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Wednesday, May 18, 2005
May Previews: Manga and Others
I'm getting ready to start putting together some order numbers for May solicited manga, so I guess it's time to go through the book and share my thoughts here again. Probably only hitting the high-lights this month, though. A brief note on our approach to manga: most manga titles we treat the same as monthly comics...we want to sell out, with maybe only one copy left over as a "back-issue". We don't want a heavy back-stock. The only titles we try to keep in stock are the best sellers and the best quality titles. And even trying to keep orders low on poor selling titles, we still have managed to grow a large and eclectic manga selection. (Oh, and I'll look at selected items of interest to me as well...)
Dark Horse Samurai Executioner: We've been selling out of the volumes of this that have been released so far, but I haven't had any requests for reorders, so my guess is that we've got pretty much perfect ordering on this title.
Japan: We'll probably match orders to our other "mature" Dark Horse titles, as it's my understanding that this is an anticipated title amongst manga fans. Buronson's work has never appealed to me, so I'll be skipping it.
Trigun Maximum: Sales on this title have slipped a bit in the last few releases, so it's probably time to start shaving numbers off the orders.
Vampire Hunter D: As I've mentioned before, our customers have shown zero interest in manga novels.
DC/CMX Tenryu: The Dragon Cycle: When I finally get around to reviewing some manga, you'll hear how little I cared for the first volume in this series. And I was the only one who bought a copy. So we'll slash orders on this to the bone.
We'll also probably slash down orders on From Eroica With Love and Land of the Blindfolded, but keep Madara where it is, as of the three it's the only one selling well for us.
The manga-esque Dead Boy Detectives will be a tough one to order. The Death manga by Jill Thompson sold well when it was released, but it's just been sitting on the shelf then. We'll probably scrounge up our order numbers on that book and match them.
ADV Nothing in this month's solicitation really jumps out at me. There's nothing new, and the continuing series listed have been marginal sellers at best.
AiT/Planet Lar Seal Team Seven looks a little too Michael Crichton/Tom Clancy for me, but I bet I can move it.
ALC Publishing I would hazard a guess that both Rica'tte Kanji and Yuri Monogatari will do well for us, but our, uhm, sapphically inclined customers haven't shown much interest in manga to date. And I don't want to shove it in their faces and say "Look! Girl on girl stuff! By actual women, not straight men!"
Alias Enterprises The books are just sitting there on our shelves. And the line keeps growing. My reaction at this point is that someone learned the wrong lessons from the collapse of Crossgen. And total disclosure: I'm disinclined to support the line because of the statements Mike S. Miller has made about gay people. I'm really baffled as to how he's gotten so many gay men to work for him in light of those statements.
Antarctic Press I'm always surprised to hear they're still in business. At this point, the only titles that sell here are Gold Digger and Mangazine.
Broccoli International Kamui: Sounds like about a dozen other titles, none of which have really had any appeal to me or sold more than marginal amounts.
CPM Manga With the exception of the truly dreadful Jerry Robinson's Astra, everything listed this month I'm positive has been released before, but there's no indication that this are relists.
Dynamite Entertainment Red Sonja: Okay, at least they're not even pretending that this version of the character has anything to do with Robert Howard. But, if I'm reading the solicitation correctly, this new series ties in to the Marvel Conan series. They even say which issue number the story is a prelude to. That's...really knowing your audience.
Del Rey Genshiken: Turned out to be a surprise hit for us, so we'll probably bump orders up a bit. I think it might be the wish-fulfillment aspect of a girl trying to get a comics/anime/toys/game nerd to fall in love with her.
Guru Guru Pon Chan: A dog that turns into a girl...y'know, weirder things have sold well.
Digital Manga Publishing Robot: I imagine that this will do okay for us, but I'm not going to be able to shelve it in the manga section. I think if I treat it like a "prestige" book and shelve it on our "stuff you should look at shelves" next to something like Flight or Project Superior we'll be able to move it.
Disney Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas Manga: Hoo-boy. We're going to need to order a healthy amount of copies of this book, but the gothity goth kids have shown some hesitance for manga in the past, so we need to be careful not to over-order.
Dr Masters The Chinese fighting comics have shed all their readers in our area, and the two new titles, Hanidori Girl and Stellvia don't really have strong hooks. They sound similar to too many other titles.
Evil Ink Second Stage Turbine Blade: First issue was a surprise hit for us. Who knew that adapting band lyrics into comics form would appeal to the hipster kids?
HK Comics Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-Revised and Expanded Deluxe Edition: We've actually got a modest following for this series, but I'm not sure any of them are the type to want a "special edition" of a book they already have.
