Comics Lockdown: A COVID-19 Reading List Series

For the past two months, much of the world has been in a state of lockdown, self-isolating because of the rapid spread of COVID-19. In the midst of all this, I have been wondering how I could reach out and help people find some comfort while they remain apart from friends, family, coworkers, and their normal daily lives. While it’s true that listicles of what to read in quarantine are abundant on the Internet right now, I thought I would try to share my own perspective with some themed lists of suggestions, especially since it seems like we’re all going to be keeping physical socializing to a minimum for a while yet.

My plan is to break the lists out into age groups and/or genres, in order to make them more easily digestible in one sitting. In my posts, I will be linking to Bookshop.org in case readers wish to buy the book in question. I also encourage readers to buy from their local independent comic or book shop if they don’t want to use my links, or to borrow from their local library. Many libraries are currently offering a more robust selection of ebooks, including graphic novels and comics, through Libby, Overdrive, and/or Hoopla. You can visit your library’s website for more information on how to access those apps, and I believe many libraries are also able to issue online-only library cards if you need one.

I know these times are challenging, and sometimes finding more tasks with which to occupy yourself can feel overwhelming. I don’t believe we should all be striving to be more productive right now; this virus has highlighted some major flaws in this country’s established operations, and it’s important to interrogate our need to be “useful.” But I do think that many of us, myself included, take comfort in books — and in this case, in comics. I hope that we are all able to find what we need right now, whether that be escapism, education, solidarity, or a call to action.

Above all, I hope we are all able to remain safe and healthy, and that we are able to return not to normal, but to an improved society that recognizes the importance of community and connection.

Happy reading!

An Introduction: Who I Am and Why I’m Here

This website has been a long time coming, honestly.  I’ve been reading manga since childhood, I’ve written reviews for other sites, and now I am the manga buyer and manager at a comic book store in Boston.  As part of my duties, I often advise a couple groups of comics retailers on their manga buying, and I keep feeling like I want to be able to dispense that advice on a somewhat  larger scale.

I can’t claim that I know all there is to know about manga, but I am confident in the knowledge that I have, and I know it is specialized enough to be of use to others.  So at least in part, I hope that my reviews and ramblings are helpful for retailers, but also to publishers and consumers.

Beyond that, I just really love manga.  I am deeply interested in its history and its production, both within and outside of Japan.  I was lucky enough to be a young teenager in the early aughts, so my pop cultural experience was very much embroiled in the Cool Japan zeitgeist.  Basically, I never had a chance!

So what will you see here?  My reviews will mostly skew toward less-popular titles, partially because I like and read a broad and strange array of manga, and partially because a series like One Piece will never need my help getting sales.  I will also focus a lot on work by women, because again, the men don’t need my help.  In terms of genre, you can expect a little bit of everything, save perhaps hardcore hentai (though I will review adult works).  The manga will be a mix of old and new works, because there will always be a soft spot in my heart for anything that came out while I was a teen — and besides, there’s some good vintage work out there!

Outside of the reviews, I will try to pop by with interesting little manga-related tidbits from my life, or my opinions on current goings-on in the manga and anime world.  I may also occasionally bring up non-manga graphic novels and maybe even some prose fiction or non-fiction that I think is relevant to manga in some way. My intention is for this site, like all projects, to grow and change as I do, and as I gain more readers who want certain content.

So thank you all for being here, and for starting on me with this adventure!