Sporadic Sequential
Monday, September 29, 2008
Shōjo WW Watch: (Almost) Two Years Later

From Tintin Pantoja's LiveJournal, another look at her manga-inspired version of Wonder Woman:

God, I wish DC would make this happen already.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008
Repeat Offenders

I was cleaning my office over the weekend, trying once again to organize my mess of a comic collection. I definitely need new bookcases to arrange all of my graphic novels, but for now I shoved most of my manga into old diaper boxes just to clear out some of the clutter. I filled five "long boxes" with manga I didn't think I was likely to reread any time soon and then reorganized the "keeper" manga on my bookshelf. Sifting through my collection like this made me reflect once again on the "re-readability" of various series. Here are several of the manga series I keep coming back to with some comments on what gives each series such ongoing appeal.

Bleach - At twenty-four volumes and counting, this series takes up about half of a full shelf, but I still like to have it on hand to refer back to. After all, who knows when some new revelation will cause me to re-evaluate old events? Also, despite the ridiculous length of the Soul Society saga, it's still easy enough to pick up a random volume and get completely caught up in the energy and intensity of the epic battles. So any time I need a testosterone boost, I can crack open a volume and witness whatever previously unattainable level of prowess Ichigo happened to master in that volume.

Akira - Actually, I keep this one carefully locked up because if I get within two feet of the series I'm liable to sit down and re-read the whole thing from cover to cover and then go back and pore over the insanely detailed scenes of destruction and devastation. I simply cannot resist Akira. And if Kodansha ever releases an unflipped version of Akira, I'll probably have to quit my job so I can spend all my time examining how the original orientation changes everything.

Love Roma - This is another dangerous one. If I try to skim any section of the series, I'll probably end up re-reading the entire thing from the beginning. I get so caught up in Negishi and Hoshino's relationship that I want to follow it all over again from the very start.

Sgt. Frog - Due to the episodic nature of the series, this is an easy one to just dive into without getting too caught up in it. I can grab almost any volume and find a chapter or two to amuse myself momentarily. (What's harder is when I'm searching for a specific story and can't remember which volume it's in.)

Club 9 - One of my all-time favorite series, this is a manga I appreciate on many levels: I love Makoto Kobayashi's artwork, particularly his caricaturized characters, so I can flip through the book just to admire his illustrations. But then I get caught up in the cast, the humor, and the storyline and before I know it I'm reading the whole incomplete series. Which leads me to the final stage of Club 9 withdrawal: composing fanfic conclusions for the series in order to come to some sort of closure.

Museum of Terror & Uzumaki - Whenever I need a good creep-out, I pull these off the shelf and open to any random page. (I also keep Gyo on the shelf just to keep all the Ito together but I hardly ever re-read it since it's more comedic than creepy in my eyes.)

So what series score high on your re-readability index? What books would you never regulate to the indignity of a old diaper box?

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Spider-Man J Follow-Up: A Question, An Anecdote, and An Addendum

Question: Does anyone know how long Spider-Man J ran in Japan? It looks like Marvel only published nine chapters of the series in Spider-Man Family (vol. 2), which was relaunched as Amazing Spider-Man Family, but without Spider-Man J. Six of those chapters were collected in the Spider-Man J paperback, but I'm eager to get more, especially chapter nine, which according to SpiderFan.org features the manga versions of the Fantastic Four:

[image from SpiderFan.org]

I'm hoping that the title and the silhouette on the left mean we'd be also treated to the manga version of Dr. Doom. (And I'm guessing that's Mr. Benjamin J. Grimm's profile on the right.)

Anecdote: My three year old daughter saw the Spider-Man J paperback, exclaimed "Baby Spider-Man!," and snatched it to read it in her room. Since she added it to her own book collection, I'm assuming she liked it.

Addendum: I forgot I had Spider-Man Family #7, which has another installment of Spider-Man J. In it, we learn that Spidey-J's spider-sense goes beyond mild precognition and telepathy: it also gives Spidey the power of Super-Emo-Empathy!!

