It's the humidity


That’s the way, totally improbable mercenaries. Freshen up from the August heat and conserve our precious natural resources at the same time. This week’s Flipped offers more suggestions on how to wile away these last few sweltering weeks of summer.

Rough seas, dead trees


You know what’s great about print versions of comics that are available for free online? Back covers featuring grizzled old men covered with tattoos — that’s what’s great about them. Now, I will freely admit, when I saw Kate Dacey’s beautiful review of Daisuke Igarashi’s Children of the Sea, I almost switched topics for this week’s Flipped, because seriously, what else needed to be said that The Manga Critic hadn’t already covered much more artfully than I could? But I’d painted myself into a corner, and I really wanted to write about the book because it’s lovely in some very unusual ways, so you’ve all been spared my treatise on 10 sizzling shônen bromances… FOR NOW.

Point and click

This week’s Flipped is up. I take a look at Viz’s SIGIKKI site and the many interesting titles previewed there. Over at Manga Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson has taken a two-part look at various titles and is running a poll on readers’ early favorites.

What happens in Vegas…

… has nothing to do with what’s about to happen in San Diego at the 2009 Comic-Con International, except for the fact that I might actually go if it were happening in Vegas. I love comics, I really do, and there are some great-sounding panels and activities (which I cherry pick in this week’s Flipped), but I can’t see taking a plane and everything that entails just for a comics convention. I’m going to SPX this year, but that’s an easy and pleasant drive for me to one of my favorite metropolitan areas. If CCI moved to Vegas, I could combine it with a bunch of other destinations that I really love, like Zion National Park in southern Utah and… well… Vegas. (And yes, I know that exhibitors are concerned that their potential convention customers would be waylaid by shiny, jingly slot machines and the like and not spend anything on comics. That’s a perfectly reasonable concern, but as usual, I’m coming at this from an entirely selfish perspective.)

Update: Speaking of cons, there’s a terrific roundtable on girls and fandom up at Robot 6.

Elsewhere at The Comics Reporter, Tom points to this article about someone snatching up domain names of people, including an emerging queer performer, to post virulently anti-gay evangelical comics. (I know they aren’t just anti-gay, but that’s what initially got my hackles up.) Nothing communicates a heartfelt desire to share one’s faith like ambushing people expecting something completely different while robbing an artist of a potential venue to promote his or her work.



I’m normally not a fan of swapping “tw-” for perfectly good consonants to create an unnecessary new word, but I’ve experienced a feeling I can only describe as “twuilt”: when something someone posts on Twitter shakes you out of your planned, need I add hard-earned, torpor and motivates you to write a manga column after all, even though you were planning on taking the week off.

Anyway, comics-loving librarian Eva Volin noted over the weekend that Yuji Iwahara’s Chikyu Misaki (CMX) is deeply under-appreciated, and while I’d been planning on writing something about Iwahara’s comics eventually, I moved the column ahead in the queue. So it’s now up over at The Comics Reporter.

Since I’m on the subject of the talented Iwahara, how about a poll?

If your favorite hasn’t been licensed yet, feel free to list it in the comments.

I agree, Sasaki

There’s a new Flipped column up over at The Comics Reporter. I thought Tom would like that panel at the top.

Pest management


There’s a new Flipped column up at The Comics Reporter.

Go to DMC!

There’s a new Flipped up at The Comics Reporter. I think you can guess the topic. For added value, I wanted to get your opinion on an important matter:

Manga 101

One of those random bits of curiosity has taken root, and I might try and get a column out of it if I can find sources. So, does anyone know of any folks who are teaching or have taught introductory manga courses at the college or university level? I’m thinking primarily of survey courses rather than ones that focus on creating comics. If you know of anyone, or if you’ve taught such a course yourself, drop me a line.

manga_60yearsI think if I were constructing a course like that, I would probably use Paul Gravett’s Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics as the primary text. I like the book’s structure, and I think it provides a great overview of the history and various demographic categories. It’s also packed with illustrations from all kinds of titles (including a rather energetic hamster-like creature that got the book banned in Victorville, California).

The reading list would be tricky. I would want to include examples from the major demographic categories (shônen, shôjo, seinen, josei), but I think I’d have to be careful to find stuff that’s representative but doesn’t end up in a cripplingly expensive trip to the bookstore. That would mean picking titles that give a reasonable amount of story in a single volume but still do a good job embodying certain common traits about the category. I’d probably just plan on taking whatever lumps come in the form of complaints about not getting the full story. (I could always include a paragraph on the syllabus that gives the total price tag for complete series included on the reading list; some of the best examples are really long, and even if the price of individual volumes isn’t that high, when you ask someone to buy twenty of them…)

I’d also want to include works by the greats, particularly Osamu Tezuka. That gets a little tricky too, as I’d want something relatively accessible. Astro Boy seems like a reasonable enough choice in terms of accessibility (and Dark Horse offers this two-volume paperback), though I’d much rather have them read something like Ode to Kirihito. Since there’s so little of the work from the Year 24 Group available in print and in English, I’d turn to Vertical for To Terra… (I know it isn’t shôjo, but it’s a great book, and it provides an early example of a woman creating comics targeted at boys, which seems like an interesting teachable moment.)

I’d probably leave anime to the film studies program, or whatever those units are called these days.

So what would you include on your reading list?

Update: Speaking of manga scholarship, Simon (NSFW) Jones finds an interesting piece on international demand for a National Center for Media Arts.


One of the things I like about Twitter, aside from the genial conversation with lots of other comics nerds and, truly, nerds of every variety, is the ability to linkblog quickly without having to go to the effort of composing an entire blog post to point out something interesting when all I’d basically be saying is, “This is interesting.” And since recent tweets are right there in the sidebar, it’s just like linkblogging but much, much lazier! It’s like it was designed just for me!

This is only marginally related to the fact that I’m doing my weekly linkblog of something I’ve written, this week’s Flipped over at The Comics Reporter. And yes, I was almost too lazy to linkblog to myself.