The great comic wheel has completed its revolution: Kodansha is publishing a Japanese version of vol. 1 of Megatokyo. I posted the press release in full at MangaBlog, and Publisher’s Weekly Comics Week has a story on it as well.
This is, of course, richly ironic, since Megatokyo is not only a thoroughly American comic, it is a comic about Japan as perceived by Americans. I can see the appeal, though. When I lived in France, I totally loved reading travel guides to the U.S. and earnest magazine articles that explained our peculiar customs. It’s always fun to see your culture refracted through the lens of someone else’s. I especially like the fact that Kodansha is adding special notes for Japanese readers, as I could have used some explanatory notes the first time I read the first volume.
Megatokyo will make its first Japanese appearance in a literary magazine, not a cheap phonebook, so it’s not like it’s passing as Japanese manga. And the book imprint is Kodansha Box, described by its editor as â€œa collection of works on the theme of the adolescent mind. I hope it will become a sort of index of Japanese popular culture.â€
It’s also interesting that they are choosing to publish Megatokyo as a print book rather than a webcomic, although again, the fact that it is appearing more as a literary work than pop culture may have something to do with that.
But here’s the question on all serious manga readers’ minds: Will it be flipped?
According to Fred Gallagher himself, it will not be flipped (source: his comments on Warren Ellis’ “The Engine” website).