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

The Shojo Beat Goes On… With New Licenses

Before we get to this week’s news round-up, we have news of our own: Manga Blog turns ten this month! Brigid has some anniversary features in the works, so stay tuned and help her celebrate a memorable decade of blogging. Now for the links…

Bloody-Mary

Shojo lovers rejoice: VIZ has just licensed Akaza Samamiya’s vampire drama Bloody Mary and Amu Meguro’s romantic comedy Honey So Sweet. The former drops in December 2015, the latter in January 2016. Also joining the VIZ line-up are several digital-only offerings: Calling You, Girls Bravo, Ratman, and Someday’s Dreamers: Spellbound. All four series debut this month, alongside the first volume of Tokyo Ghoul.

Seven Seas unveiled two new acquisitions this week, The Testament of Sister New Devil and My Monster Secret. Both series are scheduled for publication in early 2016.

That’s Life When You’re a Woman, a candid look at what it’s like to be a single, 31-year-old woman in Japan, is now available via the free Manga Box app.

Three manga crack the BookScan Graphic Novel Bestseller Chart for February 2015. Spoiler alert: one of them is Attack on Titan.

Akame ga KILL! tops this week’s New York Times Manga Best Seller list.

Kodansha Comics is looking for summer interns at their New York office.

Over at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, Brigid Alverson shines a spotlight on March’s most exciting new manga releases.

Jiraiya, whose work was featured in Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, will be visiting Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York this month to meet with fans.

TCJ columnist Joe McCulloch pays tribute to Golgo 13 creator Taiko Saito, one of the last “living connections to the early gekiga generation of Japanese comics.”

Deb Aoki reports from Tokyo on the symposium following the Manga Translation Battle Awards; she breaks it down into a couple of topics, then sums up the discussion of each one (localization, manga sales in Japan vs. the U.S., what makes a good translation) in a series of Tweets and responses from translators and others. Deb also compiles an excellent Storify post on Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club, a webcomic that, as Heidi MacDonald explains, triggered a fierce debate about authenticity, appropriation, and the “white gaze.”

News from Japan: Shiro Amano is bringing Kingdom Hearts II to an end with the 10th volume. Monthly Newstype will be publishing manga adaptations of two Project Itoh novels: Harmony and the impossible smutty-sounding Genocidal Organ. Both novels have translated and published in English by VIZ’s Haikasoru imprint.

Reviews: Shaenon Garrity dedicates this week’s House of 1000 Manga column to one of my favorite manga, the weirdly wonderful Apocalypse Meow. Manjorin and her fellow Anti-Social Geniuses discuss what they read last month, while the Manga Bookshelf team posts brief reviews of Cage of Eden, Magi, and One Piece.

Megan R. on The All-New Tenchi Muyo! (The Manga Test Drive)
Ken H. on vol. 3 of Attack on Titan: Before the Fall (Sequential Ink)
Lori Hendrson on vol. 2 on Attack on Titan: No Regrets (Manga Xanadu)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 3 of Black Rose Alice (Sequential Tart)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 10 of Happy Marriage?! (Sequential Tart)
Ash Brown on vol. 1 of Hide and Seek (Experiments in Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Anna N. on vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (Manga Report)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 8 of Nisekoi: False Love (Comic Book Bin)
Ash Brown on Oishinbo A la Carte: Vegetables (Experiments in Manga)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of Prophecy (Manga Worth Reading)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 13-14 of Ranma 1/2 (A Case Suitable for Treatment)

The Newcomer’s Guide to Attack on Titan

Just discovered Attack on Titan? Wondering what all the fuss is about? Brigid Alverson has you covered with an in-depth article discussing the characters, settings, and numerous spin-off products inspired by this world-wide phenomenon.

ICv2 lists the ten best-selling manga properties of the fall 2014/holiday season. Not surprisingly, Attack on Titan tops the list. What is surprising: the continued popularity of Death Note, which finished its North American print run in 2007.

DMP successfully raised the money to publish Osamu Tezuka’s 1970 thriller Alabaster. Backers can expect to receive both volumes in September 2015.

The forecast for next week’s new manga releases: light rain, with scattered omnibuses and final volumes from Dark Horse and VIZ.

Casey Baseel lists the ten most common shojo manga scenarios.

Kristina Pinto interviews VIZ editor Hope Donovan about licensing, lettering, and translating manga.

Paste Magazine explores the history of Fantagraphics’ manga imprint, from Sake Jock to Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It.

