The category is booming, as seen in the wide variety of manga and manga-influenced titles in the upcoming season, including newly translated classics, contemporary dramas, dark fantasy and SF, and LGBTQ memoir.
Do Not Say Mystery
Yumi Tamura. Seven Seas, May 30 ($24.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68579-719-5)
In this offbeat mystery series from the creator of Basara and 7 Seeds, a young man becomes a detective after being accused of murder and sets out to clear his own name.
The Essence of Being a Muse
Aya Fumino. Yen, June 20 ($15 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9753-6097-9)
After being rejected from art school, a young woman tries to submit to her mother’s pragmatic plans for her life but can’t ignore her creative drive.
Shungiku Uchida. Fantagraphics, June 27 ($29.99, ISBN 978-1-68396-760-6)
Bestseller Uchida follows the unconventional relationship between two young people after one of them shrinks to six inches tall.
Until I Love Myself: The Journey of a Nonbinary Manga Artist
Poppy Pesuyama. Viz, June 20 ($12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9747-3884-7)
With honesty and humor, Pesuyama describes coming out as nonbinary in the manga industry and dealing with workplace sexual harassment.
The Yakuza’s Bias
Teki Yatsuda, Kodansha, May 16 ($12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64651-801-2)
A hard-bitten yakuza becomes a K-pop superfan after his boss’s daughter drags him to a concert in this comedy.
Centaurs by Ryo Sumiyoshi (July 11, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68497-136-7). In feudal Japan, centaurs, once worshipped as gods, now fight against human oppression.
Terror Man by Hangdong Woo and Kojin Ho (June 27, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68497-131-2). This hit Korean webcomic follows an antihero who can see trouble before it occurs.
Renjoh Desperado by AhndongShik (Aug. 29, $12.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-63442-821-7). In an alternate, Spaghetti western–influenced Japan, a wandering swordswoman searches for her perfect man but keeps finding trouble instead.
Drawn & Quarterly
20 KM/H by Woshibai (May 16, $29.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77046-669-2) collects silent comics from one of China’s rising stars of alternative cartooning.
Hitomi by HS Tak and Isabella Mazzanti (May 30, $15.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5343-2592-0). A young woman in feudal Japan secretly trains with a disgraced warrior in this dark action saga, inspired by Japanese historical drama.
I Cross-Dressed for the IRL Meetup by Kurano (Aug. 15, $16.99 trade paper, 978-1-64651-783-1). “Cocoa” poses as a woman to join an all-girl group of online dessert gourmands, but when they start meeting in real life, his secret is sure to come out.
Lovely Muco by Takayuki Mizushina (Apr. 4, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64729-239-3) charts the comedic day-to-day adventures of a glassblower and his pet Shiba Inu.
Tsugumi Project by Ippatu (May 9, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64651-789-3). In a postapocalyptic Japan devastated by nuclear war, a French soldier of fortune ventures into the radiation zone to search for a powerful weapon.
Underground by JR De Bard (July 11, $13.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-7603-8236-3). Seeking revenge against the gang that destroyed his Olympic dreams, a biracial taekwondo fighter takes on the underground mixed martial arts world.
The Eccentric Doctor of the Moon Flower Kingdom by Tohru Himuka (Mar. 14, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68579-455-2). The prince of the Moon Flower Kingdom meets a girl who practices a never-before-seen form of medicine in this fantasy inspired by Chinese drama.
The Great Snake’s Bride by Totsuida Musume (July 18, $13.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68579-655-6). In this adult fairy tale, a woman is sacrificed by her village to a snake god and unexpectedly learns to love him.
Homunculus by Hideo Yamamoto (June 27, $27.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68579-729-4). After submitting to a medical experiment, a homeless drifter sees visions that may come from his awakened sixth sense in this psychedelic horror series from the creator of Ichi the Killer.
The Invisible Man and His Soon-to-Be Wife by Iwatobineko (Feb. 28, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68579-465-1). Yakou, a blind detective, and Tounome, her charming (but invisible) boss, are the unlikely crime-solving duo at the center of this mystery series.
Soloist in a Cage by Shiro Moriya (May 9, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-63858-997-6). In this dystopian thriller, a girl escapes from a bleak prison city, then returns years later to rescue her younger brother.
The Villainess and the Demon Knight by Nekoda and Seikan (Mar. 28, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-63858-896-2). A former noblewoman is rescued from a brothel by the mysterious and powerful Demon Knight in this adult bodice-ripper.
