If you were on Twitter on Friday and Sunday nights, you might have noticed an odd hashtag "#AXed" appearing in your feed. That was simply me and several comics/manga bloggers doing a story-by-story discussion about the chunky hunk of indie manga goodness that is AX: Alternative Manga Volume 1, edited by Sean Michael Wilson and Mitsuhiro Asakawa that hit comics shops recently from Top Shelf Productions.
I reviewed AX Volume 1 a few months back, but with almost 400 pages of stories by 33 creators to cover, there was no way for me to mention my thoughts on each of 'em. That's when the idea for the Twitter conversation came about, thanks to David Welsh (The Manga Curmudgeon) and Tucker Stone (The Factual Opinion).Using the hashtag #AXed to track our discussion, we had two two-hour sessions to discuss AX. At various times these folks came in to share their take on the diverse array of stories and styles in AX Volume 1:
- @MangaCur - David Welsh - The Manga Curmudgeon
- @Toukochan - Sean Gaffney - A Case Suitable for Treatment
- @Factualopinion - Tucker Stone - The Factual Opinion
- @Hermanos - David Brothers - 4thLetter
- @Snubpollard - Joe McCulloch, a.k.a. Jog Mack - Jog - the Blog
- @remoteryan - Ryan Sands - Same Hat!
- @aicnanime - Scott Green - Ain't It Cool News
The transcripts include lots of choice quotes and quips about this uniquely diverse anthology of the outer edges of manga, but here's a few to get you going:
David Brothers: "I like the art in Into the Darkness, with the claustrophobia, body horror, sex, and demon things, but the story is 10th grade poetry. All it needed was the moon crying one single, blood red tear or a wolf howling in the distance to close the circle."
Tucker Stone: "Enrique Kobayashi's Eldorado - I've never laughed that hard at a Nazi doing horrible things, and I read Hellboy."
Joe McCulloch: "The Neighbor - It's funny because it looks like shit. BUT: it's still funny."
David Welsh: "The Watcher - That piece felt very much like a "Chef may use peanuts in some recipes" kind of warning, if that makes sense. Not that every story is going to have kind of ugly art, dogs peeing into skull wounds, and creepy nudity, but some do, so... Or if not precisely set the tone, at least made sure nobody would be surprised that the collection would go weird places."
Check out the rest of the transcript - Part 1 and Part 2 for more of these unexpurgated (and sorry, not exactly spoiler-free) AX tweets. You can also visit Top Shelf's website for an 18-page preview of some of offerings in AX.
I did ask the folks at Top Shelf about some of the problems some of you have mentioned about your Amazon pre-orders of AX being canceled recently. They replied that they had some snafus with their distributor, but that you should be able to find AX at your local comics shop now, and soon enough from Amazon and other booksellers soon.
So if you've picked up AX, what do you think? You can add your own review of AX -- just click on the "write a review" link at the top right section of my review, next to the "stars" rating.
Also, as an interesting postscript - Ryan Sands poked around and found this online: the cover art for AX: Alternative Manga Volume 2? Here's hoping that AX Volume 1 sells enough to make Volume 2 a reality!
© Akino Kondoh / SEIREN-KOGEISHA CO. LTD., © Shin'ichi Abe / SEIREN-KOGEISHA CO. LTD.