Thanks to everyone who voted in this month’s Previews poll. A Devil and Her Love Song (Viz) and Durarara!! (Yen Press) pretty much tied, and plenty of people suggested that Devil is something I should read even without the prompting of democracy, so I’ll just go for both. I love it when a plan comes together, and when a plan falls apart in interesting and useful ways.

Speaking of plans, Alexander (Manga Widget) Hoffman is gearing up for the next Manga Moveable Feast. This installment focuses on the work of Natsume Ono. I believe I may have expressed a fondness for her work once or twice. I’ll have to check my files.

And, on the subject of Manga Moveable Feasts, I like it when the events cast a spotlight on a specific creator like Rumiko Takahashi and Fumi Yoshinaga. So, for this week’s random question, I’ll ask which mangaka you’d like to see at the center of a future feast?

Osamu Tezuka seems like an ideal candidate, because so much of his work has been licensed and translated and lots of it comes in affordable, one-volume chunks. I kind of suspect that his individual works are so different and dense that it might take a month-long feast to cover everything. Yuu Watase would offer a reasonable amount of variety, but some of her series are so very, very long that it might pose a barrier to participation. I’d actually really enjoy a Junko Mizuno feast, since she’s such a distinctive artist, and it might poke Last Gasp into publishing another volume of Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu, because I loved the first volume like I would my own emotionally disturbed child.



Random weekend question: costume drama

Okay, here’s the obligatory Halloween-themed random weekend question: if resources and logistics were no object, what manga character would you emulate for your costume? While it seems fairly easy, I’d probably go with Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack. Now, I know you’re probably thinking that’s fairly simple — a trench coat, a wig, a few scars drawn on with an eyebrow pencil, and you’re finished. But that coat would take some wicked tailoring, and I’d want the whole armory of surgical tools in the lining, just for the effect.


Cry me a river

I have a review of a beautifully sad comic in the queue, and it got me wondering. What are some of your favorite tear-jerking comics? Which ones push your sad button in the right way?


Thanks, but no thanks

For this weekend’s random question, what have you read recently that just wasn’t for you, for whatever reason?

For me, I’d have to pick Jiro Matsumoto’s Velveteen & Mandala, though it feels like blasphemy to say that I didn’t enjoy a book from Vertical. Matsumoto is clearly very talented, but this particular brand of comic is just… not for me.

How about you?


Random weekend question: snapshot

What comic, regardless of nation of origin or format, did you just finish reading? How was it? And what are you reading now or planning to start reading?

For me, the book I most recently finished was the first volume of Mardock Scramble (Kodansha Comics). I liked it much more than I expected I would. I’m about to try and chisel my way into Craig Thompson’s Habibi (Pantheon). Wish me luck, and send booze.


Random weekend question: versatility

I’m reading some Osamu Tezuka manga at the moment, and I’m looking forward to reading some upcoming work of his, and it got me wondering. Who are some of the manga-ka you consider most versatile? Who tell a wide range of stories using different styles, and tell and use them well?


Random weekend question: Ace in the hole

You all know how much I love Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece (Viz), but I have to admit that I’m finding the current arc a bit of a chore. Now, you should know that I’m sort of working at the series from two directions, reading current volumes and catching up on middle arcs at the same time. And I’m wondering: is there a story arc in that middle part that will make me care about what does or doesn’t happen to Luffy’s brother, Ace, which I don’t currently care about, or should I just ride it out until this overlong bombast is over? Even the fact that Luffy cares what happens to him isn’t enough for me.

I sure do love Ivankov, at least.


Random weekend question: playing favorites

As we all gear up for the Fumi Yoshinaga Manga Moveable Feast, I must ask the inevitable, almost impossible question. What’s your favorite Yoshinaga work in translation?

Every time I try to come up with an answer, another title clears its throat to reassert its worthiness. And Kodansha hasn’t yet let me read What Did You Eat Yesterday? How can I possibly make a fully informed choice until that title is available in English?

But you might be more decisive than I am, so feel free to hold forth in the comments!


Talk amongst yourselves

Between a rather frenzied real life and preparations for the upcoming Manga Moveable Feast — Sunday, July 24, to Saturday, July 30, featuring Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket (Tokyopop) — I need to excuse myself from this week’s regularly scheduled license request.


So Viz has thrown off the shackles of platform to launch VizManga.Com. Which treasures from Viz’s relatively vast catalog would you be interested in reading digitally? (Legally digitally, obviously. You can probably read all of them digitally at this point, but that’s not what I’m talking about in these circumstances.)



Random weekend question: critical condition

As I prepare for the Manga Moveable Feast featuring Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket (Tokyopop), one nagging thought keeps slightly tinging the pleasure of revisiting the series. I always felt that Fruits Basket was critically under-appreciated. Sure, the series always had its partisans who approached it with the seriousness I felt it deserved, but, on the whole, it seemed like it got dismissed as cute romance, which it stopped being about halfway through the third volume. That critical response might have been because of its demographic, and it might also have been because of its commercial success. (I think there’s a natural and often correct implication to look at an entertainment that makes a lot of money and be suspect of its likely quality. Still, there are plenty of examples of things that are both wildly popular and really good.)

So, for this random weekend question, which comics do you think are critically under-appreciated? What books do you think don’t get the admiration they deserve?

(As a reminder, the Fruits Basket Manga Moveable Feast will run from Sunday, July 24, 2011, through Saturday, July 30, 2011. If you’d like for me to host a piece here, I’d be more than happy to do so.)