Soon Spidey's spider-sense will allow him to bend spoons with his mind and levitate X-wing fighters. I'm assuming chapter #12 of Spider-Man J would guest star the J-X-Men, be titled "Spider-Phoenix," and detail Spidey's struggle to weild his godlike powers responsibly.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Top Ten Ways Spider-Man J Is Better Than Spider-Man A*

10. New webbing weapons! Back in the days of Ditko, it seemed like Spidey was always coming up with new ways to use his webbing, creating web-bats (of both the flying and hitting variety); web-boats; web-gliders; web-parachutes; web-skis; web-shields; web-dummies; web-bolas; and even crude web-browsers. Nowadays, though, when was the last time Spidey spun something more exciting than a web-line? Thankfully, manga-ka Yamanaka Akira has remembered that Spider-Man is supposed to be a fun character and given us amazing new applications of Spidey's webbing such as the Spinning Spider-Web Buzz Saw! (Doesn't that just sound like a power-up from the Japanese version of the Spider-Man video game? I love it!!)

9. Telepathic spider-sense!
If I remember correctly, the OHOTMU characterized Spider-Man's spider-sense as a mild form of clairvoyance, so why not add limited telepathy to the mix? Finally, Spidey will be able to tell just how much J. Jonah Jameson J hates him without having to endure endless awkward hostess bar outings with his boss.

8. Web-treads on boots! How do you improve on that classic Ditko design? By filling in the one blank red space that Ditko forgot to draw with a web pattern: the soles of Spidey's shoes! C'mon, tell me that's not a bitchin' boot bottom! It's even better than Jim Lee's Bat-boot treads! And it would leave one heck of a calling card imprint whenever Spidey kicked some bad guy in the face!

7. Bizarro World signage! Apparently Spider-Man J occupies some strange alternate universe where all the signs are written in an odd backward mirror image.

6. Ancient ninja secrets revealed! Where else can you learn such ancient and adorable aphorisms?

5. Elektra, assassin with a heart of gold! I'm not sure what Elektra's current status in the 616-verse is, but I think I'd take this version over any of her many other incarnations any day!

4. A bevy of bug-based bad guys! General Wasperus! The Mantis! The Spotted Cat! And my personal favorite, the deadly... Dragonfly!!!

3. Wacky detective sidekick! This might sound lame, the equivalent of Poochie, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. Spider-Man has always worked well when he's played off other crime-fighting comrades (think of Spidey's frequent pairings with fellow heroes like Daredevil and the Human Torch), so why not make that dynamic a permanent part of the series? Plus, by making the character a cop, you immediately call to mind all those great buddy cop movies from the 80s like 48 Hrs. and Lethal Weapon. Also, Flynn seems to be the only person who (openly) knows Spidey's secret identity, so it provides Spidey with a trusted confidant, thereby cutting back on potential angst-inducing scenarios by at least 98%.

2. Aunt May is a billion times cooler! I'll admit, I never really cared for Aunt May. My memories of her mainly involve her incessant nagging; her constantly failing health; and her completely delusional world view that made her prefer villains like Doc Ock over heroes like Spidey. But the manga version of Aunt May is someone I'd follow in her own series. She's energetic, enthusiastic, and as unflappable as the 616-version is panic-prone. For example, when this Aunt May is held hostage, she passes the time by playing games with her abductor.

1. Those adorable lil' eyes!

'Nuff said!!

* The "A" is for "Spider-Man, Amazing"

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Friday, September 05, 2008
Who Watches The Watchmen Sales?

Tower.com is currently offering the Watchmen paperback for just $8.86, over half-off the $19.99 cover price. (The sale price is listed as part of Tower's September "Essentials" sale, so presumably that price is good through the end of the month.)

Meanwhile, over at TFAW they're offering the TPB for $9.99 and will throw in free shipping if you add more stuff to your order for a grand total of at least $19.99 through 9/30. (Tower offers free shipping on orders over $25, so you'll have to decide which deal is better for you.)

TFAW also has a couple other coupon codes active through 9/30:
  • Get $10 off any shipping method on orders of $50+ with code PENCILS
  • Get free shipping on orders over $25 with code BACKTOSCHOOL
Happy shopping!

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