Graphic Novels & Manga

I’ve been less than impressed with the world of comic books lately. It seems pretty much to revolve around short run “events” that “promise to change the (insert your own comic universe here) FOREVER!” Sigh…

So I’ve been trying out graphic novels and manga. Sort of a mixed bag here and I’m looking for some advice.

I don’t remember which of the blogs recommended them, but I tried out Monster by Naoki Urasawa and The Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezu, Monster faired better with story and more literate translation, but I tried #8 in the series to start, and maybe that was a mistake. Still neither really floated my boat.

However I’ve been completely blown away by Brian Fie’s Mom’s Cancer and Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese. Both wonderful wonderful books that left me hoping there’s more out there like them. But where are they?

I know Bechdel’s Fun Home is supposed to be fantastic, and Blankets is on my list, but anyone got any other titles to suggest?

And where’s the really interesting manga? What am I missing and where might I start?

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9 thoughts on “Graphic Novels & Manga”

  1. Jim Salicrup once told me to go the bookstore. Buy what looks good to you.

    The first manga I liked was the first book in the popular NANA series. It's for girls, but it works fine and there is some good art in it. I liked DRIFTING CLASSROOM, particularly the first book. I've gotten a lot of help from fellow cartoonist Rod McKie, who has shared his manga with me. I'm thankful to him for his knowledge and guidance.

    I also check out the links at Journalista!, which covers a lot of manga news and has links to a lot of manga I can review online.

    The publisher Tokyopop has an extensive site with lots of previews as well.

  2. OK, Heath, you were right about the Marvel Zombies, so I just ordered Cooke's "The New Frontier."

    As far as manga goes รขโ‚ฌโ€œ I dunno, maybe the wide-eyed spiky hair motion line thing just sin't my style.

  3. Cooke doesn't do Manga. But I was trying to lure Mark back to the fold of traditional comics.

    The New Frontier has a sequel, which is even better. And he has also done some Cat Woman books. I wish I could remember the name of the one I read last month. It was dark, cruel, fun.

    And I haven't seen the individual issues, but his Spirit work is due out in a few months (I think) as a collection.

  4. Check out Osamu Tezuka's stunning 8 volume "Buddha" . Yeah, that Buddha…sounds weird, I know, but it is amazing!

  5. Naoki Urasawa's "Monster" is really good. One of the few (translated) manga series I've been following recently. But you really gotta start with volume one and proceed from there. Otherwise, it doesn't make any sense. But it's worth it. His visual narrative skills are one of the best (be it manga or comics or whatever).

    Another (limited) series that I like is Taiyo Matusmoto's "Tekkon Kinkreet" (also known as "Black & White"). His drawing style is very different from most manga. Viz is about to publish a "complete edition" in a few months.

    And, about graphic novels, I just love everything from Daniel Clowes. "20th Century Eightball", "Ghost World", "David Boring" and "Ice Haven" are simply amazing.

    Well, I think that's a good start. ๐Ÿ˜€

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