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Posts Tagged Bara

Massive Bara Anthology Rescued by Fantagraphics

Massive Bara Anthology Rescued by Fantagraphics

It looks like I was mourning the bara anthology, Massive, a little prematurely.

Fantagraphics recently announced that they’ve picked up the license for the anthology, Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It. It features a number of Japan’s best known bara artists, including the previously English-published creator, Gengoroh Tagame.

The late-publisher Picture Box Inc was originally slated to release the collection but announced they were shutting down as of the end of December. You can read more about the book in my original news post about the license and via an interview about it on Robot6, who originally broke this news.

The current release plan is next fall.

Credit for me reading the news first goes to AnimeNewsNetwork.


PictureBox To Cease Publications At End of Year

PictureBox To Cease Publications At End of Year
It’s a sad day whenever a publisher shuts its doors. PictureBox Inc recently announced that as of December 31st they would be ceasing publication of new titles.

Most notable to manga readers was likely PictureBox’s announcement back in January that they were starting an imprint called Ten Cent Manga, which included a hardcover collection of older Osamu Tezuka stories. The company didn’t publish a lot of manga, but what it did publish came with extra attention to the presentation, making each a collector’s item.

For me this news is saddest for the loss of a company brave enough to publish bara in North America – comics intended for gay men starring masculine characters, in contrast to boys’ love created for female audiences. Their release of The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame was wonderfully put together, and I loved being able to get my copy and meet the bara-famous Gengoroh Tagame at this past year’s Toronto Comics Art Fest. I was really, really looking forward to their announced bara anthology which was supposed to come out in Spring 2014 and had a number of my favourite bara artists featured in it.

PictureBox Inc is currently offering 50% off everything available to purchase via their website. Below is a list of their manga offerings with a few different places to purchase – get them while you can!

The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame: The Master of the Gay Erotic Manga
PictureBox | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com )

The Last of the Mohicans – Shigeru Sugiura
( PictureBox | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com )

The Mysterious Underground Men – Osamu Tezuka
( PictureBox | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com )

Gold Pollen and Other Stories: Masters of Alternative Manga (Vol. 01)
PictureBox | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com )

World Map Room – Yuichi Yokoyama
PictureBox | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com )

Travel – Yuichi Yokoyama
PictureBox | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com )


Swag Bag: Biz With Viz, Passion and Perils

Swag Bag: Biz With Viz, Passion and Perils

It’s been March since the last Swag Bag! Well that won’t do, now will it? While my post about TCAF outlined a bunch of my most recently purchased comics, there’s been lots of manga bought between the last Swag Bag and that post. Because I’m too lazy to go through my bookshelves to find each and every one, let’s take a look at some notables!

Always the must have buy is Sailor Moon (Vol. 10) which I’m loving more and more every volume. This point in the story was broadcast only briefly on television, and these manga volumes were more difficult to find, so while I’m familiar with the story, it all feels more fresh and new and full of surprises since I have less familiarity with it. Eternal Sailor Senshi!

Then it’s my why-do-I-keep-buying-this-series with Dawn of the Arcana (Vol. 09). Loki keeps getting the short end of the stick, and I find the relationship between Nakaba and Cesare so lacking in chemistry. I think it must be some tiny sliver of hope Loki gets a happy ending that keeps me reading. I hope I’m rewarded for my diligence…

Much more satisfying were new volumes of Bleach (Vol.56), Toriko (Vol.15) and A Devil and Her Love Song (Vol.08). Toriko is still one of my favourite manga series running now, though I’m a little sad to see it dissolve to chapter upon chapter of one on one fight scenes in the current issues of Shonen Jump. On the flip side  the current chapters of Bleach have been really great – actually super relevant and interesting flashbacks!

And last up from Viz Media recently was Pokemon Adventures (Vol.16), which continues the adventures of these two new Pokemon trainers who are really, really entertaining. Flip those gender roles! The male trainer is obsessed with making Pokemon beautiful, while the female trainer is a wild girl (like Tarzan wild) who wants her Pokemon to be the strongest.

