Sequart Organization is proud to announce the release of When Manga Came to America: Super-Hero Revisionism in Mai, the Psychic Girl, by Julian Darius.
The first manga widely available in English, Mai, the Psychic Girl – written by Kazuya Kudō, with art by Ryoichi Ikegami – offered a near-perfect story for American readers: a realistic super-hero story, in line with revisionist American comics of the time (like Watchmen). In this short book, Dr. Julian Darius explores the impressive comic, its depiction of super-powers, its relationship to revisionism, its depiction of female sexuality, and the various attempts to adapt the story as a motion picture.
The book – Sequart’s first book on manga – runs 80 pages and is available in print (list price $6.99) and on Kindle (list price $4.99). For more information on When Manga Came to America, visit the book’s official page.
As someone who has more books than room on my bookshelves to accommodate them, an obsessive collector of cool artifacts of things I love, and a completionist in almost all regards, I don’t think I surprise anyone by saying I love comics. But I have definitely noticed confused head quirks when I admit that when it comes to the question of physical copies versus digital versions, I prefer to read comics on my iPad.
I should preface my preference for comics on a screen by saying this: I hate reading books digitally. On a purely aesthetic level, the size, weight, and smell of a book have always been an integral part of the reading process for me, so an e-book has just never been able to command my focus the same way a physical book does. A progress bar at the bottom of my screen somehow doesn’t give me the same sense of how much is behind and ahead of me that a bookmark in real pages does, and the pagination in general in e-books has always seemed off to me. Hand me an 800 page hardcover novel and I have, with a very small margin for error, a clear idea of the scale of what I’m diving into. In an e-book, the same text seems like it could take up anywhere from 800 to 2000 pages depending on the way it’s formatted.
But the biggest reason I’ve never been able to embrace e-books with gusto is that reducing a book to a file that looks like almost all other e-books takes away an individual book’s character. Hand me an iPad or Kindle and give me a quick glance at a few pages from any two e-books, and I probably won’t be able to easily distinguish them by their author or what work they’re from. Hand me two physical books and give me a quick glance at a few pages from each, and I’m exponentially more likely to be able to not only identify them, but also get a sense of what each book is like. Handing me a physical book is handing me a whole and unique package, and while there’s something tempting about being able to carry around hundreds of texts in one relatively small device, I’d rather sacrifice the space in my bag for fewer works that retain the character of their physical forms.
So if I’m so gung-ho about preserving the character of a book by only reading the physical version of it, why am I okay with filling my iPad with comics? Because the character of a comic is so bold and evident on every page that I don’t feel like I’m losing things in the digital translation. Look at a single digital page from any comic and you’re likely to be able to tell a lot about the work, and the sense of the comic’s character you get by doing that is much more in line with what you’d get from doing the same thing with a physical copy. That makes the big con of e-books moot for me, but this isn’t the only reason I lean toward my iPad when it comes to reading comics. In fact, this con made moot takes a significant backseat to a pro of e-books being made even better when applied to digital comics: I can take hundreds of them with me in one relatively small device.
While I can get by only having a couple books on me at a time, my habit of binge reading means I’d be carrying around an awful lot of trades if I only read physical comics. And since my preference for digital comics doesn’t mean I dislike physical ones, I’ve definitely carried around trades with me before. It takes so much less time for me to burn through a whole trade than it does a whole novel that the benefit of having 5 trades’ worth of comics on my iPad is evident in and of itself, but the volume of comics I’d need to have on me when reading a series isn’t the only problem I found with trying to read the physical versions.
The durability of physical comics, or more accurately the lack of it, is the last big factor in my preference for digital ones. Most trades are an awkward size to fit into the kind of bag I carry with me everyday, and though their size is more amenable to the backpack I take when traveling, they’re often not sturdy enough to stand up to being jostled around amongst the devices and travel paraphernalia I cram into my backpack in preparation for a trip. Where a hardback novel has the heft to take sharing space with a hard-sided headphone case while getting shoved under an airplane seat, and a paperback novel is compact enough to perch in the smaller space on top of the other things in my backpack, I’ve found my trade comic books just large yet just malleable enough to take a beating every time I pack them no matter how careful I am with the bag. But an iPad full of Locke & Key means an entire flight’s worth of reading without giving up the space the physical versions would take up, or the inevitable bummer of seeing them worse for the wear when I get to my destination. So while I’d certainly never turn my nose up if offered a physical trade of a comic, I’ll opt for the digital version if given the choice. Unless the trade is signed or some kind of special, limited edition, of course. That would make it a cool artifact, and I’m still an obsessive collector, after all.
