It’s Tuesday, which means it’s Joe McCulloch day, and this week his column‘s a doozy, featuring copious images from and commentary on three untranslated manga magazines Joe bought while in New York recently.
I love Big Comic. Established in 1968, it’s among the oldest seinen manga anthologies still going today, 300+ pages for ￥300, delivered every two weeks to a particularized audience of guys facing, experiencing, or at least contemplating middle age. “Comics for Men” means ‘old souls only,’ and that credo often seems to extend to the contributors, many of whom have known many decades of service to Japan’s storied comics industry. This aspect helps me maintain perspective as a non-Japanese reader; half the fun of ‘reading’ untranslated manga for me is pouring over the internet for elusive bits of information on semi-familiar titles, validating that yes – that’s the guy I thought it was, the mangaka everybody used to talk about in North America, who seemed to drop off the face of the Earth. He’s still working, still knowing a circulation of maybe half a million… but foreign appeal is a capricious thing.
He also previews the week’s new releases, of course.
The reason Joe was in NYC isn’t hard to guess: he was here for the BCGF. Unexpected family obligations meant I couldn’t go this year, but from all accounts, it went pretty great. Fantagraphics has a photo report here, and Tom Spurgeon turns in his traditional recap here. I’m sure many other reports are on their way, but honestly, I don’t want to read anything about the show, which you can safely put down to sour grapes.
In the course of his column, Joe also discusses the horror manga artists Junjo Ito, who is also the focus of a recent post by Noah Berlatsky.
And Jeet Heer writes a really nice tribute to the beloved Toronto comic store The Beguiling for the National Post on the occasion of the store’s 25th anniversary.
Okay, and otherwise, it’s interview city lately. Here are a bunch of cartoonists worth listening to:
—Maurice Sendak at The Believer. (missed this one.)
—Adrian Tomine for the Los Angeles Review of Books: