Bookmark this! Morgana Santilli, a.k.a. The Manga Maven, recently launched her own website, a place where she posts book reviews and reflections on the state of manga retail. Her latest article focuses on the 2018 Eisner nominations, which she aptly characterizes as “appealing to people who can’t figure out manga.” Though the nominees “are all very deserving,” she argues that the Eisner committee favors books that are “high-brow” or “packaged as prestige books, many from publishers that don’t deal exclusively with manga” over titles that appeal to manga readers. From her point of view — as someone who manages a comic book store — this bias presents a unique problem: she can’t convert an Eisner nod into sales, even for historically important or truly deserving artists:
My quarrel is that the Eisner committee continually ignores what the manga-reading community cares most about, and it tries to frame the more “worthy” manga as being literary, or by a creator who is so far removed from what the majority of readers are enjoying. Jiro Taniguchi is great, but he’s dead now, and his work is almost impossible for me to sell to the kids coming in for the latest volume of My Hero Academia. There is an implication here that manga is only worthwhile if it meets certain criteria; it’s much the same attitude that people who insist on a difference between “comics” and “graphic novels” have. It’s pretension.
She also points out that female creators have been largely overlooked this year, with only Moto Hagio’s Otherworld Barbara getting a nod from the judges — an astonishing oversight, considering the phenomenal success of Nagata Kabi’s My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, a rare example of a manga that made bank and garnered praise from critics around the web.
COMICS AND MANGA LINKS
Manga lovers aren’t the only ones who are disappointed in this year’s Eisner nominees. C.P. Hoffman argues that it’s time for the Eisners to recognize that the comics journalism landscape has changed dramatically in the internet era, and make some meaningful changes to the way the category is conceptualized. “It’s not that the nominees are bad,” she observes, noting that each has “a history of publishing excellent work.” The problem, as she sees it, is that “the nominees all represented a single strain of comics writing, a strain that all-too-often has been presented as the only legitimate, the only serious comics criticism.” [Women Write About Comics]
Jason Guerrisano interviews Robert Rodriguez (director) and Jon Landau (producer) about their forthcoming adaptation of Battle Angel Alita, which arrives in movie theaters just before Christmas. [Business Insider]
Looking for a little flair for a favorite jacket or purse? Visit Etsy, where Zack Davisson has teamed up with Lili Chin and Linda Lombardi to create a stylin’ line of enamel yokai pins. [Yokai Parade]
Brigid Alverson sifts through May’s new manga, declaring The Bride Was a Boy and Golosseum among the month’s most promising debuts. [B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog]
The March 2018 NPD Bookscan numbers are in, and VIZ’s Shonen Jump is king — at least at bookstores around the country. My Hero Academia, One-Punch Man, Tokyo Ghoul, and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations all posted strong sales in March, as did perennial favorites such as The Legend of Zelda. Only two other publishers were represented in the top twenty: Seven Seas, with volume 13 of Monster Masume, and Kodansha Comics, with volume 2 of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. [ICv2]
Psssst… Saturday is Free Comic Book Day 2018. NPR’s Glen Wheldon has posted a hilarious and helpful guide to all the giveaways, from Sparks to My Hero Academia. As an added bonus, he’s organized his list by rating, making it easier for parents to steer younger readers towards age-appropriate content. [Monkey See]