Ongoing until August 27th, a whole slew of NETCOMICS titles are on sale at Right Stuf and I see a whole lot of titles there worth buying, so I thought I’d recommend a few!
First off, I’d recommend Yeri Na’s Do Whatever You Want, the story of two high school boys navigating school, love, and loyalty as they aim for their musical dreams. I’ve only read the first volume, but I’m dying to read the rest! From my review:
“What’s refreshing about this story is that though it is clearly relationship-driven, it is not obvious at this point that the story is headed toward any particular romantic pairing … Refreshing, too, is that each of the characters is distinctive, complicated, and realistically and sympathetically portrayed …
Don’t be fooled by this book’s cover. Despite its pretty boys, Do Whatever You Want is much, much more than a stylish boys’ love romp or a romance story of any kind, and in fact promises neither. What it does promise is a thoughtful story about friendship and ambition, with an appealing cast of complex young characters searching for their place in the world and with each other.”
Secondly, Kyungok Kang’s action-packed sci-fi manhwa In The Starlight (which I have read but not yet reviewed), with its wonderful old-school shojo feel (bring tissues).
Finally, if you’re a fan of boys’ love, the sale offers a veritable treasure trove of fantastic reads–gloriously melodramatic epics like Let Dai and Totally Captivated, emotionally stirring one-shot U Don’t Know Me (written by the same author as Do Whatever You Want under her donginji pseudonym), and est em’s gorgeous romance Age Called Blue–probably my favorite of her works so far. Most of these are Korean (with the exception of est em’s work, obviously) and if I haven’t gone on enough by now about how much I enjoy both est em and Korean BL, well, read those reviews to see what I mean. A few quotes:
“With its intense emotional content and bohemian setting, Age Called Blue may be the most overtly romantic story in est em’s catalogue so far, and this is by no means a bad thing. It is beautifully crafted throughout, and though it is made richer by having read “Rockin’ In My Head,” enough of that story is included to allow this volume to stand on its own.
The art itself is gorgeous–realistically portrayed adult men in est em’s usual style, which makes her work feel so much more real than most of the yaoi manga being published in English. It is important to note, too, that this realism is achieved without the crutch of explicit sex scenes or coy winks to the audience. Though the characters’ sexuality is a significant part of their lives and their relationships to each other, anything that happens between them is for the sake of characterization and moving the story forward which makes this manga a rarity in the genre, much like est em herself … Beautiful, gritty, emotionally resonant, and surprisingly romantic, Age Called Blue is a real treasure, both within its genre and in the medium as a whole.”
“It is honestly stunning how much complexity Rakun is able to bring to these characters and their lives in a single volume, and to such great effect. U Don’t Know Me takes just about every cringe-worthy yaoi cliche in the book–schoolboys, rape, sex between brothers (almost), even the whole seme/uke business–and makes it actually a rich, real part of the story. Even the explicit sex scenes (and there are quite a lot of them) are an essential part of the story’s emotional fabric and it’s pretty difficult to imagine it being effectively told without them. When, late in the volume, Seyun finally decides that true love is a risk worth taking–facing his deepest fears by offering Yoojin more than just his body (which he had been so certain was all he had to give), it means so much more when we’ve taken the full journey with him. I think, too, it’s worth mentioning that just as in real life, fictional sex is more satisfying when it’s got some real substance behind it.
… Both genuinely sexy and emotionally resonant, U Don’t Know Me succeeds on every level, setting itself a good cut above much of its genre.”
“One of the things that has always been refreshing about Totally Captivated is that it is not a coming-out story. Ewon never agonizes over or apologizes for his sexuality (something he’s been aware of since the sixth grade), and he is completely comfortable with himself and unusually self-aware for his age. He knows what he likes and who he is sexually, and is completely up front about that with his partners (as they generally are with him). The dramatic benefit of this is that instead of having to focus on the characters’ feelings about being gay, the story is free to explore much further. Though the series does not shy away from the characters’ sexuality, its real focus is on emotional intimacy, and it is this that drives the story forward, especially in the final volume.
… In its early volumes, Totally Captivated was smart, sexy, and fabulously dramatic. Now at the end of its final volume, it has also grown into an unexpectedly satisfying love story, rivaling the best of its genre.”
“Let Dai is ridiculously melodramatic, unrelentingly violent, borderline misogynistic, deeply implausible, and an incredibly compelling read. The first chapter begins with the narration, “Love was like a banquet of pain,” setting the story’s melodramatic tone from the start, but this is not a bad thing, by any means. Sooyeon Won’s sense of drama and flowery language is one of the series’ greatest charms, capable of reverting even the most jaded adult woman back to her thirteen-year-old self.
… Sooyeon Won’s art is beautiful, and her characters burst, lifelike, from the page. Even the darkest, most violent moments are aesthetically pleasing …
Complete in fifteen volumes, Let Dai stands out in a market flooded with one-shots and short series that can never achieve the same impact as an epic tale well told. Regardless of any complaints that can be made, this story is riveting from start to finish, visually appealing, and intricately crafted to please its target audience.”
So go, friends! Buy and enjoy! Feel free to add your own recommendations in comments!