About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson has been reading comics since she was 4. After earning an MFA in printmaking, she headed to New York to become a famous artist but ended up working with words instead of pictures, first as a book editor and later as a newspaper reporter. She started MangaBlog to keep track of her daughters’ reading habits and now covers manga, comics and graphic novels as a freelancer for School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly Comics Week, Graphic Novel Reporter, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Robot 6. She also edits the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. Now settled in the outskirts of Boston, Brigid is married to a physicist and has two teenage daughters.

Shonen Jump Artists Take Sick Leave

Manga artist Kou Kojima, creator of the adult manga Sennin Buraku (Hermit Village) has died at the age of 87. Kojima was the uncle of manga-ka Moyoco Anno.

There will be no Bleach or One Piece in this week’s Shonen Jump, as both creators are taking the week off due to illness. This article refers to the Japanese magazine but as the North American SJ publishes simultaneously with Japan, they will presumably be missing from the English-language edition as well. Also the Japanese SJ is launching three new series in May, plus the Naruto spinoff at the end of this month; it will be interesting to see how much of this makes it into the American SJ.

Manga expert and game fanatic Jason Thompson (author of King of RPGs) has launched a Kickstarter to fund his game Mangaka: The Fast and Furious Game of Drawing Comics, which sounds like a lot of fun.

I wrote about Ultraman for my latest post at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog, giving some background on the show as Viz has picked up the latest manga.

The Manga Bookshelf bloggers discuss this week’s new releases.

Erica Friedman posts a new episode of Yuri Network News at Okazu.

Have you seen Jiro Kuwata’s Batmanga? 13th Dimension has a preview of the latest chapter.

Volume 12 of Chi’s Sweet Home will be the final volume.

The latest volume of One Piece, the first volume of Big Hero 6, and vol. 15 of Attack on Titan top this week’s New York Times manga best-seller list.

News from Japan: Gotcha! Police in Saitama Prefecture arrested a 33-year-old man on charges of uploading the final volume of Kuroko’s Basketball to the web. Police say the suspect, who teaches high school part-time, has already admitted to doing it, and they suspect he has been uploading other material as well. CLAMP’s xxxHoLIC: rei, which went on hiatus in July, will be back Neon Genesis Evangelion, Oh My Goddess, and Moyashimon were among the manga nominees for the Seiun science fiction awards. Log Horizon author Mamare Touno says he has filed and paid his back taxes, ending an investigation into possible tax evasion.

Reviews

Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of 12 Beast (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ash Brown on vol. 3 of After School Nightmare (Experiments in Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 10 of Black Lagoon (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 16 of Dengeki Daisy (ANN)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 5 of Food Wars (Comics Worth Reading)
Anna N on vols. 4 and 5 of Gangsta (Manga Report)
Lori Henderson on The Garden of Words (Manga Xanadu)
Nick Creamer on vol. 5 of Genshiken: Second Season (ANN)
Kristin on vols. 1 and 2 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Comic Attack)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of My Neighbor Seki (Comics Worth Reading)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 74 of One Piece (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ash Brown on vol. 1 of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends (Experiments in Manga)

Cocoa Fujiwara RIP

Fujiwara_INUxBOKUv6_TP

Cocoa Fujiwara, the creator of Inu x Boku SS, has died. Although she was only 31 years old, she had a number of manga credits: The short story “Calling,” which was published when she was just 15, Stray Doll, Watashi no Ookami-san, dear, Ojousama to Youkai Shitsuji, Inu x Boku SS, and her current series, Katsute Mahō Shōjo to Aku wa Tekitai Shiteita, which ran in Young Gangan, as did Inu x Boku SS. According to her Wikipedia page, she was friends with fellow Square Enix artists Jun Mochizuki (Pandora Hearts) and Yana Toboso (Black Butler).

A Certain Seven Seas License; Aya Kanno Coming to TCAF

A Certain Scientific Accelerator

Seven Seas announced yesterday that it has licensed A Certain Scientific Accelerator, one of the many manga spinoffs of the light novel series A Certain Magical Index (which has been licensed by Yen Press).

Aya Kanno, creator of Otomen, Blank Slate, and Requiem of the Rose King, will be a guest at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) in May.

I wrote about the life and work of the late Yoshihiro Tatsumi at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog.

At The Guardian, Jennifer Allan writes about what she learned from Tatsumi’s works.

