Niche market

A big thank you to everyone who has commented over the past few days about where they like to buy manga, and what manga would entice them into a special trip to a comics shop. Unfortunately, Johanna Draper Carlson doesn’t think you are the sort of customers a comics shop wants. Boo! It is true, though, that the shopkeeper probably wants to stock what sells—the popular titles—while the customer may be going to a specialty comics shop precisely in order to find books that are not available in chain bookstores. Since manga readers are not likely to fall for that thing Western comics readers do, pre-ordering their comics in advance sight unseen, shop owners are left with a certain amount of risk.

I picked the best manga from a slim selection of this week’s new releases at MTV Geek.

Erica Freidman gives the JManga site a thorough workout, and while she admits her biases (her publishing company ALC partners with JManga to publish yuri manga), she makes a lot of good points, and she provides individual reviews of a number of manga titles on the site.

David Brothers pens a lovely essay on Twin Spica and the nostalgia it evokes for the stargazing boy he once was.

AstroNerdBoy has some thoughts on the end of Negima, which has just ended in Japan.

News from Japan: Barefoot Gen is being used as a textbook for elementary school students in Hiroshima. Tozen Ujiie will start a new series in Kodansha’s Magazine Special next month. Flex Comics has put the comedy Hyakko on hold without warning or much of an explanation.


Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 19 of 20th Century Boys (The Comic Book Bin)
Danica Davidson on vol. 8 of Butterflies, Flowers (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 6 of The House of Five Leaves (The Fandom Post)
angela Eastman on vol. 7 of Kamisama Kiss (The Fandom Post)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 27 of Skip Beat! (ANN)
Ash Brown on A Zoo in Winter (Experiments in Manga)

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  1. Bah! Feels like a direct attack on my very post! Seriously, my very favorite comic shop, decent enough selection of manga (still no Twin Spica, they do have Tezuka and IKKI stuff though), they have 20% off all softcover sales almost every other weekend. Heck, during Black Friday, they had a 60% off all manga sale (from midnight to 9am only)! Xmas eve was 50% off every comic in the store, manga or not! I spent well over an hour and a half in there on Black Friday, not just browsing for stuff to maybe go buy online cheaper, but actually spending well over $120, and not just on manga. I’m suggesting things I’ve actually seen before, not just demanding stuff for cheap where I’ve never seen it occur. And this is easily the most populated comic book store I’ve ever seen in my life, any given day or time I go in there, there is someone there other than the employees doing something and if I’m there for more than 15 minutes, someone buys something. This comic book shop is clearly making money and they’re doing regular weekend sales, not just on manga, but on all trade paperbacks in the whole damn store! Yes, part of it is good customer service, but they’ve got the selection to back it up (and lots of other random stuff there, they sell old game consoles and games, NES stuff even, figurines, $1 comics in the basement, including manga where I got the first three Area 88 single issues, tabletop games, DVDs, rentals, and more). Not only that, but this place buys and sells used stuff, so that’s one way to get in older titles for cheap, store credit. I personally bought a used copy of the One Volume Edition of Bone there the first time I walked into the store and instantly fell in love with the place (why it took me this long to find the place is an entirely separate question that I don’t have the answer to). So really, a lot of my suggestions (other than which publishing company to get manga from) were things I’ve seen in real life at the most successful comic shop I know. Maybe this comic shop does work differently from all other comic shops know to mankind, but I keep going in there every two or three weekends and giving them my money, don’t I?
    So yeah, feel free to call manga people “cheap”, but in this economy, it’s not easy to keep up with series without being cheap. And while omnibuses of Spiderman, Batman, Xmen, etc. will be in print likely forever, manga tends to go out of print within a year unless its uber popular like Naruto or FMA, we need to strike cheap and fast, and online is often the way to go for that. Sad fact, but we know that if we wait for the comic shop to maybe get it in, it might already be too late. Instead, we can go home, order it online, and ensure we will be able to get it within hours.
    But, don’t go thinking manga at comic shops is a complete loss, I didn’t even know there were indie American comics until I went into comic shops, even if I went in there to find manga but found nothing I wanted. The second time I went into said comic shop, went in to look for manga, saw RASL (all I needed to know it was by the same guy as Bone) and bought it without even reading the back cover. And since I’m not up with American comics, I would never have know the series existed had I not gone in there looking for manga. So part of the trick might be suggesting indie comics that manga fans could also enjoy, get them into a whole new part of the comic industry there and a different reason to return to your comic shop (I always suggest Bone personally). Of course, this can work the other way around by suggesting FMA to people who like Bone (and everyone likes Bone).

  2. Hi Brigid! Thanks for the link. It’s pointing to the wrong post, though! You want this link: