I may be back to work, but the holidays are still running.

*Hence, me and Tom Spurgeon and one of the prime mainstream comics of the '00s: Tsugumi Ohba's and Takeshi Obata's Death Note. Four thoughts spring to mind:

1. I made a bunch of jokes about the Punisher, but Ennis' run on the MAX series actually was one of the 'series' I was considering - now that I look at the finished piece, I wonder if maybe the two should have been paired head-to-head to determine the most perfect expression of glass-hard nihilism in popular comics of the aughts.

2. Here's that Kiyohiko Azuma interview I mentioned.

Everything is for manga. While taking a walk, watching a movie, shopping, or eating, manga is always on my mind. And this is the first priority. This is the way I think. However, in reality, I could manage to keep manga in my mind all right, but sometimes I forget that it has the first priority. This makes me feel I am too soft on myself. I want to be an artisan rather than an artist.

3. In my excitement, I appear to have forgotten one of the most elementary factors in Death Note's crossover appeal: the $7.99 price point, making it absurdly easy for people who'd heard about the work to make the leap into buying it. Having copies in seemingly every big box bookstore in North America probably helped - such was the might of Shonen Jump mid-decade.

4. You might get the impression that I'm torn on Death Note as an actual story. That's true. But know this - that scene in vol. 3 (ch. 20) with Light and L playing tennis really really hard while trying to think ahead of everything the other might possibly be thinking, really really harder? Best Scenes of the Decade contender, top 20 at worst. You bet your ass.

Anyway, many thanks to Tom for prompting me to spend wonderful holiday hours in contemplation of jokes about teenage girls blowing up their school for yaoi. I didn't find a good one, but I'm a better person.