Monday, May 31, 2010

Vintage Manga

I have to admit I am behind on my vintage manga collecting. Black Jack is one thing I need to start collecting. I agree with the idea of vintage manga having better production values- the people who are in the market for vintage manga tend to be adults and will pay the extra few dollars for something nice. One way I want this new vintage manga surge to grow is in reissuing classics like Sailor Moon in omnibuses so that people who have grown up with manga can pass it on to their children. People buying things like that also have a little more money to spend than teenagers.

On a slightly unrelated note- I'm excited for this giant size Little Lulu. Little Lulu is a classic for a reason, and can be shared with children of all ages.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

A huge manga linkspolsion.

Should manga branch out to more mature books? I think so. Nobody can keep reading stories about teens who freak out about their first kiss forever.

Although by mature, I don't mean like this disguting Justice League comic. Look, kids! Comics, now with more sex and violence! isn't a good look. Sex and violence can be legitimate story telling devices, but you can't just slap it in. By the way, people complain about the price of manga, but $4 for 30 pages is a much worse deal than any manga I've seen.

This dude says nobody likes manga! I don't see any capes and tights in the hands of the middle schoolers today, dude. But the youth issue is important. Young people aren't used to paying for entertainment. You can have a hit that leaves you broke.

This lady talks about the issue of piracy, which folks tiptoe around, but it's a real issue. I also like how she didn't dismiss the fact that yes, teens like manga with girls and boys with superpowers. It's a perennial topic. The strength of manga is that it's full of variety-there are recurring themes- girls trapped in other worlds, shy high school romances, boys fighting against titanic forces, but within those boundaries you can create tons of different stories. You're not locked into 40 years of stories about Batman and his various foes or the Xmen. Every new series starts fresh, and has the opportunity to shine or fail on its own.

On the history of the manga boom and bust.

I also think this article about games also has resonance for manga fans. Although we don't have the divide between 'real' manly manga and 'fake' girly manga- it's a mystery that clicking frantically to get the crops in before time runs out isn't a real game but pushing A frantically to kill the zombies before your life runs out is.

The point about entitlement is important though- many of us forget that we are not entitled in any way shape or form to manga. It doesn't matter if we're broke, we spent all our money at the casino, or whatever.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

I admit it. I love emo

People complain about recent Final Fantasies being too emo. I laugh as if 99% of people were facing either the destruction of the world, the death of their mother or the fear of being turned into unfeeling unthinking monsters, we'd be howling for fucking mercy. The sad fact about human psychology is that we all believe that we'd never falter in a world spanning crisis, and we'd never be distracted from the pain of others with our own pain. Sadly, this isn't true at all.

I think even Snow's optimism is false. He has to tell himself these things to keep going. That's why I tend to find the sort of forced optimism pushed on us sort of depressing... To not be able to face the problem, to constantly tell yourself you're a hero... it doesn't bode well in my view.

I think some of the disdain for 'emo' characters is the idea that emotions are for girls, but that's bunk. Emotions are for everyone!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bookstores and CMX

These commentators are right that bookstores and libraries are the most important markets for manga. Even I an adult almost never set foot in a comics store. Bookstores are just so much more convenient- there's food, coffee, regular books, manga... So if I am taking a chance on a title I've never seen before, a book store is the first place I'll look. Libraries are also important for building a fanbase. Parents can check the books without risk, fans can check out new books, and there can be buzz created. Really, DC get your act together!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Man, folks are much better at writing than me

Manga Maniac's really covered my thoughts on the CMX issue. People say, why should it matter if there's one less manga company? Well, she covered most of it, but I'll tell you why variety is important. Variety is important because while most of us enjoy the Narutos and the Black Birds of the manga world, it's the smaller and more boutique titles that help broaden the fan base. Sure, there will be the fans who will ONLY buy Naruto, but many will branch out to other titles. They come for the Naruto, stay for the Full Metal Alchemist, and maybe they'll end up with Black Jack or Bunny Drop. When the younger fans mature, or branch out from the big titles, I want smaller, more niche titles waiting for them. I want the people who will be creating a renassiance in American comics to be able to access the most titles. Most titles don't really grow unless there's a push. Review copies sent to blogs can be the taste maker for a title, and being able to go to amazon and check out reviews or put your hand on a book is also important.

