Night's Knights in PRINT!
That’s right, the vampires you know and love are now in a non-electronic, easy to carry, can be read in the doctor’s office, hurled at villains, and possibly might save the world… PRINT VERSION! [reus id="51"]If you happen to be in Northern California, Emerian’s release party will be held at Bay Books in Concord. Bay Books is one of the last independently owned bookstores with a large stock of new and used books. Come on over on October 30th to meet Emerian, trick or treat, and get a lot of free goodies including a companion book with artist sketches, floor plans, insider information, and fan works.
If you can’t make it to the signing, support Emerian when you buy Night's Knights: A Vampire Tale from Amazon here. Let’s show those publishers what vampire enthusiasts REALLY want.
For more information, visit http://www.emzbox.com
How To Choose A Manga
There are so many manga out, you may be asking, “How can I choose the manga that is right for me?” First you need to know what part of the manga you enjoy most. Do you love goth-loli art? A good story? Something with horror in it? It’s rare to find all these things in one manga series. Believe me, I’ve tried!
Some of you may rely on reviews such as this one to lead your way, but for those of you who are trying to create your own manga hunting style, here are some tips.
Know what you like
I look for good art first, story second.
Seems kind of weird for someone to say that about a book, but unlike fiction books, mangas need to capture your eyes as well as your mind.
Good manga authors are a skilled, rare breed that can somehow create a tale and put it down in art in such a delicate fashion, you hardly realize you are reading what is basically a cartoon. What good is a tale in a manga book without interesting art? They might as well have written a novel, let the publisher worry about the cover art, and stick to word writin’!
Know what you don't like
I am emphatically against talking animals in manga. I hate them. Bats and spiders are sometimes ok, but bunnies and doggies and 300-year-old kitties reincarnated from a once great vampire god? Don’t get me started! However, my best friend adores animals talking and absolutely loves the manga (that shall remain nameless) with the vampire kitty. My point?
Know your tastes and just because your best friend urges you to buy her favorite manga because it has vampires in it, don’t automatically assume you will in enjoy it. There may be a wisecrackin' bunny hidden in the pages, and we all know what that leads to!
Hone your skills
Here are some tips on how to narrow the competition down.
- Go to a store with a large manga selection. This shouldn’t be too hard as it seems manga is the only hot selling item in bookstores these days.
- Stand back from the manga shelves and scan. If any cover draws your notice from a few yards back, it’s worth a look.
- Check out the front cover in full. Are you a chibi lover, or do you enjoy killer cyborgs with little chibi interference? Make sure the cover speaks to your taste. If you see one character you don’t like, put it in the maybe pile. There is a good chance that character is going to be throughout the book and will irritate you every time you turn the page and see them.
- Once you have narrowed down a few of the great covers, glance over the description on the back. Don’t put too much stock in the description because they don’t usually relate very closely to the tale. I’ve found that often manga covers seem to be written about the whole series and not about the one volume you are purchasing. As long as there are no talking vampire kitties, you are safe to go on.
- Flip through the book and check out the art. Is the detail inside as good as the cover art? Is it appealing to you? Is the printing bad, or is it crisp and clean? Do you stop every so often to let a “wow” or a “ooooohhhh” slip from your lips? If you realize it’s a steampunk fantasy once you get inside and you don’t like that sort of tale, please don’t buy it just because you like the cover. You will be disappointed.
- Finally, the tale. Read at least the first four pages to make sure you like the story. Does the character cuss like a twelve-year-old boy trying to show off to his mates? Does the dialog not flow? Is there some sort of back story you just don’t like? Don’t buy it. It will not get better. Unfortunately, in some stores (especially in Japantown) they seal the books. In this case, you either take your chances, or get smart and browse them online first. Sites like Amazon and Toykopop allow you to read the first couple of pages before you buy.
I tell you all these things because, like you, I once was a manga investigator trainee. I still get caught buying a stinker once in awhile. It’s all about:
- Knowing what you want
- Believing in your first instinct and
- Sticking to it, no matter how much the commerce bug has got you itching!
For those of you who still can’t decide, I’ve made a list of my top five series. Check out the reviews, see if you might like them, and then put on your manga p.i. hat and get shopping!
Review: Crescent Moon by Haruko Iida
Crescent Moon is a manga began in 2000 with the name, Mikan no Tsuki (An Incomplete Moon). Plot: A young girl is a good luck charm to all those around her, but she herself is the most unlucky person alive. A group from the lunar race ask for her help to find a power source called Teardrops of the Moon that has been stolen from them. The lunar race representatives are a vampire, a werewolf, a kitsune (fox), and a tengu (heavenly dog). The girl enrages the tengu at every turn and though he hates her, you get the feeling they will fall in love.
- Beautiful underwater art.
- Filled with poetry.
- They study a cool book, which shows research pages from an ancient text.
- The beginning is confusing. The author used a character entrance format that was hard to understand.
