Tag Archives: Yen Press

The 2010 Great Shoujo Manga Gift Guide

A few days ago, as I was shopping at Borders, I heard my first Christmas music of the season. Now Christmas music usually makes me want to kill people, but instead of taking it out on the checkout clerk, I decided it would be a good time to start writing this gift guide instead.

Yes, I am a total scrooge when it comes to Christmas, but there are other holidays coming up and this gift guide will be useful for all of them. But before we get started, I would like to remind you that you can find out more about the 2010 Great Manga Gift Guide here and also view other 2010 gift guides.

Now onto something that makes me much less grumpy…shoujo manga! (And some josei too, of course.)

The Prettiest, Shiniest Thing You Can Buy For That Special Someone Who Likes Pretty, Shiny Things

You guessed it! I’m talking about Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream and Other Stories. Oh yes, this is 288 pages of hardcover, gold embossed shoujo from a classic master of shoujo manga. Even better, while supplies last, you can get your giftee a copy with a signed plate from Hagio herself when you order the book from Fantagraphics directly. Filled with short stories that span Hagio’s career, this book isn’t for children, but anyone from your mature older teen (if you feel comfortable with them reading about issues like abortion and suicide attempts) to adults who still love a good shoujo fix, classical manga or just something different from the norm. It makes a fantastic read and an excellent coffee table book for someone who loves manga.

For The Naughty Girl

So maybe you’re looking for a manga for that special someone who just happens to be heavily into hilarious smut. If that’s the case, look no further than Butterflies, Flowers. There are very few raunchy shoujo or josei titles that get published in English and this is one of the few that does it successfully without turning the heroine into a pawn of the men vying for her. The relationship between the heroine, Choko, and her romantic interest, Masayuki, is very give and take. Choko used to be the daughter of a very rich family where Masayuki was a servant. Now their roles are reversed as she is a poor, lowly secretary at a real estate company and Masayuki is a high-class executive who likes to sexually harass her openly. But Choko doesn’t let him get away with jack squat if he embarrasses her and Masayuki’s teases are beyond humiliating sometimes. It’s like watching that really cute couple that always makes half-joking, but pointed comments at each other in manga form.

For Someone Who Likes The Cute (or Yotsuba&!)

The obvious choice for this category would be Otomen, but if you know your giftee is already collecting that series, what do you do? They’re going to get themselves the next volume anyway and you’d like to gift something they haven’t read so you can get that “OMG I LOVE THIS MANGA! Thanks for giving it to me! Is there more?” feeling. That’s why I suggest Bunny Drop, an adorable story about a 30-something office worker who decides to spontaneously adopt his 4-year-old aunt when his grandfather dies. (That’s where the Yotsuba&! part came from, if you were wondering.) Bunny Drop is mostly about Daikichi learning the ins and outs of caring for a young, emotional child, he also takes time to connect with her and learn about her mysterious past. Rin, however, steals the show with her cuteness. And, in my opinion, Bunny Drop is the best josei to come out this year.

For The Romantic Who Wants to Be Swept Away

Stepping on Roses by Rinko Ueda is classic romance novel fodder. Poor girl needs money, poor girl meets rich man who just  happens to need a stand-in wife that he doesn’t want to love, money exchanges hands and they wind up falling in love reluctantly. I seem to be one of the few bloggers who actually likes this series, most others think Sumi is a total limp noodle. When I first read it, I too was hesitant because of what other people had said. I was surprised that Sumi wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Sure, she’s clueless about the lifestyle of her rich husband, illiterate and much more, but she sticks to her guns and takes the opportunity to learn and do her job. I felt like Sumi was an English major suddenly stuck into an advanced engineering class. She has the pep and the ability to learn, but feels lost compared to the other characters who grew up in that environment. The important part is she never really loses her resolve. Perhaps I just really like Rinko Ueda’s manga, but she creates an awesome Meiji era/Victorian romance with lots of drama, a cheery heroine and awesome (albeit historically inaccurate) fashion.

