Manga Bookshelf is a multi-blog network featuring discussion, news, and reviews of English-translated Japanese comics. In addition, our growing body of contributing writers provides coverage of topics such as anime adaptations, gaming, films, live-action dramas, online fandom, Korean manhwa, Chinese manhua and more. Beyond the main site, Manga Bookshelf’s network currently includes Kate Dacey’s The Manga Critic, Michelle Smith’s Soliloquy in Blue, Sean Gaffney’s A Case Suitable for Treatment, Ash Brown’s Experiments in Manga, and Anna Neatrour’s Manga Report. Click here to contact us.
Brigid Alverson has been reading comics since she was 4. After earning an MFA in printmaking, she headed to New York to become a famous artist but ended up working with words instead of pictures, first as a book editor and later as a newspaper reporter. She started MangaBlog to keep track of her daughters’ reading habits and now covers manga, comics and graphic novels as a freelancer for School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly Comics Week, Graphic Novel Reporter, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Robot 6. She also edits the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. Now settled in the outskirts of Boston, Brigid is married to a physicist and has two teenage daughters.
MJ has written about comics at Manga Bookshelf, PopCultureShock’s Manga Recon, and CBR’s Comics Should Be Good. They’ve also been spotted as a guest writer at MangaBlog, The Hooded Utilitarian, Comics Worth Reading, The Beat, and other websites, and as a guest on the podcasts Manga Out Loud and Fandomspotting. MJ’s columns at Manga Bookshelf have included Fanservice Friday, 3 Things Thursday, Off the Shelf (with Michelle Smith) and many more.
Ash Brown is a musician by training, a librarian by profession, a blogger by choice, and a manga addict by nature. Although he has been a voracious reader since childhood, it wasn’t until undergraduate school that he discovered comics and manga. Ash has been reviewing books online since 2005 but specifically started writing about manga, Japanese literature, and other vaguely related subjects at Experiments in Manga in 2010, later joining the Manga Bookshelf team in 2013. His tastes are extraordinarily eclectic and he enjoys reading material from all genres intended for any audience. His interest in Japanese culture and history is quite broad and includes art, music, language, and food among many other things. While he devotes much of his free time to reading and writing about manga, Ash also studies traditional Okinawan karate-do and kobujutsu in addition to performing in a taiko ensemble.
Katherine Dacey has been reviewing manga since 2006, when she joined PopCultureShock. Over the next two years, she worked with webmaster Jon Haehnle and fellow contributor Erin Finnegan to transform Erin’s “Manga Recon” concept from a bi-monthly column into a full-fledged website covering manga, anime, and Japanese pop culture. Kate’s resume also includes serving as a panelist at the American Library Association’s national conference, New York Comic-Con, and Wondercon; contributing to Chopsticks, a “comprehensive guide to Japanese culture in New York City”; and contributing to the School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog, where she wrote Good Manga for Kids, a column that focuses on manga for pre-teen readers.
Sean Gaffney has been reading manga since 1996, writing fanfiction in the manga and anime world since 1996, but only decided to start a manga blog in 2009. No one is quite sure why, as talking endlessly is one of his favorite things. He’s also written guest posts at Erica Friedman’s Okazu. His favorite manga things to discuss are shoujo with cheerful yet oblivious heroines, defending angry tsundere girls, and pretending he doesn’t ship. His favorite non-manga things to discuss are classic cartoons from the 1930s to 1960s, William Shakespeare (and other Elizabethan/Jacobean playwrights), and Frank Zappa. But really, he’ll happily talk about anything, even if he has to Google it first to pretend he knows all about it. He lives in Connecticut.
Anna Neatrour is a librarian with too much manga in her house. She started blogging at TangognaT in 2003 about libraries, books, manga, and comics. She created Manga Report to focus only on manga reviews in 2010. Anna is a member of the writing collective known as The Bureau Chiefs, authors of FakeAPStylebook and the book Write More Good. Anna contributed the Bringing the Drama column to Manga Bookshelf before joining the team in Nov 2012. When not reading, Anna can be found knitting or wrangling small children.
Michelle Smith has been writing reviews of books and comics (of various persuasions) at her blog Soliloquy in Blue since 2006. From 2008 to 2010, she wrote for PopCultureShock’s Manga Recon, serving as the Senior Manga Editor from 2009 onwards. She has also written for CBR’s Comics Should Be Good and participated in The NANA Project series of roundtables (along with Danielle Leigh and MJ) that are hosted there. After contributing to Manga Bookshelf for a year, she finally caved to peer pressure and officially joined the team in June 2011. Aside from reading, Michelle’s main passion is music (especially popular music produced between ’71 and ’74), though she also enjoys fountain pens, nail polish, genre television, and podcasts. She lives in Florida.
Travis Anderson (License This!) has been reading manga for almost twenty years, starting with the tragically small selection available in English in the early ’90s (Ranma 1/2! Oh My Goddess!) before discovering the wider world of Japanese-language manga and never looking back. Despite not reading manga in English himself, he wishes all his favorites would be released in English so more people could enjoy them.
