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Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Manga (and others) for November
Dark Horse I don't have any confidence in these Harlequin manga titles at all. I think one of the reasons why romance themed manga titles have done so well is precisely because they're not like Harlequin-style romance novels. This reeks to me of trying to cash in on a trend, and I don't think our customers are going to go for it. It's hard to do an accurate order on the second volume of Lady Snowblood when the first still hasn't been received yet. I'm going to drop the order a little, just to be on the safe side. Reiko the Zombie Shop looks just odd enough to have potential. Apparently it's been so long since we got in a new volume of Oh my Goddess that I no longer have accurate ordering info. And it's a title that's been on a surprising upswing in popularity lately, due mostly to the influx of new sailors at the local navy base. But will they still be stationed here by the time this new volume ships? These are the kinds of local factors you have to take into consideration when ordering from Diamond.
DC Tower of the Future looks like your fairly typical manga fantasy. I think we can safely go with conservative orders on it. Young Magician turned out to be a surprise hit for us, so I'll bump the orders up slightly. We've actually seen increased demand for what I guess you could call the "violent, socially irredeemable" CMX titles. I don't know if that's necessarily the market DC wants to pursue with their manga titles, but in our neck of the woods it's what selling. And about half their line could be charitably described in those terms.
ADV Lagoon Engine Einsatz and Angel Dust were both originally serialized in Newtype, and both are one-shot books. We actually don't have terribly good luck with the one-shot books. One of the appeals of manga seems to be that the stories go on for some time. So we'll go slightly conservative on these orders, because I do think we'll probably sell them thanks to the Newtype connection.
AIT Five Fists of Science actually has me looking forward to it. Just the thought of JP Morgan leading a cabal of evil scientists is almost enough for me. Heck, I wouldn't mind reading a book about Jaye P Morgan as the head of a group of evil scientists.
(Just an aside here, but I can't be the only person going through Previews in preparation of turning in Diamond orders and wondering what we'll order that won't actually ship because of Diamond's new policies, can I?)
Bongo You know, I want to be snarky about the fact that the Simpsons comic is basing an entire issue on the "spin-off" gags from one particular episode of the show, and how that's indicative of the insular nature of many of the gags in the comic...but I know it's going to be one of the few issues I actually buy.
Dynamite Red Sonja #6 is scheduled to ship in November. Number two hasn't shipped yet. The phrase "who do you think you're fooling" immediately comes to mind. When you make Image and Marvel's shipping schedules look realistic, it may be time to take a good look at your company and the way it does business.
Dementian We got a preview packet for Nothing Better at the store, and story-wise it's not my thing, but I quite liked the art. I can see it appealing to fans of Strangers in Paradise and other "slice-of-life" comics.
Devil's Due We can't keep the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance comics in stock. It's mostly been gamers, not comics fans, buying them. I've taken a look at them. I still like the D&D comics DC put out years ago more. I can't wait for Lost Squad to actually ship, so that people will stop asking me if its out yet...
Digital Manga Edu-Manga: Helen Adams Keller is getting at least one copy ordered, simply because the inclusion of Astro Boy into an educational comic sounds utterly insane. Kimi Shiruya: Dost Thou Know looks like it's the kind of thing that our yaoi fans will like. I'm really feeling the urge to be much more selective in my yaoi purchases. Specifically, I'm avoiding anything that looks like it has too many willowy under-age boys for my taste.
Fanfare/Ponet Mon I'm sure Chris will be disappointed to hear this, but I think we're going to have to give a pass on Japan as viewed by 17 creators. Our anthology sales are driven by our indie buyers, and they're still largely resisting manga. Plus, at $25 for 256 pages, that's money that could be spent on two more books with a better chance of selling.
Ice Kunion Antique Gift Shop looks like it has potential. And it's got that pretty look that tends to do well for us on the mystery type mangas. Heavenly Executioner Chiwoo on the other hand, well...I half-suspect it'll do well for us too, but it also strikes me as a very...odd title.
Oni It's a good month for Oni. Local, Strangetown, Northwest Passage and Off Road will all be getting my money.
Planet Bronx Productions Tales of the Closet gets the long-awaited trade paperback treatment, and I'm glad I noticed it now, because I think I forget to leave a note on the store order forms that I wanted a copy.
Rebellion I'm glad to see that Nikolai Dante has survived DC's purge of European comics, as I really quite liked the first two volumes.
Speakeasy Go to page 319 of Previews. Look at the ad for Butternut Squash. Do I want to know why two midgets are about to spray cheerleaders with a hose? I'm going to be getting Strangeways. It's werewolves in the old west. Of course I'm going to get Strangeways.
Tokyopop Ark Angels just screams of magical girl cliches. Dreaming I have hopes for, as Queenie Chan does have a strong following, and I've noticed that, lately, internet buzz for manga titles and creators has equaled increased sales. Whereas before our customers were apparently paying no attention to manga news on the internet. The solicitation for The World Exists for Me reads, in part: "In the past, the devil R received his invincible powers from 'The Book of S&M'..." and then there's something about paper dolls and a shot of a girl in a lacy mini-dress which will show off her panties if seen from another angle. So...I think I can hazard a guess as to the general tone of this series. Tokyopop says it will appeal to fans of Princess Ai and Alchino...funny, Alchino didn't strike me as a fan-service comic.(Edit: never mind, misapprehension corrected) Tsukoyomi-Moon Phase: Doesn't look terribly exciting, doesn't look bad either. See, if it looks good, bad, or has been out long enough to have a sales history, my job's easy. Stuff like this I just have to guess on. If I could get half the people who try to sneak read Psychic Academy when they think we're not paying attention to actually buy it, it'd probably be our best-selling manga title. What is it about this title that makes people want to look at it, but not buy it? Is it just t&a?
Viz The final volume of Tuxedo Gin ships, hopefully. I half suspect it may be late, as 14 still hasn't shown up, and it seems like 13 just came out. Zatch Bell is selling, but slowly. Meanwhile, I can't keep Full Metal Alchemist in stock. The second volume of Monster is solicited, and volume one still hasn't shown. I'm not going to drop orders, but it would be nice to know if my numbers for volume one were a) too low, b) too high or c) just right. I'm not sure if I'm going to be getting the collected editons of either Crimson Hero or Nana for myself, as it looks like I'm more or less resigned to buying the monthly Shojo Beat. I'm going with more optimistic order numbers for Nana, as I think, of the two books, it has the stronger potential to sell on its own. And we've had plenty of requests for "new Ai Yazawa" material from folks who don't want to buy Shojo Beat.
Yaoi Press I've mentioned before how having a good, easy to navigate web-site with lots of previews is important for comic publishers these days, particularly when it comes to manga. Yaoi Press has a great site. Unfortunately, some of the material doesn't look very good. We're now actually at the point with the amount of yaoi-themed comics that I've got to pick and choose which ones I think our customers will like. Yaoi Hentai is a no-brainer. Our yaoi fans will like it. Of the rest, Pinned and Enslaved by the Dragon look like they have the best chance of attracting our customer's money. I've also noticed that Prisoner of the Immortal seems to be the book that Diamond is pushing in their retailer materials.
And, this is another aside, but looking back at my order numbers for books scheduled to ship in September, and reflecting on the fact that we haven't had any big manga weeks so far this month, that only leaves next week for the bulk of Viz and Tokyopop titles to ship. So we may find ourselves buried under a mountain of manga at the shop next week. Which is why I really wish Viz and Tokyopop would space out their releases a little more.