Pirates and pundits

Wow, the CMX shutdown really touched a nerve, much more so than the other manga publishers that we have lost over the years. Heidi Macdonald gathers up the wrath in a good roundup post at The Beat, and as always, be sure to read the comments. Christopher Butcher gives us a little history, pointing out that CMX got off to a rocky start with retailers as well as fans. Simon Jones has some further thoughts on CMX and DC. David Welsh lists his ten favorite CMX series and starts looking for new homes for the orphans. Connie lists her favorites at Slightly Biased Manga. Lissa Pattillo reflects on losing CMX after recently rediscovering it. At Heart of Manga, Laura mourns the series left unfinished. And Jason Yadao says farewell and notes

When I wrapped up the Rough Guide to Manga about a year ago this month (and hey, have I ever mentioned that it’s still on sale at finer book retailers online worldwide?), I listed 21 active mainstream manga publishers. Five of them — Aurora, DrMaster, Go! Comi, Infinity and now CMX — have since gone dormant or shut down, and Viz is 40 percent smaller in terms of workforce. Sure, one publisher also opened up during that time, but Kodansha’s release of all of two volumes of manga in six months — and re-releases of older material, at that — doesn’t exactly inspire much hope in me.

Jason Thompson has a fascnating article on the manga creator Ippongi Bang, in which he also chronicles the manga boom and bust of the 1990s and the heyday of Antarctic Press as a manga publisher: “Rumiko Takahashi may have been more famous, but Ippongi Bang would actually come to your convention and party with you.”

Who’s checking out the new manga this week? David Welsh and Sean Gaffney, that’s who! And Lori Henderson looks at this week’s all-ages comics and manga, a list that will soon be sparser now that CMX is shutting down.

Erica Friedman speaks out on scanlation at Okazu:

No mangaka is excited to be scanlated. You are not providing a service – you are complicit in copyright violation. You are not “building an audience,” you are devaluing something that many people have worked hard to create. And for every one person who *might* buy a work *if* it comes out and *if* it’s available at a local book store when they want it, you’re giving someone else’s work – something you have no right to in the first place – away to hundreds, maybe thousands of people who will take it and ask for more. The only audience you are building is one made up of people who have no intention of paying for the privilege – or worse, paying you to “support the group,” while the mangaka who did the actual work gets nothing from it.

JoonAng Daily looks at sagging sales in the manhwa industry; sometimes being made into a movie can give a series a boost, but other times that’s not enough. The article points to piracy as the culprit, and artists are fighting back by putting their work on the web themselves.

I had forgotten Del Rey put out so many good books! Thomas Zoth runs through 15 essential Del Rey series at Mania.com.

Same Hat reprints Enter the Id, an essay on manga by Frederick Schodt.

Tanbishugi spots two new Tokyopop listings on Amazon, for Kirameki Gingachou Shoutengai and Sorairo Kaigan (Skyblue Shore), both from Hakusensha.

Reviews

Michelle Smith on vols. 3 and 4 of Banana Fish (Soliloquy in Blue)
Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane on vol. 2 of Beast Master (Manga Life)
Charles Webb on vol. 1 of Bokurano: Ours (Manga Life)
Russell Phillips on vol. 2 of Cat Paradise (Manga Jouhou)
Julie Opipari on Cute Devil (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Billy Aguiar on vols. 1 and 2 of Happy Cafe (Prospero’s Manga)
Julie Opipari on How to Capture a Martini (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Ed Sizemore on vol. 1 of I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow (Comics Worth Reading)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 2 of Itazura Na Kiss (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Snow Wildsmith on vol. 1 of Kobato (ICv2)
Erica Friedman on vol. 1 of K-On! (Okazu)
Nick Smith on vol. 1 of Maoh: Juvenile Remix (ICv2)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 4 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)
Zack Davisson on vol. 2 of Mikansei No. 1 (Manga Life)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 3 of Millennium Prime Minister (The Comic Book Bin)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 1 of My Girlfriend’s A Geek (ANN)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 4 of The Name of the Flower (Comics Worth Reading)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 3 of Nightschool (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 3 of Rin-ne (The Comic Book Bin)
Clive Owen on vol. 10 of Rosario + Vampire (Animanga Nation)
Zoey on vol. 1 of Sarasah (Manga Jouhou)
Becky Fullan on Sighing Kiss (Manga Jouhou)
Emily on Stolen Hearts (Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page)
Tangognat on vols. 12 and 13 of Swan (Tangognat)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 2 of Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)

Aftermath

At this point, there have been so many reactions to the shutdown of CMX that rather than rounding up the comments, I’ll just round up the roundups: I posted on the reactions at Robot 6, and the Good Comics for Kids bloggers pulled together a quick roundtable on the topic as well. Deb Aoki quotes some of the voices in the discussion (including mine), and Simon Jones (possibly NSFW) has a handy annotated list.

