Anime Boston is a fan con, not a big industry con, so it has a great cosplay scene but not a lot of manga news. While I don’t follow anime, I am reliably informed that a lot of the costumes this year were based on Hetalia: Axis Powers, so that may be the Next Big Thing; coincidentally, Amazon is listing the manga as a September Tokyopop release (Amazon is not 100% accurate, so I’m waiting for confirmation on that). Also: Someone was cosplaying as Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials. And Jesus was there; since it was the day before Easter, maybe he had some time off. (There’s a Catholic chapel next to the entrance to the Hynes Convention Center, and the mingling of churchgoers and cosplayers is always amusing; I wonder if any of the priests were startled to see their boss heading toward the doors.)
People were certainly lining up enthusiastically for the anime screenings and there were plenty of panels on cultural topics, including Japanamerica author Roland Kelts, who spoke about the cross-fertilization of Japanese and American culture. I didn’t have time for any other panels, but I did spend some time in the Artists Alley, which always seems to feature some interesting cartoonists, not necessarily of the manga variety. This year was no exception.
Dirk Tiede was there, and by Saturday evening he had already sold out of the third volume of Paradigm Shift. Dirk recently wrapped up a story arc and is taking a bit of a break while he tours the Midwest — the next time I see him will probably be at C2E2 — but he hopes to launch the new arc in the late spring.
Like Drawn and Quarterly, Vertical Inc., publishes manga for people who think they don’t like manga. Its best-selling titles include the Osamu Tezuka classics Black Jack and Buddha, and it also publishes a variety of series that go beyond the standard shonen/battle and shoujo/romance genres; upcoming titles include the all-ages cat manga Chi’s Sweet Home and the action-packed Peepo Choo, a series created by American creator Felipe Smith for a Japanese publisher.
Vertical’s marketing director, Ed Chavez, showed up at Anime Boston over the weekend with an aggressive schedule to announce. Although it’s a small company, Vertical plans to release a volume of its manga series every two months. Chavez took the opportunity to promote the company’s previously announced series and also tease the audience about some potential new licenses. Noting that Black Jack will end next summer, Chavez said, “We will be working with Tezuka productions to see if we can add another Tezuka series next year. … I want to get an actual series that is provocative and hopefully not too lengthy. If we can find something around the Buddha range, six, seven, eight volumes, that will please many of you Tezuka fans out there.”
Chavez also flashed a slide for a mysterious “Manga Series R,” by a creator whose work was once published by Viz Media. That’s all he would say, but the book will be a 320-page hardcover volume, which looks like a prestige format.