Rocket Bomber - found

Found: Flower of Life, vol 4.

filed under , 6 April 2009, 22:59 by

Found:

Flower of Life vol 4

From Digital Manga Publishing, isbn 9781569700556, coming out on or about 20 May 2009.

The first three volumes of Flower of Life almost work as a complete series in and of themselves — not that there is a resolution but as a slice-of-life[-ish] comic there is certainly plenty there to amuse and entertain, and while the plot is still left open it’s not like there’s a massive cliff hanger or anything so it can be enjoyed, and set to one side.

That said:

IF there were only three volumes available in English I’d be OK with that — BUT with the fourth volume coming out I’m definitely all for picking this series up again and I hope DMP won’t make us wait two years between volumes. ever. again.

Flower of Life is Good Stuff™ — but you don’t have to take just my word for it

Flower of Life from Fumi Yoshinaga (Antique Bakery, Satisfaction Guaranteed, a full slate of Yaoi titles) (Flower of Life is a romcom, though, not yaoi), published in English by DMP and definitely worth your time, and money.

More: www.rocketbomber.com/category/found/



Found: Henry V GN.

filed under , 5 April 2009, 13:27 by

I’m getting a tad ahead of myself; here’s a graphic novel discovered in the process of compiling the new Comics 500 (which, as can guessed from the name, is similar to the previously-posted-over-the-past-year Manga 500, only moreso) and in fact, I’m featuring this title as a ‘found’ comic because it will not be a part of the new charts.

I made a decision to not include graphic adaptations of works in the public domain (though I will make at least three exceptions) (more on that later) so yeah, Classics Illustrated doesn’t make the cut. Neither does this:

Found:

Henry V, the Graphic Novel: Original Text

isbn 9781906332419, available online
Text by Bill Shakes, Adaptation: John McDonald, Pencils: Neill Cameron, Inks: Bambos, Colouring: Jason Cardy & Kat Nicholson, Lettering: Nigel Dobbyn

From the publisher, Classical Comics

Shakespeare’s rousing tale of war and peace between England and France during the reign of Henry V springs to life in this unabridged, full-color graphic adaptation. Every scene, every speech, and every battle is here, from “Once more unto the breach” to the decisive Battle of Agincourt, all in Shakespeare’s original language. The lively illustrations accurately depict the era’s costumes and settings.

I love Henry V. (…in a Shakespearean sense). My favourite movie is Branagh’s adaptation, my favourite adaptation of the play is Olivier’s movie; I can quote the St. Crispin’s Day speech at will — “We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers.”

My affection for the work, and even my acknowledgement that the skills needed for an adaptation are no less that that required for an original work, doesn’t change the fact that if one considers “illustrated classics” as a genre as a whole — there is a lot more bad than good. And it can be difficult to track as a property and series: does one consider the output of the publisher as a whole, or does one track Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, and Treasure Island as independent properties with the various publishers’ iterations as merely another issue of the series?

It’s not a question I have to answer. I can skip the whole of it, entire.

I regret not giving due credit to pubs for their work in breathing new life unto the classics, but then again: while you may not have a number on a chart, I give you my personal recommendation. It’s what the ‘found’ category is for.

[the publisher offers a 16 page preview at the link above, and apparently there may also be variant covers for whatever odd reason (?) but tied-up in pdf files so I can’t post them here]

More: www.rocketbomber.com/category/found/



Found: Gakuen Prince vol 1

filed under , 5 April 2009, 02:00 by

Found:

from Del Rey, isbn 9780345508959, available now:

Gakuen Prince, vol 1.

From the publisher

Joshi High is an elite school that most girls in Japan only dream of attending. Then one day everything changes — the all-girl school goes coed. There’s just one catch: The girls outnumber the boys. So begins a wild, no-holds-barred competition for the boys of the school. Which smart and independent-minded girl will rise above the fray?

Damn, who can look at that cover and not want a doujinshi (or five) featuring these two characters… but perhaps I reveal too much…

The Publishers Weekly review notes, “Gakuen Prince is fun in this first volume, but walks dangerously close to just being trashy.” Oh, please: we’re reading this for the trashy.