- I didn’t know what was going on until half way through the book.
- Sometimes the characters had freaky long limbs that did not have anything to do with the supernatural, it was how they were drawn.
Where to get it: You can buy Crescent Moon Vol. 1 at Amazon.com.
Upcoming: There are 6 volumes in the series, but it did not interest me enough to continue. This was not a bad manga, just not my cup of tea. You can find out all about this manga at the Tokyopop Cresent Moon page.
A First Look At Night's Knights by Emerian Rich
I love getting things like this in the mail! This is my 1st proof of my print novel Night's Knights.
There are some adjustments I will be making, but for the most part I am thrilled beyond all common uses of the word. All the fonts and pictures I used came out beautifully. I really like the size and weight of the finished product and although I wanted to keep the price under ten dollars, the fact that it will be $13.00 does not bother me after seeing it.
It is quality paperback which major booksellers charge $15-$20 for and I am confident the finished product will be something vampire fans across the globe will have a hard time passing by.
One bit of news I have is, although the cover was locked in, I suddenly met someone who has the most beautiful picture that I would like to use for the cover. We are in talks about the details, but when I know for sure, I will give you links to her portfolio. Excellent stuff. I am so excited to have met her and to have seen her artwork just in time.
Mangas NOT To Waste Your Money On
Some of you might think I like all manga. The reason that I don’t usually review mangas I dislike is because I’d rather not give them the attention. I feel like they don’t deserve my time if they have not done their job and entertained me. In this post, I’m going to warn you about several books I did not enjoy.
- Bizenghast, Volume #1 by M. Alice LeGrow I was first attracted to this manga by the spooky gothic artwork on the front of a girl whose body is a violin. The cover stopped me in my tracks as I perused the manga aisle. The artwork inside is just as breathtaking, but with such beautiful artwork, you would assume the story would be just as chilling. Sure there was a graveyard, lost souls, riddles, and keys, but somehow it wasn’t as scary as I had hoped. I may, in time decide to return to this series and give it another chance, but at this time it will stay on my shelf.
- Dark Hunger by Christine Feehan, Illustrations by Zid & Imaginary Friends Studio I have not read any of Christine’s novels and am sure they are good by the reviews I’ve heard from some of her fans. This book seems like a mistake made by the publishing company. It was overly illustrated, not like a manga at all. I felt like I was reading some 1980’s comic out of the back of my mother’s Redbook. This was definitely a stab by the publisher to try and get in on the manga market, but it was done very badly. The underlying plot was interesting, so I don’t fault the writer. I think it was probably just made by people who have never read a manga before in their lives. Perhaps it will interest Christine’s fans to own a copy of the manga just to say they have the whole collection. I doubt it though as the fans I’ve talked to have said things like, “I don’t read those weird manga things.” So, if the publishers were trying to corner the manga market, they missed it by a long shot. I’m glad I only paid a dollar for it from the sale aisle.
- I Luv Halloween, Volume #1 by Keith Griffen & Benjamin Roman I really wanted this to be a great book. Halloween is my favorite holiday. The art promises greatness when you see kids dressed in costumes and spooky jack-o-lanterns around. How can you get that wrong? Well, they did. I think perhaps you would love this book if you were a ten-year-old boy who likes boob jokes and farts with the intention of grossing out your friends. Reading this manga is like being trapped in a station wagon with pre-teen boys all the way across the Great Salt Lake. No one wants to do it and once you reach Nevada, all you can think of is leaving them at the pitstop so you don’t have to listen to their nonsensical chitter chatter any longer. I pitched this book out of my house the first chance I got.
- Ghost Talker’s Daydream, Volume #1 by Saki Okuse & Sankichi Meguro I almost bought this book, but thankfully for a long line at the register, I was saved. This cover was so beautiful, I was about to be fooled again! If there is one thing these manga companies are getting right, it is the glossy cover art. If you get a chance, check out the cover at a store because the photo online does not do the cover art justice. When I saw the cover, it reminded me of spooky Japanese movies I’ve seen where there is some sort of ghost presence in the closet waiting to kill you. Something I awe at when reading manga is that the artists are able to redraw the characters in so many different moods and poses, but they still look like the same character. This manga’s art was very inconsistent and the characters even sometimes ugly. The lead girl pictures were so different, I had trouble knowing it was her. There was a parental guidance label on the cover, which was warranted because of the strange “up the skirt” shots the artist chose to depict. At times these shots were awkward and not in pleasant proportions. The reason I finally put it down was that although they had the parental advisory, talked about the lead having a job at an S&M club, and showed various vulgar shots of her womanhood, they didn’t allow her to say the name of her body parts. Perhaps in some ways, it is more x-rated to say the word than to see it displayed on the page in art? I have no idea, but didn’t want to find out.
If you’ve read these mangas and have another view, I’d love to hear it. I’d like to know if there is something I missed. Feel free to comment here and let me know.