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manga manga

Dig! I actually read some comics last night! I have a small stack going already that I haven't been able to crack, but yesterday Evan brought me home a couple that we were looking forward to and I read them all:

One Piece: it's definitely manic and odd, but very endearing; we're both fans (and Evan is glad we like it since he's been mooning over the One Piece toys for a year or two now). The typesetting is creepy (way too much stretch and squash and...is that? can it be? whizbang?! NOOOOO!!!) but with one of the lowest price points in manga you can't go wrong. Note: Check your printing before you buy; the first printing has two errors, one rather major. Viz will replace it for free (see offer) if you send in for it by May 2004.

The Ring: I was really looking forward to this, but it was actually pretty disappointing. For some reason I was hoping that Dark Horse would put out the original Ring manga, which has gotten really good reviews, but instead they've chosen to put out the movie tie-in, which like most movie tie-ins is just not that great. (Oh, right, maybe I thought that because the tagline on the manga says it's based on the novel, which is now a movie. Noooo, it's based on the movie, a different manga was based on the novel, guys...) It's a painfully faithful adaptation of the movie (that would be the original Ringu, not the US remake) with a very few scenes thrown in from the TV version that really don't add much (or make it any better). If you've seen the movie you may want to skip this. The art is also less than you'd expect―see a sample page on Ringworld. It seems rather rushed and choppy; the artist's own horror work is maybe eccentric but looks better than this (and way more interesting!). It's a decent value though (both original volumes have been collected into a single volume here for $15) , and it's marked "volume 1" so hopefully they will go on to release some of the better volumes in the series (hopefully not just the movie tie-in volumes, either). See Ringworld's breakdown of all the manga volumes for more info on how the series works and which books are based on what sources.

Gyo: Ah, finally! A new Junji Ito volume is out. Gyo was hands-down the hit of the night. As usual, his art is great, the story is compelling and the whole thing is simply F***ED UP. It's more like Flesh Colored Horror than anything else of his that's come out here. Absolutely a must-have. (Uh, that is, if you like horror.) It's printed in the large format Uzumaki is in, so it'll line up nicely on your shelves, too. I do have to say that the new manga genre "editor's choice" is really pretentious. I'd be embarassed. (They define it for you: "editor's choice (ed'i-trs chois) n. 1. That which defines cutting-edge. 2. Manga known for its daring creativity, and artistry. 3. Manga that sets the standard for excellence and reveals its promise." WHAT-ever.)

As an aside on the subject of manga, we were in the big local B&N not long ago and found no Kodocha in the manga/graphic novel section (and a number of other titles seemed to be missing as well). We thought it was odd, but decided the stuff must not be selling well here...until we discovered that they had moved all the girl's manga to the teen girl section of the store! Very cool! The section there was pretty big, too. Go, comics!