Friday, April 29, 2005

The American Girl covers... 

So, I stumbled on vintage magazine cover art. I need to look through the site some more, but I already found some cool stuff. Check out The American Girl, which was a magazine for Girl Scouts. Some really interesting and stylized covers on there. For fans of books, November 1930 and 1932 are both really cool. March 1935 is actually giving off a manga vibe to me for some reason. Love the archery image in Sep 1936. Just neat stuff...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Well, I just had the chance to see the movie Primer, and you should check it out if you can. Aparantly this movie won Sundance and I can see why. A movie that you'll probably need to see more than once to understand (I certainly don't get everything as of yet), but smartly done instead of just confusing. If you think that the premise of time-travel in movies is all worn out, this approaches it in a different way than others I've seen. Good dialogue and filming technique and also manages to do quite a lot on its small ($7000) budget. Saw it with some friends on DVD, so it must be out there. I think I'm going to buy this one I get some more $$$ in.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Diamond takes advantage of CMX's TenTen faux pas 

In a pretty amusing development, Diamond has put a solicitation in their imports section for the original Japanese version of Tenjho Tenge. Apparently at the top in bold letters, it says: "Fully Un-Edited, Un-Cut Japanese Edition". So, it seems like even Diamond itself is aware of the controversy and is trying to spin it to its own advantage at DC's expense!

Also, be sure to check out the latest Flipped column, where David Welsh compares the major manga publishers to personalities in a high school, and shares my frustration at DC's line not living up to its potential.

Del Ray now has a million volumes sold for only six different series. I remember when they first came on the scene, they had a big cardboard stand in Media Play to showcase their books. It even had a tear-off calendar listing upcoming releases. Not to mention a couple of high-profile titles like those from CLAMP. Swan looks to be a title I'd like a lot, but it is old and probably isn't an amazing seller. Gals! has a decent following, but not a blockbuster title. TenTen was the highest profile title, and they managed to mess up the release. Unless they can get a couple more anchor titles in the future to prop up the line, it will be pretty hard for them to distinguish themselves, as David says, the one whose name you have trouble remembering in the yearbook...

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Art of John Higby 

As a fan of both graphic design / comics and yo-yos, I just have to plug John Higby's art site.

Besides being an all-around nice guy, John does street performances with his wife Rebecca and has a thriving art business centered mostly around hand-painted yo-yo related artwork. I really like his style and thought some of you would get a kick out of it. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Flipped vs. Unflipped manga 

Things have been a bit hectic lately (hence my lack of posts), but I had to point out Coffee_and_ink's post on flipped vs. unflipped manga.

Like her, I really disagreed with Bill Randal's essay in the Comics Journal. It varies from person to person, but I think the flipping aspect is one of the least to worry about when it comes to translation.

One of the great observations that coffee_and_ink puts forth is due to the balloon structure of most manga, there isn't a lot of horizontal scanning of text. Most text in manga is vertical, so the balloons tend to be that way also, letting only a couple of words per line fit. That means that your eye stays in the same place and peripheral vision takes in the individual words. So actual eye movement will be mostly just down, similar to how it'd be flipped.

Even without that, I don't think it is that big of a deal. Yes english is left to right, but your eye has to travel all the way back over for every line of a novel. In this case on the last line your eye would just go a bit further left to the next panel.

Friday, April 15, 2005

On the shelving of CMX and Marvel Age books 

I found this thread interesting, in that it sounds like a lot of bookstores are shelving CMX and Marvel Age books together by publisher instead of spread throughout the manga section.

Alex Scott proposes:
I've noticed the same problem with the recent line of Marvel Age books they've put out: they'll all be piled together instead of spread out through the manga section, as I'm sure Marvel intended. The books all have identical cover designs, like the CMX books, and have "MARVEL" in big bold letters on the spine.

I suspect their problem is that they both depend on publisher loyalty in the Direct Market. You have Marvel Zombies, and you have people utterly devoted to DC Comics, and that's the way it's been for at least the past 30 years. They might be assuming that the manga audience will approach them the same way, when I just don't see that kind of loyalty toward particular publishers in the manga market (loyalty AGAINST publishers, on the other hand...).

I think that's probably accurate. I haven't had a chance to actually visit the bookstores for a while now (no $$$), but I'm curious to see if it is happening around here. To Marvel and DC: you may want to just let the individual books speak for themselves. As another poster mentions, this just makes it easy to avoid the books if they don't already have a good impression (like how many fans feal about CMX right now).

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Funimation plans website for female fandom... 

From Chris's Sakuracon Report:

Lastly, Funimation is also starting up a new website called "Funi Girls" to cater to female anime fans. It's not up yet, but they hope to give girls a place to network with other fans, give help on putting together anime clubs, encourage females to get involved with the industry, and generally promote gender equality in fandom.

Sounds like quite a good idea to me. With that, Shojo Beat, and Tokyopop's After Hours initiative, things are looking up...

Monday, April 04, 2005

2005 is the year of manga edits? 

Well, I've been kind of caught up in other things lately, so I wasn't really able to cover all the other people who commented on the TenTen censorship, but there have been quite a few good articles. And for the record, comments have not yet ceased on AoDVD, up to now the 7th thread. There is also an experimental thread where people can list titles they don't recommend, due to editing.

