It’s a relatively slow week at Midtown Comics, but what’s there is well worth reading, as the Manga Bookshelf bloggers reveal below!
MJ: I’m feeling pretty indecisive this week, with new volumes of a couple of my favorite series shipping into Midtown Comics, as well as new work from a favorite creator. Viz Media’s releases are few but fantastick, as they offer up the latest volume of Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ooku as well as the older (but new to us!) La Quinta Camera from the ever-glorious Natsume Ono. Still, I’ll throw my vote to volume eight of Kou Yaginuma’s Twin Spica, just out from Vertical. Twin Spica contains everything I look for in a series, thoughtful characterization, carefully crafted plot, awesome female characters, and more than a dash of bittersweet whimsy. It’s one of my favorite series currently running, and I wouldn’t miss this volume for the world. Neither should you!
DAVID: Ono and Yoshinaga have become linked in my thinking, as they’re both creators who seem to tell precisely the kind of stories that please them, and if someone would like to publish those stories in their magazines, that’s lovely, but neither is inclined to accommodate the house style. And I love that in a creator. So, while it’s cruel of Viz to force me to pick just one of their works, circumstances demand it. As a result, I’ll go with Yoshinaga’s Ooku, as it’s been longer since I’ve read a new volume of her work than Ono’s. I’m looking forward to more mesmerizing period drama about women in power.
KATE: Tempting as it is to join the chorus of folks praising La Quinta Camera, Ooku: The Inner Chambers, or Twin Spica, I’m going a little further off the reservation with my Pick of the Week: Marvel Comics’ 15 Love. Anyone who’s read my site knows that I’m not a Big Two kinda gal; I’m not keen on superhero comics, and seldom find much outside of DC’s Vertigo imprint that appeals to me as a reader. But I’m genuinely excited to buy 15 Love, a three-issue mini-series about a teenage tennis player who’s juggling competition, school, and a modeling career. The series has an interesting history: originally commissioned in 2003, the project was completed but never published — until now. I’m not sure who Marvel hoped would read it, but the concept and preview art have a pleasant, shojo manga vibe. (You can view a few pages at The Beat.) Even if the story doesn’t live up to Sho Murase’s awesome cover, art 15 Love seems like the kind of comics project that deserves my support as a female reader.
MICHELLE: I am a huge fan of Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk, and though I must admit that I have yet to actually read his other VIZ series, Real and Vagabond, I have been buying them faithfully. I started picking up the Vagabond VIZBIG editions when I had a Border’s gift certificate to burn and, seeing the first one on the shelf, proceeded to flip through it, whereupon I encountered color illustrations so gorgeous I immediately, and without hesitation, proceeded to the checkout counter. My pick this week, therefore, is the tenth VIZBIG edition of Vagabond, collecting what I presume is volumes 28 to 30 of the series.
SEAN: I will be picking the latest Natsume Ono, La Quinta Camera. I didn’t really get into not simple, which I found a bit too depressing for my taste. This new one-shot seems to be more along the lines of Ristorante Paradiso and Gente, however, which is fantastic, as I loved those to death. Ono seems to be at her best when people are sitting around having a conversation, usually while not looking at each other. And this still isn’t quite all of her backlog, either, as we’re supposed to get the short-story collection Tesoro later in the year.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?