Hyperion Books W.I.T.C.H.: I'm guessing that these are the English translations of the Italian comics that were big sellers in Europe. Being told something like that in the solicitation might have helped. We'll probably order these in very modest amounts, given that I think they're already in my local conglomo-chain book-store.
Infinity Studios Eh...nothing listed this month has thrilled me, and the first volumes were met with indifference by our customers...oh, and they're all actually resolicited from an earlier Previews. Not a good sign.
Nite Owl Comix Maxx Hamm: Fairy Tale Detective: This is great stuff.
Poison Press Cavalcade of Boys: More soapy gay romance comics. I really like Tim Fish's work.
Tokyopop Bizenghast: I suspect it will do well for us, especially if I don't shelve it in the manga section, but keep it with the other goth comics. But, I do find this passage of the solicitation unintentionally funny: "Goth is a rapidly growing section of American youth culture, as seen in fashion, art, movies and music." That's a remarkably...clinical statement.
Duan Surk: The solicitation text reads: "A thrilling manga novel series by an RPG fan for RPG fans!" And that's why we won't be ordering it! The worst fantasy novels in the world read like bad transcripts of D&D games, and there's plenty of those already in print without having to do a "manga spin" on one.
Blame!: It's got a strong cult following, but Nihei's Snikt! series was a flop for us, so we'll probably go conservative on this, and reorder quickly if there proves to be demand.
Honey Mustard: Sounds like another "girl makes bad romantic choices and is supposed to be a role model for it" story.
Rizelmine: Chobits aside, I generally find the whole "romantic relationship with a robot" genre of manga kind of creepy. But it sells like gang-busters for us, and I doubt the child-like appearance of the character will discourage that.
Saiyuki Reloaded: We'll probably match orders for the prior Saiyuki series, as it seems more likely that people will use the name change as an excuse to drop the title, rather than pick it up.
Scrapped Princess: I've heard good things about the anime series, and it has a following, so we'll probably order more than we usually do of a new Tokyopop series.
The rest of Tokyopop's solicits will probably get a short once-over at ordering time, and matched orders to prior releases, though we may need to start bumping up orders on Fruits Basket again. We need to give serious thought to cutting most of the Cine-Manga's from our ordering. Kids don't want the ones with photos of real people, and when those do sell, it's to men in their thirties and forties who don't have kids. I don't expect the Tokyopop Jr. books to sell for us at all.
Top Shelf The King: 3 Geeks never really did much for me, but Three Fingers was fantastic. I love that book. So I'm very eager to get a look at Rich Koslowski's new graphic novel.
Twomorrows I know at least one person who will be getting the Swampmen: Muck Monsters of the Comics book. I'd be tempted to pick up the Justice League Companion for Pete, but he's never really shown much interest in that kind of "behind the scenes" material. In fact, I just read the solicitation out-loud to him and his response was an emphatic "no."
Viz Oh good lord, not yet another Yu-Gi-Oh series! Did Viz learn nothing from their "flooding the market with Pokemon comics" years?
Midori's Days is about a boy whose hand transforms into a beautiful girl. Okay, the sheer creepiness of that concept aside, how am I not supposed to see that as a complicated masturbation metaphor? And, y'know, it'll probably sell well for us...
Tuxedo Gin: If I'm not mistaken, this is the penultimate chapter of this charming series.
Baron The Cat Returns finally gets listed in the big book, rather than in a Previews update. It's a very charming little one-off book, with some lovely art, and the story is significantly different from the film, so don't feel like you have to get one or the other. You're perfectly well off getting both.
Still no Cain Saga listed, which is odd, because I was under the impression that it was a prequel series to Godchild running in Shojo Beat, and that and Absolute Boyfriend are the SB titles I'm most looking forward to.
For the rest of Viz's output, we'll probably match orders for prior releases. Nothing has shown any notable growth or decline in sales.
Other Sections I only get Illustration when it has artists I like, so I'll probably pick up the Peter deSeve focused issue.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Elves and Fairies: I'm almost afraid to think about that...
Pete already has his copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince pre-ordered through our local conglomo-chain bookstore.
I wonder if we'll get our Spanish language editions of Sin City before Dark Horse can get the English editions back in print?
Doom trading cards? Can you say "throwing good money after bad?"
Looking at the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory merchandise and I really, really hope that I'm not the only person who thinks that this movie doesn't look good and is probably unnecessary and a bad idea. Has everyone already forgotten that the last time Burton tried to "improve" a film we got Planet of the Apes?
I'm going to get suckered into the buying the City of Heroes RPG material, aren't I? On the other hand, Super Munchkin should be fun, as long as it avoids the excesses that made Munchkin Bites unplayable. And even though I already have a Simpsons version of Monopoly, I think I must own Treehouse of Horror Monopoly.
Y'know, I never even bother to look at the Video section of Previews anymore.