For manga and anime fans, Anime Expo is the first of the big summer cons. This year only a handful of manga publishers showed up, but all had plenty of energy and some new announcements to make. That’s probably a good snapshot of the manga industry as a whole—there are only a few players left, but the survivors are pretty robust. Anime News Network has pretty exhaustive coverage of the con, and Animanga Nation does a nice job with a more casual feel.
Out of curiousity, I looked over con coverage from previous years to see who is missing this year. Bandai, Digital Manga, Tokyopop and Viz are clearly the survivors of the manga wars, although it was touch-and-go for Tokyopop for a while. Missing from the roster are Dark Horse, Del Rey, Seven Seas, Udon, Yaoi Press, and Yen Press, all of which have appeared at AX in previous years (although not recently), and ADV Manga, Aurora, Broccoli, CMX, DrMaster, and Go! Comi, which have all shut down or at least gone dark.
I thought it would be interesting to see how AX has evolved over the years, so let’s climb into the time machine and take a look at past cons.
It looks like the first round in the scanlation wars has gone to the publishers, but appearances can be deceiving.
Shortly after several publishers announced that they had formed a coalition to fight manga piracy, a number of the most popular scan sites removed scans of series that had been licensed in the U.S. Or did they? As a blogger named Kimi-chan explained a few days ago, the site admins at two sites, Mangafox and Animea, merely disabled the links from the home page. If a user had bookmarked the series, however, the bookmark would still work, and Google searches still turn up valid links for these series.
Kimi-chan’s post has been up for about a week, and when manga blogger Deb Aoki tried the tactic with a number of Viz titles on MangaFox, she found that they truly were gone. But that made me curious about something else.
A few months ago, I downloaded an iPod app that pulls manga scans from the Onemanga database—it’s one of several free or cheap apps that do that. I opened it up for the first time since April, apparently, and it immediately updated the list of available titles. Sure enough, all the Viz manga were gone from the list. There were a scattering of Del Rey, Tokyopop, and Vertical series, though, and a number from Yen Press.
Here at What Are You Reading, we don’t let a little thing like a holiday weekend keep us from our comics, no sir. Nor do we stop blogging about them.
• The great and all-powerful Ng Suat Tong provides one of the most comprehensive and detailed critiques of Asterios Polyp I’ve seen online yet. Seriously, Tong’s one of the finest critics comics have ever had. The fact that he’s writing again, even if it’s just a one-time thing, is cause for joy.
• Frank Santoro reviews issues #1-4 of Richard Sala’s Ignatz series, Delphine: “The story surrounded me and carried me away to a very real world. It’s a cartooned, exaggerated world, but a real world nonetheless.”
• Johanna Draper Carlson reads a whole lotta vampire manga.
• Similar to our Collect This Now feature is David Welsh’s License Request Day, where he picks manga that haven’t been translated yet, but should. This week he recommends something called Paros No Ken.
• It’s been up for a few days now, but I have to point an arrow towards Katherine Dac’s review of Children of the Sea, which is one of the best takes on the book yet.
Creators | Re-Evolution creator Gus Higuera dropped us a note and some artwork about being at the con and the warp-up of season one of Re-Evolution at Zuda:
“It’s hard to believe a year has already passed since we competed in last year’s Zuda Invitational. We would like to thank Zuda and all our supporters for giving us this once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a part of DC Comics and letting us tell our story. For those of you visiting San Diego Comic Con, stop by and say hello to me and Re-Evolution’s artist Juan Felipe Salcedo at the Zuda section of the DC Comics booth Thurs. – Sat. from 11:00AM-11:30AM and all weekend in booth #5335 in the Indy Press section. We have tons of free stuff for our fans in celebration of the end of our first Season. We would also like to invite all our supporters to send Zuda feedback to bring us back for a Season 2. http://www.zudacomics.com/feedback. Don’t forgot to also follow us via Twitter during Zuda’s virtual con under the #zudacon tag. Thanks once again and see you in San Diego. Viva La Re-Evolution!” –Gus Higuera
Fandom | If you can’t go to the con this year, you can live vicariously through Mighty Mugg Spidey. (Via)
Creators | Steve Epting, Michael Ryan and Christina Strain will be at The Palm Restaurant at 615 J Street in San Diego tomorrow at noon to add some artwork to an ongoing Marvel character mural at the restaurant.
Manga | What’s Tokyopop up to at the show? Glad you asked.
Manga | Viz is there, too.
Creators | Stan Sakai has “under construction” pictures from the showroom floor on Tuesday.
Welcome to another edition of Send Us Your Shelf Porn, Our special Guest this week is Rickey Purdin, who works as a Representative — Marketing Publications at DC. You may also know him from his previous stint as Entertainment Editor at Wizard Magazine, or via one of his two blogs.
Remember, we here at Shelf Porn can’t do it alone. We need your help. If you love feasting your eyes on the bookshelves of others, then take the time to consider a donation of your own. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about donating your pictures to Shelf Porn, but have just been too busy. Or tired. Well, there’s never been a better time than today! Just email your photos to cmautnerATcomcastDOTnet and we’ll send you absolutely nothing except for our thanks. Oh, and we’ll post your pictures here for everyone to see.
Speaking of which, let’s take a look at Rickey’s collection. What have you got to say about this stuff sir?
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading, where we glance over at our bedtables, pick up a comic or two and wave them about in the air in front of your face.
To find out what Tucker and everyone else is currently reading, click on the link below. Go man, go!
On Sunday Kevin revealed Viz’s plans for the fall, which included the release of Taiyo Matsumoto’s highly regarded GoGoMonster. Viz, of course, has a number of other titles in the pipeline, including one other book I felt warranted a bit more attention: What A Wonderful World by Inio Asano.
Asano is best known over here for the manga Solanin, a done-in-one collection about aimless twentysomethings that came out from Viz last year. That book won a number of accolades, though I found it to be a decent if rather flawed and at times awkwardly sentimental manga.
I’m excited for World, however, because from what I hear it’s more representative of Adano’s later, mature work, incorporating magical realism with a more . The manga has been available via scantillation for a few years now. it’s won a number of fans, including TCJ’s Dirk Deppey, who included it in his Best of 2007 round-up. I’m going to be a jerk and post Dirk’s entire comments on the series here:
So no sooner do I post that initial Viz line-up than I get the company’s latest catalog in the mail, with a whole bunch of titles I were unaware of. Oh well. Let’s continue our preview with a look at what the house that Naruto built has planned for the summer:
Detroit Metal City Vol. 1 by Kiminori Wakasugi. I’ve heard quite a few good things about this, a seinen comedy about a shy, aspiring musician who finds himself fronting an indie death metal band. To his horror he discovers he’s pretty good at it. It’s already been made into an anime series and a live-action movie over in Japan. $12.99.
Well, actually, it’s only Viz’s plans for 2009 up through May, and I’m only going to be looking at new manga series, since, let’s face it, is there any real doubt as to whether subsequent volumes of Naruto or Nana will be coming out?
And with that, let’s soldier on …