And returning to last week’s news, at Publishers Weekly, I talked to insiders and bloggers about the significance of the Viz layoffs.

Gottsu-Iiyan points out that the proposed censorship laws in Tokyo have nothing to do with what foreigners think about Japanese manga, because the Japanese don’t care what foreigners think of them.

Black Lagoon creator Rei Hiroe will be an official guest of honor at Anime Expo.

Heidi MacDonald is giving away some old review copies, starting with Junji Ito’s Museum of Terror, at The Beat.

Reviews

Deb Aoki on The Box Man (About.com)
Kelakagand on vol. 5 of Fushigi Yugi (VizBig edition) (Kelakagandy’s Ramblings)
Andre on Genghis Khan (Kuriousity)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 8 of Gin Tama (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Gon (Manga Xanadu)
Sean Gaffey on vol. 6 of Otomen (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 5 of Phantom Dream (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Kate Dacey on vols. 1-4 of The Times of Botchan (The Manga Critic)
Snow Wildsmith on vol. 1 of Twin Spica (ICv2)
Andre on The World I Create (Kuriousity)

Breaking: DC to shut down CMX

StolenHearts

Well, this is sad news: CMX Manga, the plucky little manga division of DC Comics that put out some nice little series but always seemed to fly under the radar, will be shutting down as of July 1. Here’s the official statement:

Over the course of the last six years, CMX has brought a diverse list of titles to America and we value the books and creators that we helped introduce to a new audience. Given the challenges that manga is facing in the American marketplace, we have decided that CMX will cease publishing new titles as of July 1, 2010. 

The shuttering of the CMX line does not affect the best-selling series Megatokyo which will continue publication, now as a DC Comics title with story and art by Megatokyo’s award-winning creator Fred Gallagher.

We’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts and dedication of the CMX staff and to thank our fans who have supported CMX.

– DC Comics Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan Didio

We are of the opinion that DC never really gave CMX the love they deserved—they didn’t give it much publicity, and the books were impossible to find in bookstores. But editor-in-chief Asako Suzuki and editor Jim Chadwick did an incredible job of picking great manga and bringing them over, including The Name of the Flower, Kiichi and the Magic Books, and Diamond Girl, which had my husband laughing out loud this weekend. We are going to miss them.

Update: ANN reports that seven titles will ship next month.

In the kitchen, at the movies, on the shelf

Neko Ramen

Neko Ramen

I took a look at Tokyopop’s June releases in “Ten-Minute Tokyopop” at Robot 6.

Melinda Beasi takes a look at recent news and reviews in her latest Manhwa Monday post at Manga Bookshelf.

Rick Marshall talks to Dave Roman, co-writer of The Last Airbender: Zuko’s Story, at MTV’s Splash Page.

Jason Thompson gives us the lowdown on five cooking manga worth keeping at comiXology.

Ernesto Priego at Nieman Storyboard takes a look at two examples of autobiographical manga, Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Black Blizzard and a Web 2.0 project called Manga Memoirs, in which writers of Canadian or Japanese descent tell brief stories about their lives and the best are chosen to be turned into manga, with professional artists doing the illustrations.

At Comics Alliance, David Brothers takes a look at Ax, the alt-manga anthology due out soon from Top Shelf, and how it may shatter all some common preconceptions.

Kate Dacey picks the best of this week’s new releases.

Ed Sizemore pens some thoughts on fans, and what a real fan doesn’t do.

It’s time for the next Manga Moveable Feast! Kate Dacey is the host, and the topic this month is Keiko Takemiya’s To Terra. To play, write your review or thoughts on the book, post it, and let Kate know; if you don’t have a blog, you can post at Kate’s. Enjoy!

News from Japan: Kodansha will publish an original English language manga based on Hagakure, a collection of stories told by real-life samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo.

Reviews: Snow Wildsmith reviews three yuri manga from Seven Seas at Fujoshi Librarian. The Manga Recon team posts some Manga Minis to start the week.

