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3 Things Thursday: Miracle Comics

Unfinished manga series… everyone’s got a favorite—at least one beloved manga whose abrupt cancellation or apparently indefinite hiatus serves only as a source of pain. And we all know the score, don’t we? Vanished series almost never return to publication, so chances are, our disappointment is permanent. Still, sometimes, just sometimes, a beloved series does come back. Perhaps it finds a new publisher, or the artist recovers from a long-time illness—every once in a while, a manga miracle occurs.

Next week’s list of new manga includes one of these miracle series, as the third volume of Satoko Kiyuduki’s Shoulder-a-Coffin, Kuro (a former subject of Kate Dacey’s The Best Manga You’re Not Reading series) is due for release from North American publisher Yen Press after a five-year hiatus in Japan.

I have my own list of favorite comics that were prematurely interrupted, and a few of these have had their miracles! None has seen republication in English yet, but I have hope once again! And so…

3 Favorite Miracle Comics

1. Wild Adapter | Kazuya Minekura | Original publisher: Tokyopop – I know, I know, I’ll jump on any excuse to talk about Kazuya Minekura’s Wild Adapter, but that is seriously how often it is on my mind. Interrupted both by the author’s health problems and rumored content conflicts with its original Japanese publisher (Tokuma Shoten), the series finally resumed serialization in Ichijinsha’s Comic Zero Sum last year, starting from the beginning, with new chapters scheduled to begin next spring. Though Wild Adapter‘s original US publisher, Tokyopop, ceased their North American publishing operations last year, the prospect of new chapters certainly reawakens hope for fans that the series could be re-licensed in the future. We live in hope. So much hope.

2. Legal Drug | CLAMP | Original publisher: Tokyopop – Though it’s easy to pile on Tokyopop for their list of unfinished series, here is another case in which a canceled manga’s problems originated in Japan. CLAMP’s supernatural detective series Legal Drug ran from 2000 to 2003 in Kadokawa Shoten’s shoujo magazine Monthly Asuka, until the magazine itself went out of publication. Despite CLAMP’s (and particularly the series’ primary artist Nekoi’s) occasional remarks about wanting to continue the series, I think most of us had pretty much left it for dead. Much to our surprise, then, the series resumed publication in Kadokawa’s Young Ace Magazine, with a new name (Drug and Drop) and for a new (seinen) demographic. Though the series has been running again for nearly a year, it hasn’t been re-licensed… yet. With CLAMP, this seems thankfully inevitable. I can’t wait!

3. Off*Beat | Jen Lee Quick | Original publisher: Tokyopop – This one actually is Tokyopop’s fault, though it’s also to their credit that the series ever saw publication to begin with. Years ago, when Tokyopop was experimenting heavily in the world of OEL manga, a fantastic little series called Off*Beat was born. This idiosyncratic comic about a genius teenager figuring out who he is went down in flames with the rest of Tokyopop’s OEL program after only two volumes, but its quiet fandom lived on. I discovered the series thanks to a plea from my former PopCultureShock colleague, Isaac Hale, and followed that up with a plea of my own. Though contractual issues hung up many of the Tokyopop writers from carrying on with their series after cancellation, even after TP’s North American demise, hope seemed bleak. So imagine the joy and surprise that followed this article last year (sourced from Johanna Draper Carlson who spotted this tweet from Lissa Pattillo—see how news travels in the manga blogosphere?). The new volume hasn’t seen the light of day quite yet, but recent posts still sound positive. Hurrah!

Do you have favorite miracle comics?

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  1. I have my Shelf Of Sorrow to go over and glance at:
    Demon Sacred-and I feel like it was just getting good! And it started off with a bunch of unicorns bursting out from an aurora borealis! I preferred it more than Jyu Oh Sei so far.
    Moyashimon-probably because it has such a limited audience in the states, nerds who are biology majors (most of my nerd friends did arts or computer stuff), but I wish I’d gotten more than two vols
    Song of the Hanging Sky-this would be a great pick up! It’s only 4 vols and only half of them came out!
    Hotel Africa-the two vols I got to read were amazing, if all the manhwa coming out were of this quality, I don’t think it would have that weird stigma to it.

    Well that’s what I want from my shelf of sorrow the most! Lots of other little things, Ginga Legend Weed, Petshop of Horrors: Tokyo, Genju no Seiza, Beet the Vandal Buster, and how has Future Diary not been license rescued yet? are all other things on my wish list

  2. I was really surpised to see DNAngel come back. I won’t be reading it until she actually finishes the thing, though, because she’s got almost as bad a track record as Clamp and I don’t want to get invested in the series again only to have it get dropped a second time.

    I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head, though. I am still hoping for a miracle with Nana, though!

  3. Okay, here’s my 3 picks for miracle comics … well, 1 1/2 miracles, 1 1/2 comics I wish would become miracle comics.

    1. Flower of Life: I had pretty much given up on the 4th volume when … lo and behold, it got published in English. SQUEE!

    2. Evyione: Ocean Fantasy: This is one of my favorite comics ever. I was so very happy when I discovered the Taiwanese edition, which means *I* can continue … but I feel sad for all my comic-reading friends who can’t continue this manhwa (or who never tried it in the first place because of its discontinued status)

    3. From Eroica with Love: One of my favorite manga ever. If JManga or somebody else asked me which license to rescue, I’d pick this one.

  4. I’d say Strawberry MArshmallow but I dont know if we where just promised another volume tht never materalized stateside or that’s really all there was and Tokyopop was just being too hopeful.

  5. I can only think of two titles off the top of my head that were never finished in Japan:

    -Hyper Doll (by Shimpei Itoh; his most recent work is Taisho Baseball Girls)
    -Deadman Wonderland (currently on hiatus)

    As for titles I’d like to see finished in America:
    -ARIA (in print; will not accept any digital substitutions)
    -Kage Kara Mamoru (a.k.a. Mamoru The Shadow Protector)
    -2 x 2 = Shinobuden (a.k.a. Ninja Nonsense)
    -Those Who Hunt Elves
    -Two Flowers For The Dragon

    (Would’ve liked to have seen the rest of School Rumble in print; no thanks to Kodansha USA and JManga for ruining that dream.)

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