This is very exciting news! Kind of breaking out all over the internet at once, publisher PictureBox Inc. has announced that 2013 will see the launch of a new line of comic releases they are calling Ten Cent Manga. Ryan Holmberg will be handling the editing, translating, and introductions for each. Via The Comics Reporter, Ten Cent Manga will consist of "largely forgotten one-offs and ignored work from various manga superstars" and will focus on "the way that mid-20th Century manga was less 'an independent world of its own' than in part reflective of a significant influx of American comics and cartoons from the 1920s through the 1970s."
Additionally, PictureBox has announced the first two titles. May 2013 will bring us The Last of the Mohicans by the brilliant Shigeru Sugiura...
While October will see the little-known The Mysterious Underground Men by Osamu Tezuka. I'm really looking forward to these, and I love the design of the covers, which I hope that PictureBox will be keeping consistent across the line.
See, like comics, I have a real love / hate relationship with manga. I think there is some really brilliant, eccentric and important work out being done in the medium, but much of what we see translated and published here in the U.S. baffles and depresses me. For every Tekkonkinkreet or NonNonBa we are lucky enough to get, we are saddled with a dozen other titles like Bleach or Hot Gimmick. I saw the popularity of Death Note and I tried to read it but as I finished each volume I found the plot growing more repetitive, tedious, and episodic while also paradoxically becoming more complex and eventually completely baffling. And that exact description is the problem I have with so much manga, especially the series that run to 20 or 30 volumes or more. I understand that these stories are serial in nature and are designed to be long-running entertainment in the manner of television shows with episodes and multiple seasons, but as I reader I find myself craving some kind of eventual payoff or conclusion. Even if that payoff only sets up a new status quo. I don't seem to find that in manga at all, only an endless kind of tension and misdirection that leads nowhere. And I don't mean anything personal by this, RF (a friend who occasionally visits this blog and I know has enjoyed Death Note), I mentioned that series because really it's the only one I have been able to have an intelligent discussion about that didn't eventually devolve into name-calling and insults.
So, yeah, enough soapboxing. Ten Cent Manga from PictureBox in 2013. Be excited.