11. A Drifting Life
After releasing several critically-acclaimed volumes of short stories by Tatsumi-sensei, Drawn and Quarterly is releasing one of his masterworks, the semi-autobiographical A Drifting Life. A Drifting Life tells the story of a manga artist born in the shadows of World War II, as he struggles to overcome his family problems, find success and his own artistic point of view in the competitive world of manga in the mid-Twentieth Century.
A Drifting Life offers fans a rare first-person account of manga's evolution from being just 'kids' stuff' to being a vital part of Japan's cultural landscape.
From the land that brought you Iron Chef comes the ultimate comic for foodies, Oishinbo. This long-running series about a journalist who has a taste for fine food is being served up by VIZ in 13 tasty bites that focuses on different aspects of Japanese cuisine, including sake, ramen and fish.
Oishinbo is a grown-up manga series with rare cross-over appeal for even non-comics readers. It's packed with interesting facts about the finer points of food and cooking techniques and is stirred up with stories that are both entertaining and appetizing.
13. Cirque du Freak
Once again, Yen Press takes advantage of Kurt Hassler's publishing biz savvy to bring yet another young adult lit/manga hybrid to American readers. Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak. The timing of the June 2009 release seems especially apt since a major movie adaptation of Shan's vampire adventure saga is also due to hit theaters then, courtesy of Universal Pictures.
While other vampire tales veer toward forbidden romance, Cirque du Freak is definitely about the scarier side of bloodsucking, as two young boys encounter a freak show that changes their lives in frightening ways.
Author and Artist: Jiro Taniguchi
Publisher: Fanfare - Ponent Mon
Release Date: September 30, 2009
From the creator of The Walking Man and The Ice Wanderer comes a bittersweet time-traveling tale of a middle-aged man who finds himself transported back to the days when he was in 8th grade. But this time, he sees his family, friends and past events through the prism of his experiences as an adult.
Taniguchi's work is not as flashy as some other manga creators, but his impeccable artistry and thoughtful, mature storytelling has already gained him legions of fans in Europe, where A Distant Neighborhood earned the prestigeious Alph'Art award from the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France.
When the government decides that its citizens are not truly appreciating life, they set up a program designed to make people reconsider their apathetic ways. Every day, a person is chosen to receive an ikigami or a death notice that gives them 24 hours to live. Ikigami focuses on the person who delivers these notices, and the unfortunate souls who receive these death sentences and how they spend their last day on Earth.
Ikigami was made into a feature film in 2008, and it's only a matter of time until an American remake is in the works.
16. X-Men: Misfits
Keen to hop on the manga bandwagon, American superhero comics publishers have tried (and let's face it, largely failed) to create cross-cultural comics synergy. But this time, Marvel Comics, Del Rey Manga, American comics creators Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman, and Indonesian manga-ka Anzu (The Reformed) are doing things a little differently: They're taking the merry mutants of the X-Men and setting them up in a shojo manga boarding school romance.
Are these two great tastes that will finally taste great together, or... not? We'll find out in July!
With layoffs and cutbacks in 2008, TokyoPop has had a rough go of it, but that hasn't stopped them from seeking out new ways to keep manga fans comin' back to the bookstore. Like when Dorothy got swept away by a tornado and landed in Oz, TokyoPop is venturing out of black and white pages into a brave new world of full-color graphic novels.
Orange is the first of TokyoPop's global graphic novels by Chinese talent Benjamin. With lush, impressionistic brushstrokes, Benjamin tells a story of a young girl who thinks she has nothing to live for, until she meets a boy on a roof who changes her life.
18. Hero Tales
Best known for creating Full-Metal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa has since taken on a new challenge: a historical Chinese epic entitled Jushin Enbu, or as it will be released in English, Hero Tales.
In this tale based on Chinese mythology, a boy is charged with finding a sacred sword that holds the key to his destiny as one of seven chosen celestial warriors.
To kick things off, Hero Tales will be added to the Yen Plus line-up beginning in the February 2009 issue, joining other Square Enix titles already featured in this monthly manga mag.
Digital Manga announced this title in April 2008 at New York Comic-Con, surprising a lot of manga fans, as DMP joined Vertical, VIZ and Dark Horse as a publisher of manga by Osamu Tezuka.
Swallowing the Earth was created in 1968, around the same time as Dororo, and is described as one of Tezuka's first ventures into grown-up stories for adult readers. This dark tale features an icy female seductress who is out to punish men for crimes against women.
Unless you've checked out Japan by 17 Creators, you probably haven't heard of Daisuke Igarashi. But even reading his story, The Festival of the Bell-Horses offers only a glimpse of his knack for weaving elements of the natural and supernatural world into a rich tapestry of magical realism.
Ruka visits her father at the aquarium where he works, then meets and befriends two unusual boys. Umi and Sora are Ruka's age, but they're special in ways that the aquarium staff are only starting to understand: they were raised by sea creatures, and they swim and breathe in the ocean like fish.