Summer Reading

It’s June and summer is practically here. And with warmer days come longer days and more time for leisure reading. So why not partake in a Vertical Comics release or two this month while on the beach, on the patio while sipping iced tea, or as you jet to some holiday destination.

This month VC and Vertical have a wealth of cool titles for readers to dive into…

New from Vertical Comics:

  • Witchcraft WorksWitchcraft Works, volume 5: A wicked witch named Weekend has assaulted the entire city of Tougetsu. By planting explosives across the municipality this witch was able to use up and neutralize Tougetsu Workshop Witches’ magic while endangering the lives of the public. Will Honoka and Ayaka be able to find the strength to take on this cunning witch before more of Weekend’s explosives harm their hometown?

 

  • A Sky Longing for Memories – The Art of Makoto Shinkai: This unique artbook looks back at some of the most beloved works from award-winning anime director Makoto Shinkai. Featuring hundreds of background art pieces from such works as, 5 Centimeters per Second, Voices of a Distant Star, and A Place Promised in Our Early Days, this collection reveals rarely translated details of the Japanese animation process. The book also contains interviews with Makoto Shinkai and his staff about their experiences within the Japanese anime industry. A must read for anime fanatics and Shinkai admirers.

New from Vertical:

  • Ajin: Demi-HumanAJIN: Demi-Human, volume 5: In this latest volume, Sato and his crew of rogue Demi-Humans have taken to the offensive by launching an attack on Japan’s limited defense systems. And tension at his new home forces Kei Nagai to make his own move. But will it be in favor of humanity, or will he side with Sato?
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The ORIGIN, Part X: Solomon is now in the cross-hairs. With Federation forces moving in it appears as if Zeon’s leadership is falling apart from the top down. The tide may be turning but some members of Zeon are willing fight to their end for their family!

eBook Releases:

  • Black Jack, volume 15 and 16

From beloved classics to new hits, and everything in between, Vertical Comics has the right read for every manga and anime fan this summer!

A Classical Debut

The Twin KnightsThis week Vertical is proud to present the English language debut of Osamu Tezuka’s shojo classic, The Twin Knights. A sequel to the hit gender-bending work, Princess Knight, Twin Knights follows Sapphire as she is now the Queen of Silverland. And much like in her own manga debut, Sapphire’s children, in this case a set of twins, must overcome a series of fantastic almost fairy tale-like challenges to protect their realm.

While the themes may be quite familiar to readers of the original story, what will be completely new to Tezuka fans will be the look and overall aesthetic to The Twin Knights. Never before translated into English, Twin Knights was also never redone by Tezuka, giving readers an unaltered look at Tezuka’s take on shojo from the early days of the format. Originally penned in 1958 for the legendary shojo magazine Nakayoshi, Twin Knights reveals a lighter side of Tezuka, who is still developing his skills for visual storytelling while relying on timeless tropes such as slap-stick comedy, swash-buckling action, and teen romance.

So at a time when anything Tezuka seems fashionable The Twin Knights is a must-read that should charm its way into every true classical comic aficionado’s collections.

Beauty In The Box

AyakoLet’s face it. If you’re reading this, you don’t need an introduction to Osamu Tezuka. You know already know who he is and you know why he’s important. Like the critically acclaimed Message To Adolf, Ayako is the godfather of manga at his best. This gorgeous paperback edition of Ayako comes in at just under 700 pages; making this artistically rich and complex work more than a bang for you buck. With Tezuka’s descriptive art and his subtle nuanced writing both at their its peak, Ayako is a work of manga mastery, plain and simple.

The story of Ayako itself centers around one girl named Ayako, who’s had a very unfortunate upbringing, to say the least, and her sizeable. She herself is the result of illicit relations between the family head and one of his daughter-in-laws, though she herself is unaware. Due to baring witness to a murder her communist-aligned brother committed, Ayako’s family locked her up in their basemen, in an attempt to make sure their dirty laundry never slipped out.  She remained there throughout her entire adolescence and doesn’t escape until she’s an adult. Her relationships, at times incestuous, with her various family members over the years set against the backdrop of post-war Japan, with a handful of deaths and conspiracies surrounding the family itself unraveling throughout, make up this harrowing graphic novel experience known as Ayako.

Out of his entire breadth of work published here in the US, Ayako possibly is the most mature of Osamu Tezuka’s masterpieces. A work that simultaneously both critiques the developing post-war Japanese society and speaks against some of the more restrictive elements of Japanese traditionalism, Ayako tells a dark story with perfect pacing and some haunting overtones. If you missed the hardcover release of Ayako a few years back, this new edition is a must. One of Tezuka’s absolute best works, it’s perfect for any established fan, someone needing an introduction, and the general graphic novel crowd alike.