The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, "Which comic books should I be reading?" or, "I'm new to comics, what's a good place to start?" The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.
It's with these challenges in mind that we've created Best Comic Books Ever (This Week), an ongoing guide curated by the ComicsAlliance staff. This is where new comics readers and seasoned Wednesday shoppers alike can find our picks of the best books the medium has to offer.
Good news, manga fans who prefer Comixology over all other digital comics platforms: it's now easier to get your VIZ Media manga fix. This seems to be part of VIZ's ongoing dedication to diversifying the platforms their digital manga is available on, which leaders at the company reported as important over a year ago. As of this week, VIZ has added 650 volumes - over 65 total series - to the Comixology library. These titles are from those originally published by Shogakukan in Japan. This brings the grand total of VIZ offerings up on Comixology to 190 series and 1,100 volumes. Plus, to celebrate this occasion, there's a sale on a few VIZ bundles to get your collection started or to continue building your collection.
Every February, my thoughts turn to the world of romance comics, and every February, I am reminded that romance comics are a terrifying world of choking sobs and brutal heartbreak. But not this year, friends, for Cupid has landed his arrow soundly in my heart, and I am madly in love... with Kazune Kawahara and Aruko's My Love Story!!.
Not to be confused with the '60s comic of the same name (minus those crucial exclamation points), Kawahara and Aruko's amazing and hilarious romantic comedy manga tells the story of Takeo, a gigantic, super-ripped and reasonably terrifying high school student who falls in love constantly only to be turned down in favor of his beautiful pal Sunakawa, who seems to have very little interest in girls, or anything else for that matter, and how he finally found someone to like him back. And seriously, it might be the best romance story in comics.
Like a lot of kids who grew up in the '90s, I loved Nintendo's monthly magazine Nintendo Power with a passion, and one of my favorite things about it was reading the comic version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I loved that series largely because it made the weird adventure of the video game even weirder. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized the story was written and drawn by legendary manga creator Shotaro Ishinomori -- you know, the guy who created Kamen Rider and the Super Sentai franchise, among other things -- and realized just why it was so good.
Sadly, the story has been out of print for several years, but now it's coming back: Viz Media announced over Twitter today that they will publish a new collection of Ishinomori's Zelda comic, set for release on May 5.
Naoki Urasawa's Pluto is one of the best comics I've ever read, period. It's engaging on every level, doing the impossible by retelling the single most famous story from the single most famous manga creator of all time -- Astro Boy, by Osamu Tezuka -- as a murder mystery that has an incredible amount of tension and drama. On the rare occasion that anyone asks me for manga recommendations, Pluto is always at the top of my list.
That said, it's also the only Urasawa comic I've ever read. As much as I know that I should dive in for more, Monster and 20th Century Boys are two of the most prominent entries on the long list of comics that I'm sure are great but just haven't gotten around to.
When Viz announced last year that they were going to publish the complete Master Keaton, though, I decided not to let the opportunity pass me by again. After all, this was a book that sounded right up my alley; a world-traveling combination of Indiana Jones and MacGyver, and while it might not come as much of a surprise, I can assure you that the first volume is amazing.
I've never really been into Dragon Ball. I mean, look, yes, there was that brief period in high school where I was getting my one and only P.E. credit by taking a table-tennis class, and a friend of mine and I would kick off our shoes in the gym and claim that we had been using them to train in ten times Earth's gravity, but that was more down to being a couple of teenage goofballs than any particular love of the source material. I've seen the show, but I never bought a club shirt with Goku on it or anything, you know?
Even so, I was pretty curious about Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, a new manga from Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama. The only thing that was really holding me back was finding out that even though it was a self-contained story in one volume, it's tied into Dragon Ball, set in the same universe and serving as something of a prequel. I wasn't sure if I'd jump on, but then former CA contributor David Brothers offered to send me five bucks to cover the cost of the first volume if I didn't like it. It turns out that was a pretty safe bet, but I'm guessing he knew going in that it had a scene where a tiny spaceman punches out a monster shark.
The last twelve months offered comic book readers a wide variety of work ranging from the most crowd-pleasing superhero epics to the most idiosyncratic of indies, and the return of old favorites to the emergence of exciting new talent. It was a busy and productive year for the industry, and one we’re pleased to celebrate with what we’re certain will be an uncontroversial, unenumerated list of awards that will prompt only resounding agreement and unbroken fellowship amongst our readers in the comments below.
In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”
Cartoonist Corin Howell attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and graduated with a degree in Sequential Art. Also one of the first students of the Murphy Apprenticeship with the great Sean Murphy, she writes, draws, and colors her projects, which so far have included work for Viz and Oni, as well as work she's self-publishing.
This week's fun at San Diego's Comic-Con International isn't just about stuff you can buy. I mean, yes, that's kind of the entire point of the convention, but in addition to new and exclusive products, plenty of publishers are offering unique experiences to lure you into their booths, and Viz Media is going the extra mile. In addition to new books like the Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary hardcover and The Art of Princess Mononoke, they're giving attendees the chance to take photos with characters like Doraemon and Hello Kitty.
That's right: a photo op with Hello Kitty. If you see me crying with joy on the con floor, that's why. Check out the rest of the exclusives belo
If you weren't aware that Edge of Tomorrow -- the new Tom Cruise movie that opened in American cinemas last weekend -- was based on a Japanese illustrated novel (or "light novel"), it'd be pretty understandable. For one thing, the title is different. The 2004 book by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and illustrator Yoshitoshi ABe was called All You Need Is Kill. For another, the book -- as Japanese science fiction often does -- featured Japanese teenagers in the midst of a gruesome war for Earth's fate, rather than a caucasian actor in his early 50s.
Publishers of the original work, Viz Media is making a big effort to make sure you know the truth. The publisher is releasing a new manga adaptation of the novel for digital download June 17. The new version comes courtesy of Takeshi Obata, who you may know as the creator of the super-popular Death Note and Bakuman series.
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