Digital Manga made a Kickstarter appeal for funding to reprint Osamu Tezuka’s manga Swallowing the Earth. Yesterday the $3,950 total was surpassed with 23 days to run.
One might ask, as blog Manga Worth Reading did despite their support for the initiative, why a professional publisher would need to turn to fans to raise funding for a project whose only costs will be paper and printing. The biggest upfront costs – translation and origination – don’t impact reprints unless a book carries forward losses. One must, however, be glad that a remarkable book by an author whose adult works remain largely unexplored will soon be back on the market.
Over on Twitter, manga critic Deb Aoki greeted the news with a question: what other classic/niche titles would you like to see? Restricting myself to reprints of titles already translated, both in the spirit of the question and to short-circuit my usual rant about the need for an English-language edition of Tezuka’s Barbara, here are three lost masterpieces I’d love to see revived.
Of course, there are many more – what would your choices be?
OK, my including this is a cheat. It was never meant for the native English-speaking market. It was published in 1983 as a teaching aid for Japanese students of English.
I don’t care.
The only quibble I have about this amazing book is that Schodt only got to translate the first two volumes. I’d like to see them reprinted as the first stage in a project to get the whole of The Rose of Versailles out in English. Until then, Kana have a nice three-volume edition in French from Amazon France or Amazon Canada.
Japan’s view of New York, crooked politicians and cover-ups, the fascination of a good bad boy and what it’s like to go down the mean streets as a tourist and find oneself part of the action: Yoshida’s heady brew reminds us that shojo manga can go far beyond pretty. That’s one of the reasons why shojo translations worked such magic in the moribund English-language girls’ comic market and why I love this book so much. 19 volumes, out of print at Viz, long overdue for a revival.
Out of print from both Dark Horse and Eclipse, and richly deserving of another outing, this charmer is an ideal gateway drug for people who don’t like manga, but adore Snoopy or Garfield – or, come to that, LOLCats. Slice-of-life observations of human-cat interaction mixed with off-the-wall fantasy and sly glances at the absurdities of 80s pop culture. Kobayashi’s funky feline made his home debut in 1984 and began English-language serialisation in 2000. He deserves another chance to strut his stuff.