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The horror, the horror!

What a horrible, horrible nightmare. This week’s post is typed with shaking, clammy hands, as I recall the dreadful visions that disturbed my peaceful slumber.

I knew that second Obituary before bed was a bad idea. Seriously, New Orleans has given the world a lot of great things, but I really didn’t need to be introduced to a cocktail that mixes gin and Pernod.

But, as Avengers butler Jarvis so memorably said, “A worry shared is a worry halved.” Brace yourself, people. We’re headed through the looking glass.

The dream started with an innocent flip through Previews. All seemed normal at first, with over-hyped but uninspiring offerings from the big guns. Then, a pervasive sense of dread welled up as I reached the manga listings and saw the following solicitations:

Crisis on Infinite Pokopens: It all starts here! The world of manga will never be the same, as the invading amphibians of Sgt. Frog wreak devastating havoc on their fellow titles! An ill-conceived takeover attempt, manipulated by the ambitious CLAMP collective, breaks down the walls between previously distinct manga universes. Now, the spirited schoolgirls of Negima find themselves trapped in the terrifying landscape of Battle Royale! Sweet little Tohru from Fruits Basket must fend off the gang-bangers and serial killers of IWGP! The bounty hunters of Cowboy Bebop track down pirate-in-training Luffy from One Piece! Who will live? Who will die? And how will manga fans respond to a new era of baffling interconnectedness?

Amphibian Crisis: The peaceful coexistence of tonally distinct manga titles is SHATTERED FOREVER in this compelling maxi-series. The manga community is devastated by the excessively brutal murder of sweet, studious Rachel Moore (Case Closed). Will de-aged teen sleuth Jimmy Kudo be able to overcome his grief to track down the killer? What really happened to Rachel during her “lost year” at CLAMP School? Just how far did Hideki (Chobits) take his desire to “get inside the mind of a teen-aged girl”? This is an event manga so shocking, dark, and mature you’ll hardly care that it doesn’t make sense!

Fall of the Schoolgirls: Astro Boy… an innocent, iconic figure of a simpler age. OR IS HE? The insidious servants of the Maram Words (Alice 19th) are using Osamu Tezuka’s open-hearted robot rights activist to cull the ingenue herd! After a devastating first strike on the cast of Sailor Moon, a handful of plucky, uniform-wearing survivors assemble to either free Astro of his dark masters or stop his reign of terror forever! Even if Astro survives, how can he live with his guilt? Searing tragedy and inventive up-skirt shots combine in this seminal and challenging work.

Ikkoku Condemned: Everything you knew is wrong, as the quirky, innocent world of Maison Ikkoku is changed… FOREVER. Kindly widow Kyoko seemed like she’d moved on from the loss of her beloved husband… a job she enjoyed, a thriving romantic life, and an eccentric circle of friends. But c’mon, where’s the fun in that? Kyoko’s dark side and congenital, womanly instability are revealed as she picks off her tenants one by one! Mrs. Ichinose’s liver explodes as Kyoko plies her with cheap sake! Mr. Yotsuya is sliced in half as he tries to spy Kyoko naked! Akemi spirals into madness after Kyoko tells her to just let the syphilis “run its course”! It’s a rooming house of horrors, and it all leads into…

New Ikkoku: Heartbroken student Yusaku never thought he’d want to live in an apartment building again, until he finds himself the manager of the most marketable complex ever. It’s a bold new era in a cutting-edge condominium populated by such manga luminaries as Son Goku (Dragonball Z), Itto Ogami (Lone Wolf and Cub), Inuyasha (Inuyasha), Hikaru Shindo (Hikaru No Go), Lupin the Third (Lupin III), and obligatory hot chick Yuuko (xxxHOLiC). Glacial pacing and suspect narrative logic won’t keep this from becoming a sales blockbuster!

House of OT: What evil force is blurring the relationship between content ratings and actual content? What is the cause of the sudden appearance of stars and flowers where naughty bits once were? Who can crack the mysterious code of largely meaningless abbreviations, and will these bold sleuths succeed in time to help the code retain any actual meaning? The future of fan service is at stake in this gripping crossover classic.

At the point in the dream when I reached the page advertising the Shojo Beat Summer Misogyny Specialwith four variant covers, I woke up screaming. Wouldn’t you?

I stumbled through the house, looking for the current issue of Previews to reassure myself that the nightmare had been just that. Finding it, I searched through the pages, and a new, waking nightmare emerged: incipient poverty.

June 2005 is really going to kick me in the ass… intriguing yaoi debuts from Digital Manga Publishing, new volumes of what seems like an unreasonable number of my favorite titles, the arrival of Shojo Beat and its legion of alluring graphic novels. I won’t have to worry about nightmares, because sleep will be a thing of the past. I’ll need to take a night job to pay for it all.

But at least I’ll have the good sense not to pound down a shaker of Obituaries before I actually fill out myPreviews order form. OR WILL I?

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