Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tokyo Comic Book Report: Japanese girls love Deadpool!

Majority of patrons that Saturday were women.
Well, to turn a generalization into something more accurate... at least one does.  When I visited Blister in Hamacho, one young woman was flipping through a Deadpool comic, cracking up and excitedly sharing various panels with her friend.  Before I left, she had in her hands a huge stack of American comics, at least one of which featured Deadpool.  So someone in Japan likes Deadpool, Marvel.  Take my infallible advice and start a huge marketing push centered on Deadpool over here and I'm sure it'll pay dividends!  Thank me with money.  You're welcome.

I'm not sure how I got the idea Blister was so difficult to reach, like a comic book Shangri-la.  It turns out it's pretty darned easy if you're staying in Hatagaya.  The subway train that takes you to Shinjuku will deliver you to Hamacho Station and from there it's about a five minute walk.  The first time I visited Blister I believe I went to a different platform in Shinjuku Station, but that was several lifetimes ago.  I've cheated death so many times since then, they all tend to blur together.

Blister's running on limited hours these days, but on Saturdays, they're open from 11am to 5pm, which gives you plenty of time to get in and browse.  The store is very cramped, and on this particular day there were six or seven other customers.  It felt crowded.  The store is heavily invested in Marvel and DC, mainstream stuff.  The going price for a brand new American comic magazine in Japan these days is 540 yen.  That's about 6.85 USD to you and me, Russ.  Blister does feature some bargain 100 yen comics in longboxes to your right as you enter.  The selection is hodgepodge and I long ago bought them out of every single Cassandra Cain Batgirl back issue they had.  None are to be had these days, but you can still buy issues of the Stephanie Brown series.

The Avengers were hanging out in Shibuya.
Speaking of Cass, I bought the very last copy of Batgirl: Fists of Fury found in the wild here in Japan, so don't look for that, either.  It cost 1800 yen (22.83 USD, quite a mark-up from the 14.95 US SRP), but it was worth it to reaffirm my position as her #1 fan in Japan.  It seems the other Cass trades like Silent Running and Death Wish are slipping out of print and going for mega-yen on Amazon.jp.  While Fists seems to be hanging in there and I could have paid 500 yen less for it online, the trouble I've had getting things like Showcase Presents Batman and the Outsiders 1 and New Mutants Classic Volume 1 means snap it up if you see it.

Besides the Cass book, I also bought Astonishing X-Men #52 (because it has a neat Xi'an Coy Manh cover), Conan #32 (a random choice because it was 100 yen and I still enjoy Kurt Busiek's run on that title), Conan the Barbarian #2 and 3 (more Dark Horse, love Becky Cloonan's art), Minutemen #1 and 2 (the pull of Darwyn Cooke proved too strong to resist), New Mutants #46 (more Xi'an, but this time with Dani Moonstar, also irresistable) and Walking Dead #100 (Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard-- this is the second time you've scarred me with a single horrific image!  I nearly barfed!).  No Dark Horse Presents, so no new Nexus.

Blister is stocked deep with Before Watchmen titles.  I only wanted a sample, so I didn't catalog everything they had, but I think I could have bought the entire run up to current if I'd been so inclined.  Good runs of the New 52, if you're into that.  Heavy on the Marvel mutant stuff.  They also have a lot of trades and collections, plus just about every Avengers movie action figure you could want, along with The Dark Knight Rises stuff.  The guy working the cash register was friendly enough, but we didn't chat due to the language barrier.  I think he recognized me from my last visit there, way back in 2010.  Now that I know an easier way to get there I could see myself patronizing Blister a bit more if I lived in Tokyo.  Maybe they could order more Fantagraphics and Dark Horse stuff for me, too.

Probably jet-lag, but Hulk really wanted to punch Thor.
My other comics-related activities included visits to Tower Records in Shibuya and Kinokuniya in Shinjuku.  Tower Records was having a major sale in their English-language book department so I snapped up a few bargains.  Now, Tower Records stocks a lot of Fantagraphics titles, but they seemed kind of depleted.  Coupled with the close-out type prices on other books, I'm wondering if they're overhauling things or getting out of the business.  That would truly be tragic because Tower Records has been a Tokyo destination if you want groovy things by Los Bros Hernandez, Peter Bagge and the like.

At Tower Records, I bought Lone Wolf and Cub volumes 4 (783 yen, marked down from 1565, or 9.93/19.85 USD), 19, 20, 22, 23, 25 and 26 (290 yen each, 3.68 USD).  I was tempted to go back and clean them out entirely.  I also found and bought a shelf-worn copy of Showcase Presents Batman and the Outsiders 1 (2573/32.64).  See what I mean about snap it up?

Kinokuniya has a very small section for Western comics, but it was there I managed to find and buy the elusive Perla La Loca (receipt lost, price unknown, a pearl of great value to me) to complete my Locas collection.  I'd ordered it months ago from Amazon.jp, but kept getting messages that it was delayed.  This was the only Love and Rockets book they had in stock, so apparently it was meant for me.  And now we are together at last and all is right in the comic book world.

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