D.M. Evans on vol. 1 of Afro Samurai (Manga Jouhou)
AstroNerdboy on Azumanga Daioh (omnibus) (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 1 of The Battle of Genryu: Origin (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)
Dave Ferraro on Black Blizzard (Comics-and-More)
Todd Douglass on vol. 2 of Deadman Wonderland (Anime Maki)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 17 of D.Gray-Man (The Comic Book Bin)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of Gatcha Gacha (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Erica Friedman on vol. 5 of Gunsmith Cats Burst (Okazu)
Julie Opipari on vol. 3 of Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Rob McMonigal on vol. 6 of Nana (Panel Patter)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 1 of Neko Ramen (Comics Worth Reading)
Kristin on Songs to Make You Smile (Comic Attack)

That was the week that was

Lori Henderson rounds up an unusually active week in manga at Manga Xanadu, and Erica Friedman has the latest new releases and other yuri news at Okazu.

At Blog@Newsarama, Julie Opipari discusses the manga she’s most looking forward to from the latest Previews.

Jason Yadao writes a brief history of Go! Comi, which seems to be slowly fading to black.

Erica Friedman interviews yuri manga artist Fujieda MIyabi, creator of Iono-sama Fanatics and Ame-iro Kouchkan Kandan.

Kai-Ming Cha ponders why Japanese publishers are so resistant to digital media and e-books, and she sees the answer in cultural factors such as the attention paid to craft and process, as well as the decoupling of hardware and software.

Metropolis magazine talks to Helen McCarthy about her book, The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga.

The New York Times looks at the popularity of manga among the extremely diverse groups of teens using the Queens libraries; this article is better than your standard run of manga-in-the-library articles, and librarian Christian Zabriskie does a great job of articulating why it is important to have manga available for his multicultural clientele.

A couple of personal notes: Congratulations to Manga Recon blogger Sam Kusek, who is graduating from Emerson College today. Well done! And happy birthday to Mail Order Ninja creator Josh Elder, who shares a birthday with me (although we are a few years apart).

News from Japan: Christopher Butcher points out what a great deal manga is if you buy it in Japan: Monthly Shonen Gangan, over 1100 pages of manga (including chapters of Fullmetal Alchemist and Stan Lee’s Heroman), plus two free gifts, for about five bucks. ANN has word of Sengoku Angelique Project, a games/history mashup that will combine characters from the game franchise Angelique with characters from the sengoku period of Japanese history, all drawn by Marie Hadori.

Reviews: Johanna Draper Carlson reviews some recent Shojo Beat releases at Comics Worth Reading, and the Manga Recon team checks in as well with their latest On the Shojo Beat column.

Andre on vol. 1 of The Battle of Genryu (Kuriousity)
Cynthia on vol. 1 of Breath (Boys Next Door)
Sophie Stevens on vol. 1 of Diamond Girl (Animanga Nation)
Chris Wilson on vol. 1 of Dinosaur King (The Graphic Classroom)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of Happy Boys (The Comic Book Bin)
Connie on vol. 1 of I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow (Slightly Biased Manga)
Cynthia on vol. 1 of In the Walnut (Boys Next Door)
Michelle Smith on vol. 3 of Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You (Soliloquy in Blue)
Kristin on vol. 1 of Maiden Rose (Comic Attack)
James Fleenor on vol. 1 of Maoh: Juvenile Remix (Anime Sentinel)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of My Girlfriend’s a Geek (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Todd Douglass on vol. 1 of Neko Ramen (Anime Maki)
Michelle Smith on vol. 1 of Neko Ramen (Soliloquy in Blue)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 48 of One Piece (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Shannon Fay on vol. 6 of Otomen (Kuriousity)
Connie on vol. 3 of Princess Knight (Slightly Biased Manga)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 1 of Ratman (I Reads You)
Greg McElhatton on vol. 8 of Real (Read About Comics)
Ken Haley on vol. 1 of Red Hot Chili Samurai (Manga Recon)
Connie on vol. 3 of Rin-ne (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kate Dacey on vol. 1 of Saturn Apartments (The Manga Critic)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 6 of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei (Comics Worth Reading)
Cynthia on vol. 4 of Tea for Two (Boys Next Door)
A Library Girl on vol. 2 of Tramps Like Us (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Rob McMonigal on vol. 4 of Yotsuba&! (Panel Patter)

Too cool for you

Pilgrim Jäger

Pilgrim Jäger

Jason Thompson’s second House of 1000 Manga column looks at Pilgrim Jäger, a historical (well, sort of) about a pair of traveling exorcists in Europe in a time of religious upheaval.

