Tag Archives: Drawn and Quarterly

The Birth of Kitaro

Our hero Kitaro inherits all the super powers of his people, and with this greedy frenemy (mostly) on his side, and some help from his father, Kitaro packs a wallop that few yokai are strong enough to survive. Will Kitaro’s inhuman strength and whip-like hair be enough to stop these powerful yokai from spreading evil across Japan? We shall see!

Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro: The Birth of Kitaro
By Shigeru Mizuki; Translated by Zack Davisson
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: Supernatural
Price: $12.95

I enjoyed the first Kitaro compilation Drawn & Quarterly released back in 2014, so I has happy to hear that they had licensed more of the series. This first volume doesn’t disappoint as it features stories from its first two years of serialization.

Continue reading The Birth of Kitaro

Eisner Win for Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa Manga

Showa 1939-44On Friday, July 10, 2015, the Wil Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced during San Diego Comic Con. Five titles and six volumes were announced in the Best US Edition of International Material – Asia, essentially the manga category, but only one title could win. The award went to Drawn and Quarterly’s release of Showa 1939-1944 A History of Japan and Showa 1945-1953: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki.

The title faced some tough competition as it went up against Viz Media’s All You Need is Kill, One-Punch Man, and Master Keaton, Vertical’s In Clothes Called Fat, and Yen Press’ Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki. The volumes of Showa that were nominated and won covered Japan’s history from World War II to the aftermath and Occupation. The series was nominated last year for both an Eisner and a Harvey, for the first volume, 1926-1939.

I haven’t had a chance to read any of these volumes yet. My love of history has them on my want list, but my wallet has told me to wait. I must admit I was hoping Master Keaton would win. I do love that series so much, and the first volume was a great showcase for who Keaton is and what he does. But I certainly can’t fault the awards committee for picking not just the title, but both volumes. It portrays a dramatic time in Japan’s history and shows that history doesn’t have to be boring.

 

Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro Returns with 7 More Volumes

kitaro_coverssmBack in 2013, Drawn and Quarterly introduced Western readers to Kitaro, a yokai boy who grew up in a grave yard and is the last of the Ghost Clan. Kitaro is the creation of Shigeru Mizuki, the mangaka who is credited with the yokai boom that started back in the 1960s. The 400+ volume was a collection of some of Kitaro’s best stories and was named as one of YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2014.

Drawn Quarterly has now announced that they will be releasing 7 more volumes of Kitaro, and packaging them in more “kid-friendly” size and price. Kitaro follows the adventures of an inhuman boy who straddles the line between the world of the living and the supernatural. He helps both humans and yokai, who are troubled by either other humans and yokai. The first volume announced is “The Birth of Kitaro”, and features stories about Kitaro’s origins, introduces popular recurring character Neko Musume, a girl who turns into a cat when she is hungry or angry, as well as drawing heavily on Japanese folklore. Kitaro will have to take on legendary yokai like Nopperabo and Makura Gaeshi, as well as recurring villain Gyuki.

The first volume will be out in March 2016, with successive new volumes coming out in the spring and fall through 2018. The other six titles have been announced as:

  • Kitaro Meets Nurarihyon
  • The Great Tanuki War
  • Kitaro’s Strange Adventures
  • Kitaro the Vampire Slayer
  • Kitaro’s Yokai Battles
  • Trial of Kitaro

Each volume will be about 150 pages and will retain for $12.95. It appears each volume will be a collection, collecting similar stories to create a theme. The stories will all be translated by Zack Davisson, who also translated the first volume, and who is a big avocate for Kitaro and Shigeru Mizuki. Critics have wondered why Drawn and Quarterly would release more Kitaro after the first volume didn’t sell as well, but the first volume was designed for older fans and collectors that can afford a higher price point for a thicker volume. By making the books smaller and at a lower price point, it can attract younger fans who have been discovering yokai their other manga like Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan and Black Bird, and may be looking for similar titles. And you know it’s not just teens that will be picking up these books. Older fans have been clamoring for more Kitaro, and finally their wish has been granted.