Do you ever think about infinity? I do, and it makes me dizzy.
I don’t just mean infinity in terms of numbers, although I do mean that. I mean infinity in terms of space. When I think about space not ending but going on and on and on and on indefinitely, it makes my stomach hurt. This is why I can’t see Gravity, even though it’s supposed to be an excellent film.
Then there is temporal infinity. There is time before the dawn of time, and there will be time after the end of time. Millennia more. This makes me so queasy that I understand why humans invented religion.
But that wasn’t enough for infinity. There had to be more. Which, I guess, is kind of the definition of infinity.
Then, I read a New YorkTimes review of a new book about infinity. I haven’t read the book yet (it’s on my Kindle, I swear), but it looks like the kind of thing that I will really want to read and then it will make me nauseated. According to the Times, the book posits that everything that could possibly happens either has happened or will happen, if not in our reality than in another.
This means that at every decision point in every day of every human’s life, one or more parallel dimensions came into existence. Not only for the big decisions, like whom to marry or which job to take, but also whether one chooses paper or plastic bags at the grocery store, crosses with the light or jaywalks, watches Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D or Brooklyn Nine Nine.
The concept of alternate and parallel dimensions is nothing new to comic book fans. We know there are Flashes on Earth-One and Earth-Two. We also know there is a Marvel Universe and an Ultimate Marvel Universe.
What we didn’t know is that, if I understand this book correctly (and I’m only going by the review), all of these dimensions do, in fact, exist. That’s how the concept of infinity works.
In any case, I have a few questions.
• Are these dimensions better than mine?
• If so, how do I get there?
• If I go and superpowers are a thing, do I get any? Do I get a choice as to the kind of powers I want?
• Will my credit score go with me? Can I choose a dimension without credit scores?
• What are housing prices like? Can I afford something with a pool?
• Is there some kind of “no-backsies” clause so I can’t change my mind? And, if so, can I choose one of the infinite number of alternate dimensions in which the “no-backsies” clause doesn’t apply?
In any case, I expect to be back here next week, in the potential dimension in which I survive another week. I hope you do, too.
But if you go someplace better, please send a postcard.
C’mon. You can trust me, you know you can. Just tell me your secret – whisper it in my ear…
Secrecy is a’riding the autumn air. Bradley Manning, who revealed hush-hush information while in the Army, was sentenced to 30 years; Edward Snowden, who leaked details of government surveillance programs to the press, is hiding out in Russia; and the lid has been pried off J.D. Salinger’s long reclusion.
We all be watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., an ABC show based on Marvel’s 60s-era secret agent comic book. At least, I think the SHIELDers were supposed to be secret, though I don’t know how secret the organization could have been since its HQ was a giant helicopter held aloft by a pair of oversized rotors fore and aft. (And how did they ever keep the thing fueled?) S.H.I.E.L.D fills the spyguy hole in televisionland left by the end of Burn Notice. Now Covert Affairs’s Annie Walker won’t have to bear the burden of televised espionage alone.
S.H.I.E.L.D., the comic book, debuted when James Bond was early in his career and television had The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and yes, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., and on a somewhat grimmer note, Secret Agent and, for laughs, Get Smart. Who am I forgetting? Oh yeah, one of my favorites: Modesty Blaise, who appeared in a movie or two, a series of novels, and an excellent adventure newspaper strip. And more comedy: James Coburn in In Like Flint and Our Man Flint.
The tools these patriotic good guys used aren’t much like what real life snoops are using, maybe on you, as you read these words. That technology would have been science fiction when the entertainments first appeared, and pretty dull science fiction at that, nowhere near as much fun as James Bond’s tool kit. Nor could the creators of spy fiction, back in the day, have anticipated just how much snooping would be going on, by both government and industrial snoops, as civilization duck-walks into the twenty first century.
It’s become pretty hard to be a reclusive introvert, if only because somebody wants to sell you something. Occasionally, though, somebody does manage it, not always beneficially. A guy named Ariel Castro kept three women prisoner on a residential block in Cleveland for 10 years. There are probably other Castros out there.
