In this sensitive masterpiece from Japan's most prominent creator of LGBT manga, Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. Shimura portrays their journey with affection, sensitivity and humor.
We know lots of you are really champing at the bit for this one — here's your first look at the final cover artwork! In the meantime, the Hourou Musuko anime series is currently broadcasting in Japan, and you can catch up on episodes at CrunchyRoll.
• Review: "Like WWI itself, it's difficult to summarize It Was the War of the Trenches — each moment and story is precise and poignant and devastating, and they add up to far more than the sum of their parts, but they add up as a mosaic does, with each shard forming a point of color that only makes sense from a distant perspective. [...] Tardi is one of the giants of world comics, and this is one of his strongest works, a rare combination of ability, ambition, and subject. ...It Was the War of the Trenches is immediate and moving and deeply involving from page to page, showing once again the power that comics has to both illuminate dark corners of the world and to turn them into a compelling narrative accessible to nearly everyone." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Feature: At The SF Site: Nexus Graphica, Rick Klaw dubs Jacques Tardi "the Martin Scorsese of European comics" and runs down his reactions to all of our recent English reprints of Tardi's work: "Before my discovery of the French artist Jacques Tardi, how did I enjoy comics?"
• Interview (Audio): Guests Jean Schulz, Nat Gertler (The Peanuts Collection) and Kevin Fagan (Drabble) discuss the legacy of Charles M. Schulz on yesterday's episode of Southern California Public Radio's AirTalk (via Spurge)
Via AICN Anime comes word that the anime adaptation of Shimura Takako's Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko) which debuts on Japanese television on January 13 will be available on the web from anime streaming site Crunchyroll in the United States and other countries. See Crunchyroll's announcement with more information here; their series page is here; and our previous post with a YouTube trailer is here.
Yeah, we're great, and our books are late. Why, what did you think the headline meant?
Anyway, a new year is upon and it's time to 'fess up about all the late Fantagraphics titles you were expecting to have by now, and don't, because we suck. Specific apologia and weaseling have been added to some titles, others we just pass under mortified silence. 2011 will be better!
The following have been rescheduled: • THE ANTIC CARTOON ART OF T.S. SULLIANT will be reformatted, rethought, re-solicited, and released in early 2012 • FORLORN FUNNIES VOLUME 1 by Paul Hornschemeier will be released in the Summer of 2011 • THE HIDDEN by Richard Sala will be re-solicited and released in July 2011 • HOW TO READ NANCY will be re-solicited and released in 2012 in a vastly expanded version from what we first expected • IS THAT ALL THERE IS? (né MODERN SWARTE, originally announced for 2007) in late Fall 2011: Yes, Joost has turned in all the files and publishers in three countries are synchronizing their watches! • NANCY IS HAPPY will be released in late 2011: It turns out that there was more production work than we anticipated to make the book as perfect as humanly possible.) • POGO VOLUME 1 will be released in the Fall of 2011 - yes, seriously, for real this time
Shimura Takako's manga Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko), which we are publishing in English starting next year, is being adapted for Japanese television, with the first episode debuting on January 13 on Fuji TV's late-night noitaminA programming slot. At the show's official website you can watch a series of three trailers (one, two, three) — I found a fansubbed version of the second one on YouTube which I've embedded here. It looks like a beautifully produced show.
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions. Today's reviews come directly or indirectly via Hans Rickheit:
• Review: "Simmons’ artwork [in House] masterfully cranks up the tension and tightens the suspense as the ill-fated explorers descend into the building’s subterranean depths; as his characters enter the house, his dark frames thicken, becoming the walls of the house. The comic is wordless, but the characters have no trouble expressing themselves as they go from the heights of youthful elation to sheer terror as the house swallows them whole." – Ao Meng, The Daily Texan
• Review: "As both an anthology and as a survey of the times, [Four Color] Fear is incredibly successful, with nary a dud in the whole bunch. Each fun story offers its own brand of chill, thrills and maniacal laughter. [...] But the real disquieting aspect of these comics were probably not intended as such — chauvinistic behavior is rampant among the men, and women are portrayed as either damsels in distress or cold-hearted femme-fatales. These are artifacts of a simpler age." – Ao Meng, The Daily Texan
• Review: "The Squirrel Machine is not for the faint of heart, and features quite disturbing and grotesque imagery — H. R. Giger has nothing on Rickheit’s psychosexual nightmares. [...] Existing on the crossroad of creativity and madness, The Squirrel Machine is a nightmare in a series of gristly tableaus. The psychedelic rooms full of machinery, sex and death are an inward exploration as much as Jim Woodring’s ('Frank') comics are outwardly allegorical. An exploration of an artist’s mind, it uncovers the obscene, the things that were never meant to be brought to light." – Ao Meng, The Daily Texan
• Review: "Blimey, [The Squirrel Machine] is a weird one. Imagine a steampunk version of the last ten minutes of Eraserhead. [...] Its design and tone is indebted to Little Nemo in Slumberland, although far more disturbing. [...] The book is full of strange scenes which accurately convey the claustrophobic atmosphere and slight off-ness of a powerful dream. In no way is it fluffy around the edges. The detail is unflinching, with a refreshing lack of explanation... Is it all a dream? Who can tell?" – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick
