Sporadic Sequential
Friday, July 31, 2009
Symbolic Smudging or Stray Smearing?

Just got volume 4 of Pluto in the mail today. Once again, it was amazing read as all volumes in this series have been. But the reading experience was slightly marred by a printing problem — the spread on pages 34-35 had noticeable black smudges running down the middle:

Click to Signature-size!

Did anyone else have this problem in their copy of the book? I'm wondering how widespread the problem is. It's surprising because I generally associate Viz (particularly their Signature line) with top-notch production values. (If Viz were in the habit of giving out No-Prizes, I'd argue that the smudging was intentional to reflect the murky moral ambiguity the two characters are discussing in that scene.)

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Sunday, July 19, 2009
Confessions of a Bleacholohic

As part of their outreach/rehabilitation program for lapsed bloggers, the fine folks over at Robot 6 invited me to participate in their "What Are You Reading?" feature this week. Luckily, Chris and crew caught me on a good week where I'd actually read a bunch of comics. In fact, I actually left out some of the books I'd read because I didn't want to drag the column out too long (and I still ended up being the most long-winded of the bunch). So here are some quick thoughts on other stuff I've read recently:

20th Century Boys volumes 2 & 3: I'm really digging this odd series by manga master Naoki Urasawa. I honestly have no idea where the story is going to go and I love that "anything could happen" sense of uncertainty. Although I'm enjoying it primarily on a visceral level, I'm also finding the question of how our childhoods inform and influence our adult selves more thought-provoking than I would have first guessed. And is it just me or do the scenes with the Friend and his brainwashed cult give anyone else literal goosebumps?

Flower of Life 4: I probably would have gotten more out of this series finale if I'd gone back and re-read the earlier volumes first, but I still really enjoyed this volume. I couldn't remember what was going on with a lot of the side characters (or even who some of them were) but I loved the directions manga-ka Fumi Yoshinaga took the main characters in. Oh, Majima, I will always admire the purity of your otakuness. I loved seeing the expanded details of Harutaro's family, especially the introduction of the manly Mrs. Hanazono. And I loved the way Yoshinaga included coming-of-age clichés into the story ("At that moment, I knew we'd probably never create another manga together again.") only to blast them to smithereens a couple pages later ("Of course I want to do another manga...it'd be a waste to give up now!"). Great, great stuff, and the whole series is highly recommended.

Division Chief Kosaku Shima volumes 1-5: Thanks to the generosity of superstar manga blogger Deb Aoki, I was able to read the full set of all five Kodansha Bilingual Comics editions of Division Chief Kosaku Shima and, man, they are everything I ever dreamed they would be and more. These salaryman business manga are like pure manga crack for fans who enjoy vintage/classic manga such as Crying Freeman and Oishinbo. These books have everything: Sex, sex, and more sex. Business intrigue and political maneuvering. Extended (hoo-boy, do I mean extended!) sequences on the intricacies of the wine trade. All this plus bilingual text! The only bad thing about these five books is that they leave me wanting more! C'mon, Kodansha! When are you going to set up shop in the U.S. and start publishing this whole crazy series (plus sequels and prequels) from the beginning? I can't stand it! I want more Shima!!! (Eep! I just realized I'm acting like Shima's sex-starved secretary Chizuru. What is it about salaryman Shima that brings out such insatiable lust in all who meet him?)

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Monday, July 06, 2009
Spend, Spend, Spend! Quick Shopping Tips for July

ITEM! It's not much of a discount, but Buy.com is offering an additional $5 off $75 if you pay via PayPal (exp. 7/8). True, $75 is a high threshold to hit, but if you're a delinquent shopper like me you have plenty of back material to stock up on. Plus, Buy.com's discounts are generally pretty good, so the additional five bucks off is just sweetening the deal. I just ordered 20th Century Boys 2 & 3, Slam Dunk 3 & 4, Nightschool 1 (the only series from Yen+ I thought was worth following), Pluto 3, Bleach 27, Vagabond (VIZBIG edition) 3, and The Photographer all for under $75 after the discount. Plus, Buy.com shipped everything out the very next day -- for free!

ITEM! TFAW is offering free or discounted shipping once again, so head on over and start digging through the Nick & Dent section. I noticed Dark Horse's Clover omnibus from CLAMP for half-off but there are always plenty of other bargains to be found. Here are the coupon codes:
  • BABOOM - Free domestic shipping on orders $25+ (exp. 7/31)
  • KAPOW - $5 off international shipping on orders $30+ (exp. 7/31)
  • INDEPENDENCE - Free domestic shipping on orders $17.76+ (exp. 11:59 pm. July 6th!)
ITEM! Man, DCBS has deals so good they're tempting me to become a semi-regular preorderer again. Here are some of the spotlights from July's specials:
Plus, DCBS is always willing to let you add items from the previous month, so go ahead and add the handsome-looking Criminal Omnibus for only $24.99 (JUN090605)!

Got any other great comic deals you've noticed lately? Share 'em in the comments!

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