#606 Marvelman, Miracleman, and Moore

Marvelman

Strap in for one of the wildest stories in comics – on the creator and publisher side of things! Miracleman, originally known as Marvelman, has been through two hiatuses of 20+ years each and a battle over rights to the character, plus the previously-mentioned name change. And that’s not to mention the dark, dark turn his fictional world took when Alan Moore got ahold of it. Now new stories from Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham still lie ahead. Kumar and Koom try to piece it all together.

#546 “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye”

Charlie Chan Hock Chye


Why read a biography of a fictional comics artist? What if it’s also a history of Singapore — done in a style that apes more than a dozen seminal 20th century comics creators? Tim and Kumar take a look at the awe-inspiring (yet sometimes puzzling) Sonny Liew graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.

#411 Exploring the “Seven Seas” for OEL Manga

OEL Manga

You may have been vaguely aware that a number of non-Japanese are drawing very manga-esque comics that are published in English only. They’re known as Original English Language (or “OEL”) manga, and many of them are published by Seven Seas Entertainment. Is this an area of comics worth exploring?

This week, Kory and Tim randomly pick up three of Seven Seas’ OEL titles (clockwise from upper right): The Outcast, by Vaun Wilmott and Edward Gan; Free Runners, by Bill Strauss and Jennyson Rosero; and Hollow Fields, by Madeleine Rosca.

“Drops of God” to be savored

dropsofgodBy Kory Cerjak

Title: The Drops of God
Author: Tadashi Agi
Art: Shu Okimoto
Publisher: Vertical

It’s often the simple things in life that spurn a person. A single human life can mean so much to one person and sometimes we can only get that view in retrospect, unfortunately. Agi and Okimoto’s Drops of God is trying to remind us of those little things, and those singular lives, that can change our own by so much.

Shizuku Kanzaki is a man who was put through taste and smell training by his wine connoisseur father, Yutaka, since he was young. As a result, Shizuku kind of spurned wine until his father’s death at the beginning of the first volume. Shizuku works at a Continue reading “Drops of God” to be savored

#394 CLAMP’s “xxxHolic”; how addictive is it?

xxxHolicTim Across America, pt 4! Kimihiro Watanuki, an orphaned high school student whose name represents his birthday, one day finds himself entering a mysterious house. Inside he finds a couple of manic kids and a flirtatious witch named Yuko who grants wishes — for a price.

Tim, meanwhile, finds himself entering Des Moines, Iowa, where he meets up with Kory to discuss CLAMP’s manga xxxHolic — and also talking to James Gray at Mayhem Comics, Cards, and Games.

Contrasts studied in Tezuka’s “MW”

by Kory Cerjak

Title: MW
Author: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Vertical

MWOnce again, we’re back with the God of Manga, this time with his 1976 manga published in Big Comic by Shogakukan and it’s called MW. Also, does anyone else think Garai looks like Duke Togo of Golgo 13 fame?

MW is about a 20-something banker named Michio Yuki and a Catholic priest named Garai. Garai has committed two grave sins—shielding a murderer and having a sexual relationship with a man—and he’s conflicted over his responsibilities as a priest and his own moral compass. Garai first became a priest to come to grips with the slaughter he witnessed on a small island near Okinawa. The slaughter was caused by a chemical weapon, named MW, which was designed to kill massive numbers of people in the Vietnam War. And the event was also witnessed by Yuki, who was partially affected by MW, making him unable to feel emotion.

The main conflict, of course, is Garai’s own. He’s a partner to Yuki’s crimes of murder and blackmail because Yuki comes to confess his sins to Garai after every time. This is a beautiful conflict where Garai, in a forbidden and often unwilling relationship with Yuki, Continue reading Contrasts studied in Tezuka’s “MW”

“Vinland Saga” Omnibus 1 beautifully drawn, written, packaged

by Kory Cerjak

Title: Vinland Saga
Author: Makoto Yukimura
Publisher: Kodansha USA

Vinland_SagaVinland Saga is an epic history story on the level of Koike and Kojima’s Lone Wolf and Cub or Ryoko Ikeda’s Rose of Versailles. Written by Makoto Yukimura of Planetes fame, this manga delivers an exciting story that has kept me on the edge of my seat through the first omnibus.

