*NEW*National Association of Comics Arts Educators (includes both teaching with and teaching about comics; good free materials on website including syllabi and lesson plans, but most are American comics, and they have extremely strict membership requirements that bar [for example] Ikue and Clarissa from joining)
*indicates an ongoing series or a series that ended in the
last 2 years (in its original country of publication)
Also see the
Bookstore at ReadableBlog.com, my blog project aimed at English
language learners, for over 50 more recommendations.
Volume 1Emma, Kaoru Mori: A generally
well-researched, charming story about the life of a bookish maid in
Victorian England. Naturally, there is cross-class romance, and lots of
details about the daily life of of the period.
Wolf and Cub Vol. 1: The Assassin's Road, Kazuko Koike and Goseki Kojima: An
series evoking classic samurai films such as those of Akira Kurosawa,
starring a lone unemployed samurai and his infant son. Although almost 30
years old, it remains popular, and has been the basis for several plays,
films, and TV series.
Volume 1, by Takehiko Inoue: Inspired the epic
novel Musashi, this series imaginatively retells
the life of the most famous samurai, Miyamoto Musashi (author of The
Book of Five Rings). The original novel was also the basis for
live-action TV series from NHK in 2003.
Michael? Volume 11: Planet Of The Cats, Makoto Kobayashi (early volumes may be out
of print, but each volume stands alone): One of the few humorous
manga to be translated into English, this well-translated, hysterically
examines the lives of housecats, aptly lampooning both feline and human
Shojo Beat: An imitation
of Japanese "shoujo manga" (girls' comics) magazines, with serialized
manga and articles on fashion, music, etc. Aimed at teen girls. Somewhat
story- and relationship-oriented.
Shonen Jump: American
version of the world-famous magazine, specializing in "shounen manga"
(boys' comics) but popular both in and out of Japan with both girls and
boys. Somewhat action-oriented.
Volume 1, Ai Yazawa: Two young
with the same name (one meek and ordinary girl, one rebellious aspiring
rock star) encounter love, sex, and heartbreak in the big city. It's
been a huge
hit in Japan, already spawning an animated TV series, two live-action
films, and a tribute album with major Japanese pop stars. Striking,
Kiss Vol 1, Ai Yazawa: Distantly related to but
lighter than Nana, this series features an abnormally tall but
otherwise unremarkable high-school girl, Yukari, who serendipitously
becomes muse and
model for a wildly creative fashion-design group consisting of an elegant
transvestite, a kindly pierced punk, a young woman who dresses like a
porcelain doll, and the charismatic, brilliant, bisexual head designer
who pushes Yukari to
become an independent woman.
Man: A Shojo Manga, Machiko Ocha: This stand-alone volume is a
love story from the point of view of a young male geek, who intervenes
when a drunk harasses an elegant woman on a train. He consults his
on Japan's hugely popular web-based forum, 2channel, for advice on what to
do next. The story is based on events that unfolded on the actual
2channel, and despite probably being a publicity stunt, the compelling
story (and its lack of copyright) has spawned several manga, a play, a
movie, and a TV series from various sources. The manga is very well
translated, especially considering the complications of Japanese internet
A¹ (A, A Prime), Hagio Moto: A beautiful, haunting
genetics, gender, love, and sexuality, set in the distant future. Written
and drawn by a famous shoujo manga creator, the art style may seem too
dated to younger students (but is worth reading for yourself).
1, Yuki Urushibara: A surreal, lovely,
episodic tale about "mushi," supernatural creatures who are usually interpreted by
humans as ghosts or monsters, and a "mushishi," who can see and interact
with them. Basis for the beautiful, watercolor-tinged Mushishi anime series and a recent live-action film.
of the Morning Mist Volume 1, Hiroki Ugawa: This often comedic
about schoolgirls who serve as shrine maidens and fight evil monsters,
gently spoofs other series such as "Sailor Moon."
Cafe, Sang-Sun Park: Originating in Korea, this
lavishly-drawn gothic fantasy series tells both the over-arching story of
reader and self-contained mini-stories about the mysterious creatures
whose fortunes she reads.
Song, Keiko Nishi: An anthology of four short
stories by evocative artist/writer Nishi, presenting a story about abusive
love, a Poe-like horror-tinged vignette, a portrait of a far-future
maker who dreams of Earth, and a bullied boy who develops astonishing
healing powers and must deal with the consequences. Poignant and