Manga at the Eisners: Nominees

eisner_awardsThis week the Wil Eisner Comic Industry Awards panel of judges announced their nominees this week. Manga essentially gets its own category in the US Edition of International Material – Asia. The category was created to keep manga from dominating the US Edition of International Material category. Five titles and six volumes received nods.

AllYouNeedIsKill_Omni01_CatalogAll You Need Is Kill has been getting a lot of attention this year. It is from Viz Media and was one of the 8 manga titles to make the YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list this year. It is an adaptation of the Japanese sci-fi novel what was also the basis of the Hollywood film Edge of Tomorrow. Keiji Kiriya is a new recruit thrown into a suit of battle armor called a jacket and sent to fight the invading alien race, the Mimics. He dies on the battle field only to be revived every day to relieve the day and die again. On his 158th return, he is contacted by another soldier, known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she his friend or foe. The art is by Takeshi Obata, a popular artist here in the US. With the art and story being so well-known, it probably has a good chance of winning.

In Clothes Called FatIn Clothes Called Fat from Vertical Comics. It is about Noko, a young woman with a good job and loving boyfriend. Beneath this seemingly happy veneer, Noko is struggling with issues of self-image and self-confidence as she fights to keep her weight down. A gain of a mere 5 pounds can send Noko miles away from happiness in her love life and work place. This single volume story was created by Moyoco Anno, who is well-known name in Japanese women comics. This title is closer in spirit to many US indie comics with its searing look at women with self-image problems. It also has a good chance of with Eisner voters.

MasterKeaton-GN01-3DMaster Keaton Vol 1 is another title from Viz Media. It follows the adventures of half-Japanese, half-English insurance investigator Taichi Hiraga-Keaton. Keaton is a man of many talents. He graduated from Cambridge with a degree in archaeology, joined the British SAS for several years, and now teaches at a Japanese college. He uses his many talents and experience to investigate insurance claims and help people along the way. I loved this volume of Master Keaton, both for the problems Keaton takes on and for the Cold War era feel of the manga. I don’t know how well this title will go over with voters. It’s by Naoki Urasawa, who has been nominated several times and even one once. Either way, it’s got my vote!

One Punch Man 01One Punch Man is the third Viz Media title to be nominated. It is about Saitama, a superhero who is so strong, he can knock out most villains with just a single punch. He trained so hard to hone his skills that he lost all his hair, but now, he is so strong, he can’t find a worthy opponent, and fears he will be doomed to superhero boredom.  This is a digital only title and has a lot of human. It was the start of the superhero boom that Viz seems to have going on right now. This title is rather light and filled with plenty of human, at least at the beginning. Being a more tradition superhero comic Eisner voters may favor it.

Showa 1939-44Showa 1939-1944 A History of Japan and Showa 1944-1953: A History of Japan are two  separate titles in the same series from Drawn and Quarterly. They are an auto biographical and historical account of Japan by creator Shigeru Mizuki. These two volumes cover the Japan of World War II and the subsequent occupation afterward. On a personal level, it shows Mizuki’s struggles with the strict disciple of the Japanese officers on the island of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea and whether or not to return to Japan after the war to follow his dream of becoming a cartoonist despite losing an arm. The first volume in this series was nominated last year, but didn’t win. The story in these two volumes are no doubt more compelling as it deals with the devastation of war and its aftermath. Maybe this year will be its lucky year.

Hosoda_WolfChildren_HC_V1Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki is published by Yen Press and was also on the YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. It is based on the animated movie of the same name. Hana is a young woman who falls in love with a man who is part wolf. They start a family with two children, but Hana’s husband is tragically killed, leaving Hana as a single mother to raise her two children who stand on the fine line between man and beast. This is a story that is both heartwarming and melancholy as it shows the exploration of identity and balancing being from multiple cultures. Eisner voters will find a lot to love here.

The winners will be announced Friday, July 10 during the San Diego Comic-Con at a gala ceremony.