For manga to grow further, we can't just rely on fan translations. Fan translations of Naruto were probably out the first chapter, but when the anime hit TV, and the manga volumes hit the stores- then we saw a boom. We overstate the internet- what is popular there is less tiny webcomics than scans of Naruto, less original productions than videos of Jon Stewart, for something to grow an audience, people need to know it's there. Just by the dint of seeing something on the shelf, it's easier to check it out than in the scramble of titles on a scanlation site. I would have never found Usagi Drop[OK,. Bunny Drop] if it hadn't been liscenced. I hadn't heard about it before, but suddenly, there was buzz- that's the power of a publisher.

BTW: Screw DC


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Consumerist Discovers Casual Gaming

Wow! A new trend on bigfish games that is annoying me is collectors editions of downloadable games. I understand that getting people to pay 19.99 for some wallpaper and a strategy guide included with the game instead of the ultra discount 6.99, but I wonder who falls for that? You could get FAQs for these games for free. Of coure, I don't understand hidden object games either. I need a little faster pace. OK, a much faster pace.

I find in casual games I find graphics pretty important. I prefer games with bright cartoony graphics, and avoid games that look like they just discovered polygons...

I don't like Virtual Villagers [top left]graphics for example- things don't look smooth- there's too jagged for me. I do like My Tribe[bottom left] graphics. Amazing lush production values aren't needed for casual gaming, but graphics that don't distract from the game's goal are.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

A New Tumblr...

devoted to the best of Spike from Templar Arizona on twitter. BTW: Blackness IS a cultural identity, but it's deeper and wider than media blackness. It's Lena Horne, it's Stew, it's Nalo Hopkinson, it's my brother playing his punk music, it's gospel music, it's Audre Lorde. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater- the culture of blackness is too big,too rich, and has too much to offer everyone to be discarded.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Viz lays off tons of folks. I'm hoping it doesn't drop titles like Crimson Hero which you often can't even find in Borders. I had hoped that hits like One Piece, Naruto, and even Black Bird would help keep Viz afloat, but the recession is insane. I know I am certainly going to have to cut back on books, and many younger readers parents won't let them take on extra books either.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I don't get it

I have now learned that sports gamers pay $60 every year for what is basically the same game over and over. I have fond memories of the old NBA Jam, but I wouldn't want to buy a game that is exactly the same.

I also don't get ebooks. I don't want to curl up to a machine in bed, and I don't want things to disappear on the whim of some company.

I do get why physical movie rental stores are closing although I don't think theaters will go away. Now I prefer watching movies at home- although I would rather watch on my tv than a computer- but many people will actually sell out $15 to watch a movie on a big screen. Those crazy people probably are more attracted to the experience of going out and eating overpriced foodstuffs than the newness of the movie.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Why I don't read superhero comics

Even though indie comics don't have much better racial politics[my new obsession ,Scott Pilgrim, is very white], we don't get endless retreads. Scott Pilgrim will not reappear with dubious updates in 2020, Palomar will not become a small town in Arizona, etc, etc. I think comics are best when they are one linear story. I don't care about 40 years of tradition. I want things to move forward. I read the stories of the past in the past, and now I want new stories. Part of new stories is embracing the real world that we live in now. A world full of many different cultures and identities. A world where women realize that if they are an E cup, they need a little more support. I don't want people of color characters that say "In my Latin culture, we eat tacos!", but I also don't want an all white cast with one brown face who acts like a white person dipped in chocolate. Discrimination, culture, geography, history- all of these would have formed the person's character and how they react to life.

