Sunday, May 16, 2004

[Comic Party Book 1 cover]

Comic Party: Party Time Book 1

Created and Drawn by Various
Published by CPM Manga, 164 pages $9.99

Comic Party is a series that follows a group want to be manga creators, as they try to put together submissions for an anthology book for an upcoming convention. The setup reminds me a lot of what I see creators here go through for SPX. Reaffirmed by one story showing the creators actually setting up for the convention, talking about how the show is designed to be non-corporate and only for those supporters of the show.

The book has an interesting twist of getting various real life indy manga cartoonists to do the stories, which means the quality is up and down as with any anthology type book. Yet this one is stronger as a whole than a lot of other anthologies that I've seen before.

The stories span the various genres, with one or two almost superhero inspired takes on the characters. To a lot of comedy takes on trying to meet deadlines, and one of the funniest bits a "Beat Each Other With a Graphic Novel" contest. Which has the participants battling each other with the thickest GNs they can find.

The best part of the book though, are the focuses on the character Mizuki. She's the girlfriend of Kazuki, one of the would be creators, and while she doesn't particularly understand his passion for comics. She tries to be supportive, and appreciates that he has a passion for what he does.

Malow Tea by Ruri Akise puts this on display the best, as Mizuki is hurt by him having to yet again cancel plans with her because of his work. She lashes out at him, but feels guilty immediately for doing so and rushes off rather than confront him further.

While out she meets up with one of her and Kazuki's mutual friends , and another would be pro, who invites her for tea. They talk about the problems Mizuki and Kazuki are having, and she gives Mizuki advice on how it is okay be a little selfish. While using the tea as a wonderfully surprising metaphor for how Mizki was feeling.

How the significant others of comic professional handle the time away from them that the work requires, was an aspect I hadn't even thought of before. Yet this captured that well, and I could understand her mixed feelings of understanding and even supporting his need to do these things that takes time away from her. Yet still feeling a little hurt that at times she had to take a back seat, and deal with being put off until later but trust that he cared enough to eventually come to her.

This was just a wonderful little book, and I can hardly wait to see the series in regular form when it comes out from Tokyopop later this year.

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