Kat & Mouse

Kat has just moved from the Midwest to New England, where her dad is the new science teacher at a private school. When a break-in at the science lab puts his job in jeopardy, Kat and new friend Mouse are determined to find out who’s responsible in this series written by Alex de Campi and drawn by Federica Manfredi. It’s a familiar setting, with plenty of welcoming hooks for the reader. As a high concept, it’s Nancy Drew meets Mean […]

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Dramacon Volume 1

In Dramacon, Svetlana Chmakova has created an instant classic. Never mind if you don’t like manga, don’t like non-Japanese manga, don’t like Tokyopop… this romantic comedy is witty and amazingly wonderful, hitting all the right notes in a unique setting. Christie and her boyfriend have created a comic. (She writes, he draws.) To promote their effort, they’re attending an anime convention, she for the first time. She’s overwhelmed, mostly by how a different environment turns her boyfriend into a raging […]

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Fool’s Gold Volume 1

I wanted to like Amy Reeder Hadley’s Fool’s Gold more than I did. That’s not a criticism, per se, but a recognition that I had incredibly high expectations based on early preview chapters. I expected to love it, but due to my high expectations, I only liked it. The full book had lots of wonderful, creative ideas but ended up falling back on more standard plot elements. Penny’s an individual, making her own clothes and dreaming of a career in […]

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Project X: 240Z

While the Cup Noodle volume captured the imagination of bloggers, this earlier book in the series, Project X – The Challengers – 240Z The Fated Z Plan – Fairlady Z/240Z – The Legend of the Most Successful Sport Car in the World, hasn’t been as talked about (possibly because of the incredibly unwieldy subtitles, but more likely because cars aren’t as exotic or odd as noodles are as the subject of a comic). Like the other book, this volume has […]

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Project X: Cup Noodle

Or, as the indicia reads, Project X – The Challengers – Cup Noodle – The Miracle of 8.2 Billion Served – The Magic Noodle, Nissin Cup Noodle. Which made me think, “Take that, McDonald’s!” This is one of a series of business manga based on a Japanese documentary series covering “the movers and shakers behind some of Japan’s most phenomenal success stories.” True to the description, the book is tagged as “manga/business” — and I would love to see the […]

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Baby & Me Volume 2

This second volume opens with a story that unfortunately doesn’t really demonstrate the appeal of the series. Takuya’s being harassed by a classmate due to a misunderstanding over a girl. Little brother Minoru is irrelevant to much of the story, although his presence does demonstrate that Takuya, who won’t be teased or otherwise badgered into fighting, will do whatever’s necessary to defend his charge. I enjoy watching the two interact; Takuya’s learning to take care of another, dependent human, and […]

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Tokyo Boys & Girls Volume 5

The series concludes in this volume with a distinct lack of resolution or satisfaction. The family drama from volume 4 is solved with a little conversation, not a bad message, but the way Mom’s attitudes turn on a dime make her seem a bit… unhinged, at best. Creepy brief bit of dialogue between Mimori’s parents: Dad: Leave them alone. They’re only going to talk. Mom: No! I won’t allow her to see that delinquent! Dad: Stop it, Mama! We’re adults! […]

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Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga

Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga by Koji Aihara & Kentaro Takekuma hides useful information about creating and analyzing readable, marketable comic stories inside savage parody of the industry. Inspired by the crap people read and publish, two manga creators decide to lay bare the secrets of success, using the rationale “if they can do it, anyone can”. They aim to create popular series that become anime, spawn character merchandising, and make them rich. The first lesson is therefore choosing […]

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