Another week, another batch of new (and not so new) releases at Midtown Comics. Check out our picks below!
KATE: This week’s new arrival list looks a little wonky. It includes a large batch of Vertical titles that have already been released (e.g. both volumes of Apollo’s Song) as well as a smattering of Tokyopop manga that most of us never expected to see the light of day (e.g. the final volume of Hanako and the Terror of Allegory). Buried among the reprints and orphans, I spotted the third volume of Afterschool Charisma, one of my new guilty pleasure titles. The story focuses on an academy for gifted teens. But the students at St. Kleio’s are no ordinary high schoolers; each has been cloned from a famous historical figure (e.g. Marie Curie, Joan of Arc, Napoleon) and is being groomed for a life of public service. Though the first two volumes were a bit of a mess, see-sawing between suspense and wacky hijinks, the story finds its legs in volume three, offering a nifty, third-act plot twist that casts the entire cloning project in a new and sinister light. And really, what’s not to like about a manga that depicts Sigmund Freud as a petulant bishonen who likes to tease his classmates about their daddy issues?
MICHELLE: I’ve already spoken of my love for the seventh volume of 13th Boy in a recent Off the Shelf column, so while I definitely still recommend checking out that series, the item that most intrigues me this week is the first volume of another Yen Press series, The Betrayal Knows My Name. I don’t know much about it, other than it ran in Asuka and seems to be a supernatural story with BL flavor. Although this is the first shoujo release for Hotaru Odagiri in English, she has had some BL titles released here, like Time Lag and Invisible Boy. As an added bonus, Yen is releasing the series in 2-in-1 omnibus editions!
MJ: I too must praise 13th Boy, but of the items on this week’s list that are actually new, my attention is most drawn by the second volume of Jason Thompson and Victor Hao’s King of RPGs. It’s been a year and a half since Del Rey released the first volume of this OEL series and I’d actually begun to fear that it was all we’d ever see, so I was pretty thrilled to spot it on the list. I reviewed the first volume as a guest at About.com, and while I have to acknowledge its nerd-specific appeal, as the spouse of a serious gamer, it could not have delighted me more. To quote my bottom line, “With its endless stream of geeky jokes and wildly exaggerated gaming scenes that easily rival the most outrageous shounen sports manga, King of RPGs barely comes up for air as it races to the end of its intense first volume. Crafted with deep and obvious affection, this comic is a love letter to gamers and manga fans everywhere.” Volume two, bring it on!
DAVID: I feel ambivalent about my pick, but I feel ambivalent about all things Tokyopop. It’s wistful and strange to see their last few new arrivals. And it’s downright unnerving to realize I didn’t dodge the bullet fired by readers of my blog in a previous dubious manga poll. So my pick is Nanki Satou’s Maid Shokun which is about maids and is not Emma,, so I think my anxiety can be forgiven. On the other hand, Lillian Diaz-Przybyl did compare it favorably to Honey and Clover, so maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. By the one volume of the series that may ever be published in English. Ambivalence! Like, cubed!
So, readers, what looks good to you this week?