In other worlds of young people doing interesting things – I picked up Arisa (Vol.10) where we finally know who the King is. There are still some motivations left to be explored, but I’m glad the one secret is finally out in the open. It’s more classic mysteries on-going in Young Miss Holmes (Vol.03-04) where the adorable lead makes it a joy to read, even when plot itself gets a little bogged down in details.

Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin: Activation (Vol. 01)And the biggest buys recently were Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin: Activation (Vol. 01) when it came out back in April, and The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame this past weekend. Both had amazing production values – really nice work done on the design and packaging. I wasn’t sure how I’d like the Gundam manga but actually really, really liked it. As the original Gundam story, it felt simple and streamlined while containing everything that makes the franchise so popular. Very easy to read, and I look forward to more. Passion was also great, but in a very different way. Gengoroh Tagame’s work is always shocking, and I was really curious to see which of his works would be in this book. Picture Box did not hold back!

And lastly during my visit to Toronto, I picked up some out of print books from The Beguiling. Hollow Fields (Vol.01), First Love (Vol.01) and In These Words (Vol.01). Sadly I doubt I’ll ever see second volumes of First Love and In These Words, which is sad because they were both great reads and I’ve been looking for them a while. I also bought two new bara anthologies which star many of the artists we’ll see in Picture Box’s Massive anthology next Spring.

That does it for this week’s Swag Bag. As always, feel more than free to share what purchases you’ve made recently and if you’d recommend them!


PictureBox Inc Releasing Massive Bara Anthology in Spring 2014

PictureBox Inc Releasing Bara Anthology in Spring 2014

This past weekend’s Toronto Comics Art Festival had comics, comics and more comics, and also managed to slip in some manga industry news from attending publisher, Picture Box Inc. The company announced they’ll be releasing a new anthology of gay erotic manga called Massive: Gay Erotic Manga And The Men Who Make It. The book is planned for Spring 2014.

Currently the anthology is slated to have short stories and biographies on the following creators:

Fumi Miyabi
Gengoroh Tagame
Go Fujimoto
Guy Mizuki
Inu Yoshi
Jiraiya
Kazuhide Ichikawa
Kumada Poohsuke
Noda Gaku
Seizoh Ebisubashi
Takeshi Matsu

Chip Kidd, the art director for PictureBox’s recently released The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame, will be returning to work on this new project. As someone who was really impressed with the production values of that book, I have high hopes we’ll see treatment just as nice for Massive. Plus it means not only more Gengoroh Tagame in English, but other creators I like such as Takeshi Matsu as well. As with Gengoroh Tagame’s book, this will be a book for mature readers only.

“Massive goes beyond simply translating the artists’ work, offering an intimate, in-depth look at an essential (but criminally overlooked) queer culture that challenges and transcends stereotypes of gender and sexuality. In addition to comics and illustrations, Massive features some of the first photos of these artists; background information providing cultural and historical context; and first-person interviews about what it’s like to be a gay erotic artist in Japan.”

Gay erotic artwork created by men, for men is often referred to as bara and most easily distinguished by its depiction of larger, more masculine characters. This is different from boys’ love/yaoi which is predominantly created by women, for women.

Credit for the news details goes to AnimeNewsNetwork and The Comics Reporter.


Bara in English! Picture Box Inc. To Release Collection of Gengoroh Tagame

Bara in English! Picture Box Inc. To Release Collection of Gengoroh Tagame

This was some news that completely boggled my brain when I read it earlier this week – PictureBox Inc. will be releasing a collection of bara stories by Gengoroh Tagame in English next Spring (2013). The book is titled The Passions of Gengoroh Tagame: The Master of Bara Manga, and is being designed by Chipp Kidd, better known to manga readers as the designer behind several Vertical titles. May I just say, wow.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, bara is a word used to encompass works about homosexual men. What differentiates bara from yaoi/BL is that bara is intended for actual gay men, and typically drawn by them, where as BL is targeted at women, and typically created by them also. Because of the different demographic, bara manga looks a lot different in that their characters are often more large – be it in muscle and/or weight – and have more defined features, body hair and are usually actually fully anatomically present (you have few places to flourish here, invisi-talia and sparkles). That said, yes, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame will a mature audiences’ book.