First published in Weekly Shonen Magazine by Kodansha, Vinland Saga was moved to Afternoon, a monthly magazine. After making the space story that is Planetes, Yukimura took about a year off, likely researching Vinland Saga’s history, before he returned in 2005 with the comic.

Kodansha USA’s publication is absolutely beautiful. It’s an omnibus of the first two volumes in an amazing hardcover with five glossy color pages at the beginning. The book is also a little bigger than most of your typical manga—about a half inch or an inch larger—and the text is larger and so easy to read as a result. As far as books I own, this Vinland Saga book is second only to Viz’s Nausicaa hardcovers.

In the first two chapters, we get such an amazing sense of character agency from the main character Thorfinn that those perfectly placed flashback chapters mean so much more for the audience than they would in lesser hands. We know that he wants revenge Continue reading “Vinland Saga” Omnibus 1 beautifully drawn, written, packaged

“Attack on Titan” fun, has great tone

by Kory Cerjak

Title: Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)
Author: Hajime Isayama
Publisher: Kodansha

Attack on TitanAttack on Titan is, as I know it, an anime that took the (anime) world by storm upon its release on April 6 of 2013. Newly formed Wit Studios (created by former members of Production I.G) took up the task (with the help of I.G) to make what has the potential to be the biggest title that the US anime market has seen since Fullmetal Alchemist hit the scene in 2001 (manga) and 2003 (anime). Kodansha has said on tumblr and Twitter that the numbers for the manga have gone up and up and up and they’re just riding the waves of success until—or should I say if—it slows down.

Simply put, Attack on Titan is really, really fun. I’ll admit that, through volume eight, it doesn’t have the depth that Fullmetal Alchemist did at the same point in its run. But that’s not to say that Attack on Titan is without depth. The titans represent fear incarnate. The innate fear that each human being holds within him or herself that Continue reading “Attack on Titan” fun, has great tone

The “interesting failure” of Tezuka’s feminist “Princess Knight”

by Kory Cerjak

Title: Princess Knight
Author: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Vertical

Princess KnightI’ll give Princess Knight a praise that I haven’t given any other manga I’ve read yet, and it’s this: Princess Knight is the most interesting failure I have ever read. The story of Princess Knight goes that God decides what gender an unborn child will be by giving the child a boy heart or a girl heart. But Tink had already given a child a boy heart when God gives him a girl heart. The child, Sapphire, is born as a girl into a kingdom where only boys can ascend to the throne.

This is what’s interesting. Published in 1953 in Kodansha’s Shojo Club magazine, it is perhaps the first foray into feminist manga in Japan, and perhaps the first ever comic to be a true tale of feminist literature. I say it’s a failure because of Continue reading The “interesting failure” of Tezuka’s feminist “Princess Knight”

Tezuka’s “Apollo’s Song” explores love, with stunning visuals

By Kory Cerjak

Title: Apollo’s Song
Author: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Vertical

apollossong_queenOsamu Tezuka: the man, the legend, the God of Manga and the Godfather of Anime. Born in 1928 in Toyonaka, Tezuka is perhaps the most well-known figure in the manga/anime cultural pantheon. I’ll skip some of the finer details and move to 1946. In 1946, Tezuka was just graduating from medical school and had to make a decision: medicine or comics. He loved both fields, but loved one just a little more. He got his degree, but ultimately decided to pursue comics. In 1952, Astro Boy began its syndication in Shonen magazine. The rest, as they say, is history.

Apollo’s Song opens with an amazing visual metaphor of 500,000,000 people all clambering to become the king to the one queen. The metaphor ends up being of a sperm and eggs, and is used really effectively to represent humankind as a whole, in the sense that only one out of 500,000,000 people will be that special one. But it’s not just Continue reading Tezuka’s “Apollo’s Song” explores love, with stunning visuals