Sunday, August 03, 2008


Monthly Comic Beam, whose slogan (in English) is "A magazine for the comic freaks!" is the most "alternative" of the mainstream manga anthologies I've seen. But the July 2008 issue, which I recently picked up, is of particular interest to me: it contains the first chapter of a new Shiriagari Kotobuki serial, Soko wa Ikidomari da yo. (Translating the title is tricky: the key word, ikidomari, can mean various things such as "the end of a road" and "dead end," and it's not clear right now which meaning will end up fitting best.) This chapter is about a movie extra and his wife or girlfriend. It's good, but it doesn't give much indication of what the serial as a whole will be about, except that it appears to be neither a fantasy nor a comedy.

I haven't read the rest of the issue, but there are some other works in it that look very interesting:

1. An installment of Soil by Kaneko Atsushi, creator of Bambi and Her Pink Gun.

2. An installment of ZENi [sic] (Money) by Miso Suzuki, which appears to be a slice-of-life story about two OLs.

3. An installment of Koohii Mou Ippai (One More Cup of Coffee) by Naohito Yamakawa, who iirc had a story published in an English-language "underground manga" anthology about a woman who suddenly announces she's a whore, although Koohii Mou Ippai seems to be much gentler in subject matter.

4. An installment of Suteppu bai Suteppu (Step by Step) by Yasunaga Chisumi, about a young man who in this chapter discovers a community of tiny people in his bedroom.

5. A short story, complete in this issue, called "Cheen Shiti" (Chain City), set in a city full of chains and gears, like bicycle chains and gears but all different sizes and all over the place.

6. Another short story called "Hitsuji no Namida" (Sheep's Tears) by Raku Ichikawa, a fantasy or horror story about a shepherdess who encounters a sinister castle.

The two short stories have very distinctive artistic styles. But the quality of the magazine's art in general is high.

Monthly Comic Beam is published by Enterbrain, and costs 490 yen per issue.

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