Total Stranger

Today, before laying out a guide to this week's new comics releases (with spotlight picks from Raina Telgemeier and Ed Piskor), Joe McCulloch writes about one of the manga giants still largely unavailable to Anglophone readers: Leiji Matsumoto.

I was very much struck yesterday by Ryan Holmberg’s characterization of the manga studies terrain as “a field dotted with crumbling edifices and surrounded by vast tracts of virgin territory.” Specifically, it appealed to the conservationist in me to check after the health of the edifices.

Is Leiji Matsumoto an edifice? I’d argue he’s barely a foundation right now; in spite of the enduring success of animated iterations of his works, dating from Star Blazers in the 1970s to last year’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock CG movie, the sum total of his officially translated manga oeuvre consists of a single short story (“Ghost Warrior”) printed in Frederik L. Schodt’s Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics in 1983, and five volumes’ worth of a 1990s revival of his Galaxy Express 999 manga published by VIZ 17 years ago in conjunction with the release of various anime. There may be more pages of licensed Matsumoto tribute comics from the ’80s and ’90s like Comico’s Star Blazers and Eternity’s Captain Harlock series than there are actual Leiji Matsumoto comics accessible in translation.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

The latest slate of Ignatz Award nominees were announced yesterday. Read and enthuse/grow despondent, as is your wont.

MariNaomi is making a database of cartoonists of color. She has instructions on submitting names and other FAQ here.

—Interviews & Profiles. Chris Mautner spoke with comics scholar David Ball about a new series of critical anthologies he is editing.

Tim O'Shea talks to Jesse Jacobs about Safari Honeymoon.

I'm behind on both listening and linking to podcasts, but recent episodes of possible interest include the aforementioned Jacobs on Make It Then Tell Everybody, Rob Liefeld on Inkstuds (with guest cohost Brandon Graham), and Aron Nels Steinke on Comix Claptrap.

—Reviews & Commentary. Robert Boyd reviews recent books by Sam Alden, Gabrielle Bell, and Peter Bagge. George Elkind looks at Mould Map 3. Rachel Cooke likes Emily Carroll's Through the Woods. And a Ferguson-themed cartoon by Tom Toles makes the National Review's Tim Cavanaugh so sputteringly angry he calls him "the worst cartoonist in America." It's nice when political cartoons spark a reaction.

—Misc. One and only one person will buy this at SPX.

Sometimes the comics blogger's imperative to shove every possible topic into a superhero frame is ill-advised.

That Sergio Aragonés poster of fifty years of MAD history which went around online a while back is now being annotated by Doug Gilford.

Is Lilli Carré the youngest HiLo Hero?

Ben Towle posted an image of Charles Burns inking over John Romita Jr pencils from an old Official Marvel Comics Try-Out Book.