Kamen Rider Zero-One by Brandon Easton and Hendry Prasetya (July 4, $17.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-78773-962-8). In this continuation of the classic Japanese tokusatsu series, Kamen Rider Zero-One takes on the mysterious Ragnarok.
At 30, I Realized I Had No Gender: Life Lessons from a 50-Year-Old After Two Decades of Self-Discovery by Shou Arai (June 13, $13.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4278-7345-3). Arai’s manga memoir describes how they discovered, at age 30, that they were intersex, a revelation that caused them to reexamine society’s ideas about gender and come out as trans.
Confessions of a Shy Baker by Masaomi Ito (Feb. 14, $13.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4278-7256-2). A real estate company owner and amateur baker wants to advertise his company as LGBTQ friendly but worries about outing himself.
Guardian of Fukushima by Fabien Grolleau and Ewen Blain (Feb. 28, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4278-7136-7). Drawing from Japanese art and folklore, this French graphic novel tells the true story of a farmer who returned to Fukushima to care for his animals after the 2011 nuclear accident.
Why I Adopted My Husband: The True Story of a Gay Couple Seeking Legal Recognition in Japan by Yuta Yagi (June 13, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4278-7338-5). Yagi uses the comic-strip format to depict the barriers he and his husband face in Japan, where same-sex marriage is not recognized, and the loophole they found to gain basic legal and medical rights.
A History of Japan in Manga: Samurai, Shoguns and World War II by Kanaya Shunichiro (Mar. 7, $18.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-4-8053-1670-2). This nonfiction account of Japan’s history from its earliest recorded settlements to the present day combines text with manga recreations of historical moments.
Boy’s Abyss by Ryo Minemani (Apr. 25, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9747-3668-3). A teenager who feels trapped in his small town and a former idol singer struggling with depression are drawn to a river where two lovers once died in a double suicide.
Choujin X by Sui Ishida (Feb. 21, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9747-3669-0). As the world is being destroyed by out-of-control superhumans, two friends decide to fight the monsters by joining their ranks in this dark action series from the creator of Tokyo Ghoul.
The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend by Mieri Hiranishi (Feb. 14, $16.99 trade paper, 978-1-9747-3659-1). Hiranishi’s semiautobiographical manga describes her misadventures in college as she tries to find the butch girlfriend of her dreams.
Goodbye, Eri by Tatsuki Fujimoto (June 27, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9747-3893-9). A filmmaker is pulled out of despair after his mother’s death by a girl who enlists his help to make a film.
Tombs: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito (Mar. 28, $25, ISBN 978-1-9747-3604-1). This collection from horror master Ito includes stories about a town full of tombstones, a girl with a slug for a tongue, floating hairballs that broadcast people’s secrets, and more.
Doom Breaker by Blue-Deep (July 25, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-990259-74-6). A warrior is reincarnated into his own past as he battles the god of destruction in this gritty action series.
Business Problem-Solving & Strategy: Manga for Success by Takayuki Kito and Keisuke Yamabe (Apr. 25, $22 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-394-17616-8). Wiley’s new Manga for Success series teaches business and self-help topics through manga narratives. The entire series will be released globally in April, with titles dedicated to leadership, managing change, marketing, problem solving, and workplace psychology.
Call the Name of the Night by Tama Mitsuboshi (Mar. 21, $13 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9753-5200-4) follows the lives of two young women who live alone in the woods: Mira, who summons darkness when she becomes distressed, and Rei, a doctor determined to find a cure for her condition.
The Horizon by JH (June 20, $20 trade paper, ISBN 979-8-400900-29-7). From the creator of the Korean comic The Boxer comes a drama about love and loss.
Magical Girl Incident by Zero Akabane (May 23, $15 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9753-6036-8). An office worker’s boring life turns into a gender-bending adventure after he gains the power to transform into a superpowered magical girl.
Me and My Beast Boss by Shiroinu (May 23, $13 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9753-6123-5). In a world ruled by beastfolk, a romance develops between a human woman and the beastly executive she works for.
Yokohama Station SF by Yuba Isukari and Tatsuyuki Tanaka (June 28, $9.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9753-4418-4). These science fiction stories are set in a vast train station that has mysteriously consumed most of Japan.
Shaenon K. Garrity is a PW comics reviewer and a writer, editor, and cartoonist best known for Narbonic and Skin Horse.