The Manga Guide to Cryptography

When I was a kid, I found codes and cyphers interesting, because the idea of communicating secretly was appealing. Now, with business conducted on the internet, they’ve become even more important. The latest in the Manga Guide series tackles the subject. The Manga Guide to Cryptography is written by Masaaki Mitani and Shinichi Sato and illustrated by Idero Hinoki. For the manga part, there has to be a story, and as usual for this series, it stars a schoolgirl. Ruka […]

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The Family Trade

I found The Family Trade, written by Justin Jordan & Nikki Ryan and illustrated by Morgan Beem, a fairly standard story about a teen assassin working to save her fantasy world. It’s distinctive only due to its art and coloring. The Free Republic of Thessala, aka the Float, is an independent city-state in the middle of the ocean, a center of commerce and diplomacy. Jessa is a young orphan member of the Family, a loosely related gang of thieves and […]

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Tony Stark: Iron Man Volume 1: Self-Made Man

I know why many comic publishers aren’t very good at selling books to movie fans. There are a whole variety of reasons, ranging from selfishness (“I want comics like I read when I was a kid!”) to idiocy (“why would we want more women and other people reading comics?”) to simple inertia (“the way we’ve always done things is good enough”) and fanboyishness (“we’ve already told that story so let’s do something unusual!”) and greed (“why have one comic title […]

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Wakako Zake

Wakako Zake is a digital-only food manga that concentrates on just that. There’s little characterization or extended storytelling, only descriptions of tasty dishes and the alcohol that goes with them in short (4-8 page) chapters. Wakako likes to eat alone and drink a lot. She resembles a grown-up Yotsuba, with big, black dot eyes and a similar level of focus. Her plans revolve around such activities as a pig-out feast of barbecued skewers or having potstickers with garlic before a […]

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Tokyo Alice Volume 6

When Tokyo Alice began, it was about a shopaholic and her friends looking for love. As the series by Toriko Chiya continued, the romantic ups-and-downs have taken more focus, but Tokyo Alice volume 6 gets back a bit to shopping as the four women decide to go to Hawaii together. As the book opens, Fu is on a hot spring weekend with her boyfriend, psyching herself up for the first time they’ll be intimate and goofing things up by being […]

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Is Kichijoji the Only Place to Live? Volume 2

When I wrote about Is Kichijoji the Only Place to Live? volume 1 — the digital-only manga series by MAKIHIROCHI about finding single women the right neighborhood and place in which to live — I found it “formulaic but effective.” However, I had a slight concern that the series might become repetitive as a result. Volume 2 avoids that problem by expanding what we know about the continuing characters. The first chapter follows the pattern, with the sister real estate […]

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Bones Behind the Wheel: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery

Bones Behind the Wheel is the tenth in the Haunted Guesthouse series by E.J. Copperman, but it is also a terrific starting point, as it explains everything the reader needs to enjoy this paranormal cozy mystery. The reintroduction of the premise, key characters, and setting was much appreciated. Once you get into the double digits for a book series, that’s a must. The series is enjoyable because of its comedy — innkeeper/detective Alison is fond of the sarcastic aside in […]

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Book Love

I wasn’t familiar with the work of Debbie Tung until I read and enjoyed Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story. Next week she has a followup coming out. Book Love is what it sounds like, a collection of cartoons for those who love reading. The single-page strips aren’t particularly punchline-driven — the appeal comes from the familiarity. Anyone whose favorite activity is enjoying a good book or anyone who always has trouble figuring out what book to […]

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