For Your Future Astronaut

Twin Spica is like a dramatic space-age shoujo manga. That’s saying a lot because Twin Spica actually ran in a seinen magazine. Still, it reminds me a lot of the shoujo classic To Terra…, without the dramatic racial politics and the super-advanced civilization, of course. With the cute school girl heroine and the competitive astronaut school drama, it’s something any shoujo manga or scifi fan can enjoy. At the same time, it’s a great gift for someone who isn’t a fan of all the normal shoujo cliches and wants something a little bit more mature and original. It’s a little bit heavy and sad at times, but if your giftee isn’t the Arina Tanemura manga type, then a couple volumes of Twin Spica will make an excellent gift.

For The Graphic Novel Purist

Got someone in your life who you want to share your passion for manga with, but they’re more about the graphic novels? Perhaps you should pair Fumi Yoshinaga’s All My Darling Daughters with Natsume Ono’s Not Simple. Both are fantastic manga that focus more on the craft of storytelling than keeping the story going like many manga do. Any woman with a mother can relate to All My Darling Daughters and Not Simple’s tragic story is intriguing. They’re both great ways to show the reluctant reader that manga isn’t all just about ninjas and magical girls, but has a lot of titles to fit different tastes.

For The Fangirl

I know I shouldn’t do this because I worked on the series… I’ve been trying so hard not to, but…Hetalia: Axis Powers. There! I said it! If your giftee doesn’t already have it, then get it for them! If they didn’t like the anime, don’t take this as a bad sign. I’ve heard tons of people saying they liked the manga way more, but hated the anime and I can see why. The anime was fujoshi-fied in order to make more money, but the manga is a lot less overwhelmingly cutesy and more about the political/historical relationships. If all else fails, TOKYOPOP has a lot of charming shoujo manga in their catalog. But I shouldn’t say anymore! NRGH, THIS IS SO HARD!!!! Seriously, they’ve put out some great shoujo in the past few years. I just don’t feel right pimping more than one recent title.

For The Shoujo Fan Who’s Read Every Single Japanese Manga You Can Think Of

Have an extensive shoujo collector to shop for? Get her started on sunjeong manhwa! There’s plenty of cute titles out there like 10, 20, 30, X Diary and Please, Please Me from Netcomics. Yen Press has a pretty substantial sunjeong manhwa catalog and TOKYOPOP has a ton of out of print manhwa that were very under-appreciated, so you can probably find some in a bargain bin somewhere. (Sadly, but at least it’s cheap, right?)

For Your Shoujo Manga Fan/Foodie

There are actually a lot of manga that fit this category out there, but I love Mixed Vegetables the best. It’s about two kids in a culinary high school who have dreams to be a pasty chef and a sushi chef, but the one dreaming of being sushi chef is the daughter of a pastry chef and the one dreaming of being a pastry chef is a son of a sushi chef! Obviously, they team up to help each other achieve their dreams, but along the way there’s a lot of romance, drama and focus on delicious sushi and pastries! Nummers. It’s a typical shoujo manga in a lot of ways, but at the same time, a bit like a shounen manga where the protagonists are fighting to reach their dreams.

For The One Who Still Stumps You

I’ll always recommend this as long as I live: gift cards. If you truly have no clue, there is nothing better than a good chunk of money (at least $25) on a bookstore gift card. Or a local comic book store gift card (assuming they have a substantial manga section) or a Right Stuf gift card. That way, your giftee will get the money to spend on whatever manga they want and you will know they will be satisfied with that next volume or two of their favorite series.

In case you didn’t find what you were looking for with this list, you can also check out my Shoujo Manga Gift Guide from last year. Happy shopping!

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Is There Adequate Manga Marketing for the Everyday Fan?

Last weekend, I went to visit my alma mater and hang out with some good friends. At brunch with two friends from my old anime club, we wound up talking about manga in depth. One friend was just a casual fan, picking up stuff that interested him here and there. He has a full-time job and the disposable income to pick up whatever he wanted regularly. The other friend was a scanlation reader largely by necessity as she doesn’t have a job and is a full-time student.

But as we discussed the manga industry in the local Barnes & Noble and I suggested manga they’d both like left and right, it became really clear to me that neither of them knew much about what the industry was offering. Neither of them had heard of SigIkki, Viz’s fantastic online serialization site for more mature titles. Neither of them knew about many great titles out in English, other digital offerings or even about the existence some of the smaller manga publishers. They were casual manga fans to a T.

