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Fantagraphics starts new manga line 
9th-Mar-2010 05:01 am
For anyone who missed the big news yesterday, Fantagraphics has announced they are starting a new line of manga. Given that they're an 'art comic' publisher, the line will tend to be on the high-end of the spectrum. It's overseen by legendary manga historian Matt Thorn, and will debut in September with a new collection of short stories by Moto Hagio, one of the 49ers, the women who revolutionized shoujo manga.

The collection, titled 'A Drunken Dream and Other Stories', will be 228 pages and hardcover. Matt has listed the stories here: http://matt-thorn.com/wordpress/?p=415 It's almost entirely new to North America (so no They Were 11 reprint), except the story Hanshin, which had appeared in an issue of Fantagraphics "The Comics Journal" a couple of years back to accompany a Hagio interview. Most of these stories appeared in Shogakukan's Flowers anthology (meaning they're technically josei), but some of the earlier ones were in magazines for girls, including the now defunct Shoujo Friend. Anyone wanting to see what shoujo was all about should pick this up.

The announcement I'm even more excited about is the license of Hourou Musuko, which will be released by Fantagraphics as Wandering Son. This is Fantagraphics' first license of a continuing series, one that's still running in Japan. At 10+ volumes, it's quite a surprise. The manga is a realistic look at gender issues, featuring two young friends growing up. Nitori is a feminine boy who likes to do 'girly' things, and his friend Takatsuki is a tomboy. They both have strong desires to live as the other half does, and the manga details their attempts to fit this into their lives growing up, through puberty and into high school.

It's not a wacky comedy in the style of Ranma 1/2, and deals fairly seriously with what I imagine it feels like to have transgender issues. The manga currently runs in Enterbrain's seinen magazine Comic Beam, which is also the home of CMX's Emma and the cult classic Bambi and Her Pink Gun. Yuri fans may also be interested in this - the author is also the author of Aoi Hana.

All in all, a terrific day for manga fans yesterday.
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