Wednesday, February 14, 2007

3 MINOR DETAILS...

  • The most exciting news first: Evan and I are flying out to attend NEW YORK COMIC CON!


    This was a last minute decision, but despite the potential FEET of snow and frigid temperatures, we've decided to take a trip to visit our buddy at Columbia, hang out with friends from Vertical, meet Stephen King (!), and eat pommes frites & sing karaoke. YES!

    Is anyone else attending the con? We're mostly hoping to score new and/or free comics, meet Jeff Smith (this time in America), Wes Craven, Public Enemy, Jim Steranko, and hopefully chat with David Kalat.

    Let us know if you'll be around-- we'll be there all-day Saturday, probably hanging out at Vertical or Giant Robot's booths during down time.

  • After looking at their schedule for upcoming horror comics, I decided to start a a thread on the Dark Horse manga message board.



    I applaud DH for releasing so many good horror titles, but wanted to bitch about the increasingly frustrating pattern in which they abandon a series at the Volume 3 mark, leaving the rest of the books in limbo (Most notably, Museum of Terror, School Zone and Scary Book...)! The text of my initial post is here:

    Hi Dark Horse,

    I'm an avid reader of comics, and my tastes run the entire gamut from american mainsteam and indie comics to european graphic novels to all things manga. I've met a few people from Dark Horse/DH at book fairs over the past year, and with my good friend, run the underground manga site Same Hat (samehat.blogspot.com)

    I'm a huge fan of what you've been doing lately in horror manga, and we noticed a real upswing in the quality of your books and the titles you were licensing in 06 and into 07. I've talked extensively about your great work on Museum of Terror, Octopus Girl, Lullabies from Hell, and most recenly Mail & Kurosagi on our site:

    http://samehat.blogspot.com/2006/10/trans-europe-express-2-dar_116184320429170570.html

    THAT SAID, we've been really sad to notice that MANY of your horror manga titles are only making it to volume 3 before they get killed/discontinued or left off the schedule. Right now, I know that School Zone, Scary Book, Octopus Girl, Musuem of Terror, Mail and Kurosagi have only been scheduled through volumes 3, with further issues nowhere on the schedule.

    This is a major bummer as a reader. I assume this is a mix of sales figures not meeting expectations and a slew of other reasons, but it's turning into a really bad trend that leaves us readers frustrated.

    Having read some of these titles in Japanese, I know that series like Museum of Terror, Scary Book and others go much longer--- Museum of Terror has 15 total volumes, I believe. Can you please let us, as the rabid fans who pick up your books each week, know what is going on with these? More transparency please on this issue. Also, as much as I do applaud you licensing titles like these, it will be for naught if Dark Horse ends up pulling the Miramax route of grabbing something good and not releasing it, keeping it away from readers indefinitely .

    I know that sales are what really matter, but other companies like Tokyopop and ADV seem to be making their books work and fulfilling their committment by publishing the entire series of Dragon Head & Cromartie. Not sure about Dragon Head, but I know from ADV folks that Cromartie's sales for Vol. 3 were not strong compared the best-selling manga titles (naruto, etc) but they've decided to stand by the title because they believe in it (and there is a dedicated group of fans that feel the same and think VERY highly of them for putting out Cromartie).

    Readers of our blog were so delighted by your pulishing of Museum of Terror (especially when you consider how poorly ComicsOne originally handled the series), but we want to know... what's next for these series that you've left in limbo? I am very excited for more good news and good books from you guys

    Appreciatively,
    Ryan


    A lively debate is starting up (with our friend Tina and others) and hopefully someone from DH will reply soon to give some explanations and let us know what to expect in coming months. Head over and take part in the conversation!


  • Thanks to the readers that have written us recently! We've gotten a few extremely generous and nice emails from readers all over the globe-- cool folks with equally twisted, equally peculiar tastes. Thanks for reading Pedro, Radek & everyone else we've heard from!

9 comments:

mark said...

I would like to see more 'Museum of Terror', i enjoyed the third but the 'Scary Book' series is awful...same goes for his 'Orochi: Blood'..i will never read a 'Kazuo Umezu' ever again.
abysmal

Jones, one of the Jones boys said...

Wait, what, Scary Book isn't supposed to end at vol. 3? No wonder I thought that "ending" sucked.

ryan & evan said...

Mark: haha, actually i do agree with you about Scary Book (and Orochi:Blood, actually). I haven't gotten Scary Book 3 yet since I wasn't really feeling #1 and #2 yet.

In Orochi:Blood's defense, it's actually like volume 6 (or something) that they released as a one-shot called Orochi:Blood, so that is a bit of an explanation why it was so weird and didn't make sense.

That said, I do still think Umezu deserves all the praise and talk he gets, because of his stories Drifting Classroom, Left Hand of God/Right Hand of the Devil and Thirteen. Sadly, only the first one (Drifting Classroom) is being released in English so far, but it's utterly upsetting and one of the most effective and intriguing long-form horror comics coming out right now. (On top of that, our friend Jason edited it, and did an excellent job on the book). Left Hand of God & Thirteen are only available (at the moment) to Japanese speakers, but the stories more than cement Umezu's place as godfather of horror manga. Hopefully everyone will get the chance to read them someday soon!

Jones, one of the Jones boys said...

Oh shit, my comment above should have read "School Zone", not "Scary Book".

Drifting Classroom is indeed excellent, much better than what we've seen of Scary Book. This may be why we're not seeing more volumes of Scary Book--the material seemed sort of random, plus it's not the creator's strongest work. To anyone unfamiliar with the context of Umezu's other work, it looks pretty weak.

Same problem with Museum of Terror. That first volume in particular is very early, very weak stuff that's barely coherent at points--yet we all know that Ito's other work is great.

PS: you have to try the parmesan and peppercorn sauce with yr frites!

ryan & evan said...

jones: thanks for the update-- yeah, i've heard other people say similar things about Schoole Zone #3.

Ah, I think I might be in the minority here, (from what you and people on the dark horse thread have said) but I think the art for TOMIE and Flesh-Colored Horror is really really awesome. I would definitely agree that the art in Uzumaki is BETTER and more technically developed, but I find the early Tomie art's simplicity and starkness incredibly awesome. He has an innate skill at drawing captivating but troubling girls :)

-ryan

spork said...

Ugh. No wonder I haven't seen anything about Museum of Terror 4. MoT3 was a bit weak IMO but I'm still looking forward to the rest of the Museum of Terrors.

Chris Mautner said...

I'll be at the con on Friday. I'll definitely keep an eye out for you guys.

Connie said...

I LOVE Museum of Terror, and it had just finished up with everything that had been done in the older ComicsOne compilations. The Viz announcement about his other titles was good news, so I hope that facilitates the release of at least more of that series. I also really like Scary Books, but I'll agree it's not nearly as good as Museum of Terror. I think MoT will also only get better as it goes, it starts at the beginning of his career and it seems to only get better as it goes (I tended to like the short stories in volume 3 more than the old Tomie stories).

I also really liked Octopus Girl despite the fact I know it's not very good, but it would be a real shame if they didn't release more of that one considering it's only 4 volumes long. That's why I thought that the books were maybe delayed, because I couldn't believe they wouldn't release one more volume of the series to finish it off despite how poorly it might be doing.

School Zone is complete at three volumes, and I concur about its suckiness.

bryan reynolds said...

er..
http://www.samehat.blogpsot.com/
any body get any thing weird from that link?