KATE: Once again, you could count this week’s new arrivals on one hand. But, oh, those arrivals! DMP’s long-awaited edition of Barbara is now available through traditional retail outlets. Like most of Osamu Tezuka’s mature fiction of the 1970s, it’s equally fascinating and infuriating, with passages of sublime beauty and passages of sheer, WTF?! ridiculousness. I’m not sure I “liked” it exactly; a simple “good/bad” rating really doesn’t capture Barbara‘s weirdness, or its ambition, or its compulsive readability. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay Barbara is to say that it elicited a very strong response from me every time I’ve read it—and that’s not something I can say about 98% of the manga I review.
MICHELLE: It’s not on Midtown’s list, but Amazon shows that the latest volume of Vertical’s wine-tasting/sports manga, Drops of God, is due out this Tuesday. Subtitled “New World,” this installment jumps ahead in the storyline to a segment focusing on Napa Valley wines, which should be pretty interesting and which will hopefully garner enough interest to fill in the missing volumes in the near future!
SEAN: If we’ve decided to go rogue and pick stuff in bookstores but not comic shops this week, I think I will go with the first omnibus edition of Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss. A semi-sequel to a shoujo manga from Ribon (as yet unlicensed), this features a young high school girl running into a group of eccentric young fashion designers and finding that she has talent as a model… but is the world of modeling really the safest choice? Pure soap opera, with riveting characters, this was most people’s introduction to Yazawa in North America back in the Tokyopop days, and paved the way for Nana to be an even bigger hit. Glad to see Vertical putting it back in print so it can get the attention it deserves.
MELINDA: I’ll just chime in here to say that I’m with Sean! I’m all about Paradise Kiss this week!
BRIGID: I never finished the first run of Genshiken, so I think I’d spring for the second volume of the Genshiken omnibus from Kodansha. It is an otaku’s otaku story, filled with all sorts of in-jokes, but the basic premise is universal, and I’ll learn a lot from the translator’s notes.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?