Growing up in HK, I read a ton of Japanese manga in Chinese translation. My entry into manga began with periodical magazines which were like a much thinner version of Shonen Jump. When I fell in love with certain stories published in the magazines, I would buy the entire manga series regardless of how many volumes they turned out to be. My manga collection grew over the years. When I moved to the US, I had to bring the collection with me even though my mom thought I was crazy. Unfortunately, the move has affected my manga intake because manga was not popular in the US back in the days. And having to be nomadic between dorms, relatives’ homes and my parents’ home, my collection was in boxes for years.
When my hubby and I bought a house a few years ago, we installed shelves in our study for text books we kept from college, photo albums, reference books, and also my manga collection. Having able to display the entire original Japanese version of Black Jack for the first time in my life brought me to tears. I bought the series at a Japanese department store after hearing about the death of its author, Osamu Tezuka. Each volume was wrapped in clear plastic bag. I had only read a few volumes and then carefully returned the books back in the bags. They went on the new shelves with the bags intact to keep out dust. My collection got a little expansion in recent years as I bought some manga translated to English when the US caught onto the scene. I also started to read a few graphic novels by American authors like Craig Thompson. We ran out of room almost immediately although the manga took up less than one fifth of the shelf space. Adding on his obsession for Stephen King and adventure books, it became obvious we need a formal book shelf.
The moment finally arrived when we bought some nice bookshelves from IKEA. I loaded our books on there this weekend and we still have a ton of space left. I am happy to see all my manga series are now in the same space, no longer scattered in different places/boxes. Since we installed glass doors on the bookshelves, I felt better about finally taking Black Jack out of the bags. My Tezuka collection is also growing as more of his works get translated to English. I am especially excited to hear that Black Jack will finally get its proper place in the US later this fall when Vertical starts to publish the series in its entirety. It was unfortunate that VIZ was not able to get the rights to the complete series when they published two volumes in 1999. My only gripe is that the new books will be published in the Western reading direction of left to right so everything is flipped.