And the late J.D. Salinger ducked hordes of journalists, academics, curiosity-seekers and plain old fans for 40 years. Now, though, his privacy seems to be gone. A book and a related movie are revealing information about one of my favorite writers that I don’t necessarily want to know. Unlike you and I, Salinger did not always behave appropriately, it seems. Unlike you and I.
I don’t necessarily want to know the dirt, but if the movie crosses the Hudson into Rockland County, I’ll pay the admission, and if it doesn’t, I’m sure I can borrow it from Netflix or Blockbuster. I might even decide that the book deserves a place on my Kindle. Salinger, I’m sure, would not approve of my snoopery, and I’m not sure I do, either. But what I wrote at the beginning of this paragraph isn’t true. I do want the dirt, dammit, andI wish I didn’t.
All Pulp congratulates author Terrence McCauley for winning a Stalker Award for the Most Criminally Underrated Author. The award was presented by the blog, Pop Culture Nerd, and more than 1,900 crime-fiction fans voted for their favorite books and authors in the 3rd annual Stalker Award. More information on the award can be found here.
McCauley won the award for his Airship 27 novel, Prohibition, as well as for his other work.
“Sometimes an award is most aptly named as this case. Terrence McCauley is one of the finest new crime novelist on the scene today and it is high time readers discovered this guy.”
Ron Fortier Managing Editor Airship 27 Productions
Peter Rozovsky of the blog Detectives Beyond Borders, recently wrote that “McCauley harks back to [authors] Dashiell Hammett and Paul Cain (and to writers and movie makers who harked back to Hammett and Cain). While his book’s themes of loyalty, doubt, and betrayal are confined to no one era, the cover of the novel…quite accurately reflects the early- and mid-twentieth-century gats ‘n’ gloves mythos to which McCauley makes a modern-day contribution.”
McCauley lives in Amenia, NY, near the Bronx. He graduated from Fordham University in 1996. McCauley is the Manager of Government and Community Relations for MTA Metro-North Railroad.
The publisher of Prohibition, Airship 27 Productions, is among the leading publishers of the New Pulp Movement, keeping alive the classic pulp literature of the 30s and 40s while producing newer pulp themed titles by today’s brightest writers and artists. The publisher now offers sixty novels and anthologies, and all titles are available digitally via Amazon’s Kindle as well as at several other outlets. Some are available as e-books. To learn more about Airship 27 and the books they publish, go to airship27.blogspot.com or http://airship27.com.
Today, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled 2 is free for Kindle via Amazon. You can find it here.
About Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled 2:
BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled 2 follows the blood-soaked trail left behind by the 2011 award-winning collection, edited by David Cranmer and Scott D. Parker, and pumps out another thirteen knuckle-breaking, crime tales. With writers from the 1930s and 40s golden era of pulp (Paul S. Powers and Charles Boeckman) and modern hardboiled masters (Robert J. Randisi and Wayne D. Dundee), this wild bunch is set to blaze a rat-a-tat sweep across the pulp fiction landscape. Keeping the body count high are top-shelf stories from Jedidiah Ayres, Eric Beetner, Jen Conley, Matthew C. Funk, Edward A. Grainger, BV Lawson, Tom Roberts, Kieran Shea, and Jay Stringer.
Published in 1997-2002, Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan became famous for its foul-mouthed protagonist, Spider Jerusalem, and his “filthy assistants.” But it’s also a long-form comics masterpiece, a sci-fi comic that succeeded despite the odds, and an examination of journalism and politics — and how they intersect (or fail to do so). This book explores all these topics and more, from multiple points of view. It also includes interviews with both Ellis and Robertson.
Contributors include Greg Burgas, Johanna Draper Carlson, Julian Darius, Sara K. Ellis, Ryan K. Lindsay, Patrick Meaney, Jason Michelitch, Chris Murphy, Chad Nevett, Kevin Thurman, Brett Williams, and Sean Witzke.
The book sports a cover by Kevin Colden and runs 164 pages. It retails for $12.99 in print and is also available on Kindle for $6.99.
About the Publisher: Sequart Research & Literacy Organization is a non-profit devoted to the study and promotion of comic books as a legitimate art form. It publishes books and documentaries aimed at making comics scholarship accessible. For more information, click here.