It struck me, mostly because I think I’ve been living in an intense manga industry-focused bubble for the past year and a half or so, but also because it seems like such a spectacular failure on the industry’s part. Why the hell aren’t we doing more to tell these kinds of readers know what’s going on?

Some could argue that the industry is already doing all that it can. They’re reaching out to fans on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. There are in-book ads, company newsletters, even TV shows dedicated to reaching out to the fans. The only problem? I think they’re reaching out to only the hardcore fans, the otaku.

To be a hardcore fan of manga and anime means that you’re probably more than a little obsessed with the stuff. While these kinds of fans may know a lot about manga, there is certainly a focus on extremely popular manga and scanlations because both are easily accessible. There are lots of sites dedicated to both, lots of marketing put out (at least on the legal side of things) that’s devoted to Naruto (or Bleach or Vampire Knight, etc.) and almost no energy allotted for telling fans about the countless number of less popular manga out there. No wonder most fans don’t know they exist! (And sales are low.) Where’s the tweet reminding everyone that the next Butterflies, Flowers or Maid Sama is on sale? I really can’t recall much promotional information on such titles during the time I’ve been focusing on the manga industry. In fact, I think smaller pubs like DMP and Vertical Inc. are the only ones who really bother trying to give attention to each and every new volume of manga that comes out. But sometimes, for publishers like Vertical, the fans don’t even know they exist either because no one’s passed them an ANN article or because bookstore distribution for those publishers isn’t as heavy as it is for Viz, Yen Press or Tokyopop. I certainly knew nothing about tiny pubs like Fanfare/Ponent Mon before 2009, so it doesn’t surprise me almost no one else does either.

So how do we get back to the casual fan? Heavy distribution in large chain bookstores is a start. Certainly, the big American publishers take up most of the room, leaving the smaller pubs to fight for space or take their merchandise elsewhere. The problem with this is that I think a ton of casual manga readers find what they buy here in these Borders and Barnes & Nobles. So that leaves the responsibility of marketing to whatever is on the shelves. One thing that I always thought Viz did right is the in-book ads printed on the inside of the front cover listing the newest releases and when they’d hit the streets. They may have only done this with the Shojo Beat line, but hot damn it was effective when I wasn’t hyper-connected to manga news. What’s this? New volumes of Sand Chronicles, Love*Com, SA and Otomen are out? I WANT THEM ALL! Oh, and what’s this new series they have listed? I’ll see if they have it here and flip through it. A great, REALLY SIMPLE way to keep someone interested in buying your manga. It might be slightly more expensive because of where it’s printed, but at least the information has reached the fans right away.

Unfortunately, Viz doesn’t do this for some of the titles that probably need the most help selling– it’s Signature and SigIkki lines. Out of all the ones in my collection that I looked at, only one or two titles had these little inside front cover ads. More titles had ads in the very last pages. Many more had no ads at all, especially the SigIkki titles. The biggest shame is that the only places you could find the SigIkki URL were the places you were LEAST likely to look for pme, like underneath a barcode. Who looks there? Seriously?! Knowing Tokyopop’s process through my freelance work for them, I can tell you that the number of in-book ads depends on how many pages you have left over (page numbers go by increments of 16 unless you want to pay serious cash to do otherwise.)

If there are in-book ads, a lot of space is dedicated to showing off the shiniest new series that the publisher has with the shiniest art they can find that looks good in black and white and lots and lots of copy. As far as I can tell, pretty much every manga publisher is guilty of this. What I think would be more effective, an overall look at the new releases of the line or the company listed on one page with effective information like dates and websites, never actually happens. What the readers see is only what the publisher feels like pushing at the time. Again, energy is focused on the popular titles instead of showing off titles that readers might not even know about. No wonder there’s so much unloved manga out there. There’s not even any real marketing done for the shiny new digital venues that pubs are beginning to put out left and right. At least, not any that reaches all the fans!

I’m pretty sure I’ve only rambled on about part of the manga marketing process and so much more could be done. But for the sake of the length of this post and a fast-approaching bedtime, I’ll stop here with a few questions.

