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Lunchtime Link-blogging

There have been some great articles and bits of news posted over the past few days (and I promise they aren’t all Fantagraphics-related). Time to share!

Just to get the Fantagraphics stuff out of the way, here are a few choice links: First of all, The Comics Journal has now published all four parts of Matt Thorn’s 2005 interview with Moto Hagio online (previously only available in print or on Matt Thorn’s blog). Click for parts one, two, three, and four.

While we’re at TCJ, you should also check out Shaenon Garrity’s recent post about Moto Hagio, I also like her creepy vampire kids. Meanwhile, Deb Aoki interviews Fantagraphics’ president Gary Groth at

One last piece of related info: Regarding all the press floating around about Shimura Takako’s Wandering Son, I was very gently informed by a transgender reader that the description of the series’ main characters that has appeared in nearly every release, “a boy who wants to be a girl” and “a girl who wants to be a boy,” would be much more respectfully phrased, “a transgender girl and transgender boy.” I’ve updated my own coverage to reflect this information, but I also said I’d try to help spread the word more widely over the manga blogosphere. So bloggers, if you’re reading, take note! I was grateful to be told and I thought others might be too.

Now to prove that I actually have cared about other things this week!

First, Manga Critic Kate Dacey posts a thoughtful (and admirably civil) response to this maddening review of Scott Pilgrim, If You’re Going to Hate on Manga…, laying out a set of genuinely helpful tips for western journalists who are interested in speaking intelligently about manga whether they enjoy the medium or not. Personally, I think everyone who sees this should read her post, including manga fans, some of whom (me included) may be guilty of similar sins when discussing western comics. If you follow one link in this entire post, let it be that one.

Next, Jason Thompson, another of my favorite voices in the manga blogosphere, has two great articles out this week: To Protect and Kill: Morality in Action Manga at io9 (title self-explanatory) and The Other Love that Dare Not Speak its Name at comiXology, which discusses the prevalence of incest as a theme in manga. Both offer the kind of expertise and thoughtful insight I’ve come to take for granted from Jason. (Thanks to Brigid Alverson for the links!)

A couple of newsy tidbits: Shonen Sunday is featuring an interview with mangaka Yuu Watase in which she discusses her new shonen series, Arata: The Legend. (Read the first nine chapters now for free at Also, Chris Beveridge at has the scoop on the planned manga section at Apple’s upcoming eBook store, as well as some thoughts on the future of digital distribution in general.

Lastly, Deb Aoki shared a link to this delightful post on Twitter earlier today, The Surprising Old-School Secret to Blogging Success from Sonia Simone at Copyblogger. The post offers up a radical suggestion to bloggers looking for new success in social networking. It’s a must-read for all of us!

That’s it for my lunch hour. Hope you enjoy yours!

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  1. I actually found that article on incest in manga a little lacking in expertise and research. The author mentions a couple of high profile titles but doesn’t bother explaining them in any way. Specifically Fruits Basket and Vampire Knight, which don’t have real incest in them.
    The author also listed both titles as examples of things LESS likely to be published than more graphic sexual content…which didn’t make sense, unless I read that part wrong. I mean this part here:
    “In fact, incest may be even less acceptable than more obviously unrealistic sexual fantasies. American publishers are more likely to publish X-rated stories of vampire rape and tentacle sex, like Urotsukidoji and Dark Horse’s Devil, than they are PG-13 stories of incest in the style of Marmalade Boy, Vampire Knight and Fruits Basket.”
    I understand the author doesn’t mean those titles specifically (duh), but titles with similar themes. But that doesn’t make it any less nonsensical an argument, especially since those are top selling titles.

    On Furuba: No one shacks up with parents, siblings, or cousins belonging to direct aunts/uncles. You could argue that simply because they’re all in the same family it’s automatically incest. But that family is HUGE. They do point out that they try to keep the blood in the family a bit but…. It’s a bit of a wide berth. “Incest” in the most direct sense, is first cousins and closer. When you go beyond that, it’s less of an issue. Less enough anyway to not be listed as an example. Not alongside titles like Please Twins or Black Lagoon, anyway.

