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Thursday, July 21, 2005
Racking Manga and Missing Trades
As a result of some re-arranging of the manga shelves, I've decided to take the plunge and try to arrange the manga by genre. As you follow the shelves down from the top, they go something like this:
Over-size books: books that, because of their size or shape, will only fit on the top shelf. "Mature" titles: these are actually the more, for lack of a better term, "male" orientated mature readers titles. The ones I wanted to make sure were out of kiddies hands. Historical drama: this is where all the samurai and ninja comics go. I tried, at first, to keep them strictly historical, but I had to lett a few of the more fantasy-based titles creep in there for space reasons. "Shonen": not strictly speaking comics for young boys, but the more male-orientated action and adventure comics. Shojo: this category was fairly easy to put together and is more or less accurately described. Josei/Yaoi/Shonen-ai: the more "mature" titles aimed at a female readership. Normally I'd have wanted to keep them on a higher shelf, but they'll almost certainly sell better if I keep them close to related titles. Desire for example will probably sell better if it's only a shelf away from another romance comic than it will if it's on the same shelf as something like Battle Royale. As much as it might amuse me to put it on the same shelf as Battle Royale to see people's head's explode when they stumble upon a gay romance comic while they're looking for their school-girls getting killed manga.
And, as I've mentioned before, the actual kid-orientated titles are already on our kid's comics rack, and have been for some time now.
There were a few times I had to bend the classifications a little, just for the sake of putting a title somewhere where I know it'll sell. Chobits and Maison Ikkoku for example, are not shojo comics, but they sell almost exclusively to our female customers, so they feel like a better fit for the shojo section. Likewise almost every horror-themed manga title I came across on our shelves felt like a shojo title, whether that was the author's intent or not.
It's also worth noting that in many cases, when I couldn't decide what category a particular title best fit in, the decided factor was the size of the female character's breasts. The bigger they were, the more likely the title was to end up in the "shonen" section.
A few trade paperbacks that DC hasn't released yet, and I don't understand why not:
Justice League of America #s 166, 167, and 168: This is the story in which the Secret Society of Super-Villains do a mind-swap with the JLA and learn their secret identities. Considering just how many comics DC has published within the last year which reference this story in some way, it's really very puzzling that DC hasn't released it in some format.
Wonder Woman in the [Decade]: They've got these books for Batman and Superman, and Wonder Woman has a long enough publishing history that it's possible to put these out. Granted, a lot of those sixty years worth of Wonder Woman comics are absolutely terrible, but they're really no worse, on the whole, than the Batman or Superman comics that DC has reprinted. Plus, Wonder Woman is one of those few comic characters that non-comics fans will actively seek out merchandise for.
Amethyst: a young girl travels to another dimension, is transformed into a teenager, can do magic, discovers that she's the prophesied savior of the kingdom, and has a bunch of cute boys competing for her attention. Put it into a manga-sized trade (including manga-size page count), and I think DC may have that cross-over book they seem to want so badly.
Sugar and Spike: I'm not actually particularly interested, but everyone else seems to be. I think even DC has acknowledged in the past that this is one of their most-requested titles for reprints. So why hasn't it been?
Another category of books missing: gay manga. No, not yaoi. I mean actual manga by and for gay people. The recent yuri titles are a nice start, and I don't honestly expect any US publisher to be brave enough to try to publish Gengorah Tagame's work, but still...it would be nice to read some gay themed manga that aren't about willowy under-age boys for once.