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2008 Readers Poll: Best New Classic or Reissued Manga

About.com Readers' Choice for Best Classic or Reissued Manga

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It may seem odd to honor the best new 'old' manga, but here it is -- the Best New Classic or Re-issued Readers' Poll. By "classic," I mean manga that was originally published in Japan prior to 1980. "Reissued" refers to manga that were previously released in the U.S. but came back in a new edition in 2008. This year's winner qualified for both, as Black Jack was originally published in the mid-1970's to mid 1980's, and there was a prior edition that was published by VIZ In 1999.

WINNER: Black Jack

Black Jack Volume 1 by Osamu Tezuka, a medical manga graphic novel published by  Vertical Inc.
© Tezuka Productions

Author & Artist: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Vertical Inc.
Visit Vertical's Black Jack page
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Osamu Tezuka's scarred surgeon with a heart of gold returned to American audiences, thanks to Vertical's deluxe editions of Black Jack. Often operating outside of the mainstream medical establishment, Black Jack asks for, and often receives huge fees for his almost god-like surgical skills. But he's more than just a medical mercenary, as this mysterious doctor finds a way to mete out his own brand of justice to his greedy, selfish and vain clients.

2nd place: Vagabond - VIZ Big Edition

Vagabond - VIZ Big Volume 1 by Takehiko Inoue from VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
© 1998-2007 I.T. Planning, Inc.

Author & Artist: Takehiko Inoue
Publisher: VIZ Big / VIZ Media
Visit VIZ Media's Vagabond (VIZ Big Edition) page
Read a review of Vagabond (VIZ Big Edition) Volume 1
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In 2008, VIZ rolled out their new omnibus imprint VIZ Big with a deluxe, 3-volumes-in-1 edition of Vagabond. Filled with additional color pages and a few extra features that were not included in the original single volume editions, the VIZ Big edition of Vagabond introduced new readers to Takehiko Inoue's epic tale of Miyamoto Musashi and his mental, spiritual and emotional evolution as he went from being an untamed animal to become a legendary swordsman.

3rd place (tie) One Pound Gospel

One-Pound Gospel Volume 1 by Rumiko Takahashi, published by  VIZ Media Manga
© Rumiko TAKAHASHI / Shogakukan Inc.

Author & Artist: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: VIZ Media
Visit VIZ Media's One-Pound Gospel page
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With the fourth and final volume finally completed by Takahashi-sensei, One-Pound Gospel returned with a new edition to bring readers up to speed with this romantic comedy. Kosaku is an aspiring featherweight boxer who has the skills to win fights, but he can't seem to win his battle with his weight. Between bingeing on junk food or starving himself to exhaustion, Kosaku seems doomed to failure. Can Kosaku conquer his urges, or will he find himself even more distracted by thoughts of romance with a pretty nun, Sister Angela?

3rd place (tie): Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk Volume 1 by Takehiko Inoue, published by Shonen Jump Manga / VIZ Media
© 1990-2008 Takehiko Inoue and I.T. Planning, Inc.

Author & Artist: Takehiko Inoue
Publisher: Shonen Jump Manga / VIZ Media
Visit Shonen Jump's Slam Dunk page
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First brought to the U.S. by Raijin Comics in 2002, Slam Dunk returned this year and it came ready to go the distance, this time with VIZ Media. When street thug Hanamichi Sakuragi joins the Shohoku High basketball team, he barely knows the rules, much less how to handle the ball. But through a single season and 31 volumes, Slam Dunk shows Sakuragi and his teammates' evolution as a players and as a team headed for the championships.

4th place: Good-Bye

Good-Bye by Yoshihiro Tatsumi from Drawn & Quarterly
© Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Author & Artist: Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Visit Drawn & Quarterly's Good-Bye page
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Good-Bye is a series of short stories focuses on lonely and disillusioned souls who endure Japan's grim and poverty-stricken days in the aftermath of World War II, and the period of rapid industrial growth during the '60s and '70s. A soldier discovers that the photo he took in the bombed out rubble of Hiroshima has a dark secret. A middle-aged man decides to take vengeance on his money-grubbing wife, and a young woman and her father try to come to terms with Japan's diminished status after the war.

