Viz trims comic store manga lists


POSTED: Monday, February 23, 2009

Recently on comics212.net, webmaster Christopher Butcher shared his discovery that the House of “;Naruto,”; Viz, was pulling nearly 1,000 volumes of older material from the Diamond Comics catalog. From “;Aishiteruze Baby”; volume 1 through “;Zatch Bell”; volume 20, more than 100 series are represented on the list. They will be sold until Diamond's stock is depleted, after which they won't be available for reorders or back orders.

A glance at the full list—available at tinyurl.com/bly5as—reveals a number of series being discontinued that manga readers should be reading. “;Banana Fish,”; “;Case Closed,”; “;Drifting Classroom,”; “;InuBaka,”; “;Knights of the Zodiac,”; “;Maison Ikkoku,”; “;Please Save My Earth,”; “;Red River”; and “;Vagabond,”; just to name a few, are all getting the ax from the Diamond system.

The initial online reaction, as usually happens whenever anything disappears or is set to disappear, was predictable, with much crying, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments.

But you'll notice in the previous paragraph that I mentioned that readers should be reading these series. And those with impeccable taste undoubtedly already are reading them.

The reality is, though, that not enough people are reading these series. These aren't series selling anything near the top of the manga food chain, the “;Narutos”; and “;Fruits Baskets”; and “;Vampire Knights”; of the world; these are more what could be considered “;midlist”; titles, titles that have a fan base but don't exactly pay the bills.

As fundamental economics tells us, when supply exceeds demand, books sit around in stores, retailers become unhappy and future orders dwindle significantly. That would appear to be the case here, with Diamond being a key supplier of smaller comics stores around the country.

It should also be noted that in a short interview that MangaBlog's Brigid Alverson conducted with Viz spokeswoman Evelyn Dubocq, Dubocq emphasized that the delisted volumes are not going out of print. They'll still be available through bookstores and via online outlets.

My advice? Look for these series now while it's still relatively easy to do so. You'll be glad you did ...


Random plugging

Yuya Aoki, the creator of “;Get Backers,”; now has another story in print stateside courtesy of Del Rey: “;Psycho Busters,”; a manga adaptation of one of his novel series by Akinari Nao. Yet “;Psycho Busters”; lacks that “;gotta get it”; hook that made “;Get Backers”; such an interesting series.

Stop if you've heard this concept before: An average-looking boy gets picked up by a team of superpowered teens and learns he has a power he never realized he had. The boy then inadvertently gets mixed up in a battle and ultimately proves his worth to everyone, including a brooding skeptic.

Here's hoping the second volume offers more than a cliched cycle of plot exposition through group bonding and constant battles against similarly superpowered people, as well as an ultimate force far greater than they could possibly comprehend. Otherwise, this series will be a chore to slog through ...