Imagine, if you will, that you don’t read up on the manga industry on a regular basis, that you don’t read any manga-related blogs and that you’re not following Viz or whomever on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. You get your news from your friends, maybe some livejournal communities and, most importantly, what you see in stores. What would be the most effective way of letting you know about other titles you’d be interested in? Do you even read the in-book ads at the end of manga you buy? Do you notice the websites and other information listed in odd places throughout the book? What, if anything, informs you about what else is out there? What do you think could be done to better impart that kind of information to you?

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Discussion: Why aren’t manga fans more open to OEL manga?

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Things are crazy busy here with my job. Good news is that Hetalia volume 3 is going to be AWESOME. If you want an idea of what it’s like to edit the Hetalia books, you can check out my recent Twitter posts or check out the #Hetalia tag.

To make the wait easier, I’d like to share this article by Tim Beedle, a former manga editor himself, about why manga-inspired art and comics do not sell and, because of this, no longer get published.

This is a topic I don’t think has been discussed much on this blog before, so what are your opinions on OEL manga? Do you love them or think they’re cheap imitations? What are some of the titles you’ve picked up in the past? What would you like to see from OEL manga artists? What would you like to see from publishers on the OEL front?

These days there are few pubs that even bother. Viz hasn’t taken any new steps with its original submissions program in over a year, TOKYOPOP’s long since canned anything that doesn’t make them money, as have a lot of other publishers. Still, there are places like Yen Press and others that hire manga-inspired creators and allow them to do their thing and Scott Pilgrim is a ridiculously huge success.

What is it that makes an OEL manga or a manga-inspired comic work for people who buy manga and other forms of comics?

Your thoughts, my readers…

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August MMF: Yotsuba&! and Chi’s Sweet Home

Hello everyone, this is my entry for the Manga Moveable Feast this month. You can view more reviews and essays on Yotsuba&! and other kid-appropriate manga over at Good Comics For Kids.

Summaries:

Yotsuba&! volume 1 by Kiyohiko Azuma is about a young girl, Yotsuba, and her father, who have just moved to a new neighborhood. As they get adjusted to their new location, they quickly become friends with the girls who live in the house next door, especially Fuuka, the middle daughter. The volume consists of short stories and adventures involving Yotsuba and either her father, her father’s ridiculously tall friend Jumbo or the girls next door.

Chi’s Sweet Home volume 1 by Konami Kanata is the story of a lost little kitten who gets rescued by a young family, despite the fact that they can’t have pets in their apartment. Chi and the family adjust to each other and the readers are treated to short stories about being housebroken, wanting to claw the furniture, running away and various other things that pets do.

My opinions:

I have no problems with the stories or the art in either Chi’s Sweet Home or Yotsuba&! In both manga, the art is clean and simple, yet detailed enough to interest the reader in the backgrounds and not just the characters. In Chi’s Sweet Home, the manga is in color, giving it a neat, but watercolor-like feel. (Oh, the magic of a skilled hand with Copic markers.) Both manga feature succinct storytelling that allows for those little moments that convey simple actions and emotions effectively while not getting too hung up on those moments either. And, most importantly, these manga are both perfectly appropriate for kids. The raunchiest it gets is in Yotsuba&! when Jumbo tries to flirt a little with Asagi, the eldest daughter, makes some light joke about being comfortable “in the buff” and calls her attractive.

Despite both these manga being appropriate for children, I feel like Yotsuba&! isn’t a manga for children at all. Instead it is a manga for adults who want to read about children being cute. Basically it’s like a Japanese version of Kids Say the Darnest Things. While this is all perfectly fine for anyone who’s got a few years between them and being a kid, I’m just not convinced most kids would be entertained long enough to keep reading. For one, I can see older kids reading this and going, “Why’s this girl so weird/stupid/dumb?” and walking away. Younger kids (kids around her age) won’t keep reading because they don’t understand or because Yotsuba just isn’t that funny when you’re that age. They won’t get the jokes about global warming or why it’s funny that Yotsuba cannot pronounce it. In the end, Yotsuba is a comic that is meant for adults to laugh at the cute things that young children do, specifically this little oddling that Azuma has created. I’m not claiming to be an expert on what kid’s will understand, relate to and want to read, but the intended audience of this manga is really clear to me. It just also happens to be a manga that you can safely give to kids.

