Upcoming 6/3/2009

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.

I can't wait for the sequel


This week’s Flipped focuses on Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life (Drawn & Quarterly).

It's a tie!

From Anime News Network:

“The Asahi Shimbun paper has announced the winners for the 13th Annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prizes this weekend. For the first time, two manga titles shared the Grand Prize: Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ōoku: The Inner Chamber, and Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life.”

One’s already been released in English, and the other is due out in August. Good times.

The Eisner ballot… of the FUTURE!

Okay, the order forms from the current issue of Diamond’s Previews catalog were due yesterday. I apologize for the tardiness, but the day job has been rather distracting lately. (Not bad, just busy.) And there’s abundant genius being solicited, so maybe it’s not too late for you to nag your local comics shop, or at least pre-order online from some other vendor.

Eden: It’s an Endless World! Vol. 12 (Dark Horse): Hiroki Endo’s dense, absorbing science-fiction series continues. (Page 44.)

Emma, Vol. 9 (CMX): More glorious period soap opera from Kaoru Mori. (Page 124.)

Johnny Hiro Vol. 1 (AdHouse): The first three issues of Fred Chao’s very funny genre mash-up are collected here. (Page 186.)

Swallowing the Earth Vol. 1 (Digital Manga Publishing): It’s by Osamu Tezuka, which is really all you need to know. It’s also about a mysterious demigoddess “wielding her mysterious power over all men to exact revenge for their crimes against women since the beginning of time,” which sounds ceaselessly awesome. (Page 245.)

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip Vol. 4 (Drawn & Quarterly): So funny, so quirky, so sweet. It’s one of the few perfect things in the world. (Page 249.)

The Summit of the Gods Vol. 1 (Fanfare/Ponent Mon): Jiro Taniguchi heads back to the mountains, accompanied by Yumemakura Baku. The slope in question this time around is Mount Everest. (Page 251.)

A Treasury of 20th Century Murder Vol. 2: Famous Players (NBM): Rick Geary applies his unique and abundant cartooning skills to the case of Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor. (Page 275.)

Salt Water Taffy Vol. 3: The Truth About Dr. True (Oni): More delightful adventures for all ages from Matthew Loux as the Putnam brothers discover weirdness in Chowder Bay. (Page 279.)

Fruits Basket Vol. 23 (Tokyopop): The mega-popular series from Natsuki Takaya comes to what will undoubtedly be an amazingly moving conclusion. (Page 288.)

Oishinbo: Fish, Sushi and Sashimi (Viz): Viz continues to offer highlights from Tetsu Kariya’s culinary manga masterpiece. (Page 298.)

Cirque du Freak Vol. 1 (Yen Press): I can’t honestly remember the context or the content, but I swear I heard something really extreme about Cirque du Freak, which makes me curious. (Page 302.)

Upcoming 3/25/2009

Have you ever had a trip planned and held off on bulking up an online book order because you thought, “Hey, there’s a great comic shop in (destination city), so surely I’ll be able to find (titles of books) there”? And then struck out completely? Or is that just me? Ah well. On to this week’s ComicList:

While the name of the protagonists are a bit odd (“Diamond”? “Rock”? Seriously? I feel like composing an SAT question.), I like the sound of Momoko Tenzen’s Manhattan Love Story (Juné). It’s about grown-up gay men with jobs, and you know I can rarely resist such comics, when I can find them. The cover is really striking too.

Drawn & Quarterly releases Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s massive biographical work, A Drifting Life, on Wednesday. It’s likely to be one of the books of the year, and certainly of the week.

For some well-written, slightly old-fashioned shôjo, look no further than the fifth volume of Yuu Asami’s A.I. Revolution (Go! Comi). It’s kind of like Absolute Boyfriend, except it doesn’t make your skin crawl.

Vertical continues to feed my sick fascination with creeply little Pinoko with the fourth volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack.

And Viz slakes my thirst with the second volume of Oishinbo, the standard-bearer of culinary manga. This volume focuses on sake. In my experience, alcohol and journalists go together like peanut butter and chocolate, so this volume should be fun, even though I haven’t cared much for the sake I’ve tried.

