Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New Comics Day

House of Secrets, the comic store I go to in Burbank, is frequented by tons of artists an animators due to the high concentration of studios in the area. I tend to hit the store off peak hours, but every now and again I pop in around lunch and the place is packed to the gills. All these guys relaying anecdotes to each other about their current gigs and studios, or saying what a nightmare it is to work on Boondocks.

52
The Spirit
Shadowpact
Y the Last Man
Army @ Love
Gunsmith Cats: Omnibus Vol. 1

Gunsmith Cats is one of my all time favorite comics, or -ahem- "manga" if you will. Creator Kenichi Sonada, too, ranks high on my list. The book centers on the lovely Rally Vincent, a firearms expert and freelance bounty hunter. The sexy characters and hard core action stories are framed by an almost instruction manual degree of detail of guns and muscle cars. Dark Horse has been translating Gunsmith Cats for years, and has collected the entire run in nice digest trades. This latest Omnibus Edition is considered "revised" because it is being presented unedited (the Japanese do love the gratuitous panty shot) and in original Japanese format reading right-to-left. This is kind of a key element here because for American left-to-right reading, manga art is commonly mirrored when reprinted. Since Gunsmith Cats feature alot of driving and gun detail, this is all reversed in prior reprints, most noticeably seen with Rally's custom Shelby Cobra cruising through the streets of Chicago-- with the driver on the right. That would be a hell of a custom Cobra!

This new addition addresses that of course but has one fatal flaw. It's so tiny!!!!! At a mere 5.25 x 7.25, the collection is smaller than a comic book and smaller still than the prior collected digest editions! This is a real shame to me since Sonada's art is some of the best the medium has to offer, I wish it was bigger to appreciate. And at several hundred pages (collecting about three prior trades worth) it's a tad unwieldy and nowhere near as cool to read as DC's Showcase or Marvel's Essential books are. I wish Dark Horse would have taken this into consideration since this is supposed to be the definitive presentation of the material. And for the record, I totally don't mind a western-reading flipped art format. Even on the cars, I give the human brain a little more credit than that, purist presentation or not. Bummer.

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