Friday, December 20, 2013

Some More New Old Books

So, wow, been a little bit...  Sorry for the absence, life has come in the way as usual, but things are finally settling into a proper enough groove again, and I can get rid of any excuses and finally get to work on here.  In fact, I've been working on a few longer articles that keep tripping me up, and while the completion of them is important to me, I feel like a continued presence is just as important.

Yeah.  So, what have you guys been reading?  This has been a pretty good time for new releases, and even better for finding things that are new to me that have been around for ages, apparently.  This is also a great season for rereads for me, so it's been a blast the past couple months getting back into things I love and exploring things I didn't know I loved yet.  It feels like I haven't been without something to read in forever, and that's a pretty hard feeling to beat, so if you're looking for something to read, maybe this will help then, yeah?

First off (and only first off because of my excitement level), Viz released volume 2 of Sunny last month, and I couldn't be happier with the experience.  This will probably come as no surprise to anyone who has read this blog before, but I can think of very few other writers/artists working now that excite me as much as Taiyo Matsumoto.  His material is constantly fresh feeling, and there is no reason to believe that this kind of output won't continue until the end of his career (which is something I don't even wanna joke about).  Sunny again revolves around the lives of the children of Star Home, and if you haven't read my previous article on volume 1, make sure to check that out.  Volume 2 exhibits the same kind of wonderful storytelling that it's predecessor absolutely exuded, and Matsumoto again manages to both surprise and engage us in a story that is as sad as it is hopeful.  Although this is a couple years old, I am told, it's fourth installment was just released in Japan around the same time, so if nothing else, there are at least two more volumes of this beauty to look forward to, so long as sales stay up and Viz doesn't drop it like it had with Taiyo Matsumoto's No. 5.

Next up was Dark Horse's latest volume of the Manara Library Edition , the third and final of the Erotica series.  This was probably the most jam-packed volume yet, including Butterscotch, Gullivera (a personal favorite), Sexy Camera, Three Girls On The Internet, and Piercing, which was kind of a follow-up to Three Girls...  I don't know what else to say about Manara that I haven't said here before: his work is immaculate, and I have yet to find an example where I was let down.  Mt only real issue with this release, is although I understand this edition better shows off Manara's flawless linework, I still prefer some of these stories in color, and it would have been nice to see these get the same treatment as Indian Summer or Gaucho.

First released in 1989, Kyoko Okazaki's Pink was, I'm told, a pretty big deal, and I like to believe that that's true, since it was just weeks ago released in English by Vertical Inc.  I honestly know very little about the author or her works, but I was struck by the book's cover, so different looking than most of the manga releases I see come and go throughout the months that just don't interest me; the soft, yet stark colors and unconventional linework looked more at home on my shelf of European imports than the manga section of most US bookstores, though I will concede that Vertical has been doing a pretty decent job with it's choices, releasing the first ever English edition of Satoshi Kon's Kaikisen (here translated and titled Tropic Of The Sea) only months prior.  Though I guess technically still shojo manga, Pink is much more adult than many of it's contemporaries, and if the rest of her work is anything like Pink, then it's no wonder that she is considered one of the mothers of the josei manga genre.  Pink is a wonderful little story about love in the bubble economy, all in a light yet deliberate style, quickly summed up as a story about a girl who becomes a prostitute to feed her pet crocodile (say those words together, they feel similar, what with their syllabic structure!).  Read it, it will make your day!

In older releases, I just picked up, but haven't yet read, Jacques Tardi's The Arctic Marauder, which I really can't believe I missed!  I've talked about other Tardi books before, and I believe this story is supposed to take place within the same universe as Adèle Blanc-Sec, so I'm sure I have a lot to look forward to (it should be mentioned that I don't usually like to talk about things that I haven't fully explored, but I want to at least add this to my list of recent grabs, since I am such a fan of the previous work of Jacques Tardi).
Lastly, in my spare time between new purchases, I have been catching up with Lone Wolf & Cub volumes.  There were 28 in all of Dark Horse's previous editions, and it's always kind of nice knowing that I still have so much to read whenever I want, as the narrative rarely feels like it needs to be tackled in quick succession.  It is mentionable that Dark Horse has just begun a release of the material in larger omnibus editions, but really, any edition of this work suits me just fine.  As a casual read, it mostly ensures that on top of everything else recently, I shouldn't be without anything to read for quite some time.

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