Case Closed Volume 1

Jimmy Kudo, high school junior, idolizes Sherlock Holmes and solves mysteries for the police department in Case Closed, a long-running manga action comedy by Gosho Aoyama. After trailing bad guys to a mysterious meeting, he’s knocked out and poisoned. Although the villains meant to kill him, they instead turn him physically into a six-year-old boy. He winds up working with an incompetent private investigator, the father of the girl he has a crush on, while a mad scientist tries to […]

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Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances

Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda attracted me because of its lead character. Yukino is top of her class in just about everything until Soichiro, a similarly over-achieving boy, comes to her school. She learns to deal with her jealousy of him and her own growing self-awareness of the motivations driving her success. Their rivalry becomes love within a few books, after which the story turns to their friends, which is where I began losing track of […]

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The Sandwalk Adventures

In this scientific fantasy, two mites living in the follicle of Charles Darwin’s eyebrow tell each other myths about the creation of the world, involving a motley collection of humorous gods. It’s sort of a cosmic game of telephone, taking events and making them bigger and different in the retelling over generations. For some unknown reason, Darwin is able to hear one of them, Mara, when she speaks. Their resulting conversations about how life came to be touch on myth, […]

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Tokyopop vs. Viz

David Taylor puts into words something I’ve been wondering myself: does American manga have a “Big Two”? (link no longer available) When it comes to the superhero-oriented direct market (often erroneously referred to as the “mainstream”), the big two publishers are DC and Marvel. It used to be, when it came to manga, the big two were Viz and Tokyopop. Now jump forward to the beginning of 2006, and for me I think it is a bit of a stretch […]

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CSI: Bad Rap

A rising punk rap superstar knocks a heckler out, killing him, on his way to a rock oldies concert at a Vegas casino. There’s some rivalry between local groups just breaking big, and the obnoxious rapper gets knocked off quickly, as many readers may have been rooting for. CSI: Bad Rap is written by Max Allan Collins with art by Gabriel Rodriguez and Ashley Wood. While investigating, the team finds more related murders, as well as encountering a company producing […]

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CSI: Serial

CSI: Serial is a faithful adaptation of the hit TV show. Writer Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition) knows his crime stories. He’s also written CSI novels, which gives him a good familiarity with the characters. Artist Gabriel Rodriguez does an excellent job with likenesses. With many adaptations, the artist spends so much time trying to get the look just right that the art winds up stiff, as though it was copied from photos. That’s not the case here, which […]

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Salmon Doubts

In this low-key graphic novel, Adam Sacks follows a fish from birth to death. The fluid lines of Salmon Doubts are printed in a very dark blue, and the grey and light blue colors create an underwater feel. Most of the fish are happy just being part of the group, following their instincts and letting others make decisions. Henry doesn’t fit in; he’s something of a loner. Henry finds it hard to talk to the other fish, which disappoints him, […]

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Paul Has a Summer Job

After impulsively dropping out of school and working at a dead-end print shop apprenticeship, Paul is asked at the last minute to become a counsellor for a summer camp for underprivileged kids. He doesn’t like solitude, the woods, or kids, but he accepts anyway. Since Paul Has a Summer Job is a standard coming-of-age story, by the end of the summer he’s challenged himself to overcome his fears, become a mentor for the kids, been touched beyond words by a […]

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