Chi’s Sweet Home, on the other hand, is definitely more intended for kids despite having run in a seinen manga magazine. It is nothing but the funny, simple moments of a kitten and it’s adopted family. It’s meant for anyone to enjoy so any kid who likes animals will love it. Plus there are enough visual cues for children to laugh at or relate to than in Yotsuba&!, which is one of the charm points in this manga: Chi’s hilarious and cute expressions. Even if you read this manga to a three year-old, I’d bet they’d giggle at Chi’s teary-eyed faces and cute kitten antics.

At the same time, I’m a little bit dissatisfied with editorial decisions both manga. Yen Press has a habit of subtitling in sound effects with both the romanization of the text and the English-language sound effect. It’s nit-picky, I know. But it’s bothered me in every single Yen Press book I’ve read and will probably continue to bother me in the future.

As for Chi’s Sweet Home, there’s heavy use of “baby talk” in the form of the letters ‘r’ or ‘l’ being turned into ‘w’, amongst other things. While this would work if you were reading aloud to your kid, wouldn’t a young reader get tripped up by the misspelling? Also, the “baby talk” is inconsistent and rather jarring when it appears. I found myself getting yoinked out of my reading experience and frowning every time the “baby talk” came back again. The manga would have been perfectly fine without it. Also bothersome to me was the price for Chi’s Sweet Home. While I understand why it’s priced higher than regular manga with the beautiful color pages, if someone less familiar with manga came along, they might find it too prohibitive for such a small book. Or worse, a parent shopping in a children’s section would probably pass it over for a higher quantity of less expensive children’s books. These are hard economic times and I imagine parents are some of the people who are the most worried about how they spend their money. Surely there might have been a way to bring the cost down a few dollars? I know Vertical’s not been having any problems selling the book, so maybe a lower price could have been possible without hurting the publisher too much.

Either way, I recommend both manga for anyone who wants a good laugh. Chi’s Sweet Home is great for kids, adults and cat lovers of all ages and the quality of the color pages is fantastic. Yotsuba&! is a fun read for the adults in the house and although it may or may not capture your child’s interest, you could put it in the kids’ reach without any worries.

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My San Diego Comic-Con 2010: Part 2

My this is late. Sorry everyone, I had to take care of a loopy boyfriend on Monday, Tuesday was just non-stop for me and last night I just forgot. (He had a medical procedure done that involved anesthesia. It was sort of fantastic to see him all wobbly and slurring his words. Best of all, he forgot a sock at the doctor’s office. Never mind the fact that he didn’t take his socks off during the procedure.)

Onward!

Friday: I started my day off with the Moto Hagio spotlight panel. (Horrendously under-attended, might I add.) Before I launch into an explanation of the panel, however, let me explain this: Moto Hagio is pretty much why I was at Comic-Con this year. I am not kidding. I was SO DEVASTATED to hear that she was coming and I wasn’t. And then I realized I could get a professional badge! Oh joyous day! I adore older manga and I was quite looking forward to seeing one of the Magnificent Forty Niners and a great mangaka talk about her career.

That being said, the spotlight panel was everything I could have ever hoped for!

Hagio-sensei launched into a short overview of her career, starting with her short stories and then with The Poe Clan, which was her first longer narrative about boys who are stuck as teenagers after being turned into vampires. The Poe Clan‘s first collected volume sold out on the first day, which allowed her to continue working on Heart of Thomas, which was considered unpopular by editors at the time. After that, she began working on They Were Eleven and Marginal, both scifi manga influenced by her love of Western scifi, a genre she read passionately as a child.

My favorite part of the panel, however, had to be Hagio-sensei’s discussion of the various issues surround her stories. Many of them were very personal, including her mother’s strong dislike of manga and criticism of her career. She also spoke about her interest in psychology and child abuse and how this lead to short stories such as Iguana Girl and Hanshin as well as longer narratives such as A Cruel God Reigns in Heaven. For her to share such personal details about her career takes a lot of courage, but it made everyone in the audience feel ten times closer to her than someone who feels the need to talk only about their stories and not the personal influences behind them. It made the panel much more interesting than any canned answer from a Hollywood exec in Hall H. (I will never venture there as long as I live, I think.)

