New Manga for the Week of January 2: Heart of Thomas, Message to Adolf

We're starting the New Year off with a bang, with a stack of new and classic manga for every taste: Fantagraphics' deluxe edition of Moto Hagio's "Heart of Thomas," the second volume of Osamu Tezuka's "Message to Adolf," the first volume of Naoki Urasawa's "21st Century Boys" (the followup to his award-winning "20th Century Boys"), and a stack of solid shoujo and shonen titles. Let's read!

Let's start with the classic we have been waiting for all these years: Moto Hagio's "Heart of Thomas," which pretty much invented the shounen-ai genre. Published in 1973 (so yes, the art does look a bit dated), the story is set in an all-boys' boarding school in Germany and begins with the title jumping off a railroad bridge; Thomas has committed suicide because of his unrequited love for Juni, an older student, and the story follows Juni's reaction both to Thomas's death and to the arrival of a new student who looks eerily like him. Manga veteran Matt Thorn, who is a personal friend of Hagio's, did the translation, and Fantagraphics has packaged the whole story into a single, oversized volume.

Speaking of deluxe oversized volumes, the second volume of Osamu Tezuka's "Message to Adolf" is out this week, bringing more mystery and suspense set in Germany and Japan during World War II. Check out Charles's review of volume 1 to get the gist of the story, which is complete in these two volumes. Vertical's other release of the week is in a very different vein: Vol. 2 of "Heroman," a teen-friendly series about a boy who becomes an accidental superhero, from a story created by Stan Lee.

Viz has more good news in the form of vol. 1 of "21st Century Boys," Naoki Urasawa's sequel to his epic "20th Century Boys." Kenji and his friends have defeated The Friend and his cult, but now they face the question of where they came from. Urasawa is, for my money, the greatest creator making manga today, and both series are well worth a look.

But wait! There's more! It's the first week of the month, and that means it's time for some Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat goodness! For shonen fans, we have vol. 54 of "Bleach," vol. 29 of "Hunter x Hunter," vol. 8 of "Psyren," and vol. 8 of "Ultimo."

This month's shoujo goodness includes a new volume of one of my favorite series, vol. 3 of "Jiu Jiu," about an angsty girl and her two wolf/boy companions; read my review of volume 1 here. Also up in the shoujo line this week: vol. 11 of "Dengeki Daisy," vol. 12 of "Oresama Teacher," vol. 14 of "Otomen," and vol. 2 of "Strobe Edge." If your new year's resolution is "Read more manga," this week's releases will get you off to a great start!

New releases taken from this week's ComicList.