YALSA just released its 2015 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. Manga makes a good showing on this year’s list, with titles as varied as All You Need Is Kill and My Little Monster getting a nod from librarians.

News from Japan: When Rakuyo Technical High School and Fushimi Technical High School decided to merge, they hired manga artist Zakuri Sato (Taihen Yoku Dekimashita) to design the new uniforms.

Reviews: Jason Thompson dedicates this week’s House of 1000 Manga to Aya Kanno’s Otomen.  Over at Heart of Manga, Laura posts brief reviews of ongoing series in Japan, from Yayoi Ogawa’s Ginban Kishi to Touko Minami’s ReRe Hello.

Ash Brown on vol. 2 of Ajin: Demi-Human (Experiments in Manga)
Ken H. on vols. 7-8 of Brave 10 (Sequential Ink)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 53 of Case Closed (Comic Book Bin)
Megan R. on Happy Mania (The Manga Test Drive)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 10 of Happy Marriage?! (ANN)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 11 of Knights of Sidonia (The Fandom Post)
Charles Solomon on Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (Indie Wire)
Allen Kesinger on vols. 1-2 of Monster Musume (No Flying No Tights)
Sakura Eries on vol. 6 of My Little Monster (The Fandom Post)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Prophecy (Manga Xanadu)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Requiem of the Rose King (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
A Library Girl on Vampire Academy (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Erica Friedman on World Canvas (Okazu)
Sheena McNeill on vol. 4 of World Trigger (Sequential Tart)

 

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)

VIZ Acquires Ultraman and My Hero Academia

Ultraman_2011Big news from VIZ: the publisher has licensed Ultraman, a manga update of the 1960s TV show. Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi’s story focuses on the original hero’s son, a seemingly ordinary teen who discovers that he’s inherited his father’s superpowers. Look for the first volume of Ultraman in August alongside the first volume of VIZ’s other new acquisition, My Hero Academia.

What’s arriving at your LCS next week? The Manga Bookshelf bloggers discuss their picks and pans.

Should the lead character in Ghost in the Shell by portrayed by an Asian American actress? That’s the issue raised in an open letter to DreamWorks, which asks the studio to reconsider casting Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in an upcoming film adaptation.

Helen (a.k.a. Wandering Dreamer) raves about the big screen version of Thermae Romae.

Jocelyn Allen, author of Brain vs. Book, samples the latest doujinshi offerings from Japan.

Over at Contemporary Japanese Literature, scholar Kathryn Hemmann deconstructs the Vampire Knight franchise, using Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams as her point of entry.

News from Japan: The Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo will be sponsoring an exhibit of Naruto artwork and objects from April 25th to June 28th. One person who won’t be attending that show is Haruki Murakami, who recently told readers that he no longer has time to read manga or watch anime.

Artist Shun Matsuena has chosen an unusual platform for launching his new martial-arts manga: the walls of Tokyo’s Kichijouji Station. The non-profit organization NPO Lighthouse will be distributing copies of Blue Heart, a free manga that discusses sexual violence prevention for teens.

Reviews: Sean Gaffney finds Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary better than expected, while Rebecca Silverman argues that the first volume of Akame ga KILL! doesn’t live up to its full potential.

Kate O’Neil on vol. 1 of Demon from Afar (The Fandom Post)
Shaenon Garrity on Helter Skelter and Pink (ANN)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 2 of Heroic Legend of Arslan (The Fandom Post)
Justin Stroman on Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Megan R. on Junjo Romantica (The Manga Test Drive)
Ken H. on vol. 2 of Kotoura-San (Sequential Ink)
Rebecca Silverman in vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (ANN)
Matthew Warner on vol. 1 of My Neighbor Seki (The Fandom Post)
Justin Stroman on Phantom Street (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Sheena McNeill on vol. 6 of Pokemon Adventures: Black & White (Sequential Tart)
Sheena McNeill on vol. 26 of Pokemon Adventures: Emerald (Sequential Tart)
Sheena McNeill on vol. 1 of Pokemon XY (Sequential Tart)
Helen on Seraphim 266613336 Wings (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 3 of Spell of Desire (Comic Book Bin)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-6 of Spice and Wolf (Manga Xanadu)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 26 of Toriko (Comic Book Bin)
Thomas Maluck on Unico (No Flying No Tights)
Erica Friedman on Comic Yuri Hime January 2015 (Okazu)