Friday, October 7, 2011


Houghton Mifflin Trade and Reference Division
 Distinguished book publishing since 1832
Lyga, Barry. 2011. Mangaman. Illustrated by Colleen Doran. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
(Advance Reader Copy)

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a manga reader, but when I saw the premise of this young adult comic book, I dove right in!

Barry Lyga's concept is genius and Colleen Doran pulls it off perfectly!  Mangaman is not a manga book.  It's a traditional comic book into which Ryoko, a character from the manga world, lands when he accidentally falls through "the Rip," a portal between the manga world and the "real" world of Western-style comic books.

The only character drawn in typical 2-dimensional manga style, Ryoko's is painfully aware of his manga trappings - effeminate appearance, visual thoughts that float above his head (particularly embarrassing in high school),
Do you see that?
It's a head!
in the air!
"speed lines" that appear whenever he moves quickly, painfully poking nearby classmates (and later requiring "sweeping up" by the custodial staff), a habit of walking in the wrong direction,
I did it again, didn't I?
Left to Right.
Why can't I remember that?

and, especially telling, eyes that turn into hearts whenever Marissa Montaigne appears.

You could call this a parody of manga, but it's much more than that. If you're even remotely acquainted with manga comics, Mangaman is hysterical.  For the non-manga reader, this may be just what you need to finally "get it!"

(Right to Left, Why can't I remember that?)
Recommended for mature readers.

If you're having trouble accessing the video, you can see it at or Barry Lyga's website.

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