Friday, January 11, 2008

WHAT I'M READING



Since the holidays (and partially due to having less free time lately), I have amassed a big reading list of comics and manga. Here's the stuff I'm working on getting through right now:

+ 20TH CENTURY BOYS Vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa (Shogakukan)

Viz apparently has an agreement with Urasawa to wait on publishing this series until Monster has been completed. I couldn't wait for that, so I started reading it in Japanese this past week. It's dense and deftly scripted, and even within the first few chapters the dread has started building. I'm dying to see what happens over the course of the 20+ volumes. link


+ THE DRIPS by Taylor McKimens (PictureBox)

I'm not so much reading this book, as trying to decipher McKimens' melted popsicle stew of amorphous podunks. Another visually impressive and sortof experimental title from PictureBox. link


+ PLASTIC GIRL by Usamaru Furuya (河出書房新社)

For our anniversary, I received Plastic Girl and Palepoli from my GF. Along with Lychee Hikari Club (which I borrowed from Mangacast's Ed), these two books have helped cement my belief that Furuya is the most creative dude currently working in Japan. Each page of Plastic Girl is painted/drawn/sculpted out of a different medium, each like a more ambitious Sandman cover by Dave McKean. It's gonna take a while to fully digest this one. link


+ NANA Vol. 2-8 by Ai Yazawa (Viz)

I'm a loser for not keeping up with Nana. I've borrowed all 8 volumes from my GF and getting heavily engrossed in the twisting lives of the two Nana's. I ain't afraid to admit I'm already heavily emotionally invested in this one. So damn good. link


+ PRESENTS Vol. 2 by Kanako Inuki (CMX)

More twisted retribution tales from horror manga queen Inuki. Like Volume 1, there's not much in terms of complexity or surprises, but each tale is brief, funny and violent, all with a morally jagged twist. I'm loving this short series. link


+ BAPTISM Vol. 3 by Kazuo Umezu (Shogakukan)

Just when you thought Umezu couldn't get any better. I'm reading his entire Baptism series now (had the books sent over to the Kinokuniya in SF) and it's probably my favorite thing by him. Fucked up brain transplants, Elektra complex done deadly, and statutory romance. It's everything horror manga should aspire to do (and more!) link


+ WEBCOMICS by Kate Beaton

I'd never heard of Kate's webcomics, but thanks to comics212 for recommending her. Recent gems include tales of hanging out with family back home for the holidays, and historical pope comics! Plus her line work reminds me of Hellen Jo (if she was a white Canadian girl)! Check out the archives! link


+ DRUNKARD CONDO SYNDROME by Shintaro Kago (Scanlation by Anonymous K)

I've been reading over the newest scanlation by Anonymous K-- wrong address sexcapades and improper couplings. You guys will love it. Check back on Sunday to read it!


Also trying to get through non-comics:
+ Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times by Miriam Silverberg
+ The Portable Atheist, edited by Christopher Hitchens
+ The Book of Other People, edited by Zadie Smith

So, what are you reading? Any recommendations?

20 comments:

Efendi said...

seriously, all Urasawa's are a must !

brilliant piece of work ! i guarantee you 20th CB won't be disappointing !

you have made the right choice :D

slide said...

Baptism Of Blood is excellent.
I read them all in one sitting, couldn't get enough.

Kyoufu is also quite fun if you haven't checked it out already, though you may like Noroi no Yakata more.

I haven't had much time to keep up to date with newer stuff but I'm thinking of getting hold of some GeGeGe no Kitaro and seeing how that is in manga form.

I've heard good things about 20th Century Boys. Apparantly there's supposed to be some sort of sequel to it though I'm not sure if that's accurate.

By the way, if you need some of the other Kago manga, just mail me and I'll send them over.
orangesandme at gmail dott com

Jars said...

hey hi! i really love your commentary . i just thought i should tell you that her name is Kate Beaton (with a T), not "Beacon" as you have written. keep up the good work! thank you

Ryan said...

@efendi! Thanks, I can't wait! I am saving Pluto for when I have more time to devote to it, and can read it properly.

Ryan said...

@slide: I've basically done the same thing, but volume by volume. I read all of Volume 1 on my couch in one sitting, then Volume 2 during my flight home for xmas, and am planning to plow through book 3 this weekend.

I've read one gegege no kitaro manga, and also an art book too-- but I could definitely be down for more. Let me know if you have any recommendations. Also, did you know that they made a live action adaptation, and are already planning a sequel!

Oh yeah, it's not so much a sequel but a epilogue/final coda type 2-part ending to the series called 21st Century Boys. Although I read it may or may not be an ACTUAL ending as the publisher/Urasawa weren't clear about that.

Thanks for the Kago offer-- I'm all set for the stuff of his that I like.

New Kago stuff on Sunday :)

Ryan said...