Hagio-sensei was presented an Inkpot Award at the start of the panel and I believe she more than earned it by the time the panel was over when she generously donated all the manga she spoke about to Comic-Con for posterity. For more about Moto Hagio, check out Shaenon Garrity’s excellent interview.

A little while later, Yen Press had their industry panel, which was the only straight industry panel I was able to attend. (I skipped Bandai and FUNimation because I had heard most of their announcements at Anime Expo. Other panels I missed because I had to attend a wedding in Los Angeles on Saturday.) There, Yen Press announced new licenses including The Betrayal Knows My Name by Hotaru Odagiri, High School of the Dead by Daisuke Sato and Shoji Sato, Aron’s Absurd Armada by MiSun Kim and The Bride’s Stories by Kaoru Mori. They also licensed another arc of Higurashi When They Cry, but I don’t seem to have the exact title in my notes.

I am looking forward to The Bride’s Stories (Otoyome-Gatari) the most because I once pitched it (as a long shot) to TOKYOPOP. I was afraid the title would never come stateside due to the nature of the main couple (she is 18 or 20 and he is about 13, despite the fact that nothing happens between them and the manga is set over 100 years ago.)

Yen Press also gave us more information about the online edition of Yen Plus, their manga magazine that was recently taken out of print circulation. The viewer is not flash-based, which gives readers the ability to view it on their iPhone or iPad, and is region-free, which means readers around the world will be able to legally view the magazine’s contents. The month-to-month paypal payments cost $2.99 and also get you access to the previous month’s copy, in case you missed it. Not a bad deal!

My exhibit hall antics on Friday consisted of me and Gia Manry of Anime News Network storming around the exhibit hall looking for hard-to-find manga publishers after a nice chat with freelance translator William Flanagan. We met up with Ed Chavez of Vertical Inc. and met Felipe Smith, the creator of MBQ and Peepo Choo. Also, to our delight, Viz Kids had announced the licensing of an original Mameshiba graphic novel and there were Mameshiba toys for sale at the Toynami booth. There’s nothing like grown women plotting how to steal all the awesome Mameshiba products Toynami had on display, but not for sale. (Later on in the day, we met up with more grown women excited about the Mameshiba toys and we had a *moment* together. Good times.) I am overjoyed to hear that now I will be able to gorge myself on adorable dog/bean toys that make people uncomfortable with random trivia. Somewhere in there, I also managed to get Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu signed by Junko Mizuno.

In the evening, Jason Thompson held his Future of Manga panel. While there was plenty of interesting factoids about manga magazine circulation and such in Jason’s presentation, I feel like he got a little side-tracked by the past and the present of manga. He failed to speak about the future except for a few rushed minutes of speaking about online manga distribution in Japan, denying panel attendees any really meaty discussion. I feel like Jason could have spoken for hours and hours on end about manga and still not have touched upon the future of it, so I will blame time constraints and the vast depth of his knowledge. Nothing that can’t be fixed by more careful presentation next year. I still enjoyed it because it gave me a lesson on a good chunk of manga history, but I wonder if other attendees might have found it boring.

Saturday: I didn’t attend any panels, so I’m afraid I don’t have many personal experiences that were interesting to recount. I tried to get a robot signed by Tom Siddell of Gunnerkrigg Court (a webcomic with a print version by Archaia) and failed because I had to return to L.A. I succeeded, however, in getting autographs from the creators of Avatar: the Last Airbender and two of the artists who have worked on Vertigo’s Madame Xanadu, Marley Zarcone and Amy Reeder. Then I meandered around the con and wound up having an excited discussion about Oishinbo: A La Carte (amongst other things) with freelance Viz editor Shaenon Garrity at her booth. (She is also the creator of two webcomics, Narbonic and Skin Horse.)

I, sadly, just missed a signing for Felipe Smith (but made up for that one on Monday as he had a signing at my local comic book store), the infamous Hall H stabbing and the TOKYOPOP panel where the company announced the licensing of Mr. Clean: Fully Equipped by Toya Tobina, Pavane for a Dead Girl by Koge Donbo and Sakura no Ichiban by Chibi Vampire creator Yuna Kagesaki. Drawn & Quarterly, fresh from their double Eisner win for Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life, announced that they will be releasing Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths and NonNonBa by Shigeru Mizuki (of GeGeGe no Kitaro fame.)

