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.
Good news for people who like keeping their digital comics in one easily accessible location: Today, Comixology announced that its going to be distributing digital comics from Viz Media, the publisher of a truly massive library of manga titles. Viz manga will now be available through the Comixology site, meaning that the comics can be downloaded to the popular (if controversially scaled back) Comixology app for Android and iOS devices, joining... well, pretty much every publisher on the block and keeping Comixology as a central destination for folks who want to buy digital comics.
The announcement is accompanied by the release of over 500 volumes of manga on Comixology today, including ComicsAlliance favorites like One Piece and One Punch Man, as well as a somewhat obscure title called Dragon Ball.
Though Kodansha will remain the publisher of Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon manga, Viz Media announced last Friday that they've licensed effectively all of its anime adaptation, including the never-before-released-in-America Sailor Moon Sailor Stars seriesand the franchise's upcoming anime reboot, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal. Episodes will be available to watch on Viz's Neon Alley streaming service and Hulu beginning today, with additional content added every Monday. It's true; scouts honor.
This April Viz Media will follow up 2009's Starting Point: 1979-1996, its initial batch of essays, interviews, memoirs and illustrations chronicling the career of manga creator and animation film director Hayao Miyazaki,with Turning Point: 1997-2008. While the first book followed Miyazaki's early life and career well into the founding of Studio Ghibli, many North American fans will be most familiar with the time period this new 400 page hardcover given that it covers the creation of award-winning films like Spirited Away, The Cat Returns, Howl's Moving Castle, Tales From Earthsea and Ponyo.
Listen, I realize that I'm a little late to the party when it comes to Echiro Oda's One Piece. It's literally the best-selling manga of all time, but I've only just gotten into it over the past few months, on the recommendation of former CA writer David Brothers. I was hooked right away -- the book's signature mix of action, character, slapstick comedy and insanely over-the-top violence was fantastic right from the start, blending in a way that I find completely irresistible.
Then I got to volume 10, and the characters arrived in Arlong Park for a single fight scene that literally lasted for over 250 pages. And as someone who loves fight comics, I can say pretty confidently that it is quite possibly the best fight scene I have ever seen in comics. Not in manga, in all of comics. And believe me, I've seen a lot of 'em.
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