Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I've mentioned once or twice that some comics I read were bad enough to be sold to BookOff, the Japanese used book/DVD/Blu-ray/videogame chain that also has branches in the U.S.Because that's the worst fate I can imagine for a series that either offends me so, or I can't remember why I cared about them in the first place -- not having the privilege of being part of my collection anymore.A little over a year after I made my last trip out to their Gardena branch with friends, I made another visit there yesterday.If you're interested in what I decided to part with, the list, and the reasons why, they await after the break. Nana vols. 1-16:Shojo manga from Ai Yazawa who did the excellent "Paradise Kiss."That was originally published by Tokyopop and has since been reissued by Vertical."Nana" was about two women, a flighty one looking for love and another who has rock star ambitions and chops, that meet and strike up an unlikely friendship.It was monstrously popular in Japan while it was being published, but has since been on hiatus due to Yazawa's undisclosed medical issues.I enjoyed the series up to a point, and even mentioned it back in the early days of the site.(Never got around to doing that re-read in case anyone was wondering.)Though it was an entertaining character study at first, the series lost steam after it split up the two protagonists and started wallowing in the tropes of rock star stardom.I stopped buying it before the title went on hiatus, and don't feel any inclination to find out what it was like before that happened. GTO vols. 1-14:"Great Teacher Onizuka" for the uninitiated.This was one of Tokyopop's first titles in their unflipped initiative and I had heard good things about the animated and live-action versions that were based off of the manga.The series follows a former punk who brings his unorthodox teaching style to the classroom with plenty of bathroom humor in the process.It was fun for a while, but eventually things started to wear thin.I also believe that I was between jobs when I stopped buying this, so saving money was a priority here.To put things in comparison, when I found a new job I went back to buy the volumes of Garth Ennis' "Punisher" that I missed as well as Min-Woo Hyung's "Priest."In short, "GTO" had its time with me, and then it passed. Air Gear vols. 1-12:This was Oh! Great's, of "Tenjo Tenge" fame (or infamy, depending on your perspective), other mainstream hit as he toned down his style to be more appropriate to a shonen audience.In spite of that, "Air Gear" -- about battling rollerbladers -- was great fun for a while and clearly benefitted from how he honed his artistic style on his signature title.Then things got bogged down in tournament after tournament and the fun was just gone.Regardless of what it says about me as a person, the man's undiluted style in "Tenjo Tenge" was more compelling to read about even with its excesses. Basilisk vols. 1-4:When Del Rey announced that they were starting a push to bring more seinen titles out here, I was all for it.They started with this, about two rival ninja clans fighting it out in the Edo period, and it was clear that they weren't interested in bringing over any interesting titles -- just the ones with acceptable levels of sex and violence.I never bought any more of those titles from them. Beck:Mongolian Chop Squad vols. 1-4:The series, about a kid who falls in with this wannabe group of musicians and starts learning guitar, spawned an anime that was uneven yet entertaining overall.It also managed refinements on the manga's thoroughly ugly character designs.Those, coupled with the fact that I already knew where the story was going caused me to drop this, at least until it surpassed the manga.Then Tokyopop collapsed and that was the end of that story. Diabolo vols. 1-3:Mangaka Kei Kusunoki had a series called "Ogre Slayer" that was published back in the 90's by Viz that I liked.I eventually bought both volumes years later and was surprised at how badly the stories had aged.This new series co-authored by Kusunoki only struck me as mediocre while I was reading it, so you can imagine my apathy at the idea of giving it a second chance now. Walkin' Butterfly vols. 1-3:A Josei series about a female delinquent who aspires to be a model.It sounded like it could be an interesting take on the fashion industry in a different vein than "Paradise Kiss."Unfortunately, it emphasized tropes more from shonen manga than actual storytelling.Even though its publisher also went out of business after publishing vol. 3, I was never all that interested in finding out what happened next. .hack//TWILIGHT vols. 1-3:I have acomplicated relationship with the ".hack" franchise.The anime meant to lead into the original games ".hack//SIGN" did a terrible job of that, and also gave us the worst. recap. episode. ever.