Although superhero comics and genre movies and TV shows dominate Comic-Con International, there is a significant manga and anime presence, as publishers like Del Rey, Seven Seas, Tokyopop and Viz and producers and distributors like ADV Films and FUNimation stake their claim in San Diego.
That, of course, means there’s plenty for manga and anime fans to take in during the convention. I won’t be going — I’m on monitor duty at Blog@ Central — but if I were, here are five things I’d likely do:
1. Have books signed by Japanese creators who rarely appear in the United States: This year sees signings by Yoshitaka Amano (Vampire Hunter D) and Yasuhiro Nightow (Trigun) at the Dark Horse booth, Arina Tanemura (The Gentlemen’s Alliance †, Full Moon) at the Viz booth, and Ryusuke Hamamoto (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sea Sir Sun) at the Image Comics booth. The Amano and Nightow signings are ticketed events, so grab a Dark Horse employee for details.
2. Attend some panels: Kind of a no-brainer, but many North American publishers of manga have their own panels detailing their plans for the next year. Beyond that, though, is programming devoted to topics ranging from mobile comics and Japan’s manga magazines to the graphic novel boom and creating comics. I’d definitely check out these five panels: Jason Thompson’s (Manga: The Complete Guide) “100 Manga Magazines in 60 Minutes” on Thursday evening; the Yen Press and “Lost in Translation” panels on Friday; the “Naruto Nation” panel on Saturday morning; and the Tokyopop creators panel on Sunday morning.
3. Have books signed by global manga creators: A lot of my current-favorites will be there, including Becky Cloonan (East Coast Rising), Brandon Graham (King City), Ben Roman (I Luv Halloween), Dan Hipp (Gyakushu!) and Svetlana Chmakova (Dramacon).
4. Immerse yourself in anime: The convention is screening more than 130 titles, from Beck and .hack//Roots to Gatchaman and Tsubasa. Really, you could probably spend the entire convention in the three screening rooms. If that’s your thing.
5. Check out Tokyopop’s booth programming: It’s like a convention within a convention, with programming like “Breaking Into Manga,” “Women in Manga,” “Comics vs. Manga Creation” and “Fashion and Manga.” You can see the complete booth schedule here (PDF).