It’s a new week as the first month of the year comes winding to a close. We’ve got lots on tap coming at you. To get things rolling here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web to start the week!
eigoMANGA is teaming up with best-selling author Brandon Chen for original manga. Brandon Chen is the prolific and best-selling author of fiction novels such as Ghost Wolf, God of War: Ares, and Age of Darkness.
Together, eigoMANGA and Chen will produce and publish the manga Somnia. The manga is illustrated by Mohammad Umair Ali.
Somnia tells the story of Ren, a teenager who receives a mystic lantern that makes his dreams become reality—starting when he accidentally brought Jubei, a cyborg-samurai, to life. With his unique companion, Ren is thrust into an ongoing war between fellow Dream-Walkers and monsters that are forged from the dreams of sleepers. These monsters grow stronger by feeding on the nightmares of their victims. Follow Ren’s battle against the nightmares that plague our darkest dreams. Be careful of what you dream of, it just might come true.
Somnia is slated to release in the Summer of 2020.
43 years after Star Wars: A New Hope hit theaters, the legendary space saga unfolds in the galaxy of manga thanks to the latest story in the Skywalker saga.
Packing in all the adventure that fans would expect from Star Wars, publishingand entertainment juggernaut VIZ Media, in collaboration with Lucasfilm, presents Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga.
Encounters with the elusive Jedi Luke Skywalkerhave mystified many in a galaxy far, far away. A cadre of renowned Japanese manga artists, Akira Himekawa, Haruichi, Subaru, AkiraFukaya, and Takashi Kisaki, brilliantlycapture and bring him to life in this literary piece.
Star Wars and manga fans alike will delight in the storytelling and humor narrated in Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga inspiredby Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy award-winning author Ken Liu’s Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Author(s): Steven Moffat Artist(s): Jay Cover Artist(s): Alice X. Zhang (A), Photo (B), Jay (C), Marguerite Sauvage (D)
The critically acclaimed manga adaptation of Sherlock hits Season Two, introducing the iconic Irene Adler! Sherlock comes face to face with the mysterious and beautiful Irene Adler as he attempts to solve a series of murders. But will Irene help him – or create more danger for Sherlock?
The international sensation returns in deluxe hardcover editions, collecting Kohta Hirano’s manga masterpiece for the first time in its original 7×10 serialized format. Renowned for its action-packed approach to horror, Hellsing is gruesome fun turned up to eleven!
With supernatural horrors haunting the streets and preying upon humanity, the shadowy Hellsing Organization fights back against hell’s minions. And Hellsing has a secret weapon in their arsenal: the vampire lord Alucard, whose terrifying powers are needed more than ever as an army of the undead marches on London beneath the banner of the swastika!
Hellsing Deluxe Edition Volume 1 goes on sale July 1, 2020, and is available for pre-order. This 664-page collection will retail for $49.99.
One benefit of transitioning from the corporate world to the library world is that I get to work with and handle comics (or graphic novels as they like to call them.) on a daily basis. I mean I literally got paid to order and enter the ordering information for the first volume of Saladin Ahmed and Javier Garron’s Miles Morales: Spider-Man comic today and then at my other job at a public library, I got to show a couple of kids (whose first library card I made.) where the Pokemon “comics” were. It’s pretty awesome, but there’s a bittersweet lining to it too.
And that lining is that in the minds of many of the people I interact with at work, whether that’s colleagues or patrons, comics are still solely for kids. Yes, I know it’s a cliche, but it was corroborated by Eric Reynolds, the co-publisher of Fantagraphics in an interview with Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg of the Cartoonist Kayfabe podcast where he talked about how well comics by Dav Pilkey or Raina Telgemaier were selling, but how those sales don’t translate to the adult or even the YA market. Kids comics (and manga) are booming, but unless you’re already into the world of comics, or it’s something evergreen like Watchmen, Maus, or Fun Home, it seems like comics are not a viable reading material for, say, post-college age adults.
And I hate that I don’t feel empowered to recommend comics and graphic novels to adults at my work unless they’re already checking one out. For example, I told a patron who checked out Manhattan Projects to check out Jonathan Hickman’s recent X-Men work and that we would probably be ordering the complete hardcover in the winter. However, if a patron likes spy novels, I probably won’t recommend Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Velvet or Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s The Coldest City. I think a lot of this is how the graphic novels are shelved. (In the teens and kids section at one job, and hidden away on the 2nd floor at another.) But it might be a personal thing too.
In my mind as a comics critic/fan and librarian-in-training, I have two wolves inside me. One is out here trying to champion comics as either serious literature or something that can appeal to everyone like young adult dystopian novels, airport novels, or Oprah’s Book Club nonfiction. (She makes some pretty great choices.) Then, there’s another, admittedly bad, wolf that relishes in comics’ history and reputation as the “bastard child of art and commerce” and doesn’t give a shit if the people around me look down on the medium or see it as only fit for children and people, who need help learning how to read. (This is hilariously reductive because comics require both verbal and visual literacy to be understood.) I also enjoy having a little fun and saying things like the latest issue of Batman has more literary value than anything James Patterson and Tom Clancy. (It’s true, especially when Scott Snyder and Grant Morrison were writing the book.)
