I Can Has My Cat Loki?


Recently over at Anime News Network, artist Bettina Kurkoski was featured in their The Gallery column.  I read this, as I like Bettina’s work.  I really enjoyed her OEL manga, My Cat Loki, buying the volumes after reading the first volume on line.  Yes, I like it that much.  In the article was of course links to Bettina’s home page and Deviant Art page.  Of course I had to check those out.  In the updates of the Deviant Art page at the time, Bettina was asking about KA-BLAM, a printer that specializes in comic books.  She is doing this so her fans can finally get the rest of My Cat Loki.


I think this is so awesome, that Bettina is looking for ways to finish My Cat Loki for the fans.  Even though Tokyopop is giving some fans a chance to read the end of their favorite titles with their Wednesday online comics, it’s even cooler when the creator does this.  She’s already put out some MCL works with sketchbooks for sale at cons (that I can’t go to), but seeing this title complete would be the best.  It’s such a wonderful and touching story that it really deserves a proper ending.  It’s too bad that Tokyopop didn’t give it the time and attention it deserved.

I do hope the final volume of My Cat Loki sees the light of day somehow.  Bettina has at least one guaranteed sale right here.

Browser Manga

I found this link while searching for an item for my This Week in Manga column.  I was looking for manga subscription services, when I came upon a link for an extension to Firefox that watches OneManga for new updates of manga.  Now, I’m not endorsing either this extension or OneManga.  Instead, I want to suggest that manga publishers, such as Viz and Tokyopop, who put up online manga chapters, maybe look at doing something similar.

I have a hard time keeping up with the online manga, often forgetting about them until someone on twitter mentions one went up.  Having something in the browser that could check and tell me when a new chapter is out, AND what the last chapter I read was would be sooooo awesome! I sometimes spend more time trying to figure out where I left off as I do reading the actual chapters.  It would make a great promotional tool if it was made into a Shonen Sunday or Ikki toolbar and could be used in more browsers.

And since scanlators are always “borrowing” from publishers, I think some turn around is fair play.

Let Your Earthlight Shine

Earthlight 3If you’ve been following Tokyopop’s Boys of Summer online releases, you’ll notice there hasn’t been an update for a couple of weeks.  No, I don’t know why.  All Tokyopop has said is that it “won’t be back up for several weeks.” What I want to bring attention to though is the title they’ve moved up to fill in.  Earthlight.  This wasn’t supposed to be going up until January 2010, but now it’s been pushed up to this Wednesday, October 21.  So, if you’re one of those rare sci-fi manga fans, and had given up on this series (like a friend of mine), take heart!  You’ll finally get the finish of your series!

This Week in Manga 10/10-10/16/09

Inside Scanlation

ComiPress, one of the first manga new reporting sites is hanging up it’s news hat and has moved over to a more timely topic:  Scanlations.  There has been a lot of talk about scanlations, especially since the economy took a dive, but do you really understand what scanlations are or how they came to be?  Inside Scanlation seeks to answers these questions and more.  The site looks at the history of scanlations, interviews scanlators and publishers for their takes and even explains some of the nuances of the community.  I think this is an interesting project.  And while people don’t agree with what the scanlators do, I think it’s worth the time to find out why they do it.  It’s the anthropologist in me.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 10/10-10/16/09

Manga in the Pub

I was listening to the Doctor Who podcast Podshock, and the hosts were talking with a con organizer about some informal one night get-togethers he organized to build up interest in the con.  They featured a guest of some sort and were held in a pub-like setting, allowing the guest and fans close and informal interactions.  And I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if manga publishers did something like this?

I’m not going to suggest doing this with Japanese guest, but for the creators here in the US.  Writers and artists of OEL manga as well as the editors, translators, and more out spoken personalities of manga publishing could be potential guests for these events.  Right now, most of these people are just names on a book or a press release, and a few show up at cons, accessible only at panels.  How cool would it be to be able to just sit down, have a drink (alcoholic or non) and just talk (or listen) to these people?  Ask them questions and hear inside stories about the production of our favorite titles, I think that would be totally cool!

By their very nature these gatherings would be small and limited, but that’s the point.  More can be said in intimate settings, and people tend to open up more.  And I think some of these people that work so hard behind the scenes deserve the recognition.  It could also help to engage fans with each other, and by giving them a real life glance into all that goes into making the manga they read, maybe get them appreciate it just a little more.

Wish Granted: Natsume’s Book of Friends

A quick glance through the manga solicitations for this month revealed a title I’ve been waiting quite a while for.  I first learned about this series when I heard about the anime.  The first series ran in 2008 in Japan, and went 13 episodes.  The premise and the picture of a fat, rolly-polly cat on the series’ promotional art got me interested.

Continue reading Wish Granted: Natsume’s Book of Friends

Trading Manga for Scanlations?

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy manga trading.  It’s a great way to try out a series or find volumes of older titles.  I’ve been fairly active on Mangatude and usually check for new trades every week or so.  While doing my usual check this week, there was a trade offer titled “Manga series on cd many rare ones.”  Yeah, scanlations.  This didn’t really feel right.  When I go looking to trade, I’m looking for same to same.  It might seem like a great deal, to get a bunch of different manga for one print volume, but it seems to violate the spirit of the site.

