2012 Comic-Con Manga Highlights


By Lyn Jensen

Sunday is the slowest day of Comic Con but the slowest day is rushed and hectic enough.

Exhibitors and attendees alike are often in glazed-eyes recovery from the first four days (the con runs Wednesday-Sunday).  I hoped to have a meet-up with Ginger Mayerson of Wapshott Press but she got her business taken care of early and took the train home, so the day was just Comic Con and I—no appointments. A thing I’d like to change.  Parking in the Padres’ stadium lot (the ideal place) was only $20, I suppose either because of the depressed economy or the decreased demand on Sunday.

This year I focused on several specific companies, primarily the ones associated with manga, instead of trying to see every last exhibitor, and that still took up the day. Here’s what I found, and I’ve included some Web sites for further updates:

Antarctic Press—Matt Spradlin and Barry Wernick were promoting the theatrical release of the Bad Kids Go to Hell film, which Spradlin directed and Wernick produced. They originally conceived it as a movie, but they couldn’t sell the script. So they sold it as a comic—then sold the movie rights to the comic.

Antarctic was also promoting a new comic book series, The Adventures of a Comic Con Girl by Dana Barziel-Solovy, based on her personal experience.  I suspect that if you liked the popular manga series Dramacon by Svetlana Chrmakova, you’ll like Barziel-Solovy’s alt comic.  Antarctic’s Web site is www.antarctic-press.com although I see nothing there about either BKGtH or Barziel-Solovy at this time.

Prism—The gay comics advocacy group was promoting No Straight Lines, Justin Hall’s history of GLBT comics and I’m told they sold out.  It should prove popular enough for a second printing.  One of the guys at the booth said they’re hoping to bring to the American market some Japanese Bara, comics that are usually by and for gay men.  The genre is also sometimes called ML, for Man Love, as opposed to the BL or yaoi that’s usually created by and marketed to women.

Yen Press—To find Yen at Comic Con you have to remember it’s an imprint of Hachette.  I must ask Ellen Wright, who does their PR, if Black Butler is their most popular manga series.  It’s now up to vol. 10.  Back at Anime Expo I noticed a large amount of Black Butler product—posters, banners, backpacks, and other such promotional items—which is unusual for anything yaoi-related or even shoujo-related.  Of course it’s also a very popular anime from FUNimation, so that may explain the fan support.

Yen was also distributing a free First Chapter Preview of a new global/OEL steampunk manga, The Infernal Devices:  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, art by Hyek Yung Baek.  It’s horror/mystery, not yaoi, but it does have bishonen.  If you liked Godchild, you’ll probably like this.  Check for more news at www.yenpress.com or go to www.yenplus.com for online manga.

Kondansha (formerly Del Rey)— Kondansha is a Japanese publishing company, and Del Rey was an imprint of the American company Random House, so apparently there’s been a change in the business structure.  Sailor Moon is probably the company’s top current manga title.  They’ve also released Until the Full Moon, a mash-up of vampires, werewolves, and yaoi by Sanami Matoh.  Go to www.kondanshacomics.com for more.

UDON—Canadian company, they market manga, comics and art books but presently no yaoi.  I got their contact information and can visit www.udonentertainment.com for updates.

VIZ—I talked briefly to Jane Lui, who told me about the new yaoi line SuBLime.  I thought they just did digital releases but they’re also marketing paperback versions.  Latest SuBLime manga include Three Wolves Mountain by Bohra Naono, Honey Darling by Norikazu Akira, and two series: Punch Up by the prolific and popular Shuiko Kano and Awkward Silence by Hinako (Little Butterfly) Takanaga. That’ll fill up my manga reading list for a year. VIZ is also involved with marketing Japanese novels from Haikasoru, distributed in the US by Simon & Schuster—including Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.

Media Blasters—They’ve gone more heavily into yuri and hentai anime, but still no indication of when they’ll be reprinting or offering any new yaoi.  However, the company continues to be likely the best American source for such yaoi anime as Fake. I bought the Night Head Genesis DVD.  It’s not yaoi but does feature bishonen characters designed by You Higuri.

The only other purchase I made was when I stopped by the autograph section to talk to comic book fans and Amazing Race veterans Kent and Vyxsin.  They talked me into buying a copy of Gothic Beauty #36.  I particularly wanted the articles on Japanese fashion:  h. Naoto and Yoshikimono, the latter a line from Japan X rocker Yoshi.

I ended up somehow with a free Special Preview of Speed Racer, which began as a Japanese comic in the sixties, and has ranged across diverse international media since.  It’s apparently enjoying a new life as an Allegory comic book series.  The Web site is www.allegorymedia.co (not com).

At the artists’ alley, Womanthology caught my eye, an ongoing graphic novel project created entirely by women for the Global Giving Foundation.  However, I didn’t get much information.  They have a blogspot but that site doesn’t tell us how to purchase the book, there’s no info for press, and I don’t even see how to subscribe to the blog.

For some reason I actually had some energy left after the con.  Maybe because it was Sunday, maybe because I was narrowly focused, or I’m healthier overall—but I walked through downtown San Diego afterwards, considering an early dinner.  However, the restaurants were either incompatible with my allergies or hadn’t opened for dinner yet

So instead I had a milkshake in the Hard Rock Hotel, at a diner normally named Mary Jane’s (wink, nudge) but found the place was renamed the SyFy Café and turned into a giant promotion for the Defiance TV series. Comic Con appeared to have taken over downtown San Diego more so than usual.    The con was more spread out this year—into neighboring hotels and restaurants—and I’ve heard (unofficially) it’s because the San Diego fire marshal clamped down on the number of people and things in the convention center.

With Comic Con becoming so huge and dominated by TV/movies/games, a few smaller events are attempting to enter the market, ones more narrowly focused on comics, anime, and manga.  There’s a San Diego Comic Fest at the Town & Country Hotel, San Diego, Oct. 19-21, and Anime Conji, same place, April 12-14, 2013.


  1. Hello,

    I’m one of the ladies with Womanthology. Womanthology is an anthology published by IDW (as it says on the spine of the book) and therefore you can get it at any comic shop, and if they don’t have it just ask and they will order it! You can also find it on Amazon and other various websites for sale.

    Thanks for the interest!



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