To my knowledge this collection will be the first time bara has been licensed and made available in English as its own book collection, so I’m really curious, and hopeful, it finds its market here. My friend and I have purchased a number of bara volumes and anthologies in Japanese over the years (thank you, Beguiling!) and both of us were pretty much resigned to the notion that no publisher would actually license it. It’s sometimes nice to be proven wrong! I love to dabble in just about every genre and art style and bara manga is another one of those areas that really offers something different and unique, both in the styles of art and the tone of the stories themselves.

The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame will be printed with a large-trim size and contain ten short stories spanning the artists’ career over fifteen years. There will also be an original story created just for this book. Gengoroh Tagame’s work, as I’ve seen, can often be rather violent and include some pretty out-there bondage so it’ll be especially interesting to see which of his stories get chosen for English. We shall see in the Spring (if you’re over 18 of course).


Swag Bag: Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2012 Edition!

Swag Bag: TCAF 2012 Edition

This past weekend was Toronto Comics Art Fest – one of the best comic shows in North America for meeting and greeting comic artists and checking out their work. It was my second year to attend and I loved it. And who can possibly leave a show as magnificent as TCAF without an armful of comics? Certainly not I! The ability to buy directly from creators is an experience that blows my mind, I adore it and TCAF offers the perfect fix.

Bento Comics – a collection of artists whose works you can read online then have published print-on-demand – had a new anthology available: Peter Pan and the Language of the Dead. I was giddy to see it, as a fan of Bento Comics’ anthologies and a huge Peter Pan junkie. The theme combo was brilliant – it was so unnerving but at the same time fascinating. Wonderful!

Ultimate Kate or DieAnother anthology collection I picked up was Cautionary Fables & Fairy Tales which includes a story by one of my favourite artist/writer combos, Katie and Steven Shanahan. It’s a pretty hefty book with a bunch of artists new to me. I’m looking forward to discovering some new creators to follow.

Becky Cloonan premiered her new self-published short, The Mire, and I was quick to nab a copy. I haven’t read it yet but just the print quality and a quick flip-through shows it was worth each and every penny. Fellow Haligonian Jordyn F. Bochon also premiered a print collection of her comic, The Terrible Death of Finnigan Strap. Two other Halifax artists present whose works I couldn’t miss were Mike Holmes‘ – who had copies of his creative multi-style self-portrait art book, Mikenesses – and Kate Leth who debut her collected comic, Ultimate Kate or Die.

A lot of artists at the show were selling print editions of their web comics so I took the opportunity to buy a bunch. I don’t typically read comics on the web but when an opportunity to try them out via print arises, I go for it! I bought a book of Octopus Pie, Earthsong (Vol.01) and In The Air (Vol.01). Of the three I’ve read In The Air so far and it was great! I hope I enjoy the others just as much, and it’s fun knowing there’s more to read online should I be unable to wait for more to hit the printers.

Teahouse (Chapter 03)There are a few web published comics that I read each week though, and of course I couldn’t possibly resist purchasing the print versions of those. The print editions of Starfighter (Vol.01) and Teahouse (Vol. 03) were both gorgeously reproduced and will now sit proudly on my BL shelves (once I’ve finished oogling them for hours). The colourist of Teahouse, Christina, was also selling hardcover books of her web comic (which I also follow regularly), Fox Sister.

Vertical Inc had a booth at TCAF and I was able to pick up a few volumes of manga from them too. For new volumes, I got Flowers of Evil (Vol.01) – very twisted! – and GTO: 14 Days of Shonan (Vol.02). An older book I’d been having trouble finding was Osamu Tezuka’s MW, which I’m now happy to have in my hands.

Outside of TCAF, I visited The Beguiling where I always know I’ll find a stack of goodies to buy. I was giddy to find a missing volume of One Thousand and One Nights (Vol.07) and an out of print copy of an old comic favourite of mine, My Faith in Frankie. Then it was boys’ love stock up time with Right Here, Right Now (Vol.01-02), The Desert Prince, Black Sun (Vol.02) and, in currently joint ownership with my awesome roommate, four volumes of bara manga. Not easy finding this stuff! Well… unless you’re at the Beguiling. Thanks, Chris!

Thus sums up my Toronto Comics Art Festival purchases for 2012 – all fantastic! It’s a great show that I look forward to attending again next year and I hope others do as well (and let me know!).


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