Justin talks to Ken Niimura, author of Henshin, at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses.

The Manga Bookshelf bloggers discuss their pick of a very good week and what we can expect next week. Lori Henderson looks at this week’s manga at Manga Xanadu.

Hiroya Oku says his Inuyashiki manga, which Kodansha will start publishing in the U.S. in August, will run to 10 volumes.

The Japanese anti-piracy project Manga-Anime Guardians reports some results:

In the five month period between August and January, MAG deleted 447,096 manga files and 264,601 anime files from various video sharing, online reading, torrent and other sites. For manga, that represents a 60% delete rate, while for anime, that’s a 89% delete rate, though it’s not clear whether these results include English-language sites.

I don’t go to scanlation sites, but I haven’t noticed any decrease in the frequency with which they show up in Google results, but maybe MAG is hitting Japanese-language sites harder. They also note that 12% of Japanese readers and 50% of U.S. readers use bootleg sites.

Crafty Lori Henderson looks at some sewing manga. I didn’t even know that was a thing!

13th Dimension has a preview of Jiro Kuwata’s Batmanga #38.

News from Japan: The Naruto spinoff mini-series Naruto Gaiden: Nanadaime Hokage to Akairo no Hanatsuzuki will start running in Shonen Jump with the April 27 issue. Shigeru Mizuki is bringing his autobiographical manga Watashi no Hibi to an end in the next issue of Big Comic. Princess Jellyfish creator Akiko Higashimura has won the Manga Taisho award for her series Kakukaku Shikajika. Children of the Sea manga-ka Daisuke Higarashi has a new series in the works, titled Designs. ANN has the latest Japanese comics rankings.

Reviews: The Manga Bookshelf team files their report on some recent releases in the latest edition of Bookshelf Briefs. Ash Brown recaps the week’s reading at Experiments in Manga.

Matthew Warner on vol. 1 of Akame ga KILL! (The Fandom Post)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 14 of Attack on Titan (The Fandom Post)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 15 of Attack on Titan (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 1 and 2 of Captain Ken (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Toshi Nakamura on Inuyashiki (Kotaku)
Steve Bennett on vol. 1 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (ICv2)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of Kokoro Connect (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Erica Friedman on Kono yo ni tada Hitori (Okazu)
Justin on Maria the Virgin Witch (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Master Keaton (Manga Xanadu)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 2 of Master Keaton (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Alice Vernon on Milkyway Hitchhiking (Girls Like Comics)
Kristin on vol. 3 of My Love Story (Comic Attack)
Manjiorin on vol. 1 of My Neighbor Seki (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 47 of Oh My Goddess (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Drew McCabe on Our Reason for Living (Comic Attack)
Anna N on vol. 1 of Requiem of the Rose King (Manga Report)
Helen on Spirit Circle (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Ash Brown on vol. 6 of What Did You Eat Yesterday? (Experiments in Manga)

Sparkler Monthly, New Licenses, Manhwa, and More

Orange-Junk-cover2-571x800

At Robot 6, I interviewed Lianne Sentar of Chromatic Press, who is serious about publishing manga-influenced comics for a female audience. Their flagship publication is Sparkler Monthly, and if you’re curious, check it out now, because the archives are available for free. And Melinda Beasi breaks another bit of Sparkler Monthly news at Manga Bookshelf: They have just picked up the series Orange Junk, which formerly ran on Inkblazers.

Yen Press announced that it has licensed the Irregular at Magic High School (Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei) light novels and the spinoff manga Mahōka Kōkō no Yūtōsei (The Honour at Magic High School).

Sean Gaffney rounds up all the recent license announcements and tells us a bit about each title.

ICv2 declared last week Manga Week, and their coverage included interviews with Mike Richardson, Carl Horn, and Mike Gombos of Dark Horse, who said their manga line is doing well and they have plans to expand this year with more titles and omnibus editions of older works; Kevin Hamric of Viz, who also says sales are good and notes that sales of shoujo manga have gone up in comics shops; and Matt Lehman, owner of Boston’s Comicopia, who talks about selling manga in the direct market. ICv2 also analyzes last year’s manga sales, which appear to be up for the second year in a row.

A treasure trove of manhwa in an abandoned storage locker has been donated to the University of Washington, where librarian Yi Hyo-kyoung is organizing then, putting together a symposium featuring Misaeng creator Yoon Tae-ho—and reminiscing about reading manhwa on the sly when she was a child.

