Archives for June 2006

Friday linkage

Here’s a little treat to start the weekend off right: a preview of Ode To Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka, which will be released by Vertical in October.

Newsarama interviews Fred Lui of DMP about Project X, the graphic novel about the development of Nissen Cup Noodles. I note with delight that other titles are planned in the Project X series, one on the Datsun Fairlady Z and one on 7-11.

ComiPress translates an article that speculates how manga would be different if it were published in color. David Taylor has some additional thoughts.

At ICv2, Naomi Nowak’s Unholy Kinship is being plugged as like manga only better:

Although it does feature Japanese-influenced visuals and concentrate on relationships with a shojo-like fervor, Unholy Kinship is far more serious than the vast majority of high school romance manga and, while it is aimed at female readers, it is clearly targeted at an older, more mature audience. Unholy Kinship also differs from manga in several other key ways — it is printed in full color and it manages to tell its story in just 112 pages.

At Love Manga, David has saved me the trouble of responding to that.

The Right Stuf is taking over Tokyopop’s online shop.

Manga arrives in Coraopolis, PA. I can’t make fun of these local-paper articles as I’m in the middle of writing one right now. What impresses me about this article, and about the librarians I’ve been talking to, is the enthusiasm with which they have embraced anime and manga. I grew up in the era when libraries were fairly forbidding places; they seem a lot cooler now.

This article about host clubs is notable for the comment of one of the employees:

“I’m not very bright, so this is the only way I can make a lot of money,” says Manato, his dyed-brown hair pulled up in a partial top-knot and wearing a subtle smidgen of lipstick.

MangaBlogCast #3 is up!

Volume 3 of MangaBlogCast is up on the MangaCast site. It’s short and sweet, so enjoy! Here are the show notes and links:

Love Manga is back!

Anime Expo mania begins
Go!Comi brags about swag
CLAMP will be there
Manga creep watch: LA times does a first-ever ad supplement on anime and manga

UC Irvine offers a manga course

School’s out
Tokyopop partners with LA libraries
Manga’s big in Minnesota, too

Is the backlash beginning?
Christian bulletin board counters “yaoi warning” with reasonable discussion
My take: don’t panic
Canadian customs scans traveler’s manga

New titles watch
Oyayubihime Infinity
Kurosage Corpse Delivery Service

Jack and I are taking next week off, but we’ll be back in two weeks with lots more MangaBlogCast. In the meantime, stay tuned to MangaBlog and MangaCast for the latest news, reviews, and commentary.

‘Tis the season

Best link of the day: Mely visits the Shoujo Manga: Girl Power! exhibit at the Pratt Institute and takes detailed notes with her usual critical eye.

Naruto drops to number 86 on the USA Today booklist, but the boy is showing staying power—this is his fifth week on the list.

Anime Expo is almost upon us, and the exhibit hall is sold out. Manga publishers in attendance will include ADV, Broccoli Books, CMX, Digital Manga, Go! Comi, TokyoPop, and Viz. Here’s the Viz PR on the expo, which includes the enticing words “advance release manga.” Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, CLAMP is gonna be there. Even the LA Times realizes it’s all about the manga. As always, Pata has the best rundown.

Not going? Maybe this will make you feel better. And you can still check the video feeds from home at AX Backstage.

Roundtable redux

Heidi poses a question:
Anyway, I came not to be snarky (well I guess I did) but to wonder why there is so much animosity towards COMICS WEEK from the blogosphere?

Actually, I like PW Comics Week, and several of my fellow bloggers do as well. It’s usually well written, interesting, and link-worthy.

The problem people had was with this industry roundtable, which appeared in yesterday’s issue. I didn’t bother linking to it because there wasn’t much mention of manga and because, as Tom Spurgeon observed, it was really too vague to be interesting. Also, there were lots of typos.

Heidi’s frustration is understandable but wrongly directed. She should be mad at her bosses, who are obviously not treating PWCW like a real magazine.

I worked for a real magazine and several real newspapers. Every story in those publications is read by several people besides the writer. Editors look at tone and content. A copy editor checks grammar, spelling and style and verifies that if the author says “we have five chief weapons,” five weapons are listed—you’d be amazed how often writers get that wrong. Real magazines also have fact-checkers, and having done this for a living I can tell you that no fact is too obvious or too small to be checked. (This led to some fascinating conversations, including one with the biologist who bred the supermarket strawberry and another with a cult leader who had recently tried to resurrect his dead wife. All in a day’s work.)

