News You Can Use

*Manga Previews Dept: Ah, excellent. Totally unexpected, and all the more excellent for it.

Courtesy of David Welsh, it looks like Last Gasp has licensed Fumiyo Kouno’s wonderful single-volume Yuunagi no machi; Sakura no kuni, and are releasing it in November under the English title Town of evening calm, Country of cherry blossoms. This one did the rounds in scanlation form a while back, though I think only 2/3 of it was ever translated. It’s a suite of stories set in various 20th century time periods, dealing with illness and Hiroshima and sweet childish dreams and creeping death - some really moving, beguiling storytelling here, with gentle, evocative art capable of shifting from sunny, almost bigfooted artistic play to nightmare visions of sketchbook corpses choking rivers while a pair of nice kids kiss. Only $9.99, and I absolutely commend it to you.

In other news, it seems that Tanpenshu Vol. 1 (of 2), Dark Horse’s collection of short stories by Hiroki Endo (of Eden: It’s an Endless World!) , is set to come out in January. From the looks of the solicitation text there’s going to be three stories, two of which appear to be The Crows, the Girl, and the Yakuza, and For Those of Us Who Don’t Believe in God. The former is a very fine piece of lyrical, gore-spattered, gunpowder-burnt genre comics, and the latter is a decently insightful if slightly sitcommy look at young folks in a theater troupe. I hope it’s out on time!

*And since I’m in the mood for snapping up the links of others, Justin J. Fox alerts us to a new Brendan McCarthy interview, this one entirely focused on Solo #12, which I loved. If you loved it too, you’ll really want to read this, since McCarthy gets deep into the personal significance behind some of the symbols used, as well as his thoughts on what the book ought to represent as a comic in 2006; at times it’s practically a set of annotations for the book. Plus: lots of good stuff on the artist’s collaborative nature, frank comments about the parts of the issue McCarthy felt just didn’t work, and even a few hints at possible future projects - oh how I’d love to see that Spider-Man/Dr. Strange story, but yeah, this man needs his Eightball!

Interesting to hear a little more of McCarthy’s dreams for a UK comics anthology featuring all the best; I kind of feel that the original A1 filled that role for a while back in the day. I mean god, over the course of six issues - Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Eddie Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean, Jamie Hewlett, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, John Bolton, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd, Simon Bisley, Kevin O'Neill, Bryan Talbot, Glenn Fabry, D'Israeli, Philip Bond, James Robinson, Barry Windsor-Smith, Peter Milligan, Brett Ewins… Brendan McCarthy. That’s a lineup to kill for today, and I’m not even counting North Americans like Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Chadwick, Mike Mignola, Matt Wagner, Charles Vess, Michael T. Gilbert, Michael Kaluta, Bob Burden, Dean Motter, Ted McKeever, and many more. Sure, not all of them worked on full-length short stories, but it's still pretty amazing.

I think McCarthy's vision for BUGGER, SNIKT! (the name of which ought to be kept) is a bit more in line for serialized bigish works by a variety of top names, but I'd still buy the Christ out of it.