(Which my friends and I turned into "dub hacked//SIGN," but that's another story.)Surprisingly, the first series of games for the Playstation 2 actually turned out to be pretty good as did the follow-up anime which emphasized comedy over drama.It was that series which this manga was spun off from, and I'm hard pressed to remember anything specific about it.So making the decision to sell it off was easy.Though I may go back to the first PS2 games at some point, the second series they did, ".hack//G.U." was AWFUL and something that I woudn't wish on my worst enemy. Children of the Sea vols. 1-2:This was a series about mysterious happenings in the ocean with a plot as threadbare and uninteresting as the art was fantastically detailed.People love the art in this series.If someone ever starts telling you how much they like it, be sure to ask them what they thought about the story as well. Jormungand vols. 1-2:The only thing these two volumes managed to convince me of was that this title was the poor man's "Black Lagoon."Fortunately, that series started up again last year and if we're lucky, a new volume may be in the cards for 2014. Batman:Cacophony:Kevin Smith's first crack at the Bat with his buddy, artist Walt Flanagan.I got this for free at a Christmas gift exchange one year, knowing full well its terrible reputation when I got it.That reputation wasn't entirely undeserved, but it still wasn't all that great.Smith also states in the afterword that he doesn't think this is even his best "Batman" story -- he was saving that for the even more maligned "The Widening Gyre."You know, where it was revealed that he had a "bladder spasm" during one of the iconic moments in "Year One?"So, guilt by association and the fact that I couldn't imagine ever reading this again led to it leaving my shelf. Star Wars:X-Wing -- Rogue Squadron & Fortune and Glory:I actually liked these titles and the only reason I got rid of them was because I re-bought them down the line after finding newer editions in the half-off bins at Comic-Con."Fortune and Glory" was particularly great as it details Bendis' first adventures in Hollywood prior to hitting it big at Marvel.It's easily one of the best things he's ever written. Mondo Urbano:You'd think that a graphic novel about rock and roll, published by Oni Press, with art (in part) by "American Vampire's" Rafael Albuquerque, and with a cover blurb from Stephen King would be a can't miss read, right?That's what I thought too.Unfortunately it turned out to be a confusing mess that wasn't even worth the half-cover-price I paid for it at Comic-Con. Judge Dredd:The Day the Law Died:I also had "The Apocalypse War" to sell as well, but they wouldn't take that for some reason.Anyway, the reason I was selling both titles is because they're redundant with the "Complete Case Files" editions I already have. That's not everything.As for Bleach vols. 1-31, Neon Genesis Evangelion:Campus Apocalypse vols. 1-4, Limit vols. 1-3, Attack on Titan vols. 1-2, Sickness Unto Death vols. 1-2, Superman:Earth One vols. 1-2, From the New World vol. 1 and Kick-Ass, the reasons why I wanted these gone have been documented elsewhere on the site.Also I realize that most of this list is exclusively manga.I don't know what it is about the format, but I think the lower production values on the majority of them compared to the space they take up makes it easier for me to decide that they need to go.It sounds dumb, but the color and general shininess of most American comic collections makes it harder to write them off simply because they feel more valuable.Now that I think about it, though, there's probably several that I should've taken with me yesterdayOh, and there was one title that I granted a stay of execution as it were.I will go back and re-read Excel Saga vols. 1-5 to see if time has been kinder to it.The anime was a personal favorite and led directly to my purchase of the manga, but I do remember the quality dropping off towards the end of vol. 5.However, this title was also localized by Carl Horn before he became CARL HORN in my mind after everything I've learned about him since.Will I start collecting the rest of the series, or will I be taking it with me on my next trip to BookOff?Watch this space next year. Jason Glick
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