My my main reason to post is to give some information on the other unfortunate developments lately, including several titles from other companies. A good thread which lists out all the other threads involved is here.

Osaka Edo has started a blog devoted to manga edits (not work safe) and Nick Falzarano has started up a page listing manga with visual edits.

For a quick rundown of the latest edits:

Descendants of Darkness from Viz has one person removed out of a male/male sex scene, inexplicable due to there being more explicit scenes in just the volume before. To me, this is a really bad edit, since it is totally changing the scene. This one really has people nervous, since it was a normal shoujo title, which Viz hadn't been staying away from as far as edits.

I's from Viz has nipples covered up by huge stars. Viz's response which mentions stars in the Japanese volume 3 seems to imply that the author decided to start censoring himself at that point (that was certainly what I read into it, and made me feel like Viz was more justified). But it turns out that that case was as part of a joke, and that all other cases weren't censored. For a title they're rating 16+ and has all kinds of strong fanservice elements, why bother with such innocuous nudity? Why does the Shonen Jump Advanced label even exist if the titles in it all still need to be edited?

ADV has also apparently removed some nipples entirely from By The Sword (Yo-u). To me, this seems like the least objectionable, since the editing is low-key and it doesn't sound like a title where the big draw is fanservice. Still, it seems like something sneaked under the radar, and really it just doesn't seem necessary...

So, at this point a lot of people are getting pretty ticked off. I'm beginning to wonder if one person's theory of a bookstore suddenly mandating changes is true. It certainly seems like a lot of things have come up pretty suddenly. Either that or companies have just decided to go weird in the head. Thus far, there seems to be very little rhyme or reason on what titles are being edited and to what extent. In the case of something like Descendants of Darkness, policies are changing even between books in the same series.

Some fans are getting pretty depressed and are starting to talk about quitting the American manga scene entirely. As an aside, it is weird to see similar comments to those I've seen in the past for American comics.. that of leaving the original fanbase behind for more mainstream exposure.

Shojo Beat just started accepting subscriptions online, but with Viz suddenly starting to edit regular shoujo titles, a lot of people are now taking a wait and see approach. I'll probably still pick it up myself, but I'm certainly not confident that the titles will come through unscathed at this point...

These are bad times if you don't like editing of content. It seems like we've suddenly been set back a decade or so...

Edit: Geeze.. I must have been asleep yesterday. Shoujo Beat.. not Jump.. :)

Friday, April 01, 2005

Welcome to Sin City 

So, I got to see this on opening night, and I have to say it was a pretty interesting movie. I'm pretty amazed that they managed to make this movie and get so much publicity for it. I'm not sure if it'll be able to make it with regular viewers, but I guess it is hard to say. There was only maybe like 30 people in the theater we were at, but I don't know if that is indicative of all places. In the end, I think it'll all come down to how the word of mouth is.

It was visually striking, over the top, misogynistic, and actually very funny in a couple of places. Basically it is what you've heard that it is. The level of brutality in some places was very very high, but the over-the-topness helped to diffused a lot of that. In some ways it was more graphic than something like Kill Bill 1, but I never felt as uncomfortable as I did in some parts of KB1. Sin City exists in a kind of hyper-reality not unlike something like City of Lost Souls by Takeshi Miike, in which everything goes a step further than in reality.

Elija Wood certainly doesn't have to worry about being typecast as a hobbit after this movie..haha (though he also did a great job in Eternal Sunshine). Miho's character was a bit annoying to me as someone into asian culture, but with all the ninja characters back from when the Sin City comic first came out, I can excuse that. The portrayal of women is a bit jarring to my "new fashioned" sensibilities even in the context of retro, but it still works out most of the time. Occationally dialogue seems off, but a stretch of dialogue never lasts too long before something crazy happens anyway.

Mickey Rourke was amazing, as was Bruce Willis. They both just fit the parts sooo well. I felt a bit let down after Rourke's segment ended, since it was just so charismatic and I had a bit of trouble getting into Clive Owen's part. But I think it still came together well at the end. I wasn't sure if the Yellow guy was going to seem stupid from seeing stills of him, but I thought it worked really well in the movie.

In short, very stylish and definitely not for kids, but also doesn't take itself too seriously a lot of the time, which keeps it from getting bogged down. Whenver it starts to go astray, something crazy and/or funny happens to put it back on track.

As a comic fan, I also just couldn't help but love how prominant the source is. It very clearly says it is based on a grpahic novel in the opening titles. In the same sequence, characters are shown with original Millar drawings, etc.

However, I think this is also kind of an uncommercial movie in a lot of ways, and will be pretty shocking to anyone who doesn't know what to expect. There's a real chance it could bomb in the box office, but hopefully it'll manage to do well. In any case, it certainly seeemed like it has helped the re-issues of the graphic novels! 4 of them in the bookscan top 5!

I'm probably going to see it again soon, but with my Mom, who is a big Elija Wood fan. It'll be interesting to see her reaction to this, though she was able to stomach Kill Bill 1 and get into the style of Sky Captain, so hopefully she will like it at least a bit...

Cheers to the creators for managing to make something pretty unique seemingly so close to what the original must be like. I've always liked Millar's artwork though I haven't actually read much of his work. I'll probably have to grab at least the first re-issue to see how the original source is...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com