• Review: "Another excellent debut graphic novel, another webcomic-printed-as-book, another beautiful Fantagraphics book-as-object, and another rollicking seafaring adventure. [...] What distinguishes [Set to Sea] from a merely average graphic novel is the excellent pacing, the thoughtfulness of the (unnamed) protagonist, and the minimal use of words in a book about writing poetry!" – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick
• Review: "A luxurious collection of Moto Hagio’s influential comics, ...[A Drunken Dream and Other Stories] is a valuable sampler of her long career, a compilation of short stories from 1970 to 2007 which feature her innovative panel layouts and expressive characters, and include many of her favourite themes, such as sibling rivalry, postnatal depression and ghosts. [...] This is yet another beautiful book-as-object-of-desire..." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick
• Review: "An utter nightmare. [...] Over a hundred densely-drawn pages [of Weathercraft], filled with Woodring’s bejewelled creatures and salamandric hallucinations, Manhog achieves a kind of enlightenment. A great if unsettling work." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick
• Review: "The first of Norwegian cartoonist Jason’s books to be published in translation, and one of his neatest and most satisfying stories. [...] If it were a film, Hey, Wait… would melodramatically labour the childhood tragedy it features, but in a Jason book it’s an understated pivot for the two halves of the story." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick
• Coming Attractions: "The Arctic Marauder [by Jacques Tardi] – A steampunk story with mad scientists, sea monsters, and futuristic machines at the North Pole. In a 'faux woodcut style.' Fantagraphics continues to be the most consistently innovative publisher of adventure comics around." – Michael May, Robot 6
Yes, Gary Groth talks Manga! What's next, Jim Shooter talking Fort Thunder?! Deb Aoki conducts the interview for about.com, further fleshing out the story of our forthcoming initiative to bring Moto Hagio and Shimura Takako to American readers. Choice quote: "Due to my almost complete ignorance of the manga publishing industry and the editorial strictures that guide it, and my pitiful lack of guile in these matters, I was insufficiently aware of how timid and craven our editorial choices should've been."
Series editor/curator/translator Matt Thorn speaks out on his blog, providing a bit of background and a few more details about the two inaugural releases, Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories and Shimura Takako's Wandering Son Vol. 1. Be sure to bookmark Thorn's blog for ongoing updates on the project. Meanwhile, The Comics Journal's Dirk Deppey, who was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition, uses his ¡Journalista! pulpit to reveal much more information and background about the line. Both links are must-reads for anyone interested in this project.
We also want to point out that the cover images that we've posted and sent out, as lovely as they are, are still works in progress by Fantagraphics art director Adam Grano and will likely be revised before the final releases.
Various other blogospheric reaction and commentary:
• Icarus Publishing honcho Simon Jones has some great commentary, including: "Fantagraphics’ taste for artistic, compelling, quality comics, and the expertise of Thorn makes for an inspiring combination; Fantagraphics is a risk taker, with faith in art and willingness to see difficult projects through, while Thorn has the knowledge necessary to comb through and make sense of Shogakukan’s immense catalog."
After years of development, Fantagraphics is unveiling a new line of manga. Kicking things off in September 2010 is a collection of short stories from the mother of shōjo (young girl) manga, Moto Hagio. Next, is a multi-volume series from the GLBT manga-ka Shimura Takako. Each book will be released in hardcover form, keeping the original "right to left" manga style for a deluxe, yet authentic reading experience.
The first book, entitled A Drunken Dream, is a collection of literary short stories by Hagio falling into multiple genres, created between 1971-2007. This tome travels through several of Hagio's most revolutionary and poignant tales that span over the years of her lush career.
In December 2010 comes one of the defining transgendered-centric manga, Wandering Son. Shimura Takako's ongoing series follows two young friends, Shuichi and Yoshino. These 5th graders struggle not only with puberty, but also severe identity issues; Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. The two find solace in their mutual confusion and help each other cope with their gender frustration while embarking on the complicated journey of growing up.
To celebrate the launch of the new Fantagraphics manga, Moto Hagio is making her first ever visit to The United States to attend Comic-Con International 2010 as a special guest. More details on a speaking event and panel at the con will be available soon.
Moto Hagio spearheaded the rebellious shōjo movement in the 1970s. She, along with a few other women, formed an artist collective called the "Magnificent 24." Influenced by radical youth culture of the '60s, American and British rock ‘n' roll, and European cinema, these women pioneered the shōjo genre and helped develop the artistic style that so many manga-ka emulate today. Winner of the Shogakukan Manga Award, Seiun Award, Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, Nihon SF Taisho Award and many others, Hagio has earned respect as a Japanese artist superstar and won the hearts of manga fans for the last 40 years.
Shimura Takako is a female manga creator living in Tokyo. Her focus on LGBT issues places her work in a space that's rocked out by The Gossip and on par with Alison Bechdel. Several of Takako's books have been honored with recommendations from the prestigious Japan Media Arts Festival.