As you all know, the manga blogosphere exploded yesterday with the news that Fantagraphics is launching a new manga line, edited and curated by Matt Thorn. Thorn is widely acknowledged as the west’s leading authority on shojo manga, particularly the works of The Year 24 Group/Magnificent ’49ers, very little of which has ever been translated into English.
For shojo fans (and indeed serious manga fans as a whole) this announcement is beyond exciting, a fact plainly demonstrated by the massive outpouring of joy between manga bloggers and fans yesterday afternoon on Twitter. Many have expressed speechlessness over the news. At The Manga Curmudgeon, David Welsh is keeping a running list of blog reactions and official news.
In the wake of the initial announcement, both Fantagraphics and Matt Thorn have come forward with further details, including a list of stories chosen by Thorn for the new line’s first offering, Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, as well as the collection’s cover art. They also announced that Hagio will be a guest at this year’s Comic-Con International.
Here is the rundown of stories for the Hagio collection as listed by Matt Thorn in his blog:
- “Bianca” (1970, 16 pages)
- “Girl on Porch with Puppy” (1971, 12 pages)
- “Autumn Journey” (1971, 24 pages)
- “Marié, Ten Years Later” (1977, 16 pages)
- “A Drunken Dream” (1980, 21 pages)
- “Hanshin” (1984, 16 pages)
- “Angel Mimic” (1984, 50 pages)
- “Iguana Girl” (1991, 50 pages)
- “The Child Who Comes Home” (1998, 24 pages)
- “The Willow Tree” (2007, 20 pages)
Just as exciting is the announcement of the second project in Fantagraphics’ new lineup, Shimura Takako’s Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko in Japanese), a multi-volume series that follows the lives of two childhood friends–Nitori, a transgender girl, and Takatsuki, a transgender boy–as they struggle with puberty and gender identity in modern-day Japan.
Originally serialized in seinen magazine Comic Beam (home of Emma and Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu), Wandering Son was recommended by the Japan Media Arts Festival in 2006.
Few manga series focusing genuinely on LGBT issues (by which I mean not crazy gender-switch comedies or exploitative sexual fantasy) have been released in English by anyone (insert appreciation for ALC Publishing here), so this license is remarkable in a number of ways. Kudos to Fantagraphics for taking the risk on a multi-volume series, in particular.
It is worth noting that the acquisition of Wandering Son is unexpected in the context of Fantagraphics’ main announcement as well, since it is not a Shogakukan property, which provides some insight on the potential scope of their plans.
For the latest news, keep an eye on David’s links. For extended giddiness, I recommend Twitter. ETA: Additional commentary from Dirk Deppey here.
Travis saysMarch 10, 2010 at 4:28 am
I have seen summaries like this of Hourou Musuko in almost all the announcements about its licensing, but would you mind editing it to use the names Nitorin and Takatsuki instead of Shuichi and Yoshino, as those are their preferred names in the series, as well as to say they are a transgender girl and transgender boy, respectively, rather than “a boy who wants to be a girl” and “a girl who wants to be a boy”.
Yes, they are just characters, not real people, so they can’t be hurt or offended, but by being respectful towards them you are being respctful towards actual trans people who may be reading. I have found it really disheartening how this manga has been discussed in every announcement, and while I don’t want to get into it with possibly hostile strangers, I figured I could at least ask you to consider rewording.
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 10, 2010 at 8:19 am
Sure, I’ll be happy to edit. I certainly would not have written up the series as I did if I realized it was disrespectful to do so. I used their given names because everything I found online referred to them in that way, and of course I can’t read Japanese so I’ve never read the series. I’m sure everyone is referring to the same info for their coverage. Probably they would not react badly to a request for rewording (though of course I can’t guarantee that).
Travis saysMarch 10, 2010 at 8:31 am
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 10, 2010 at 8:30 am
In fact, maybe I’ll just try to let some people know. That way it’s not up to you to deal with whatever their reactions are. I’m sure they’d want to know if they are being disrespectful. I know I was grateful you told *me*.
Travis saysMarch 10, 2010 at 8:36 am
Thank you. :)
If people are all getting their info from the same source(s) without being familiar with the manga, then it makes sense why I’ve seen that wording so many times.
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 10, 2010 at 8:40 am
Yes, I’m sure that’s the case. I think even people who knew about the series before the announcement (and I know many of them did) still only knew about it via summaries and hearsay, as opposed to having read it. They pretty much all only read English-translated manga. I’m embarrassed to say I got most of my info from reading the wikipedia entry.