Grotesque Anatomy
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
  Comic Contrasts
It's always nice when life throws you a pleasant little surprise.  Today I called to renew a Shonen Jump gift subscription for my niece and nephews who live in California.  My niece Hannah had written to ask when I would be sending her and her brothers more magazines.  If Viz had sent me a notice that their gift subscription was ending, I must have missed it.  So I called the 1-800 number for Shonen Jump's customer service and the friendly representative informed me that the subscription had indeed ended...back in January. No wonder the kids were writing to demand that I send them more manga!  To my surprise, the service rep graciously renewed the subscription at the original introductory rate of $19.95 instead of the current rate of $29.95.  Nice!

But today hasn't been all happy surprises.  Some expectations have been met depressingly.  I've been calling around trying to find the latest issue of The Comics Journal.  So far I've called four shops and none of them have it.  In fact, I get the impression that none of them even carry it.  One shop told me, "We only order one copy of The Comics Journal, and it always flies off the rack really fast."  I should have asked why they didn't order more copies if it always sells out, but my disappointment must have momentarily disabled my curiosity.

So:  One comic product, easily available via multiple outlets, including a toll-free 1-800 number where service reps go out of their way to make you happy.  And another product that isn't carried by the very stores supposedly devoted to the art form the magazine covers.  Yep, the plan for Manga World Domination proceeds apace.

UPDATE:  That Uncle Lar, always looking out for us bloggers, has informed me not to panic:
Don't panic, John: it [TCJ #259] isn't on the Diamond shipping list for this week, and, even if it was, there's always this disclaimer from Diamond: "PLEASE NOTE: Please check with your local retailer to confirm availability of new items, as not all new releases will be on sale in all areas on the same week." Sometimes the warehouses just miss a week.
Whew.  And in even better news, the Diamond shipping list for the week does list another Fantagraphics book I've been eagerly awaiting.  Yes, that's right:  Sex Warrior Isane.  How could I not be interested in a book that promises "More salacious sex-action than one could ever ask for!"?

So when is TCJ #259 scheduled to come out?  I need to know when I should start pestering my local retailers via phone again.
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by John Jakala

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