Several interesting comic-related books and toys and videos have been announced recently. Here’s some of them.
Diamond Select will be putting out Mouse Guard toys. I’m a little concerned that they’re being described as “collectibles”, but we’ll have to see what they look like after next month’s Toy Fair. I’d like to see plush instead of hard plastic, myself, but that might make the little warrior mice too cuddly.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for something manga-like, fun, and frothy, check out Kamikaze Girls. I just watched this, and it’s a feast of visual imagery. Two teenagers learn more about themselves through an unusual friendship, since one’s into frilly little-girl clothes and the other is a motorbike-riding gangsta gal. There’s direct-to-viewer narration, a little anime, odd camera tricks, goofy supporting characters, and a refusal to take anything seriously that makes it worth the hour-and-a-half.
In other DVD news, there’s another volume of She-Ra, Princess of Power due out in April. Why is this comic-related? Because one of the writers of the show was J. Michael Straczynski, currently best known for his infamous comic work, including Civil War-related stories. He provides episode commentary. The box set also comes with art cards by Mike Wieringo and Jock. Bit odd that the title character isn’t shown on the package, though. Still, she got the first set all to herself.
It starts out being told by Hatsumi in a style consisting of “and then this happened and then and then…” The simple language suggests that it’s aimed at younger teens, and having the whole manga series told in short bursts makes it feel abbreviated and rushed. (Shoving 11 volumes into 2 chapters will do that.)
Ryoki’s written out early on, and the book then becomes the story of how Hatsumi falls in love with her adopted brother Shinogu. At that point, she becomes a much more insightful character than the manga girl. If you can get past the innate creepiness of a love relationship with the boy raised as her brother from the time she was three, then it’s much more rewarding than the manga — even if all the drama consists of the characters sitting around waiting to hear news updates.
TwoMorrows has announced that they’re publishing a history of Image Comics at the end of May. At $35, it’s a tad pricey, especially if it turns out to be company-approved, i.e. overly favorable. For instance, the promo copy says “Image would finally give creators full ownership of their properties” — but that’s only true if you’re a partner. If you’re just an artist working on one of their studio titles, it’s still work-for-hire, and you may end up having to sue MacFarlane to get what you own.
Anyway, TwoMorrows promises “the most honest exploration ever taken” of the company, so it’ll be interesting to see what winds up in print.