Does this always happen? No. I have worked for publications that did away with copy editors as a cost-cutting move, and believe me, it was a mistake. Readers don’t take a publication seriously if it has a lot of typos and small errors. Thus we get reactions like this one from a commenter on Christopher Butcher’s site:

As usual, I’m THIS CLOSE to offering to proofread the fucking thing for free because it makes me furious that it goes out every single week with ridiculous typos, but sadly I have better things to do with my time and they spend their money with other priorities in mind. I doubt I’m the only reader who finds it a huge turn-off since this is, after all, aimed at people who care about books, but I may be the only reader who reads it nonetheless.

Bloggers, of course, have no editors or fact-checkers, but we’re in a different part of the universe. The fact is, all writing is vastly improved if someone other than the writer goes over it.

From the outside, it looks like PWCW is understaffed. An editor would have flagged the content problems with the article and sent it back for retooling, even if that means delaying it for a week. A copy editor or fact checker would have caught the errors. Heidi and Calvin are good writers, and they have a knack for finding good subjects to write about, but it takes more than good writers to make a good publication. It takes editors as well. PWCW usually appears pretty seamless, but it doesn’t sound like they have much in the way of editing. It’s to her and Calvin’s credit that that isn’t obvious every week. But if PW wants us to take PWCW seriously, PW needs to take it as seriously as its dead-tree cousins.

Viz interview

Playthings interviews Viz senior vice president of marketing Liz Coppola, who demonstrates right up front that she really understands the appeal of manga: Talking about Viz’s hottest properties, Naruto, FMA, Rurouni Kenshin, and Death Note, she says,

They are stories that have rich, complex main characters that all have a vision—whether it’s becoming the ultimate ninja, discovering the master alchemy formula or being suddenly given the power of life and death. They’re ordinary characters that have some form of a “gift” that they’ve discovered within themselves and they must learn to live with all the complexities that come with that talent or power.

I think those aspects are every kid’s aspirational dreams—to wake up and suddenly become something you weren’t before, but your essence remains the same. You are still the same nervous, geeky kid but now you have discovered a hidden talent.

I think that’s a great summary of children’s literature, from Alice in Wonderland to Harry Potter. Of course, she goes on to say, manga have more complex storylines, with hidden motivations that don’t surface until later in the story. That’s what keeps us going for 28 volumes.

The rest of the interview is interesting but probably nothing new for most readers—she talks about what the hot properties are and how Viz is trying to expand the market. She touches a bit on branding, and how Shonen Jump has a strong female readership.

Our readers trust that we are the experts in providing them with not only a diverse range of titles, but also in our suggestions. If they are a reader of a Shonen Jump title, they will find that they would probably enjoy other titles in that imprint. The same for the Viz Signature imprint, which is designed specifically for a certain type of reader in mind—the titles are all “carefully hand selected” to match the imprint.

Wednesday links

Let’s start off with something cool: It’s in Japanese, of course, but this video about CLAMP gives a fascinating glimpse of the foursome at work in their studio (note shelves and shelves of manga—and wine). (Via Manganews)

PW Comics Week has two very different manga stories this week. First up is an article on Blame! creator Tsutomu Nihei, who came to manga after working for a New York architect; PW says he “has redefined and re-created the cyberpunk genre for the current generation of manga readers.”

The second piece is about the global manga Biker Girl, which was published by Hyperion this month. Here is a preview. The book reads right to left, which is an interesting departure for a traditional book house. The story, about a girl with a magic bike, is “an appealing mix of adventure, female empowerment and romance brought alive by Takashima’s vibrant illustration,” according to PW writer Kate Culkin, and is designed to appeal to manga readers and non-readers alike.

That makes an interesting lead-in to this livejournal post on comics for women, or rather, the lack thereof. The writer has some interesting reflections on shoujo manga and why it’s not enough, and then notes that shoujo aside, the companies making comics for women are not the traditional comics publishers but traditional book houses. Well worth a read. (Via the invaluable When Fangirls Attack.)

At MangaCast, Ed Chavez has some thoughts about flooding the market (ADV) versus starting small and building from there (Del Rey, DMP), and some advice for ADV, now that they have a new investor:

Maybe they can get new faces who know manga in there, as David from Love Manga suggested. I as a reader would consider that huge plans from them.

Hear, hear!

Can’t get enough of Death Note? Check this out: the “final” volume, which includes a four-page one-shot, explanations of the “mystery” of the story, and a card with L’s real name.

The North Jersey (?) Herald News has a nice article about cosplay at AnimeNEXT. It manages to be interesting and informative without lecturing or smirking; I think the reporter struck just the right tone.