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2008 Preview: 20 Hot New Manga

Top 20 New Manga, Magazines and Books Worth Checking Out in 2008


11. The Gothic & Lolita Bible

Gothic and Lolita Bible February 2008 issue  published by TokyoPop
© Mitsukazu Mihara / TokyoPop
Authors and Artists: Various
Publisher: TokyoPop
Release Date: February 12, 2007

Another not quite a manga release, but related enough to the manga lifestyle to count, The Gothic & Lolita Bible is a fashion "mook" (magazine + book = mook) that has documented and helped popularize the Gothic and Lolita fashion movement in Japan (and the world) for the past 7 years.

Now TokyoPop is presenting a new English language edition, complete with photos, articles, manga from the original edition, plus all-new interviews and features, including profiles of Gothic manga-ka Mitsukazu Mihara and American Lolita fashionista Aimee Major Steinberger (author of Japan Ai).

12. Night School

Night School by Svetlana Chmakova, published by Yen Press
© Svetlana Chmakova / Yen Press
Author and Artist: Svetlana Chmakova
Publisher: Yen Press
Read more about Night School
Release Date: July 2008

With Dramacon wrapped up after its third volume, OEL manga creator Svetlana Chmakova has moved on to new horizons and new stories to tell. Set in a school for witches and vampires, Night School looks to be a darker tale than the anime convention love story that was Dramacon, but no less fun and addictive.

Night School is scheduled to be one of the debut features in Yen Press' monthly anthology magazine Yen Plus, which will debut in July 2008.

13. The Reformed

The Reformed Volume 1 by Christopher Hart and Anzu from Del Rey Manga
© Christopher Hart and Anzu
Author: Christopher Hart
Artist: Anzu
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Read more about The Reformed
Release Date: May 2008

There was already a fair amount of buzz about The Reformed when this gothic romance about a vampire who falls in love with a human girl was first previewed at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con. But lately, the murmurs and anticipation went up a notch after the announcement of the upcoming joint Marvel/Del Rey Manga X-Men projects at the 2007 New York Anime Festival when the blogosphere got a look at the sketches of Wolverine, Jean Grey and Magneto by The Reformed's artist, Anzu.

14. Mangettes by CLAMP

CLAMP manga artists caricatures
Author and Artist: CLAMP
Publisher: Dark Horse
Read more about CLAMP Mangettes
Release Date: Sometime in 2008

Fan favorite creators CLAMP (xxxHolic, Tsubasa, Magic Knight Rayearth) and Dark Horse will embark on a potentially revolutionary new venture in 2008. For the first time, CLAMP is creating a new story that will be launched simultaneously in the United States, Japan, and Korea.

The as-yet-undisclosed story will come out in monthly 80-page digests that will then be collected into trade paperbacks with bonus material.

UPDATE: Dark Horse has moved the release date for this book to 2009.

15. Papillon

Papillon Volume 1 by Miwa Ueda, published by Kodansha Comics
© Miwa Ueda / Kodansha Comics
Author and Artist: Miwa Ueda
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Read more about Papillon
Read a review of Papillon Volume 1
Release Date: October 2008

I'm a sucker for Peach Girl and Ueda-sensei's artwork, so I was glad to hear about her new series with new characters.

This time, the main characters are twin sisters who were raised apart, but are reunited at the same high school. Ageha was raised in the country, so she's a shy tomboy who's a bit unpolished. Meanwhile her sister Hana grew up in the big city, and she's a pretty, popular girl at school. From the sounds of the story description on Wikipedia, Papillon has something in common with Peach Girl; namely a love triangle based on a girl vs. girl for a boy rivalry.

16. Manga Sutra

Manga Sutra Volume 1 by Katsu Aki, published by TokyoPop
© Katsu Aki / TokyoPop
Author and Artist: Katsu Aki
Publisher: TokyoPop
Read a review of Manga Sutra Volume 1
Release Date: January 8, 2008

It's getting hot in herrre. Or at least it will once TokyoPop's edition of Manga Sutra hits bookstores and (ahem) adult novelty stores nationwide in January. Being neither a literal translation of the infamous Indian guide to sex (and exotic sexual positions) nor an out-and-out porn title, Manga Sutra is about a young couple who are both virgins when they marry. Described as "educational" and "tasteful" in its approach to sex, Manga Sutra follows the innocent pair as they learn about the fine art of getting it on.

17. Crayon Shin-Chan

Crayon Shin-Chan Volume 1 by Yoshito Usui, published by CMX Manga / Futabasha Publishers Ltd.
© Yoshito Usui / Futabasha Publishers Ltd.
Author and Artist: Yoshito Usui
Publisher: CMX Manga
Read more about Crayon Shin-Chan
Release Date: February 28, 2008

Like Slam Dunk and Black Jack, Crayon Shin-Chan made its initial foray into the U.S. market several years ago. With a snarky new version of the Shin-Chan anime series running on Cartoon Network, the manga version is back to try again.

CMX has promised that this edition will include the "original manga in all its uncensored glory." Shin's bawdy, scatological humor makes Bart Simpson and Dennis the Menace look like choirboys. In this post-South Park age, this isn't shocking, but the manga's jokes rely on a lot of pop culture references, which are always tricky to translate. We'll see how CMX pulls this one off in February.

18. Honey and Clover

Honey and Clover Volume 1 by Chica Umino, a shojo manga series published by Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
© Chica Umino
Author and Artist: Chica Umino
Publisher: Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
Read more about Honey and Clover
Read a review of Honey and Clover Volume 1
Release Date: March 4, 2008

As a survivor of art school, I can't help but be fascinated by Honey and Clover, a new shojo / josei manga title by Chica Umino.

For readers of Shojo Beat Magazine, Honey and Clover is nothing new – it's been serialized in the shojo manga monthly since August 2007. Nevertheless, look for this charming romantic comedy about art college students to get more attention as the first volume of the graphic novel is preceded by the release of the live-action feature film version.

19. Korea As Viewed by 12 Creators

Korea As Seen By 12 Creators Volume 2 by Various, published by Fanfare / Ponent Mon
© Fanfare / Ponent Mon
Author and Artist: Various
Publisher: Fanfare / Ponent Mon
Read more about Korea As Viewed by 12 Creators
Release Date: Spring 2009

Following in the footsteps of their last cross-cultural comics collection Japan As Seen by 17 Creators, Fanfare / Ponent Mon is releasing Korea As Viewed by 12 Creators sometime in 2008. If it's anything like its predecessor, Korea As Seen by 12 Creators should be an interesting adventure in graphic storytelling as Korean manhwa artists and French comics artists look at the same country through different lenses and with different art styles.

UPDATE: Fanfare - Ponent Mon has pushed the release of this book to 2009.

20. Masque of The Red Death

The Masque of Red Death by Wendy Pini, published by Go! Comi
© Wendy Pini
Author and Artist: Wendy Pini, from a story by Edgar Allen Poe
Publisher: Go! Comi
Read more about Masque of The Red Death
Read a review of Masque of the Red Death Volume 1
Release Date: September 2008

Comics creator Wendy Pini may not call herself a manga artist, but she has long acknowledged her its influence on her comics, including Elfquest. Now her latest creation, the webcomic Masque of The Red Death will be presented as a graphic novel.

Inspired by the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, Pini's version of Masque has a sci-fi / erotic / yaoi manga twist. It features a decadent nobleman and his male and female lovers in a hedonistic society that's too busy partying to realize that the fun will end sooner than they think.

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