Deconstructing Comics #584: Don’t “get” manga? Try these two.

Many Westerners feel a bit puzzled by Japanese comics — the subject matter, the art style, the pacing, etc. Koom has been trying for some time to grasp what he’s not “getting” about manga. Meanwhile, manga translator Kumar is about done with “explaining” Japanese comics to people, but he makes an exception for Koom (and the podcast). They discuss I Am a Hero by Kengo Hanazawa, and A Distant Neighborhood by Jiro Taniguchi — both translated by none other than Kumar!

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Comics Alternative, Manga: Reviews of A Distant Neighborhood: Complete Edition and Attack on Titan Anthology

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For the month of November, Shea and Derek get together to discuss to two recent manga publications, although the first text they cover is not entirely new. Jiro Taniguchi’s A Distant Neighborhood: Complete Edition brings together the two-volume English editions originally published by Fanfare/Ponent Mon in 2009. (The original Japanese was published in Big Comic magazine between 1998 and 1999.) It’s the story of Hiroshi Nakahara, a 48-year-old salaryman with an uninspired life, and who finds himself mysteriously transformed — or transported? — into his 14-year-old self. This is the same period of his life when his father abandoned his family. The guys discuss A Distant Neighborhood as a quasi-time travel narrative, but definitely not science fiction. In fact, Derek reads this text through the lens of the romance tradition, à la Horace Walpole and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Shea enjoys to story, but he feels that the premise may be a little too loaded and that Taniguchi at times relies too much on telling and not showing.

Next they turn to a very different kind of book, Kodansha Comic’s Attach on Titan Anthology. This is similar to a text that the guys discussed last month, Neo Parasyte F, an anthology of new works based on and inspired by a previous manga property, in this case Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan (which began in 2009). However in contrast to the Parasyte homage, this collection is made up of work written and drawn by a variety of Western creators. Although the collection resonates differently with each — Derek tends to like it, as a whole, better than Shea — both of the guys can agree on some of the anthology’s highlights. These include Ronald Wimberly’s “Bahamut”; Asaf and Tomer Hanuka’s “Memory Maze”; Rhianna Pratchett, Ben Applegate, and Jorge Corona’s “Skies Above”; and Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer’s “Attack on Attack on Titan.” But really, every contribution to this collection is worth reading. As the guys point out, one of the beauties of this anthology is that its eclectic styles reflect the broad and diverse readership to which Isayama’s series appeals.



More To Come SDCC 2013 Special: Monday


Live from San Diego Comic-Con, it’s More To Come! Interviews fresh from the convention floor from Heidi MacDonald, the Eisner-nominated blogger of, Calvin Reid, Senior News Editor of Publishers Weekly, with new episodes daily during the con!

In today’s episode, Heidi and Calvin interview Stephen Robson, founder of the comics publisher Fanfare/Ponent Mon, Noelle Stevenson, creator of the popular webcomic Nimona, about her publishing deal and upcoming work on Adventure Time and The Bravest Warrior, and Terry Nantier of NBM about NBM and the groundbreaking comic Omaha the Cat Dancer in this podcast from PW Comics World.

Our San Diego Comic-Con special coverage is over, but stay tuned for our next regularly scheduled episode, there will be More To Come!



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