More: www.rocketbomber.com/category/found/



Found: Avalon Manga from Seven Seas

filed under , 4 April 2009, 13:38 by

Found:

From Seven Seas, isbn 9781934876640, releasing on or about 26 May.

Avalon: The Warlock Diaries, vol 1

from the publisher

Adriane, Emily, Kara, Ozzie and the entire Avalon gang begin a brand new adventure in a new story written by Rachel Roberts with visually dynamic artwork by Edward Gan! When a handsome young warlock appears, the mages realize he may be trouble. But the warlock shows them a fairy map with the portal sequence that will lead the mages right to Avalon, the source of all magic.

If you don’t have a daughter or niece of the appropriate age, or daily contact with young girls [what? ... I resent your assumptions. c'mon, I work at a bookstore, I have to know this stuff...] you might not be aware of the Avalon: Web of Magic novels.

here’s the pitch for novel #1:

It’s every girl’s fantasy to find herself pulled into a new magical world—and make a difference to the extraordinary creatures that live there. That’s what awaits them in Avalon, a place where magic is real. It begins with winged cats, mighty mistwolves, duck-like quiffles and one pretty amazing golden ferret that are not of this world. Hurt, hungry and barely alive, they have come to be healed, to be helped, to get home—for a last desperate attempt at survival. But the magical animals did not come alone. The evil that stalked them in their world has followed them into ours. It will not stop until it gets what it wants: the secret map to a place called Avalon. The animals’ only hope is to fulfill an ancient prophecy and find three very different, but special girls: a healer, a warrior and a blazing star, who can lead them through a web of magical worlds, to the place from which all magic flows, Avalon.

…in other words, this is a distinctly western take on the Magical-Girl-trope — and as far as I know it was developed independently without foreknowledge of the Japanese versions. So yeah, doubly good.

8 novels extant, 12 planned. This will be the first of three manga (maybe more? …ask 7seas) — YES, this is a 12 Volume YA Fantasy Series you’ve never heard of. If you have a Warriors fan in your house maybe you should turn them on to this.

More: www.rocketbomber.com/category/found/



Found: (sort of) Dusk

filed under , 2 April 2009, 20:19 by

We interrupt our epic slog through the deeper bowels of online graphic novel sales [editorial comment: *multiple expletives deleted*] to bring you the latest gem to grace my inbox:


Dusk, by David Doub.
isbn 9780578014364. available online from a number of sources.

At 104 pages, this seems a bit thin when compared to most manga tankoban but is about the same length as many a more common (DC, Marvel) Graphic Novel collection. — from the publisher:

As a battered wife, Eve’s only concern was to keep her marriage together. But when she is kidnapped into the sordid supernatural world of vampires and foul magic, Eve finds she doesn’t want to leave. Her mysterious benefactor, the Vampire Lord Ash, wish her to have a normal life but Eve chooses to stay in the service of Ash. Dusk is the stories about Eve and her challenges living in the darkness. Dusk is a supernatural action/drama story done in a dynamic blending of the sequential art styles of American Comics and Japanese Manga. Several artists help tell these stark noir tales of Vampires and Unrequited Love.

It’s black and white, but as a fan of inkwork as an art in and of itself I won’t necessarily hold that against it. I don’t have a copy here to review, and even if I did I probably wouldn’t.

Aside: One unintended consequence that naturally follows from posting the charts on a weekly basis is that this blog comes up on just about any Google search for manga. That wasn’t and isn’t my intention (if it were there’d be a bajillion ads on this site) and while it’s kind of nice, it also opens one up for things like this.

In his email to me, David Doub (the author) states “I think the journey of getting my comic to print would make for an interesting article.”

You might be right, David. But it’s not my story to tell.
Best of luck. I applaud the spirit and motives behind efforts like yours, and congrats (especially) on actually getting a work into print.

My advice to you is to re-think the marketing of your book past an ‘article’ on some dude’s blog: You now have two jobs. Full-time, you should work on your next comic. You should always be working on your next comic.

Your second job, which is part time (no more than a third of your total workday — work on art should always be the priority), is to market the works that are out. Marketing is a subtle science, mostly because we’re exposed to it every day and from a frighteningly young age so the public is jaded. Hardened. We know a sales pitch when we see one.

