Over at our other day job, this week’s PW Comics Week presented a Critic’s Poll of the year’s best graphic novels. With over 50 titles picked by individual critics, it shows that there was no dearth of riches this year. We also broke out resident manga maven Kai-Ming Cha’s special manga and manhwa lists and that’s where the furore began. We don’t have the time to link to everything, just go here to MangaBlog and start clicking and you’ll figure it out. Basically, most blogomanga maniacs found the list very very …idiosyncratic, shall we say. Much puzzlement was also voiced over Cha’s #1 pick, The Building Opposite by Vanyda. Published by Fanfare/Ponent/Mon, many have never even seen a copy, and some even question its existence. David Welsh investigates:
I’ve seen a couple of reviews of it, but I can’t remember if the reviewers mentioned if the publisher had provided a complimentary copy or if they’d picked it up in a store. Apparently it’s one of the 10 best manga of 2006, and given Fanfare/Ponent Mon’s track record, that’s certainly plausible, but where can I buy it, exactly? The English version isn’t listed at Amazon or Barnes and Noble (though both offer the Spanish version), and there’s no joy at Buy.Com either.
Later the mystery is partially cracked:
Update: At MangaBlog, Brigid tracks down some sightings of this mysterious, reclusive book. In the comments below this post, Patrick provides visual confirmation of the Nessie of nouvelle manga’s presence at The Beguiling in Toronto. Makes sense. I ended up ordering Walking Man and Kinderbook from that fine establishment.
Come to think of it, we’ve never seen a copy of a Ponent Mon book, either. Apparently all the office copies get snatched up. Guess they are THAT good.
Personally speaking, Kai-Ming knows a heck of a lot more about manga than we do, and any list that gets people talking is a good thing.