I’m always hesitant to initiate a new collection. I don’t like getting burned. If some English publishers can’t even finish a 3-volume series that’s already complete, then what hopes are there for longer series that are still publishing? Particularly for a relatively niche genre or subject matter. I get that the longer a series goes on, the fewer people there are purchasing with each subsequent volume and there isn’t much I can say against that, but knowing that doesn’t lessen the sting when a series is dropped.
However, there are times when you can throw caution to the wind and begin collecting. One such time is now.
As I’m doing with Kotobuki Tarako’s Love Pistols—waiting for volume 7 to be released before I begin purchasing—-I held off on Fantagraphics’ Wandering Son. I certainly have more faith in Fantagraphics than a number of other publishers, but it is one of their inaugural titles for their manga offerings, so I think I’m allowed to be hesitant.
I assume most of you know what the story is about, so I’m not going to get into that. I’ll just say that it explores self identity in regards to ones own perceptions and acknowledgements as well as the perceptions and acknowledgements of others. It has been about two years since I read the unofficial translation; as I’ve done with a number of titles, I stopped reading it once it was licensed. In those two years I heard lots of talk about it and I’ve seen lots of gorgeous art floating around, but I held out. And I’m glad I did, because now, when I start from the beginning with my new beautiful hardbound volumes, it will be like meeting old friends and I’ll get to fall in love with it all over again.
Also, since they’re hardbound, I can actually hug them without fear of messing them up! I think the only thing I don’t like about them is that the spines are different colors… I don’t think I’m going to like how they look on my shelf, but with 14+ volumes, I’ll have plenty of time to get used to it.