Monday, June 27, 2016
They all arrived in my mailbox over the past week, so I haven't read any of them at this moment. But one of them may be your favorite book of the year! (Or maybe not.) I'll present them in the order I have them stacked, which roughly correlates to their size.
Nichijou: My Ordinary Life, Vol. 3 continues the manga series by Keiichi Awawi. It looks like a somewhat surreal kids-in-school series -- one of the early stories in this volume seems to be about a girl chasing her detached hands (?!) -- and I don't know any more about it than that. This is from Vertical (as the next few books will be), and is available now.
To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts, Vol. 1 starts a new series by a manga-ka billed as Maybe (not sure if that's supposed to be the English word, or just a transliteration of a Japanese name). It seems to be very vaguely inspired by the US Civil War, only in this world the North was massively outnumbered and so only won by using super-powerful magical soldiers called Incarnates. But now it's after the war, and reintegrating giant murder machines into society is going about as well as it usually does.
Then there's Ninja Slayer, Vol. 5: One Minute Before the Tanuki, which has a uniquely odd version of the brokeback pose on its cover. (Is she playing Twister?) This is scripted by Yoshiaki Tabata and drawn by Yuki Fogo from an original work (maybe a novel?) by Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez...and it's all about totally sweet ninjas flipping out and killing lots of people, as far as I can tell. I am not kidding as much as you think I might be.
And the last book from Vertical for this week's list is Hajime Segawa's Tokyo ESP, Vol. 5. This is a somewhat more mainstream version of the book above, with battles and superpowers and angsty teens and interpersonal drama and the fate of the world and all that stuff.
First cousin to manga is the light novel, and I have one of those, too: Kagerou Daze IV: The Missing Children, latest in the series by Jin (Shizen No Teki-P), with illustrations by Sidu. This is from Yen Press, and I'm really not sure what the story is about: there's a group of young misfits, but I'm not sure if they're mutants (espers, aliens, demons, yokai) or just disaffected kids, or exactly what kind of society they've found/made. My advice would be to look up the first book, which is my general advice for any series.
Ben Hatke, creator of Zita the Spacegirl, is back with a new graphic novel for people shorter than me  in Mighty Jack.  This one is about a boy named Jack (naturally), his autistic younger sister Maddy, and the giant bizarre garden that grows in their backyard after Jack trades his mom's car keys for some magic seeds. (Many of you will notice a certain similarity there with a fable or two.)
I also have a real-io trulio novel -- not light or anything -- from the fine folks at Night Shade: Na'amen Gobert Tilahun's  The Root. This one looks to have elements in common with teen dystopias, but it doesn't seem to be specifically aimed at teens: our hero is an ex-teen star who is both a secret descendant of the gods and on the run from a trans-dimensional secret government force. He's also both gay and black, if the back cover description and front cover art are to be believed, so this is a good choice for anyone trying to read about more diverse protagonists. It's subtitled "A Novel of The Wrath & Athenaeum," which implies there will be more of 'em, and it's a trade paperback already in stores right now.
And last for this week is a collection of comics: Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium, Volume Four, which is by a whole bunch of people and only has Matt Groening's name on the cover. (Despite the fact that it's really, really doubtful that Groening had anything to do with it other than nominal oversight.) There's no page numbers or table of contents, but it looks to be around 200 pages of Simpsons comics, originally published in fourteen different issues of variously-titled comics from the folks at Bongo. This particular book emanates from the house of Harper and Collins, and hits stores on July 5th.
 I'm almost 6'3", so that includes a wide swath of people.
 No relation to the old Japanese TV show, as far as I can see.
 He wins name of the week in a walk-off, and probably will take the whole year. That is an awesomely unique name.