Hello! I am returned from MangaNEXT, the only convention in American focusing on American “manga culture”.
MangaNEXT marked the first convention where ALC Publishing had both a table and an industry presence, but I was not actually in attendance at the table, on account of being on con staff. So first off, my sincere thanks to Donna, Serge, Bruce who were not only there at the table but in charge of our guest, four-time Yuri Monogatari artist, Althea Keaton. And thanks to Althea too. She was a delight to be around.
Also, my thanks to Sean Gaffney who assisted me as MangaNEXT staff all weekend long. I absolutely could not have done anything without you Sean. Thank you for all your hard work.
My thanks, too, to my staff who did everything and anything I asked with a smile: Tania, Leaa and Paulette, and to Casey, Mandisa and Mari who were not my staff specifically, but who stepped up to do a lot of at-con work. All of you were fabulous. I mean that. You all were so *cheerful* I wasn’t even able to get grumpy, much less maintain it. :-)
Of course, Panels and Workshops can’t happen without a bunch of other things like Registration, Tech, Con Safety, etc, etc. Everyone on staff did a great job – no kidding. One of the best comments I received was an email noting how pleasant and good-natured everyone was all weekend – no mean feat at any event.
Personally, I had a great time. My two favorite panels were Manga for Parents, at which I had the pleasure of co-panelling with Manga4Kids blogger Brigid Alverson, and the Light Novels Panel, which I thought would be Sean and I chatting over coffee, but which turned out to be a lively discussion of both Japanese light novels and American translations thereof with a small, but intelligent and knowledgable crowd.
For the ALC Industry panel we had a teeny turnout, but I can’t thank the folks who came enough. They weren’t at all awful, lol, and had some good comments. We talked with our two Yuri Monogatari artists, Althea and Sergio, discussing the nature of the Yuri Monogatari Project, our annual recruitment of up and coming yuri manga artists from around the world and the Project that guides them through the process of making a comic that is publishable. Serge was asked a few questions by the press about being a guy who draws yuri for YM. (It doesn’t sound it, but the whole conversation above was hysterical, as we kept generating fake headlines for the article like “ALC Publishers doesn’t like what she publishes” and other silly parodies of our conversations.
We also announced the licensing of several stories from Japan for next year’s Yuri Monogatari 5!
Way back, ALC Publishing was created because we wanted to bring high quality yuri manga over from Japan. In the last few years, we’ve been playing catch up with our own success. This year we decided to return to our roots and talk to some popular and very excellent yuri manga doujinshi circles, who have graciously agreed to be part of Yuri Monogatari. We welcome back Tadeno Eriko-san, whose collected volume WORKS is on sale now on the Yuricon Shop and through chain bookstores near you! Tadeno-san’s story will be a delight to read, trust me. We’ve also gotten two of my very favorite doujinshi circles UKOZ and Sakuraike to contribute stories that are absolutely fantastic. These stories will be out in our 2007 volume, in time for Yuricon 2007.
As you can imagine, we’re very, very excited about next year’s anthology already. :-)
(And then there’s this year’s anthology – Yuri Monogatari 4, which is up for pre-order on the Yuricon Shop, even as we speak! Support ALC, save some money and get some great yuri all at the same time! YM4 should be out in Early November. We’ll be putting out a press release about it soon.)
One thing that I have to comment on, because it was extraordinary, was the social dysfunction we encountered at MangaNEXT. Very low in quantity, but exceptionally high in quality. I won’t make any specific references, except to say that a young man who attended Althea’s “Drawing Yuri” workshop had a unnatural obsession with ROD the TV and wouldn’t let it go no matter how many times we told him that this was an original art workshop. It was the kind of surreal I expect when encountering fandumb in person.
Overall, MangaNEXT was a very worthy event. Should there be another next year, I strongly recommend that you all attend. Its manga culture focus was unique in America, and the opportunity to talk with artists, publishers, translators, writers other folks in the industry and press was not to be missed!
I will soon return to actually reviewing things. I have a huge backlog, which is good, because frankly, this season’s anime is teh suck for yuri fans. But worry not, soon the Marimite OVAs will be here and there’s much, much more in manga and Drama CD world for us to talk about!