New Pulp Publisher, Airship 27 Productions sets sail with a new volume of adventures for Sinbad the pirate as Sinbad: The New Voyages vol. 2 is released.
THE BLUE NYMPH SETS SAIL
Pull up anchor, cast off the mooring lines and drop the sail, the good ship Blue Nymph is about to set sail for adventure once again with her famous seafaring captain at the helm.
Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to present the second volume of brand new stories starring the greatest seaman of them all, Sinbad the Sailor and his international crew of daring adventures. Here are the Henri Delacrois, the deadly archer from Gaul, Ralf Gunarson, the strapping young Viking giant, Tishimi Osara the beautiful female samurai and of course Omar, the irascible first mate. All of them bound together by their love of action and yearning to explore uncharted lands.
“We released the first volume of this series last year,” says Airship 27 Managing Editor, Ron Fortier. “Reader response was overwhelming and we soon were getting lots of mail to do more. It’s very clear there are lots of people out there who lovingly remember those old Harryhausen Sinbad movies.”
This volume contains a new novella by Ed Erdelac with short stories by Shelby Vick and Erwin K. Roberts. Capturing the feel of the old cinematic hero developed by the late Ray Harryhausen, the volume features illustrations by Steven Wilcox and a cover by Kevin Johnson with designs by Rob Davis. Over the horizon awaits treasure, beautiful exotic maidens and monsters beyond imagining. Dare you sign aboard with Sinbad El Ari? If so, then battened hatches and have your curved blade ready, heart pounding adventure awaits within these pages.
AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERATION!
Do you have to do much business travel? I tend to go for long periods without it, and then have to do a whole bunch. It can be fun, but it’s also, you know, business. I’m staying in a strange place, seeing people I don’t see at home, eating foods I don’t usually eat at hours when I’m not usually eating. And, unlike when I’m working at home, I have to keep my pants on when I do it.
And then there is staying in hotels. The good parts: I don’t have to clean up after myself, I can try new shampoos, and if I get a king-size bed, it’s so big it’s like sleeping on the ocean. The bad parts: no kitty, the towels aren’t big enough, and there is nothing to read that I haven’t brought myself. Also, even with a big bed and a gigantic bathroom, I can feel closed in after a while.
So I was delighted to read in The New York Times that a variety of hotels, from highfalutin’ boutique inns to affordable chains, have added libraries to their list of amenities.
It would be nice to say that the hospitality industry has decided to encourage reading for the sake of the public good, to improve the literacy of the American traveling class. However, as the article states, the purpose of the library is to encourage customers to spend more time in the hotel’s lobby and bars, buying food and drink. At the same time, some of the hotels are making deals directly with publishers to promote their titles, even allowing customers to take the books home and return them during their next stay.
This is an incredible opportunity for comics. And by comics, I mean graphic novels.
If I’m in the lobby of a hotel looking for something to read, the most likely reason is that I’m tired, and I want something to occupy my attention while I’m eating or having a drink. I travel with my Kindle, but maybe I don’t have the attention span to stare at words (usually because I’ve been staring at words for hours already). A self-contained graphic novel, with a whole story, can engage my imagination without causing eye-strain.
In general, I don’t want to start up a conversation with strangers when I go to a hotel bar or restaurant. However, if I was so inclined, a graphic novel is a much better ice-breaker than a prose book. It’s easier to point to an image in a conversation than to read a narrative description. And it’s easier to share a book with a spline than a pamphlet.
It’s also easier to find an audience for books with spines. A businessman (or woman) enjoying some downtime might not want to read about a guy in spandex, but might get a kick out of the source of that new movie he’s heard so much about.
To my mind, the best publisher with whom to make a deal is Abrams Comic Arts. A bar where people are talking about Mars Attacks, My Friend Dahmer and The Carter Family is a fun place to be.
About The Cagliostro Chronicles:
In the year 2089 man’s first faster than light space flight is about to begin, but where it ends will be filled with action, adventure and the unknown! The Cagliostro is an experimental space craft which is destined to begin mans first faster than light voyage beyond his solar system and into a greater universe filled with dangerous adversaries, intrigue and a deadly conspiracy set to tear humanity apart! Join Mark Johnson and his crew of adventurers as they travel beyond our wildest dreams and into a universe fraught with mystery and danger!
Is now available in paperback here and for Kindle here.