@jars: Hey, glad to hear that you are digging my dorky posts :)

Whoops, my mistake! I fixed the post! Kate = great.

Anonymous K said...

It's too bad that from volume 16 onwards 20th CB takes a huge dips and basically sucks, betraying all expectations everyone had for it.

Anonymous K said...

also, every kago you could find on the net was done either by Caterpillar or by me, so be sure to cite your sources :)

slide said...

The only real recommendation I could give you that you might appreciate would be Kishiwada-Hakase no Kagakuteki Aijou by Tony Takezaki.
It certainly seems like the type of thing you might like. If you haven't already read it.

I remember reading it and being so amused and wowed by the style and pace of it (it's different from his other stuff). It's really funny and Kago fans would probably enjoy it. Or at least aspects of it.

I've been reading more Go Nagai stuff too, especially Getter Robo G (although I'm not exactly...a fan of mecha) after my brother forced me to watch some old episodes again.
But yeah, I guess you can't go wrong with a bit of Go.

I'll have to come back to you with some more interesting recommendations as I can't think of anything all that interesting right now.
Try some Beck in the meantime.

I read about the new GeGeGe no Kitaro movie and I can't wait for it :D, though I'm not quite sure why. Sequels rarely if ever come through.

I'm still indesisive about whether to get Presents by Kanako Inuki. I've got a few of her manga, but I've only read one volume of School Zone which left me torn about whether I should bother picking up the other stuff. I _really_ like her art (which is why I was so excited and got a few of her books) but her stories - from what I've seen so far - are somewhat lame.

Though I'm gonna be getting Plastic Girl now thanks to your post :).
It looks awesome.

Oh, and I hope you enjoy the last book of Baptism. It's a tie between Left Hand of God, Right Hand of the Devil for my favourite Umezu story.

Be sure to look into Kishiwada-Hakase no Kagakuteki Aijou.

slide said...

Oh, and thanks to Anonymous K and Caterpillar of course for their Kago love =).

Sorry for posting again.

Adam said...

Yeah, Plastic Girl is brilliant. Equally good, if less formally experimental, is Garden, a collection of short stories and novellas.

The mangaka I'd put at the top of my list, though, is Shiriagari Kotobuki. His Jacaranda, which got some attention a few months ago, is excellent. Even better is Yaji Kita in Deep, which is the best fantasy comics series I've ever read. Technically it's a sequel, but it can be read totally independently of its predecessor. I also highly recommend his A*su.

I'd also recommend Milk Closet, if you can find it (it was out of print the last time I checked). It's by the same guy who did Alien Nine, but even weirder. And also Minami's Girlfriend by Shungicu Uchida.

bizarrejapan said...

I just ordered: Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times by Miriam Silverberg

thnx for pointing out to this one!

ryan said...

@slide & adam:
Thanks for the recommendations (and for the reviews Adam!).

I'm definitely added all these to my list, with an eye on Jacaranda and the Tony Takezaki one first :)

There's always more to read, derrrrrr.

oh yeah, Presents isn't anything amazing, but it's very decent if you go in not expecting more than your standard EC Tales From the Crypt style of story. Comeuppance theatre, someone called it :) I love her art, which makes everything easier--- I can see where Toru Yamazaki gets it from.

ps: i've still never talked to Caterpillar, but he's the one who originally got Anonymous K in touch with us. Caterpillar, feel free to email me if you see this shit.

ryan said...

@bizarrejapan: Oh yeah, tell me what you think about it! It's (obviously) pretty academic, but I'm getting through it slowly but surely.

Really awesome stuff, especially after reading Full-Metal Apache and other like, JAPAN = CYBERPUNK type stuff.

bizarrejapan said...

"It's (obviously) pretty academic,"

I expect nothing less! :)
Think I'll get it in a few days. I'll let you know what I think about it when I'm finished with it. thank you again.

bizarrejapan said...

Btw, I don't know if you're familiar with Eros In Hell - it's an old book, but still one of my favorites, considering amount of information (it was written long before lots of ero guro and J-Horror stuff was even translated/subtitled in the west).
Good stuff, if you missed it.

http://www.amazon.com/Eros-Hell-Japanese-Creation-Collection/dp/1871592933

Ryan said...

@bizarre: Oh yeah-- I don't have a copy anymore, but I remember seeing that book. I remember thinking it was basically everything I was interested in, all in one book, when I saw it!

Whatever happened to creation? They seem to never put anything out anymore.

bizarrejapan said...

they are alive and well, just check out the new titles:

http://www.creationbooks.com/frameset.asp?p=nf-cinema.html

Anonymous said...

When might I expect to see DrunkardD Condo Syndrome by Shintaro Kago? You mentioned something about Sunday, but Sunday has come and gone.

Ryan said...

Check the site now--- DCS is up for your reading pleasure :)