking of manga that stands out, PopCultureShock’s Katherine Dacey-Tsuei reminds us that, sure, Vertical’s release of Osamu Tezuka’s Ode to Kirihito is amazing, but Viz – Signature’s production of Tezuka’s Phoenix is separate but almost equal:

“Do you have a friend who won’t touch a comic book unless a New York Times critic pronounces it a ‘brilliant graphic novel’ by a ‘major artist’? Well, I have the manga for you.”

Monday mangablogging

At MangaBlog, Brigid gives some on-the-scene coverage of the inaugural MangaNEXT in Secaucus, NJ, including today’s wrap-up.

At Love Manga, David Taylor launches his Manhwa Competition with Kye Young Chong’s Audition from DramaQueen.

MangaCast is awash in previews and reviews.

At ¡Journalista!, Dirk Deppey wraps up his scanlation tour.

Icarus exec Simon Jones contemplates manga backlash in France and takes a level-headed view of the place of spandex in bookstore:

“All things considered, I don’t feel the traditional superhero books are as marginalized in bookstores as they appear… much of that comes from our incorrectly grouping all manga into a single entity. If we separate them into their individual genres… shounen, shoujo, seinen, josei… then the superhero genre would compare to each more favorably.”

Lest you think the Frankfurt Book Fair is kind of stodgy, organizers gave free admission to cosplayers, one of whom won a week-long trip to Japan.

And in this week’s Flipped, I stare into the coming digital age, eyes wide with trepidation.

Love manhwa

David Taylor at Love Manga wants to introduce you to the wonderful world of manhwa. He’s sponsoring a Manhwa Competition, and all you have to do is tell him why you want the titles that are up for grabs from publishers like DramaQueen, Ice Kunion, and NETCOMICS.