Instead of generics, I want writers to breathe life into their characters. We're Americans. We have a big country filled with cultures and traditions. Use that! Use that, and people will respond.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Today in Kinky Bondage Porn

Black Bird vol 4 improves slightly. Misao still spends too much time mooning over Kyo. I still don't really see the attraction. Yes, he's a hawt guy who protects her but during their normal moments, he mostly spends his time sexually harassing her. However, she decides that if she really wants to join a society of inhuman and violent demons, she might as well gain some strength and try to protect Kyo and be his partner. Misao also makes a friend beyond the inadequately fleshed out friends she has in school, and it is revealed that Kyo in fact did do something besides obsess about Misao for ten years. There's a sword fight, and a shocking swerve at the end, which of course confuses me. This isn't the Edo period, and really, what, is Kyo's sperm going to melt the condom or something?

I did like that the problems of marrying someone who isn't human and lives in an entirely different society full of brutal deaths isn't glossed over by lurve.



Here are some rules on reviewing which I probably will not follow. I especially reserve the right to say that Pantyshot Manga A is best read by horny boys, and Kinky Torture Porn Manga B might definitely make your inner feminist cringe.

Here on this blog, you'll get what you pay for. So onto the reviewing! This month's Afterschool Charisma had some nice romantic development, very few wacky hijinks, and the scene at the end, for all its unnecessary nudity, really drives home the message about clones being desperate to overcome their fate. Of course, fridge logic makes me think this is all pretty silly-if your identical twin broke his leg, would you be worried about breaking yours too? The anti clone sentiment also confuses me- we only get a little bit of what the shadowy anti clone conspiracy is planning and of course, no explanation of what the owners of a clone school have against clones, and why they look down on them. Of course since we only really have the perspective of an ordinary high school student, answers will be extremely slow in coming.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Extreme Pet Peevage

I've been reading Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series, and I have to say- PLEASE mix up your counterpart cultures. Don't just take the 'cool' parts of a culture, like kimonos and stuff, and then plop it down into your fantastic world wit centaurs and stormwings. For example, why in a world full of magic, ogres and ballisks is there a culture almost the same as Japan, down to extreme linguistic similarity, anyway? Be creative. Make up your own culture, or at least mix parts of different cultures- do people who live in the mountains really need to wear kimono? How did the influence of the pirates or the Easterners filter into their society? Really, folks!

Gaming Complaint Corner
This isn't a new philosophy on pirating- it's the same ol' 'we wouldn't have bought it anyway' argument. I don't have tons of income. Right now I don't really have any. Yet somehow I am able to suck it up, using coupons, the library, netflix, big fish games' game clubs, and ebay to satisfy my entertainment needs. I even manage to support Templar Arizona, one of my favorite webcomics by buying book versions. Why? for the sake of those who might stumble unto something in a bookstore, or find a new world on netflix. For all we crow about the internet, a lot of folks are getting their first taste on adult swim. You can't search for something you don't know exists.

Those kids who are now enjoying anime brought over here to make money will be our new generation. They'll be drawing the Scott Pilgrim of the future. They might even expand the range of manga and anime brought to the US. It was paying fan demand that brought Suppli back. The votes of people who free ride don't count.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

I rolled my eyes

at this comic. Because it's giggly femme gamers leading the push to define casual game as not 'real' gaming. They might not see themselves as gamers, but the idea of gaming as only Halo and Grand Theft Auto, with a little Smash Brothers thrown in has not been pushed by most female gamers of any stripe.


Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Death of Anime and Casual Game Pet Peeves

O The Death of Anime

Will bangzoom stop dubbing anime?

The death of anime.

I have to admit that I rent anime[although netflix is short waiting half my anime list] and buy manga. The problem for producers of anime is to separate people who have legitimate complaints from people who will download no matter what. Some people torrent SigIkki stuff, which is FREE ONLINE. So you have to market to people who actually will buy. For example, I buy manga because I like the dead tree experience. I'm willing to pay a little extra for color pages, and with prices, I am comparing to the cost of books so manga does not seem too expensive- a mass market paperback book is 6.99 at least, and most books I find at Borders are at least $15. Compare me to the sort of person who wants a terabyte of the newest stuff whether he actually reads it or not, and you'll see who companies should market to.

Casual Game Pet Peeves

I hate it when you can choose say...the gender and hair color of your character but not the skin color. Really folks? That's an easy tweak.

I also hate it when even if they have males of darker hues[see Gemini Lost], there's no females of darker hues. What's up with that?

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