    On Vampire Knight: They’re not siblings. They’re related about as much as Aragorn and Arwen are related (Aragorn is a descendant of Elrond’s brother, and Arwen is, of course, Elrond’s daughter). Kaname is something like…a re-awakened ancient vampire, who yes, is in the same bloodline…but pretty far back (if you go back far enough, LOTS of people are related). He’s adopted by Yuki’s parents, and they’re raised as brother and sister. Maybe that’s enough to qualify as “incest,” I don’t know.

    That’s just me being really nitpicky though, as the article on the whole is nicely informative.

    • I think if you read Jason’s article carefully, he *does* explain, referring to Vampire Knight specifically as “endogamous” and making clear that the Japanese fascination with incest fantasy frequently means simply allusions to incest or relationships that suggest incest (which is how I feel about Fruits Basket). After all, stepsiblings (as in Marmalade Boy), who aren’t related by blood at all, are one of the most common themes. I think he’s deliberately using the term “incest” more broadly in the article and makes that clear from the beginning.

      • Oh, then I misread it or read it too quickly, then. :) My mistake!

      • I have to agree with Kris. A glance at any western fanfic site or a certain erotic literature site shows that there’s plenty of ero interest for incest in the west for as many examples of otherness one can dredge up.

        Both of the Thompson articles you linked seem to bring up all of these tangentially connected cherry-picked comparisons that support the title, but never really come to any real point. They’re hard to argue for their lack of any real presence.

        • I totally disagree, but I really don’t feel like arguing about it.

          • I wasn’t really trying to stir up an argument, but if that’s how you choose to disregard my comments, fair enough.

            • I’m really not disregarding your comments. I just disagree. I don’t know what else to say about it without getting into a lengthy debate.

              • Right, I’ll have to keep that in mind.

                • You know, I really appreciate you as a thoughtful reader and participant in the greater conversation of the manga blogosphere. People like you are why I blog. But I’m not in a position to defend someone else’s articles, especially when they are written by someone who knows a lot more than I do.

                  If you, Kris, or anyone has a real issue with Jason Thompson’s knowledge, research, or assumptions, it seems like you’d get a lot more out of it talking about it with him instead of me. My level of knowledge and experience when it comes to manga is truly miniscule compared to his. I can defend what *I* thought about the articles and the fact that I enjoyed them, but I’d be idiotic to try to go any further than that. It’s out of my league.

                  If my initial response seemed short, I apologize. I’ve had a very difficult week on several fronts and had confronted some nasty comments from obvious trolls just before reading yours, which found me in a weary, emotionally vulnerable state. But seriously, I don’t know what to say at this point.

                  • Sorry, Melinda. I really wasn’t trying to argue, I just have a bad habit of looking at article links in blog posts as, ‘Hey, look at this, what do you think of it?’ I think my way writing can also come off as a lot more confrontational than I at all intend, but I’m not really sure how to fix that.

                    Anyhow, I only meant to ‘keep in mind’ not to take something like that as personally as I did, but I realise, now, how that comment could be taken and apologise.

                    I hope you feel better soon! I didn’t mean to pile on the blahs.

                    • Hey, thanks for coming back and saying this. I was all angsty and tormented and you have healed me. :) And I don’t want you to feel that you’re not *allowed* to say what you think about a link that I post. Usually I’d be all about that. I think with the unexpected troll action going on, I just felt a bit beaten up.

                      Anyway, thank you for being such a generous reader. Seriously.

  2. Thanks for the link, Melinda, and for the link to Copyblogger. Copyblogger is such a great resource for writers, even for those of us who have a pretty good grasp on the difference between its and it’s (one my enduring internet peeves!).


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