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Sorcerers & Secretaries, Volume 1 (v. 1) Paperback – February 7, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
This sweet if not particularly deep shojo-style story cast in American manga is by the author of the popular Web comic Reman Mythology. Nicole, a university student and part-time secretary, leads a life of loneliness. Josh, a wanna-be professional heartbreaker who already has a jar full of love-notes from his conquests, falls for her. It's an all-too-common plot—bad boy falls for the mousy girl—and it drags a bit in the middle. The twist is that Nicole's life is consumed by fairy tales and her dream journal, in which she writes the story of the sorcerer Ellon. The art borrows heavily from shojo and manhwa, but has a strong American flavor, slightly reminiscent of such indie comics artists as Dean Haspiel, only gentle and lonely rather than sharp and angry, with a smooth storytelling flow that is so good readers will hardly notice it. Readers will keep expecting Ellon to erupt into the mundane half of Nicole's life; when the sorcerer finally appears, it's not clear whether it's mystical, or if Nicole is simply losing grasp of reality. With this and her complex, involved Web comic, Ganter shows much range, and while still perilously young, she's clearly a talent to watch. (Mar.)
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Top Customer Reviews
And now I'm very glad for that. I happened to come across something that sparked the memory of this manga and decided to order the first volume on a whim. Thank goodness I waited so long to actually read this! I don't think I would have appreciated the story or the characters at the age of 17-18, nor do I think I would have been truly able to relate to the main character Nicole. So glad I waited to read this, because it's cute, engaging, and the art style is still wonderfully unique with both Western and Eastern influences!! I'll be purchasing volume two the first chance I get. Don't pass this one up, you guys; Ganter's story is a diamond-in-the-rough~.
I for one loved it. Contrary to what the Publishers Weekly reviewer would have you believe, there is a lot of originality and depth to be found in Sorcerers & Secretaries, and if one looks closely, there is much more at work here than just the 'bad boy falls for mousy girl' foundation that it's built upon.
Nicole is a NY college girl both lost in and in love with her original fantasy world. She's creative, but her ideas come at a price: bad grades for a course she has no interest in, a boring job that gives her no satisfaction, and even some trouble with an employee at the local bookstore - Josh, her former neighbor, is desperate to win her heart, claim his prize, and drop her number into his quickly-filling jar. She's both a challenge and a conundrum to him, that's for sure. But how sincere is he? And perhaps more importantly, how sincere is she? Can a girl accustomed to living affably in her head ever open herself up to the harsh realities of *gasp* real romance?
The premise sounds simple, but don't be deceived. There is some tender insight to be found here, and a universal story to be told. And don't worry, friends, it's told well. The ins-and-outs of our heroine and hero's lives are never forgotten or neglected, and New York City feels solid and authentic (while the fantasy world stands out - like it should - and is defnitely worth flipping through again to revisit), all oh-so-important traits in a good graphic novel.
But perhaps most importantly, Amy Kim Ganter's characters are delicate and sensitive without forgetting to be lovable and funny, something that even Megatokyo's Fred Gallagher (bless the man) struggles with.
It doesn't hurt that Sorcerers & Secretaries is so easy on the eyes. The artwork is bright and vibrant, and the occasionally weird or uninspired artistic choices are more than redeemed by the funny and clever ones. The solid inking adds a signature of western influence to the graphic novel that is more than welcome given its content and setting.
For a first major work (though Ms. Ganter is a veteran webcomic artist with the award-winning "Reman Mythology" and has contributed to the highly acclaimed "Flight" anthology), Sorcerers & Secretaries is a clearly personal story that's charming, captivating, and surprisingly honest in its telling. It's even a little cinematic; Nicole's loneliness is explored more through images than words, and in an artform where pages are often overflowing with pointless, meaningless dialogue, that makes all the difference in the world.
It's both interesting and inspiring to see artists from inside the USA having their work featured proudly in the manga section of local bookstores. And because of its western influences and setting, it's easy to recommend Sorcerers & Secretaries, even to non-manga fans, older teens and twenty-somethings. This charming novel warmed me up on a chilly day, and now I honestly cannot wait until Volume Two.
I looked at the shipping cost and it made it more reasonable since mangas usually go for 10 bucks in general.
Book was brand-new, with its crisp smell, unopened look and everything.
I definitely recommend buying from Shawnek (sp?), the seller. =)
Book was also a very good read. I myself am more a fan of artists that aren't JP.
It makes it more relatable since I am an aspiring webcomic artist myself.
Easy to follow the story, good cast and overall really good story.
She guards her dream log against discovery while fending off the catty drama of a "friend," avoiding a boy who'd like to be more than just "friends" and getting through her day-to-day life.
The situation takes a turn for the comical when the boy, who is normally pretty smooth, shows himself to be goofily infatutated with Nicole. Nicole brushes off all his attempts with a stoic cold shoulder and we don't even find out that she likes him until they have had several uninspiring encounters. All his flirting with other girls doesn't seem to show Nicole how desirable he is but that he doesn't care for Nicole in particular. So Nicole is wary of his attentions but it just makes Josh try harder.
The drawings are mediocre and even a little childish looking and I hope the plot warms up soon. I'm attracted to the idea of the plot but there's something about it that is not as satisfying as other manga (even American manga) that I have read. Perhaps it's not moving fast enough to keep my attention or well-fleshed out enough to be realistic. I'm not positive on that score yet. Maybe in the next book?
Another delightful aspect was how instantly likeable (even lovable) the characters of Nicole and Josh were. Nicole's dilemma of being torn between her fantasy/dream world and her typical, mundane reality is easy to relate to. Amy Kim Ganter has such a talent for capturing emotions and making her characters all the more expressive, comical, and genuine. Also worth mentioning is how beautifully depicted Nicole's dream world is. The second volume can't come quickly enough.