Manga suggestions?
January 25, 2011 4:56 PM   Subscribe

Graphic novels, manga collections?

I am a college librarian. I want to purchase some sets of graphic novels and manga sets for my college library. I am looking for teen or adult (but not too salacious) collections. If the books are in English, Japanese or Spanish, that would be good. I would also like sets or series, that can be purchased all at once. Any recommendations?
posted by fifilaru to Education (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Have you reached out to students and asked what their favorite series are? It could be a springboard in getting your collection started. When I was working in the YA section of a public library we'd get requests all the time, and that's what helped us develop our collection of items that would be sure to circulate.
posted by Anima Mundi at 5:00 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Great Graphic Novels for Teens from the ALA.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:22 PM on January 25, 2011

Well I can't talk to Manga, but if I was in your shoes I'd try to get things in the (emerging, subject to heavy debate) Graphic Novel canon to start: Watchmen, The Sandman Series, Maus, mixed in with stuff like Ghost World, Black Hole, and some Chris Ware. I always think Seth's stuff get overlooked in these lists and pure fun stuff like Kyle Baker inever gets enough love, plus you have more domestic or down to earth stuff like Stuck Rubber Baby or Fun Home, both are great.

My views tend to line up with Bob's here, and he also does Manga and Spanish language stuff so that's a plus. But it is a tricky question cause some of these series are long - if it came down to From Hell Or Sin City, I'd probably pick From hell cause I think it's richer and more interesting but Sin City might be more popular ...and stuff like Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World have just finished and are now available as sets.

P.S: yay for you. More comics in libraries! It's how I read the Sandman books, which convinced me to get into comics as a career..
posted by The Whelk at 5:43 PM on January 25, 2011

Oh *also* Comics theory stuff like Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art and Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics would be an excellent resource for people who'd like to learn more about the medium, history, and other titles to check out.
posted by The Whelk at 5:45 PM on January 25, 2011

The Sandman series, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by various artists, is pretty much the best there has ever been in the line of graphic novels. Not a lot of sex, but there are some scenes with bloody violence.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:49 PM on January 25, 2011

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention The Salon, one of the most interesting newish novels that uses the fact that it's a visual medium as the focus of the story. As does The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard.

Jason Lute's Berlin is also fantastic but it's not finished yet.
posted by The Whelk at 5:52 PM on January 25, 2011

Here's a few older teen or adult completed series:

Death Note
Buddha (other Tezuka Manga released by Vertical is complete in one volume)
Sexy Voice and Robo (one volume)
Solanin (one volume)
What a Wonderful World (2 volumes)
Sand Chronicles
Paradise Kiss
All My Darling Daughters
posted by gnat at 5:54 PM on January 25, 2011

Oh and Kevin Colden's Fishtown is about teenagers but is a gripping kind of noir and In Cold Blood-ish exploration of a real life crime.
posted by The Whelk at 5:55 PM on January 25, 2011

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Maus by Art Spiegelman

xxxHolic by CLAMP
Full Metal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

We also like Bleach, Naruto, and Inuyasha, though those might appeal more to a younger crowd.
posted by dragonplayer at 6:21 PM on January 25, 2011

Anything by Naoki Urasawa would be good.

Completed Series:

20th Century Boys
PLUTO My library has this series. It's awesome!

Hitoshi Iwaaki's works are also very good.
Try Parasyte

Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura is also very popular. I'm not sure about English translation and it's still ongoing.

Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya.

That's all I can think of it right now that's complete set.
posted by Carius at 7:18 PM on January 25, 2011

Thanks everyone. Yes, I have talked to students and I am trying to get input from different sources. I like comics. I think libraries that cater to young adults should have sets of good ones. We teach serial drawing and graphics courses, so it also supports our academics.
posted by fifilaru at 8:41 PM on January 25, 2011

I second Carius' three Urasawa Naoki suggestions (Monster, 20th Century Boys, Pluto). Every page he draws is a comics-making education; he's just great at layout, pacing, character design. Everything he does is total melodrama, in the same sense that Les Miserables is total melodrama.

Yoshida Akemi's '80s New York gang drama Banana Fish is venerable, impeccably atmospheric, and very influential, and it's been complete in the U.S. for a while now.

Lots of Tezuka. Black Jack is my favorite; MW is really good (in a pulpy, slightly deranged way that still sneaks up on you with its emotional weight; I know it's an important influence on Monster and wouldn't be surprised if it lurks behind Banana Fish, too). Pluto will make more sense with at least a little Astro Boy in one's system. I haven't read Phoenix but it probably belongs on the Tezuka list as well. It was an ambitious longrunner of great personal importance to him.

Samura Hiroaki's revisionist Edo drama Blade of the Immortal is still coming out in the U.S. (and will be for the rest of eternity, I think -- not that the people who are releasing it should be blamed too hard; it's not finished in Japan and their translations are great) and is unique both for its rich storytelling, philosophical revenge plot, and painterly, beautiful art.

This isn't everybody's cup of tea (and definitely isn't the kind of large-scale adult-type epic that makes up most of my list), but I also think Kumeta Koji's Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei is an important book, mostly because it's a satire (and often a brutal one) and satire is a genre I don't see too often in the world of manga. That said, people tend to find its repetition and lack of continuity either perversely brilliant or tremendously stupid. I think the former, but I kind of suspect that if you've read the first few volumes, you more or less get the picture, so it might not be a huge problem that it's not all the way out over here.

I also totally second Death Note, which was a giant hit for very good reasons.
posted by thesmallmachine at 11:10 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Barefoot Gen
posted by cazoo at 11:17 PM on January 25, 2011

Anything by Jason. Hey, Wait... for example. Or I Killed Adolf Hitler. David B's Epileptic. Maybe A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.
posted by The Mouthchew at 11:46 PM on January 25, 2011

Another thing you could try is to take a look at mangas that won Kodansha Manga Award. Two terms to explain: Shonen manga are those for male audience from 10-18 years old. While Shojo manga are those marketed to female from age of 10-18.
posted by Carius at 12:35 AM on January 26, 2011

Add another vote for the Urasawa books. Pluto is the shortest at 8 volumes. Monster is 18 volumes and 20th Century Boys is up to 12 and counting.

Love & Rockets. I'm sure I saw Spanish versions of these at the Fantagraphics store in Seattle.

Any of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's books (except maybe Black Blizzard, it's kinda thin).

Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter & The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke.

Blazing Combat.

Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969 and Art in Time: Unknown Comic Book Adventures, 1940-1980.

The Jacques Tardi books.

Y: The Last Man is available as 5 hardcovers or 10 paperback volumes.

Sandman Mystery Theatre

The Hellboy spin-off (and terrific book in its own right) B.P.R.D.

Charles Burns' Black Hole.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 12:48 AM on January 26, 2011

And seinen is for adult men, josei for adult women. These don't show up in the U.S. in huge numbers, though that is changing. Most of Urasawa's work is seinen; Paradise Kiss is josei.

(It's sometimes surprising, however, what gets categorized where; Banana Fish, with its largely male cast and action-oriented storyline, is shojo, while Death Note, unremittingly dark and with a cast composed almost entirely of adults, is shonen. Then there's xxxHolic, which ran in a seinen magazine while its heroes were high-school-aged, took a break, time-jumped significantly, and now runs in a shonen magazine. You never know.)
posted by thesmallmachine at 12:53 AM on January 26, 2011

nthing Sandman, also:
From Hell
V for Vendetta

I'm a big fan of Joe Sacco's stuff:
Safe Area Gorazde
Footnotes in Gaza
The Fixer
War's End
posted by xqwzts at 2:39 AM on January 26, 2011

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