Hi there.

A difficult year has ended on a low note with the not unexpected but still very difficult passing of my father.

I’m going to give myself some time off, and I’ll see you all in 2012, which I’m hoping will be an improvement on 2011.



Random Sunday question: flakes

It snowed here yesterday, and since it didn’t stick to the ground or make travel difficult, I was delighted. So for this weekend’s random question, what are some comics you’ve read with memorable scenes or sequences in snowy landscapes? I’ll start after the jump.

Random Saturday question: like a motherless child

Not too long ago, Sam Kusek was asking Twitterers to remind him of series with “daddy issues,” where the death or absence of the protagonist’s father helped drive the narrative. This got me thinking about how many manga protagonists have lost a mother. So, who are some of your favorite motherless manga heroes and heroines? I’ll reveal a couple of my favorites after the jump.

Random Saturday question: voluminous

It’s Saturday, and I’m unmotivated, but I feel like I should do one small, concrete thing. So welcome to the first installment of the random Saturday question!

Today, I ask you: of which manga series have you read the most volumes or the largest number of pages?

My answer is after the jump.

It gets better

I’m not really very good at self-evaluation or at giving advice (and I’m certainly not going to capture myself trying to do either on video, as that wouldn’t make anyone feel better), but I really admire Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, so I thought I’d write something up. Because in my experience, it really does get better.

Now, I don’t want to dwell too much on the parts that sucked, because young gay people are keenly aware of those, and rehashing them feels kind of like talking about how, in my day, we had to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow. And since I’m reluctant to make any sweeping generalizations about how my life is emblematic of anything except my life, I’ll just kind of describe the weekend so far with my partner of 17 years.

This was a really long work week, and we were both kind of exhausted, so we were really glad that there was leftover lasagna in the freezer to have for dinner on Friday. We were also glad that we had all of the ingredients for bourbon and cokes. (Okay, that’s just bourbon, coke and ice, but still…)

On Saturday, we dawdled around the house in the morning, and then we went to the Buckwheat Festival in Preston County, which is even more rural than where we live, but it’s mountainous and beautiful, and we were feeling like we don’t do enough local stuff. The Buckwheat Festival is basically just a county fair, but it’s always fun to go somewhere, eat junky midway food, look at 4H exhibits and livestock, and listen to the local high school marching band play “Poker Face” without a trace of irony or self-consciousness. Seriously, listening to a rural high school marching band play a song about ambiguous sexuality by the gay-friendliest pop star to emerge in the last decade while sharing a funnel cake with your partner of 17 years? That’s a great Saturday.

Last night was kind of uneventful, though our elderly dog got us up in the middle of the night. She’s fine, but she’s old, so we figure she’s entitled to some occasionally freaky behavior. And one of the cats had scared the unholy crap out of her while she was napping, so that might have factored into her sleeplessness. (The vet called her “a dinosaur” the last time she had a check-up.) This morning, we cleaned the house, ran errands, clipped the other dog’s toenails (no blood!), and now are waiting for cinnamon rolls to finish rising so we can bake them. I posted some pictures on Facebook from the festival, and I checked up on my nephew and his partner to see how they’re doing.

So while none of that is particularly exciting or transformative, and it certainly isn’t the life I imagined for myself as a traumatized teenager (which involved penthouses and, for no particular reason, grand pianos), it’s pretty great. Life got much, much better.

License Request Daily: Sailor Moon

Since I’m clearly in a shôjo place, it seems only appropriate to devote this week’s license request to one of the blockbusters of the category. And since Fantagraphics talked smack about it in its efforts to market Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, what better choice is there than Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon?

I’m not quite sure how many of the comic’s 18 volumes were published in English by the company that would eventually become Tokyopop, and I know it was serialized in Tokyopop’s MixxZine, but the collected volumes are out of print and kind of pricey, so it’s well past time to make it readily available. I think the license for it actually expired before original publisher Kodansha took all of its licenses back from Tokyopop.

It’s credited with breathing new life into the magic girl manga genre in Japan, and it’s also credited with really firing up the demand for shôjo in the United States. Do I need to tell you what it’s about? I do? Okay:

“The protagonist of Sailor Moon, Usagi Tsukino, an ordinary ditsy middle-school girl- or so she thinks- discovers a talking cat named Luna, who reveals Usagi’s identity as “Sailor Moon,” a special warrior with the destiny of saving the planet Earth, and later the entire galaxy. Usagi, who is the reincarnation of the Moon Princess, must now protect Earth from a series of villains, beginning with the Dark Kingdom that had appeared once before, long ago, and destroyed the kingdom of the moon.”

Basically, Usagi assembles a team of really powerful, astronomically accessorized friends who discover their destinies and save the world from people who have no love in their hearts. (They know who they are.)

The series was published in French by Glénat, though it seems like it might be out of print. As to who should republish it in English, well, that’s always a tricky question with Kodansha. They seem interested in keeping their classics back in print, especially if it requires no real effort to do so. But at the same time, it would be kind of fun if Fantagraphics, known in part for its archival impulses, would atone for its earlier snark by putting Sailor Moon back on the shelf in a prestige format.

Come on… The Complete Sailor Moon… Tell me that’s not an awesome idea.

His young mafia

I saw something on Twitter this morning that made so little sense to me that I figured it had to be an anagram, so I went over to the handy Internet Anagram Server. I must have stopped caring about my earlier confusion in the time it took for the page to load, because I ended up typing in Fumi Yoshinaga’s name instead. In addition to all of the other ways Yoshinaga rules, which are legion, her name is also awesome anagram fodder. My favorite:

Hi, infamous gay!

I took the liberty of punctuating it.

I’m clearly very driven and focused today.

Happy Valentine's Day

What are some of your favorite comics romances?

A request from the host


While I was reading some comments this morning, I noticed that some truly odious advertisements had shown up on my blog, apparently uninvited. I’ve since learned that I can pay for the privilege of guaranteeing not to have this junk appear and have done so. This is mostly because I don’t want to run any advertising at all on my blog, even randomly and intermittently, but I absolutely do not want to direct any traffic to those loathsome, for-profit content thieves (and guess what was in the ad roster I saw today?), so I guess a little protection money isn’t the worst solution.

So if you ever see advertisements appear anywhere on my blog, could you please drop me a line at davidpwelsh at yahoo dot com? I’ll grudgingly upgrade, but I’ll be damned if I’ll upgrade with no good result.

Update: In response to a question, yes, according to the terms of service, “To support the service (and keep free features free), [WordPress] also sometimes run[s] advertisements.”

As I said, it’s important enough to me to eschew advertising to pay for the upgrade. Now, I have no problem with running advertising on a blog, but I just have no interest in doing so, largely because I don’t want to expend the effort necessary to keep advertisers I find objectionable off of my web presence. I dropped a line to WP support to let them know about the suspect advertisers on Google AdWords. The reply I received from one of their “Happiness Engineers” suggested I contact Google support to inform them as well, which I’ll probably do if I can ever figure out how.

I can’t find David Doub’s original article on this subject, but here’s Brigid Alverson’s link to the piece.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Just in case I haven’t mentioned it lately, I’m gay.


Even more apparent is the fact that I’ll use any excuse to post panels from Fumi Yoshinaga’s Antique Bakery (DMP). I am clearly without shame.