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.
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.