The Manga Bookshelf team discusses this week’s new manga and their picks of the week.

Erica Friedman updates us on all things yuri at Okazu and at Manga Bookshelf, she looks at Mangatime Kirara ☆ Magica, a Japanese magazine dedicated entirely to the Puella Magi Madoka Magica franchise.

At Heart of Manga, Laura looks at the shoujo manga that have been licensed over the past two years, notes some recent trends, and shares her own list of series she would like to see licensed. And then explains the shoujo trope of kate don.

News from Japan: The Japanese government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs has awarded Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto their Rookie of the Year award; apparently he qualifies because Naruto is his first series, although it ran for 15 years. Attack on Titan took the top slot in the manga category of the Sugoi Japan Grand Prix, in which readers voted on the manga and anime they thought should be shared with readers outside Japan. The mayor of Yokote, in Akita Prefecture, is planning to beef up the collection of the Yokote Masuda Manga Museum to turn it into a “manga mecca” with a collection of over 100,000 works of art. A new Cardfight!! Vanguard series is in the works.

Reviews: Khursten Santos reviews Sayonara, Sorcier, a manga about Theo Van Gogh (Vincent’s younger brother) which, sadly, has not been translated. Somebody grab this one! Ash Brown rounds up the week’s manga news and offers some quick takes on new titles at Experiments in Manga. The Manga Bookshelf team check in with some short reviews of recent releases in their latest edition of Bookshelf Briefs.

Laura on vol. 2 of Attack on Titan: No Regrets (Heart of Manga)
Kristin on vols. 2 and 3 of Black Rose Alice (Comic Attack)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-5 of Bloody Cross (Manga Xanadu)
Ollie Barder on Gundam: The Origin (Forbes)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 25 of Hayate the Combat Butler (The Comic Book Bin)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Maria the Virgin Witch (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Dave Ferraro on vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (Comics-and-More)
Ash Brown on vol. 2 of Mushishi (Experiments in Manga)
Helen on Orange (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 18 of Oresama Teacher (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of Prophecy (Comics Worth Reading)
Ken H. on vol. 2 of Prophecy (Sequential Ink)
Kristin on vol. 1 of Requiem of the Rose King (Comic Attack)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Servamp (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Laura on Strobe Edge (Heart of Manga)
Erica Friedman on Wakemonaku Kurushikunaruno (Okazu)
Erica Friedman on vol. 3 of Whispered Words (Okazu)
Ken H. on vols. 1 and 2 of xxxHolic Rei (Sequential Ink)
Justin on Zone-00 (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)

Remembering Yoshihiro Tatsumi – Updated

Fallen Words

Manga-ka Yoshihiro Tatsumi has died at the age of 79. Paul Gravett broke the news on his blog, saying that he got an e-mail from director Eric Khoo, who directed a documentary about the artist, saying simply, “Sensei is dead.”

Tatsumi was a pioneer of manga for adults, which he called “gekiga,” or “dramatic pictures,” as opposed to “manga,” which means “whimsical pictures.” During the course of his long career he won numerous awards, including the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize (Japan), the Angouleme Prix Regards Sur le Monde (France), and numerous Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz awards (U.S.). Drawn and Quarterly has published six of his works in English: The Push Man and Other Stories, Abandon the Old in Tokyo, Good-Bye, Black Blizzard, A Drifting Life, and Fallen Words.

As word of his death spread, several people shared their stories of meeting Tatsumi.

Peggy Burns of Drawn & Quarterly, Tatsumi’s publisher:

I was lucky enough to spend two weeks with him and his wife on his two trips to North America, two of the most fulfilling times of my career. He was gentle, sweet and kind and would always get me to tell him stories about my kids. Anne Ishii and I spent two days with him stock signing in NYC, where he would do the most ornate drawings in each books, over hundred of books received this special treatment. We kept trying to get him to speed up, and tried to tell him he didn’t have to do such ornate drawings. He told us: If when in his twenties, when he was broke and trying to make it as an artist that in his 70s, he and his wife would be flown to the USA, the very least he can do, is a drawing for each of the people who will buy the books.

