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The Coming of CMX...
Erin Frost Previews DC's Upcoming Manga Line

At San Diego Comic Con this year, DC Comics unveiled their new line of manga, under the publishing title CMX. In an attempt to draw a broader (i.e. female) audience, DC is now going head to head with established manga publishers TokyoPop and Viz, to license, translate, and distribute Japanese manga titles, with the possibility of Chinese and Korean titles to follow in the future.

The first titles up for release are Madara, From Eroica With Love, and Land of the Blindfolded, and are due for release in October, though they have acquired several more titles for release later. CMX handed out a little preview book, and I’ve gone through it to see what’s interesting, and what’s…well, scary.

Madara is an action title, a sword and sorcery series by Otsuka Eiji, who worked with Quentin Tarantino on the animated portions of Kill Bill, Vol. 1. Sadly, while this looks interesting, there was no excerpt from this manga in the sample book.

From Eroica With Love, by Aoike Yasuko, is an older series that debuted in 1976, and circles the story of a British baron and his alter ego, the art thief Eroica. While the story might hold some interest, the art style is very seventies. Flashbacks to Speed Racer and Robotech are inevitable, except that all the men look like women, and have longer hair than I do. The art style is so distracting that I lost interest in the story very quickly.

Land of the Blindfolded, by Tsukuba Sakura, is an interesting modern story, about two high school students. When they touch people, one can see the past, while the main character Otsuka Kanade, can only see the future. Interesting dilemmas arise when she tries to change the future, and runs into problems with people believing her. Of the first three, this one is my favorite, with an intriguing story, interesting characters, and a simple art style that’s easy to take in and enjoy.

Several other titles were available in the sample book. Gals! is a very modern shojo (girls) story about the streetwise Japanese “kogals," the rebellious 15 to 18 year old girls who roam the Shibuya district in search of cute clothes and a good time. Very brainless, with a sugar pop art style, but entertaining none the less.

Musashi #9 is another action series, but set in modern times, and revolves around a 16 year old super-agent who takes care of spies, assassins, and terrorists. A very dramatic series, and a little too serious for my tastes, but it still gets points for coolness.

Swan is another older series, but one that was extremely popular in Japan. It tells the story of a young ballet dancer striving to become a great ballerina, and apparently was so popular that thousands of young girls started ballet lessons because of it. The art style is older, but beautiful and easy on the eyes, and the story is very original.

Phantom Thief Jeanne is your basic magical girl shojo series, cute artwork and cute main character, though a heavy plot of Satan vs. God. Jeanne is actually a reincarnation of Joan of Arc and fighting for the big man by stealing demon possessed paintings and purifying them. If you liked Card Captor Sakura, you’ll probably like this; it’s got the same cute feeling to it.

Much to my joy, CMX is keeping the Japanese style of naming, so it’ll be last names first in all of the prints. They haven’t translated all of the sound effects, and it looks like they’ll do it on a case by case basis, which is slightly annoying, but understandable. Half the time the sound effects are part of the art, and translating them means losing part of the drawing. They’re also printing right to left, so no picture flipping and losing art that way, either.

CMX originally thought to have a schedule of a new issue of a given title every 3 months, but it seems after some discussion with fans at the panel, there might be a possibility of that waiting period being knocked down to bi-monthly. Each issue will retail for roughly $9.95. For more information, you can visit CMX.

Erin Frost


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