What both wolves really like to come to blows over is the term “graphic novel”. The good wolf likes to emphasize it when talking to patrons because it reminds them of a currently respected medium. (The novel, which used to be seen as trash once upon a time.) The bad wolf likes to say that it’s a meaningless term, especially for trade paperbacks of ongoing series with multiple writers and artists. Both wolves agree that graphic non-fiction, memoirs, and medicine belong with their respective subjects and not with “graphic novels” because that makes so sense. Would you shelve a non-fiction book about anxiety next to J.D. Robb’s latest vapid thriller?
If I had my way, I would call anything that told a sequential story in both words and images a comic, plain and simple. However, graphic novel does have some marketing value even though some of the ways it’s used and overused are utterly banal. But, hey, if leads to a comic being checked out, I’ll use the word.
I have high hopes that as film and television shows of different genres that are comic book adaptations continue to be released, members of Generation Z keep reading comics even after their teachers and other adults say “They’re below their reading level” (This adds to their punk rock value, to be honest.), and cartoonists like Gene Luen Yang and Ed Piskor speak at prestigious book events (Aka they mainly focus on prose.) that comics will end up being just another item on the reading menu. Maybe, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will get elected president in 2024 and invite Alan Moore (He’ll probably decline.) and Dave Gibbons to chat Watchmen.
But, for now, I need to dig a little deeper and get better at recommending comics to people who aren’t children, teenagers, “geeks”, or fans of science fiction and fantasy. (I got a librarian at my work, who read Mort Weisinger-edited Superman books and 1960s Marvel comics as a child, seriously hooked on Saga.) I need to be a little less precious about semantics and use the term “graphic novel” as a tool for promotion instead of something that numbs my brain and makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I need to understand that some people might not have the visual literacy levels to read and enjoy comics, which is okay.
And my final takeaway is that I need to read more manga. Seriously, I went to a Barnes and Noble in the Louisville, Kentucky suburbs and there were four full rows of manga. Because of the prevalence of public transportation and the lack of a Comics Code incident leading to one genre taking over the industry due to censorship, manga of all genres is easy to obtain in Japan, and maybe it’ll be like that the United States. But, for now, it’s time to crack open Uzumaki by Junji Ito. (Once I knock off all the others on my “to be read” list).
Today, comiXology and Kodansha Comics announced they will complete the international bestseller The Drops of Godmanga series in English for the first time. The first eleven volumes debut today and can be read digitally as part of the comiXology Originals line of exclusive content at no additional cost for members of Amazon Prime via their Prime Reading benefit, Kindle Unlimited and comiXology Unlimited, and for purchase on Kindle and comiXology. Thirty-four of the forty-four volume series have never been translated in English. Today’s release sees the previously published volumes 1-8 re-edited with new cover art and volumes 9-11 appearing today in English for the first time ever. More volumes will be added at a later date.
Created and written by Tadashi Agi, a pseudonym for siblings Shin and Yuko Kibayashi, with artwork by Shu Okimoto, The Drops of God has had an unprecedented impact on the international wine market and the various wines featured throughout the series. When world-renowned wine critic Kanzaki Yutaka passes away, his will reveals that his fortune of a wine collection isn’t automatically bequeathed to his only son Kanzaki Shizuku, a junior employee at a Japanese beverage company whose main focus is selling beer. In order to take ownership of his legacy and the inheritance, he must correctly identify and describe thirteen wines, the first twelve heaven-sent wines known as the “Twelve Apostles” and the thirteenth known as the “Drops of God,” while competing against the stellar young wine critic, Toomine Issei. With determination, a strong sense of taste and smell, and an uncanny ability to describe his experiences, Shizuku submerges himself in the world of wine to try to solve its mysteries and defeat Issei.
It’s a new week and we’re getting prepared for Baltimore Comic Con. Who’s going? Sound off below! While you get the week started, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.
VIZ Media adds the world-renowned Star Wars franchise to its publishing catalog with the acquisition of Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga.
Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga is scheduled for release in early 2020. The anthology will feature a collection of stories by a cadre of renowned manga luminaries that include Akira Himekawa, Haruichi, Akira Fukaya, Takashi Kisaki, and Subaru. Akira Himekawa created the bestselling The Legend of Zelda manga franchise, inspired by the classic Nintendo puzzle-solving, role-playing video games. Haruichi is the creator of Leia Organa: Ordeal of the Princess, an official Star Wars Line Webcomic based on the YA Novel, Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray.
Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga is adapted from the hit Star Wars novel, Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi—The Legends of Luke Skywalker, written by the Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy award-winning author Ken Liu.
For additional information on anime and manga titles available from VIZ Media, please visit viz.com.
After removing the bestseller list for graphic books in 2017, the New York Times has announced its returns.
The “Best Sellers team” will begin track Graphic Books, which includes fiction, nonfiction, children’s, adults, and manga, as well as Market Paperbacks. There will also be two new monthly children’s lists, Middle Grade Paperback, and Young Adult Paperback. The monthly Science and Sports are being retired as the lists are represented elsewhere.
The addition of those lists is due to “reader interest and market strength,” showing even without the New York Times bestseller list for two years the impact on graphic book sales has likely been negligible.