Manga Before Flowers — Two Year Anniversary!
Yes, today marks my two year anniversary writing for Comics Should Be Good. Instead of highlighting a few of my favorite posts that I’ve written since I started blogging here, I decided to tell the story of how I got here in the first place.
It’s actually quite simple — I pretty much got this gig because MarkAndrew and I live in the same town. From the summer of 2007 to the summer of 2008 I worked one day a week at our local comic book shop (usually Saturday or Sunday) and MarkAndrew would often come in and somehow we’d end up having long conversations about comics and manga. Usually manga. Obviously, Sundays were very, very slow at the shop and MarkAndrew was kind enough to let me go on and on about how awesome manga is. I’m pretty sure I recommended Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and NANA to him but for the life of me I can’t remember what else I told him to read. Probably lots of things. Luckily, he seemed to enjoy hearing what I had to say about manga and now whenever we randomly meet up — either at the public library or the mall parking lot (yeah, this actually happens) — he still lets me go on and on about what manga he should be reading.
Eventually, when I was still working at the store, he mentioned that the site needed a regular manga person and I decided to volunteer my services (seriously, I felt like a big weirdo doing so but MarkAndrew seemed enthusiastic about the idea). He got me in touch with Brian, who was kind enough to invite me on board and make me feel very welcome as part of the team here. In the beginning I was supposed to write a weekly column but as you all might have noted, I don’t do well with a regular schedule. So now I write regular manga reviews under Danielle Leigh’s Reading Diary, try to assemble “thinky” stuff for Manga Before Flowers once in awhile, and every other month have more fun than should be legally allowed talking about NANA with Michelle Smith and Melinda Beasi. (Also going back to glance at my old columns I discovered Michelle was here from day one, already correcting my bone-headed mistakes! Bless you, Michelle. I would be lost in the weeds without you).
Obviously, I’m incredibly grateful to Brian and MarkAndrew for taking a chance on a newbie blogger. I also have to single out Michelle and Melinda for all their support and kindness. Whenever I’m feeling burnt out or just annoyed with the eternal struggle to find time in the day to discuss the manga I love so much, I know that they will cheer and buck me up. Seriously, I doubt I’d still be doing this if I hadn’t found such wonderful and inspiring partners in all of this. Thanks to all the smart, funny and insightful manga and anime folks on twitter with me, including David Welsh, Katherine Dacey, Johanna Draper Carlson, Ed Sizemore, Deb Aoki, Erica Friedman, Brigid Alverson, Lori Henderson, TangognaT, Mizzelle, Ysabet, Lissa Pattillo, Rob, Lorena, and the Manga Recon Crew, including Ken, Sam, Jen and Connie. I now have two great communities to discuss my pure, pure love of manga — here at Comics Should Be Good and now with the twitter crowd. Thanks also to all the folks on the blog — writers and readers — who have asked me questions or pushed me a little to explain my take on this whole “manga” thing. Also thanks to the guy who posted a literal “get off my lawn” comment on my very first regular post here (after my introductory post explaining who the hell I was). I still find that comment HILARIOUS.
Two years later and my love for manga is still going strong. Hell, just this week I became totally obsessed with One Piece and then tried to be all smart about Monster. However, the real game changer for me has been the development of the Viz Signature imprint. Now on a monthly basis am I guaranteed the release of a variety of titles which speak to mature tastes and interests (including some of my favorite manga titles of all time, such as Ooku: The Inner Chambers, 20th Century Boys, Black Lagoon, and not simple). This allows me to dip back into my old-school favorites — shojo and yaoi titles — with a fresh new perspective. Manga in the U.S. continues to evolve and even though the economy is in the tank right now, manga still chugs along like that little engine that could. I have confidence this comic book form won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and neither, hopefully, will I. Anyway, if you all can stand to put up with me for a little while longer, I know I still have a lot to say about manga. Thanks for two wonderful years!