Alex Cox

Alex Cox remembers meeting Tatsumi and his wife when they visited his Brooklyn comics shop. At that time, Tatsumi was only beginning to realize how popular his early works were in this country:

As Tatsumi left, I had no idea how to address him, unaccustomed as I am to Japanese etiquette. I bowed and said “Arigato, Tatsumi-Sensei,” hopefully using the correct honorific (and pronunciation) to address a master of his craft. He stalled momentarily before shaking my hand warmly.

Closing in on age 70, he was still getting used to the idea that he was considered Sensei by thousands of people on the other side of the world.

Adrian Tomine, Tatsumi’s editor at Drawn and Quarterly:

It didn’t take long for me to discover that, despite differences of age, geography, history, etc., Tatsumi-sensei reminded me very much of all the other great cartoonists I’ve had the fortune of becoming friends with. He could be taciturn and occasionally inscrutable, but in the right circumstances, he’d open up with humor, inquisitiveness, and an unflagging excitement about the process of making comics. I’d studied and learned from his work since I was a teenager, but I think Tatsumi’s humility, generosity, and artistic determination were as inspirational to me as any of his stories. I had several occasions–usually when one of us was dashing off to catch a plane–to offer my best attempt at a bow and to say “thank you,” but I always felt that I hadn’t been clear or emphatic enough, and that he was too modest to fully accept all that I was thanking him for.

Here’s a handful of other links about Tatsumi; post your favorites in the comments and I’ll add them here.

Deb Aoki’s 2009 interview with Tatsumi
Ryan Sands covers Tatsumi’s 2009 appearance at TCAF
The Toronto Star’s 2009 interview with Tatsumi
Dwight Garner’s review of A Drifting Life in the New York Times

Update: Here are some more posts and tributes that have appeared in the week after Tatsumi’s death:

Jocelyne Allen, who was Tatsumi’s translator at TCAF and also the translator of Fallen Words, shares some memories and discusses his short story collection Kessakusen
Ryan Holmberg’s obituary at The Comics Journal, a detailed account of Tatsumi’s life that also puts his accomplishments in context
Gary Groth’s very in-depth interview with Tatsumi, first published in 2007
Bruce Weber’s obituary in the New York Times
Elaine Woo’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times

Astro Boy Omnibus On the Way!

Astro Boy

Hey you guys! I have a new gig, writing about manga for the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy blog! Check out my picks for the best February releases and my Valentines Day post about manga romances. Keep an eye out for more; this is a different type of writing for me, and I’m really digging it!

Everything old is new again: Dark Horse is reissuing Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy in omnibus format, with the first volume clocking in at 700 pages!

Lori Henderson has more info on those three new licenses Vertical announced at Katsucon.

The Manga Bookshelf bloggers go gaga over JoJo as they discuss their Pick of the Week.

The 14th and final volume of Neon Genesis Evangelion tops the New York Times manga best-seller list, followed by vol. 2 of Assassination Classroom, Unofficial Hatsune Mix, and vol. 1 of Attack on Titan.

A Silent Voice

The nominees for the Tezuka prize have been announced, and they include Naruto, Assassination Classroom, and A Silent Voice, which Kodansha will start publishing here this spring (it’s already available digitally on Crunchyroll).

News from Japan: At Heart of Manga, Laura looks at the shoujo manga currently being serialized in Wings magazine. The Sacred Blacksmith will come to an end with volume 10. Drops of God is also going into its final arc.

Reviews: Ash Brown takes us through a week of manga reading with quick takes on several volumes at Experiments in Manga.

Julia Smith on vol. 1 of Assassination Classroom (The Fandom Post)
Ken H. on vol. 2 of Attack on Titan: No Regrets (Sequential Ink)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of Assassination Classroom (The Comic Book Bin)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 7 of Deadman Wonderland (The Fandom Post)
Erica Friedman on Doukyonin no Bishoujo ga Lesbian Datta Ken (Okazu)
Matthew Warner on vol. 11 of Flowers of Evil (The Fandom Post)
Rebecca Silverman on vols. 1 and 2 of Give to the Heart (ANN)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 3 and 4 of Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 10 of Magi (Lesley’s Musings on Manga)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (Lesley’s Musings on Manga)
Laura on Mugen Spiral (Heart of Manga)
Matthew Warner on vol. 7 of Nisekoi (The Fandom Post)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 25 of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (I Reads You)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 1 of Oresama Teacher (Lesley’s Musings on Manga)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire (The Comic Book Bin)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 1 of Secret (ANN)
Erica Friedman on Yu-Ribon (Okazu)