Stuff wisely

So the Harvey Awards nomination process is underway, and creative types can make a bid to recognize their favorite peers and works in a wide variety of categories. You may remember me keening and gnashing my teeth over some of last year’s nominations.

For a change of pace, I thought I’d go the Force Works/Extreme Justice proactive route this year. Instead of recoiling in horror at the prospect of ever seeing the phrase “Harvey Award winner Witchblade Manga,” I’ve decided to take a stab at prevention. Toward that end, here are some books from 2008 that you might consider for the Best American Edition of Foreign Material category:

  • Aya of Yop City, written by Marguerite Abouet and illustrated by Clément Oubrerie, published by Drawn & Quarterly
  • Disappearance Diary, written and illustrated by Hideo Azuma, published by Fanfare/Ponent Mon
  • Dororo, written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka, published by Vertical
  • Fluffy, written and illustrated by Simone Lia, published by Dark Horse
  • Little Nothings: The Curse of the Umbrella, written and illustrated by Lewis Trondheim, published by NBM
  • Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip – Book Three, written and illustrated by Jansson, published by Drawn & Quarterly
  • Real, written and illustrated by Takehiko Inou, published by Viz
  • Seduce Me after the Show, written and illustrated by est em, published by Deux Press
  • Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro, written and illustrated by Satoko Kiyuduki, published by Yen Press
  • solanin, written and illustrated by , published by Viz
  • There. Ten perfectly respectable potential nominations for your consideration. (And everyone should feel free to contribute their own suggestions in the comments.) I should also note that several of these books are also eligible for other awards.

    While it lasts

    Before the direct market collapses and Diamond’s Previews catalog slims down to the rough thickness of two issues of Entertainment Weekly, let’s take a look and see what the February 2009 edition has to offer, shall we?

    Dark Horse offers the fifth volume of Adam Warren’s smutty, hilarious, and heartwarming Empowered. This is truly appalling fan service repurposed for good. I don’t know how to explain or justify that statement, but trust me, the book is terrific. (Page 38, FEB09 0052)

    Cherish the “Offered Again” listings while you can. They allow me to rectify the error of not ordering Faith Erin Hicks’ warmly received The War at Ellsmere (Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics). (Page 198, FEB09 4023)

    One of the most anticipated graphic novels of the year is due to arrive from Drawn & Quarterly. It’s Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life, a massive (840 pages) autobiography from the founding father of alternative manga. (Page 263, FEB09 4254)

    First Second offers Dong Hwa Kim’s coming-of-age romance, The Color of Earth, which looks really lovely. (Page 270, FEB09 4289)

    It’s a good month for manhwa, as NBM delivers Mijeong, a collection of short stories by Byun Byung-Jun, creator of the marvelous Run, Bong-Gu, Run! (Page 287, FEB09 4402)

    Viz offers another volume of culinary treasure Oishinbo, written by Tetsu Kariya and illustrated by Akira Hanasaki. This installment looks at ramen and dumplings. Mmm… dumplings. (Page 311, FEB09 4482)

    The godfathers

    Via Vertical comes pointers to a neat site called Worlds Without Borders: The Online Magazine for International Literature. Click through to see…

  • A chapter from Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack (Vertical)
  • A chapter of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life (on Drawn & Quarterly’s slate for later this year), featurning Tatsumi’s first meeting with Tezuka
  • A blog entry on the manga market and the job outlook for Japanese-to-English translators from Vertical’s own Editorial Director Yani Mentzas
  • And, as they say, much, much more. Neat stuff, and an intriguing site.

    From the "Belated" section

    For this week’s Flipped, I finally get around to taking a look at Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s The Push Man and Other Stories (Drawn & Quarterly), which is the most entertaining bummer comic you’re ever likely to read.

    Thought for the day

    I’m not going for a theme week or anything, but it did occur to me that I’d probably end up spending a discounted fortune if Drawn & Quarterly got on the holiday sale/free shipping bandwagon with Oni and Top Shelf.

    I’m just saying.