Sunday: I wasn’t there. I totally just lazed around on my ass all day. (Except for writing my first SDCC 2010 post!)

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Do Not Want: the Twilight graphic novel

There are a few kinds of manga that I cannot STAND reading, the most prominent being the kind of manga that teaches boys that it’s ok to fool around with the feelings of multiple girls who are willing to put out because they’ve got a crush. Oftentimes I can’t put those manga down because I’m editing it for Tokyopop so I just have to deal.

TwilightThe Twilight novels inspire the same sort of feelings in me. Luckily when I read it, it was of my own free will and I could put it down once I noticed a pattern of awful writing. Then I burnt my copy of the book. For that reason, I’d like to explain to you why I REALLY REALLY wish Yen Press hadn’t created the Twilight graphic novel.

1. The lessons of the books: Yes, Twilight does teach abstinence… sort of.  Bella really DOES want to get it on with Edward, but he won’t let her. That’s not abstinence, that’s cock-blocking. But before we even get to an established relationship between the two lovers, Edward STALKS Bella because the smell of her blood is so powerfully addicting or something along those lines. On top of that, Bella is extremely passive (except when it comes to wanting sex or wanting to die and be turned into a vampire), depressed and angry at her life for no real reason other than the fact that she’s a teenager. So basically Twilight is teaching girls to be moody bitches with suicidal tendencies who should pounce on the first hottie that shows interest in them. EVEN IF THE GUY IS STALKING THEM. And abstinence via cock-blocking.

That’s not even the really bad part in my opinion. I don’t even want to THINK about how the Breaking Dawn movie is going to visually illustrate the sex scene between Edward and Bella or the birth of their child. The ENTIRE WORLD would be too young to see material that graphic on a big silver screen.

2. The lettering: I saw the preview page online (no, I am not buying the magazine just to look at more pages) and cringed. What the HELL was up with that lettering? Those random word balloons and narration boxes? THE FONT CHOICES!?! Why did they go with serif fonts and a fancy, loopy script font? I hope to GOD that the whole book isn’t like that. I’m not THAT familiar with Yen Press, so I hope this is not their  style. Please tell me it isn’t.

In comparison, the art is BEAUTIFUL. Is this botched lettering job supposed to be easier for the droves of Twilight fans who have never seen a comic book before? If so, screw that. Just because you’re GUARANTEED good sales with this title, does not mean you can get away with doing a shitty job on the lettering, Yen Press. If anything you should be doing your best to make sure even the non-Twilight fans pick this up!

3. The fans: This is complete and utter prejudice and I apologize for not being able to help myself, but there are CRAZY Twilight fans out there and I do not want droves of them discovering comic books. I apologize to the fans who only like Twilight for it’s entertainment value. I’ve met numerous fans like this and I accept those kinds of fans because they prove to be nice when you get to know them.  It’s the crazy ones I have problems with.

I’ve been subjected to extreme acts of fan-crazy over the years. I’ve sat next to the girl who was dressed up as Misa Misa and could NOT stop talking about Light Yagami as if he was real. I have been asked to spend the evening with guys who have no idea what living outside their parents’ basement is like JUST BECAUSE I KNEW THE LUCKY STAR DANCE.  I could go on…

But my point is we have enough crazy fans already and I don’t want more Narutard-like fans in this world. I know there are going to be nice Twilight fans getting into comic books and then there are going to be THOSE fans. I’ll be a bitch if I have to be. Just act like a sane person and I won’t punch you in the face.

I understand why the Twilight graphic novel is being released and why it has a ginormous print run. The books made a lot of money, the movies made a lot of money, so a comic book will make a lot of money. Yeah, that makes sense. That’s cool. Good for Yen Press. Please do something better with the tons of cash you make. Release some good josei or something. HIRE A BETTER LETTERER. Lock up Stephanie Meyer while you’re on a roll and stick her some place where she can’t write another novel. (Look at it this way, you’ll probably be able to milk the Twilight cash cow for another 10 years.)

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