Hikaru no Go

This competition manga features a student learning to play go and appreciate all the tradition that comes with it. Although firmly within the expectations of its genre, the characters are so likable, the art so well-done, and the competition so compelling that it’s an addictive read. Story is by Yumi Hotta and art by Takeshi Obata. Fujiwara-no-Sai was an instructor of the Emperor a thousand years ago until a rival Go teacher’s cheating drove him to suicide. Sai’s yearnings to […]

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Nancy Drew: The Demon of River Heights

This graphic novel take on the classic detective heroine opens with Nancy, her boyfriend Ned, and her best friends George and Bess making a monster movie. George is technologically savvy, while Bess is boy-crazy. Conveniently, that leads the three into a mystery, as the other students Bess was flirting with have disappeared. The girls set off to find out what happened in Nancy Drew: The Demon of River Heights. While following their trail through the woods, the three come face-to-face […]

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Embroideries

The author of Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi, returns with a light collection of stories involving the sex lives of her female relatives, Embroideries. After a family meal, as the women clean up, they discuss the history of their loves and relationships. There’s a certain amount of prurient interest involved in hearing these respectable foreign women talk about their most intimate secrets. The introduction reveals the grandmother, the instigator of the discussion, to be a thrice-married opium addict, setting the stage. The […]

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The Kindaichi Case Files

I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed a good mystery read until I tried this series. Each book is a stand-alone “fair play” case in which the reader can match wits with the detectives. The series is reminiscent of a grown-up Encyclopedia Brown with an older cast, more serious crimes, greater emotional motivation, and spooky overtones. Hajime Kindaichi is an under-achieving troublemaker with a gift for deduction and a grandfather who’s a famous detective. His best friend, Miyuki Nanase, is […]

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BPRD: Hollow Earth & Other Stories

The Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is the quasi-governmental investigative group that Hellboy works for, but this book focuses on his supporting cast: Liz Sherman, a firestarter; Abe Sapien, a fish-man; Roger, a homunculus; and Kate Corrigan, the group’s leader. She’s trying to hold the team together in the wake of Hellboy’s departure and a general sense of mistrust. Liz has sought refuge in a remote monastery, seeking greater control of her power. When Abe receives a disturbing vision […]

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Waterwise

Waterwise by Joel Orff is an experience to lose yourself in. The protagonist is drawing his ex-girlfriend by the side of a lake. His sketch builds slowly, in companionship to his thoughts of her as he realizes that their relationship is truly over. Then an old friend, a girl he had a crush on when they were younger, breaks his reverie. Orff’s style is dense and primitive but strong in its skill. It’s brilliant at establishing mood on a wordless […]

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Long Hot Summer

Writer Eric Stephenson’s Long Hot Summer is a story about two friends during the summer a woman came between them. Readers may find themselves expecting an Oni Press label on this graphic novel, given the subject matter, format, art style, and the characters’ interests in music and scooters, but Stephenson is Image’s Executive Director, so this becomes another example of that publisher’s diversity. Ken is a mooch. He’s always bumming drinks, cigarettes, and rides from Steve. One day, he shows […]

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Tokyo Boys & Girls Volume 1

Author Miki Aihara created the first manga I got involved with, Hot Gimmick, so I was a guaranteed customer for her next project, Tokyo Boys & Girls. This series doesn’t have the flair or uniqueness of that one, but it’s a decent read. Mimori is a cute fifteen-year-old entering high school and wishing for her first boyfriend. She’s spunky, standing up to teachers and trying to do the right thing regardless of what people think. She quickly becomes friends with […]

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