Phillip Anthony (Adventures in the Key of Shoujo) is 30 years old and still not dead. After discovering anime in the mid 90’s, he kept up an on-again, off-again love affair with the medium until 2006 when he read an article in Newtype USA about something called a podcast. After that, his life never really got back on track. He now semi-podcasts about the anime and manga industry on his website. His work can also be found at Otaku News, where he attempts to not get fired from being a news reporter and reviewer. When he’s not crying over the latest VIZ drama manga, you can find him on Twitter discussing how awesome ARIA is, and why Masters Of The Universe might be the greatest 80’s movie ever. Phillip lives in Dublin, Ireland with his family.
Derek Bown (Weekly Shonen Jump Recaps) is a creative writing and editing student at Brigham Young University. He started watching anime back when Pokemon was first popular, moved on to Ranma 1/2 and One Piece, and eventually found his way to manga. He runs his own anime and manga review blog at Burning Lizard Studios, which he started back in 2009. He is a massive fantasy fan, and loves comedy and action manga the most. His knowledge of anything other than shounen manga is woefully inadequate, but he knows his way around pretty much any action fighter series worth reading. He also happens to be a closet romantic, but will deny any knowledge of shipping fandom if asked. His favorite manga are One Piece, One Piece, and One Piece.
Jaci Dahlvang (Subtitles & Sensibility) works for a community-based nonprofit organization by day and is an undercover librarian at heart. She was a film critic for her college paper junior year and never got over it, and now she writes about film at My Socks Are On Fire. She’ll watch everything from art films to goofy blockbusters, but she prefers anything in which ladies are allowed to be awesome. She spends far too much time on Twitter discussing all of these things plus knitting and coffee. The more movies she sees, the more she needs to see.
Angela Eastman (Comic Conversion) is a creative writing student at Lesley University, where she’s learning to write books for kids. She started reading manga in high school when she found Cardcaptor Sakura, and it’s all gone downhill from there. Angela is an unrepentant bookworm, and aside from graphic novels loves children’s stories, thick fantasy novels, classic literature and anything by Paulo Coelho. You can find more of Angela’s writing on the Graphic Novels/Comics section of Suite101.com, where she is the Topic Editor, and on her blog. You can also find her on Twitter.
Erica Friedman (Magazine no Mori) is the President and Founder of Yuricon & ALC Publishing. She is also President of Yurikon LLC, a social media promotion company focusing on small and “micro” niches. She writes the world’s oldest and most comprehensive blog on Yuri, shoujoai, girls’ love anime, manga and related media at Okazu. She writes about Social Media Marketing at SocialOptimized.
Sara K. (It Came From the Sinosphere) grew up in San Francisco, California, and currently lives in Taoyuan County, Taiwan. She has been reading comics ever since she could read anything at all. Her study of the Chinese language started in the fall of 2009. Her personal blog is The Notes Which Do Not Fit, though it does not contain much discussion of comics or Chinese. She leaves some autobiographical remarks at the end of all her posts for Manga Bookshelf.
Megan Purdy (Not By Manga Alone) Megan’s first ever comic was a Betty & Veronica Double Digest, a book she still reads lo these many years later. She runs the Women Write About Comics blog carnival, and reviews Toronto’s many comic book stores at Toronto Comics Review. She sporadically blogs about pop culture, critical theory, politics and science at TheWherefores, and is engaged in a guerilla war against time itself, to learn, and then tweet about, all of the things.
Emily Snodgrass (Bringing the Drama), known as MagicalEmi on Twitter, is an obsessive shoujo manga collector and owner of shoujo-manga.com. Korean dramas are her next love, and she has recently started work on Confrontational Coffee, a site where she has fun cataloging all the hilarious common kdrama plot devices that pop up.
Nancy Thistlethwaite (Bringing the Drama) is an editor who works on many popular shoujo manga series in North America. She has written feature articles and interviewed mangaka for the shoujo manga readership. After meeting her, Arina Tanemura made Nancy into a character in her Zettai Kakusei Tenshi Mistress ☆ Fortune manga. Nancy is currently learning the art of amigurumi and has various crocheted “bear bee” bits scattered across her living room floor. You can contact Nancy on twitter @nthistlethwaite.
Eva Volin (Bringing the Drama) is the Supervising Children’s Librarian for the Alameda (CA) Free Library. She served as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards in 2008, as chair of YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee in 2009-2010, and as a member of the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award committee. She currently serves on ALSC’s Notable Children’s Books committee. Eva reviews graphic novels for No Flying No Tights and Booklist.
Past Contributors & Special Guests
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Manga Bookshelf is particular when it comes to content and generally will approach potential contributors on its own. However, if you have an idea for a regular column or stand-alone article you think would be a great addition to the site, contact us with a brief summary of what you’d like to contribute and at least two examples of writing you’ve previously published online. Please allow up to four weeks for a response.