I don't know how many of you have read or flipped through a copy of Jason Thompson's Complete Guide to Manga, but it's just about the best possible manga encyclopedia that you can get in English (that doesn't require an Internet connection!). And if you've ever met Jason or been in one of his panels, you know that the man really, really, really
knows his manga. I've yet to see someone come up with a title that he isn't at least familiar with, even if he hasn't read it (yet).
Jason's been busy updating the Guide, and we're going to start seeing new listings of manga for the guide on Random House's Suvudu.com
. As part of the ongoing update, Jason will be giving away not one, not three, but FIVE manga per day-- and he'll keep doing it for a full year. That's 1,825 manga. Entry involves filling out a form on Suvudu each day-- and if you send in a photo of yourself with your own manga collection you can win an extra five manga. So that means Jason could wind up giving away TEN manga volumes per day for a whole year. Have I mentioned the man loves his manga?
I caught up with Jason at KumoriCon here in Portland, where he announced the new projects, and he answered a few questions for me. I thought you might like the answers! Anime Vice: Where did you get the idea for this manga giveaway?
Jason Thompson: I own a lot of manga, but I've already read them all, and I've got so much now that it's making it difficult to live in my house. I think it's time to pass it on to new people -- I'm not really the kind of person who collects things to keep them forever (with the possible exception of role-playing games). I considered donating it to a library or university, and I considered starting a manga café, but those were both complicated, so I talked to suvudu and decided to give it away in tiny segments to random people. Sort of like planting manga seeds all over the world. Basically, I hope that they end up in the hands of people who will be excited by them and possibly get turned onto some new manga they didn't know they would like, like I was when I started writing "Manga: The Complete Guide." AV: Do you have any tips on how to sorting and storing manga, especially for those of us lacking in space and shelving? Do-- or perhaps I should say "did" --you mix your English and Japanese volumes or did you separate them? Did you sort by title, creator, and/or genre?
JT: My best advice on storing manga is: books are basically blocks of wood, so you can use them as furniture. I currently have made a raised bed by stacking my mattress and boxspring on top of three rows of 12 boxes of manga each. The bed is now about 4 1/2 feet off the floor, which is a nice height. It's like having an automatic bunkbed! I've also had to store manga in kitchen cabinets, desk drawers, in the walk-in closet behind my clothes, etc. etc. As for sorting, I sort titles by three categories: publisher, title (alphabetical order), and a few separate sections for things like yaoi manga or manga I especially like (such as underground manga, a lot of Fanfare/Ponent Mon books, Rose of Versailles, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Kazuo Umezu, etc.). Also, I separate out translated from untranslated titles.AV: What's the manga that you'll be happiest to get rid of, and what will you be saddest to see go?
JT: I'll be happiest to get rid of all the volume 1s and volume 2s of assorted canceled ADV Manga. They had some good titles among the garbage like "To Heart", but man, it's heartbreaking all the series they didn't finish. Alternately, perhaps some of the snippets of Antarctic Press and CPM and Studio Ironcat manga. Or the old manga floppies, because they're inconvenient to store, although I'm not sure if I will be giving them away because I haven't decided yet whether they count as a suitable giveaway. As for the manga I'll be saddest to see go, well, I am keeping my favorites, but I'll miss a lot of the CMX, Dark Horse and early Tokyopop titles, as well as the "Hino Horror" manga series. I don't know... this is like asking me to choose my favorite child...AV: Are you taking bets on how long it takes before you start building up the next collection?
JT: I'm continually building up my collection! I read and discover new manga every day. This is just to make sure that there's enough room for me to sleep in my apartment!
Best of luck to you on that, Jason-- and best of luck to you readers who'll be entering the contests!