Don’t let that deter you. To sell a book (or anything) you need either a deep faith in the value of the product (which as the creator I’m sure you have in spades), or a glib tongue, a dedication to sales-for-the-sake-of-sales, and a more adversarial relationship to your customers (“the marks”) — though to truly succeed in that latter tack you also need a certain amount of acting ability. It’s not enough to sell it, you have to Sell it.

But forget that. We’re not scamming marks, we’re looking for converts to the cause. As the #1 fan, you merely have to convey your enthusiasm for the work to your potential customers.

The ComicSpace page is a good start; you have a concise URL and a place to post artwork. The blogging function, however, leaves a lot to be desired; sure, it’s functional but it may not be the best soapbox for you to advertise your work.

Here’s a short and likely incomplete action plan:
1. Don’t abandon ComicSpace, but also look into Live Journal, Blogger, Wordpress.com, or other providers (I used Tabulas for years before Comicsnob and RocketBomber) — even if all you do is check in once a night to post your progress for the day (“Finished inking the last page of chapter 3 tonight! woot!”)
2. Register a domain name. There are many options for both the registration and webhosting, and it can seem like an unnecessary step with so many free options out there, but there is something to be said for a .com of your very own. (the trick is to find one that isn’t taken — you’ll note my domain name doesn’t have the word ‘manga’ in it)
2a. …and the second hassle with your own domain is building your own website. It’s not a walk in the park to install a CMS [content management system, AKA a website, or blog] but it can be done. And things like WordPress [the software, not the site] and TextPattern are free.
3. Write. The best person to tell your story, is you.
4. Link. If it’s cool to you then your theoretical, potential readership will want to see it, too.
5. Comment. Read other blogs in the industry, and if you have something to contribute to the ongoing online conversation then please do so. You don’t have to insert your ads and links all over the place — in fact you really really shouldn’t — but if something from your experience is relevant to the topic, don’t be shy about linking to your own stuff. [hence the necessity of points #1 and #2 above]
6. Befriend. This online stuff is kinda cool, actually. It’s your part-time job, but enjoy it. (and friends can help you out, but that’s not the main reason to do it obviously)
7. Research. Read, read, read. Take at least an hour a day to see what people are saying about the medium. Start with Journalista — I could recommend a score of other sites but eventually Dirk will link you to all of them.
8. Take It on the Road: it can be a humiliating, expensive, futile, aggravating, time-wasting, humbling exercise, selling your comic (or rather, trying to sell) at the Artist Alley at some local con. But the face-to-face opportunities, the chance to actually meet and interact with fans — and the amazing opportunity to connect even if it’s only with one fan — can become fuel to keep your artistic endeavors going for years to come.
9. Rest.

No, really. Burnout is an all-too-common problem, even with slacker bloggers who are technically doing this as an enjoyable hobby in their free time. Don’t let this process drag you down. Remember the fun (find the fun, if need be) and come back only after you’ve a big smile on your face and a need to post links to ScansDaily and YouTube.

10. Nothing Builds on Success Like a New Book. I told you, this is a part-time job; never forget that the art is your primary work and that sequels sell the series.

— Does a lot of what I’ve posted seem like guidelines for bloggers? Well, duh, that’s my background and area of expertise. So… um, yeah.

The best person who can tell your story is You.

Get writing, David.

here’s the book, here’s David’s ComicSpace page.



Found: InVisible

filed under , 11 March 2009, 18:36 by

Found:

From Seven Seas: another OEL one-shot, and from the description this one might appeal to shoujo fans, and maybe a significant fraction of the BL fanbase —

from the publisher,

Seventeen year old Kay is not your average NYC high school student. From a young age, Kay has worked as a model in print, commercials, and on the runway. And now her career has recently undergone a dramatic upswing—she’s been booked for a runway show and several shoots in Japan.
On the morning of her departure, Kay awakens to a shocking change in herself, which threatens her entire career and forces her to reconsider her priorities: she has inexplicably been transformed into a boy!
Kay’s boyfriend Adrian, a trained make-up artist, comes to the rescue. He convinces Kay that she’s still pretty enough to play the part of a girl. With a little make-up and the right outfit, Kay’s nearly convinced that the charade might work… but once she clears airport security she wonders how she is going to spend a whole two weeks in Japan pretending to be the girl she once was?