Roland Kelts thinks that “cool Japan” may be a little too cool—he sees a disconnect between the people who make manga and anime and the people who consume it:

Look up these companies online and visit their Web sites, and you won’t be surprised: If you find any information in English, it will likely be provided by the enterprising folks at the Anime News Network, an English-language news portal site, some posters on Wikipedia or ardent fans in their blogs. Quite a few industry producers and publishers still maintain Japanese-only Web presences, but that hardly matters. In either language, most of the industry’s online offerings are amateurish, hard to navigate, and worst of all, dull–just the opposite of their vaunted products.

Taking this a step further, manga lacks one of the greatest marketing tools in comics, the interaction between creators and fans. It’s not just the language difference or the distance; manga artists come to conventions and sit for interviews, and they put personal notes in their books, but everything they say is bland, rehearsed, and utterly trivial. There is no humor, just nervous giggles, and there are no meaningful conversations. The result is that while fans interact with the characters on the printed page, they have no dealings at all with the publishers or creators, and all of manga and anime seem to come from some bland corporate parent in the sky.

David Welsh looks at a misguided attempt to take down manga pirate sites by complaining to the advertisers that they contain child pornography.

More on Viz from Heidi MacDonald, who rounds up some reactions and updates at The Beat, and ICv2, which learns that senior vp of sales and marketing Gonzalo Ferreyra is among those let go, along with senior director of public relations Evelyn Dubocq. And this:

Despite the major downsizing, Viz plans to maintain its planned release schedules for both manga and anime, according to Senior Vice President Alvin Lu, and will also be exhibiting in its usual spot at San Diego Comic-Con.

Simon Jones adds his two cents, noting that Viz has shrunk by half in 2008.

Sean Gaffney takes a look at this week’s new manga, and Melinda Beasi looks at new arrivals at Boston’s Comicopia at Examiner.com. At Good Comics for Kids, Lori Henderson rounds up this week’s all-ages comics and manga.

Happy birthday to Matt Thorn and Moto Hagio, who by strange coincidence were born on the same day 16 years apart.

Reviews: Deb Aoki has an early review up of AX, the alternative manga anthology due out soon from Top Shelf, at About.com.

Danica Davidson on vols. 1 and 2 of Alice in the Country of Hearts (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Tangognat on vol. 3 of Alice in the Country of Hearts (Tangognat)
Grant Goodman on Azumanga Daioh Omnibus (Manga Recon)
Julie Opipari on vol. 1 of Biomega (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Russell on vol. 1 of Cat Paradise (Manga Jouhou)
Danica Davidson on vols. 1-4 of Click (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Charles Webb on vol. 6 of Croquis Pop (Manga Life)
James Fleenor on vol. 2 of Deadman Wonderland (Anime Sentinel)
Sarah Boslaugh on vol. 2 of Faust (PLAYBACK:stl)
Danica Davidson on Hanako and the Terror of Allegory (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 3 of Karakuri Odette (Comics Worth Reading)
Michelle Smith on vol. 1 of Kingyo Used Books (Soliloquy in Blue)
Katherine Farmar on vols. 1 and 2 of Kurashina-Sensei’s Passion (Comics Village)
Matthew Warner on vol. 2 of Kurashina-Sensei’s Passion (Mania.com)
Rachel on Living for Tomorrow (Manga Jouhou)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Maoh: Juvenile Remix (Manga Xanadu)
Ed Sizemore on vol. 1 of My Girlfriend’s a Geek (Comics Worth Reading)
Alexander Hoffman on vol. 1 of One Piece (omnibus edition) (Comics Village)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 47 of One Piece (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Zack Davisson on vol. 1 of Saturn Apartments (Manga Life)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 3 of Tsubasa: Those With Wings (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Tom Baker on Twin Spica (The Daily Yomiuri)
Amy Grockl on vol. 2 of Welcome to Wakaba-Soh (Comics Village)
James Fleenor on World of Warcraft: Mage (Anime Sentinel)
Peter Gutierrez on vol. 2 of Yokaiden (Graphic Novel Reporter)