5th place: Dororo

Dororo Volume 1 by Osamu Tezuka, published by Vertical Inc.
© Tezuka Productions / Vertical Inc.

Author & Artist: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Vertical Inc.
Visit Vertical's Dororo page
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A darker shonen series from the creator of Astro Boy, Dororo is a supernatural adventure tale set in an alternate vision of feudal Japan. An ambitious feudal lord makes a deal with demons: in exchange for unbeatable power on the battlefield, the lord gives the demons his son Hyakkimaru's 48 organs and body parts. Rescued by a kindly doctor, Hyakkimaru is miraculously given replacement body parts, and becomes a wandering warrior who must battle demons to get his real organs and limbs back.

6th place (tie): Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan

Bat Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan  by Chip Kidd, a book published by Pantheon Books
© DC Comics

Authors: Chip Kidd and Saul Ferris
Photographer: Geoff Spear
Artist: Jiro Kuwata
Publisher: Pantheon Graphic Novels
Visit Pantheon's Bat-Manga! page
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When the Batman TV show hit the Japanese airwaves in the late 1960's, Shonen King magazine had Jiro Kuwata create his own take on the Caped Crusader. Almost 40 years later, Batman memorabilia collectors Chip Kidd and Saul Ferris brought together these long-forgotten manga stories with their extensive collection of Batman toys to give us Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan, an illustrated love letter to Batman and Kuwata-sensei's interpretation of this American superhero.

6th place (tie): Speed Racer: Mach Go Go Go

Speed Racer: Mach Go Go Go! Volume 1 by Tatsuo Yoshida, published by DMP
© Tatsuo Yoshida

Author & Artist: Tatsuo Yoshida
Publisher: DMP Platinum / Digital Manga Publishing
Visit Digital Manga Publishing's Speed Racer: Mach Go Go Go page
Read a review of Speed Racer: Mach Go Go Go Volume 1 & 2
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The inspiration for the original Speed Racer anime series and the recent feature film, Speed Racer: Mach Go Go Go brought Tatsuo Yoshida's original shonen manga stories from the 1960s back for today's readers to enjoy. Speed is an aspiring pro racer who drives the Mach 5 to victories all over the world. Along the way, he encounters danger, damsels in distress and a mysterious rival named Racer X, who is Speed's long-lost brother Rex.

7th place: Red-Colored Elegy

Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi from Drawn and Quarterly
© 2008 Seiichi Hayashi

Author & Artist: Seiichi Hayashi
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Visit Drawn & Quarterly's Red-Colored Elegy page
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Amidst the social upheaval of the late 1960s, two young artists try to make ends meet, deal with their parents disapproval of their lives and attempt to keep their dysfunctional, disintegrating relationship together. Told in a series of stylized vignettes intercut with symbolic images from Japanese and American pop culture, Red-Colored Elegy is an example of experimental, avant-garde gekiga from the 1970s that pushed the conventions of visual storytelling.

8th place: Cat-Eyed Boy

Cat Eyed Boy Volume 1 by Kazuo Umezu, published by VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
© Kazuo UMEZU / Shogakukan Inc.

Author & Artist: Kazuo Umezu
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
Visit VIZ Media's Cat-Eyed Boy page
Read a review of Cat-Eyed Boy Volume 1
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Manga's eccentric master of horror gave readers more reasons to leave the lights on at night with two double-sized volumes of the adventures of the Cat-Eyed Boy. Half human and half monster, the Cat-Eyed Boy is an observer, instigator and narrator of several bizarre tales of monsters, ghosts and the evil that consumes the hearts of men.

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