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Mangaman Hardcover – November 15, 2011
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"An inventive offering, sure to please fans of both American and Japanese comics."—Kirkus, starred review
"Fantastic—in every sense of the word! Lyga and Doran have created an eye-popping fun-ride through the comics traditions of East and West. Fans of both comics and manga will love Mangaman. Colleen Doran’s encyclopedic, rapid-fire grasp of manga conventions blows my mind!" —Jeff Smith, author of Bone
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For Ryoko, it is our world that he finds strange and intimidating, and the people he meets at school don't know how to react to this odd person in their midst. That he leaves discarded speed lines cluttering the floor and his every emotion warps his body doesn't win him any friends. Except for Marissa, who sees in him a fellow traveler. As he shows her some of his world she becomes determined not to lose him, even though it's been decided he has no choice but to go back whence he came...
Barry Lyga follows up his thoroughly engaging The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl books with this clever -- so clever, in fact, that it's a wonder it's not been done before -- melding of western comics and manga. The meta-fictive interlude in the middle of the book is reminiscent of Alan Moore's work on Promethea (Book 1) as the characters become aware of their own fictional existence and begin to break through the panel borders to the strange world beyond. It's extraordinary stuff. Marissa and Ryko's dialogue breathes on the page, their unique voices clear and natural. You're rooting for the pair of them from page one to the unexpected climax.
Colleen Doran has long been a star, ever since the debut of her own series: Distant Soil, Vol. 1 The Gathering (v. 1). Her art gets better and better project after project, and this is no exception. Equally at home with the photo-realistio business of US-style drawing and the ultra-exaggeration of manga, she's the perfect artist for this graphic novel. Her drawing is sharp, clear and expressive; her fluid ink lines a joy to behold. The story-telling is second to none.
This is a book that cries out for a sequel, and I hope that Lyga and Doran bring us one soon!
The title protagonist, Kyoko, is the stereotypically effeminate manga/anime hero ("I don't know if I should kick it's @z$, or screw it!", relates one stunned male bystander). He describes the day he found himself transported to our world as "normal", which is to say he was hanging out with his "girlfriend" (a stubbly dude in a schoolgirl outfit....don't ask) and preparing to fight giant tentacled monsters in his mecha suit. So yeah, an average manga day. All of his exaggerated facial expressions and even the motion lines and visible sound effects make him as much of a freak as his cartoonish appearance and Kyoko finds he doesn't so much fit in in high school. But, as with both mediums, there's always that one girl who finds herself enamored with the stranger from another world and love is ready to bloom as the man from the East shows the beauty from the West that all of our lives are just comic books where we just move from one panel to the next, regardless of what direction it's read in.
Otaku should have a great time picking out the manga conventions made use/fun of in the story, which is broad enough for even those who don't have much knowledge of Japanese entertainment to grasp the gist of. There are some fourth wall hijinks involving censored nudity and the occasional panel-hop out into the borders of the story to add another layer of meta-humor to the mix as well. Mangaman does justice to it's semi-classic meta-comedy premise, but seems rather brief and very rushed at the end for a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion. Nonetheless, a fun read whether you prefer good old fashioned American comics or Japan's more out-there brand of printed visual entertainment.
Most recent customer reviews
The antics in the beginning made me laugh(I particularly liked when the girl...Read more