Not much to add to that, since I haven’t read it past 60 or so pages of the 100+ page preview on the Seven Seas site. (that’s more than half the book)

More: www.rocketbomber.com/category/found/



Found: Dark Hunters vol 1 (2nd pass)

filed under , 7 March 2009, 18:09 by

Here’s your cover:

same as last time: it’s an OEL manga based on a popular ongoing paranormal romance series, but unlike Dark Hunger — which despite the similar title appears to be the weaker book — this sucker may actually be worth reading.

Aside: thank you to the dedicated readership for putting up with the long silence that was February, but we’ve finished the move, we’re in our new apartment now, and regular updates should follow.



Found: The Onion has hired an Otaku

filed under , 10 February 2009, 20:44 by

I have no idea who my brave, un-named comrade is, but there is a decided slant to some recent coverage over at the Ridiculer of Record:

First was the entirely factual account, bereft of any humor or satire, honestly reporting for the the first time the secret longings of Japanese schoolgirls

And now we have a sobering report on the struggles of the Japanese porn industry in the face of hard economic times, and world-wide revulsion

Of course, this may just be the final culmination of a trend that has been building since 2001: “I asked the store manager if there was an anime section,” Lisowitz said. “So he says to me, ‘Most of the Disney stuff is in the kids section. Is there a specific cartoon I can help you find?’ This is the manager.”

…developing…



Found: Sherrilyn Kenyon Manga

filed under , 17 January 2009, 22:33 by

Appearing on Amazon as part of their manga category (but a lot of flotsam and jetsam—some of it far from manga—ends up there) is a book currently listed as

The Dark Hunters, vol 1.
isbn 978-0312376871

Other than the fact that Amazon is calling it manga, nothing here seems to be manga. Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of those ‘paranormal’ romance authors, and this is likely just some paperback release in the long running Dark Hunters series (vampire romance, 20+ volumes) and somebody at Amazon sneezed and hit the wrong key or something.

And yet… Well, it’s on my source charts. I can certainly skip the occasional outlier for a week, or two, and I did just that; but eventually I have to figure out what this thing *is* so I can decide whether or not to include it in the rankings.

  • This a different book from Marvel’s Lords of Avalon which is also based on a Kenyon series, just not the Dark Hunter series.
  • Actually, there is no book called “The Dark Hunters” in the Dark Hunters series.
  • It’s a new book, releasing late April 2009
  • Price Point: $9.99 (not $7.99 or $8.99)
  • It’s 208 pages

…Looking more and more manga-ish…

But it’s published by St. Martin’s Griffin — setting aside the deal between Tor & Seven Seas, if it’s manga this will be Macmillan’s first manga release.

You know, I hate it when the internet makes me work at something like this. Other than Chibi Vampire, I hate vampire romance. (Damn you, incomplete publishing information on sales sites!)

As it turns out: yeah, it’s a new OEL manga.

Found:

Dabel Brothers Publishing is proud to announce the manga-style adaptations of two Dark-Hunter novels by the #1 best-selling author Sherrilyn Kenyon, to be released in 2009.

The novels Night Pleasures and Night Embrace are the first and second books in Kenyon’s blockbuster series, The Dark-Hunters. The series is about eternally damned warriors who have sold their souls for vengeance and who now protect mankind from the evil that preys on them.

Kenyon’s work has a worldwide following, with sales of more than 14 million books in 29 countries.

The story will be adapted by writer Joshua Hal Fialkov, known for his unique storytelling style on titles like Cyblade and the upcoming Afro Samurai Manga. Claudia Campos, already a favorite with Kenyon’s fans for her knockout illustrations in The Dark-Hunter Companion, will again provide the art. Production services are being provided by Glass House Graphics.

Past the 6 Aug 08 press release from Dabel Bros. (which I had to search for, it’s not linked on the main site) I can find jack else about this title on Kenyon’s, St. Martin’s, or even the Dable Bros. site. (Well, they set up a forum but it’s empty. I’ll be glad to cede “f1rst p0st!” rights to someone else in this case — have fun, kids.) It’s almost like they don’t want anyone to buy it.

Can’t fault the original press release, tho: The sample art is missing dialog but they have 4 preview pages up, and there’s also some artwork that just might be a cover:

More: www.rocketbomber.com/category/found/



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