Anyone can go out and find scanlations, download them, and burn them to a CD.  It’s not the same as going out, finding and buying a manga volume.  Getting a CD full of titles doesn’t seem to have same value.  It becomes a bunch of  files that can get tossed to the wayside.  Because no work went into getting them, there’s no real value in reading them.  With trading, there’s the offer and counter trade, sometimes working out, sometimes taking more work, so even a trade that ends just costing the amount in postage has more worth.  And physical copies stare back at you, demanding you read them.  They aren’t hidden away on a disc of in a file folder to be forgotten.  I really hope this doesn’t become a trading trend.

This Week in Manga 10/3-10/9/09

One Piece in BIG Bites?

Found via Twitter.  @swanjun found these entries for One Piece at Simon and Schuster.  At 600 pgs each, and combining three volumes a piece, they sure do sound like VizBIG editions, even if the solicitations don’t actually say so.  With the speed up of One Piece coming in January, this is the perfect time for Viz to put out BIG editions of the series.  Catching up is a lot easier with the BIG editions than trying to hunt down individual volumes, especially for a series that has been going since 2003.  One Piece premiered with Shonen Jump.  However, a look at the Previews solicitations makes these appear to be bundles rather than BIG editions.  Previews calls them “GN sets” and advertise “get three volumes for the price of two.”  Either way, it’s a good deal.  The first two scheduled for Dec and Jan releases, with 7-9 scheduled for March 2010, and 10-12 for May 2010.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 10/3-10/9/09

Let The System Work

dragon-ball-1I have mixed feelings about this. Dragon Ball is being reviewed for it’s content in a Maryland school district because a 9-year-old checked it out of a elementary and middle school library. I think people are oversensitive in general and especially towards manga.  I’ll agree that Dragon Ball doesn’t really belong in the hands of a fourth grader, but I think it’s fine for a middle school student.

The first Dragon Ball series is a comedy that does contain some sexual innuendo.  The first volume does have a few questionable scenes, but I wouldn’t go so far and the Councilman from Wicomico did to describe them.  I might be able to see the “sexual innuendo between an adult and child”, with Master Roshi wanting to seen Bulma’s panties, but there is in no way anything sexual between Goku and Bulma.  Bulma is more like a big sister to Goku.  And Goku is too dense to get any kind of innuendo.

So I can see a parent getting upset at their 9-year-old bringing it home to read. So that doesn’t bother me so much.  What does is the way it was presented.  The mother of the offending 9-year-old didn’t go to the school library to complain or challenge the book, and let the school’s review committee take over the matter as it is designed to.  Nooooo, she asked to be anonymous and went to her Councilman and let him publicly decry the book with the moral indignation that only a politician can.  And the Principal, who just happened to be at the meeting for another matter, jumped in to say the book would be removed ASAP.

Why was this necessary?  Books are challenged all the time.  Why did this particular book have to get the attention of a Councilman and be publicized at a County meeting?  Does the mother and Councilman not trust the system put in place by the school to review offending books? Review committees were created to handle these issues.  They are there to make sure the whole community is served, and not just a small, vocal minority.  Let the system do it’s job.

Review: The History of the West Wing


The History of the West Wing
Written by: Sun Jiayu; Illustrated by Guo Guo
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $12.99
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Lavishly illustrated in full color and based on the classic Chinese play Xixiang Ji by Wang Shifu, The History of the West Wings tells of the illicit romance between the daughter of a Chinese Government Official and the roaming scholar who seeks to win her hand.  But before he can turn his attentions to his ladylove, the young man must win the heart of her mother! When it seems even heroic deeds in the face of murderous bandits will not please the strict matriarch, the young man goes off to become a civil servant.  Will he return in time to marry his true love?

With a description like that, you’d expect a story filled with drama and romance.  Too bad this book provides doesn’t live up to it.  It opens with an introduction that explains the history of XiXiang Ji and its significance to Chinese culture and literature.  It is a play written in the 1200’s and is based on an earlier fable that tells of the romantic setbacks of a girl that gives herself to a roaming student.  A character in the story, the girl’s servant, Hong Nianging, worked so hard to get the two together, that her name came to mean “matchmaker” in Chinese culture.  Reading the story after this buildup is a real let down.

Continue reading Review: The History of the West Wing

Refining Age Ratings

This was brought up as a comment on twitter, but was also something I’d been thinking about.  Books rated All Ages aren’t necessarily meant for All Ages to read.  This really hit me as I was reading ChocoMimi, an all ages title in the Viz Kids line.  While there is nothing objectionable, or violent in the the title, it definitely wasn’t something I would chose to read as a 40-year-old.  On the flip side, Project X: Challengers: Seven Eleven is also rated all ages, for not having any objectionable material or violence, but wasn’t something anyone under the age of 20 would really care about reading.

Continue reading Refining Age Ratings

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