MAR on Hulu For Free

Press release below from Viz Media about the debut of new anime, MAR on Viz’s site and On a related note, YALSA (that’s the Young Adult Library Services Association) has selected its 2011 Great Graphic Novels For Teens and Viz Media is well represented, with a few of their books making the cut such as Biomega, not simple, Saturn Apartments and more.

An Ordinary Boy Becomes A Hero In The Land Of His Dreams In This Spectacular Adventure

VIZ Media announces the launch of MÄR (rated ‘T’ for Teens) available on, the company’s premier website for anime, as well as the streaming content provider HULU, starting on Monday January 17th. and HULU will stream for FREE episodes 1-5 of MÄR (subtitled). Two additional FREE new episodes will launch each Monday.

MÄR is based on the hit manga series by Nobuyuki Anzai (creator also of FLAME OF RECCA), published in North America by VIZ Media. An ordinary middle-school boy with an overactive imagination, Ginta Toramizu dreams about fairy tales and make-believe lands. One day at school, a gate appears and he enters the World of MÄR, the world of his dreams. Within the World of MÄR exist ÄRM: accessories with unique powers. Soon, Ginta stumbles upon Babbo, an ÄRM that can speak, and learns that he has been summoned to this mythical world to stop the Chess Pieces, a group of rogue soldiers, from destroying the World of MÄR. Now part of Team MÄR, Ginta and Babbo fight in War Games against the Chess Pieces to save the MÄR World. But will Ginta’s mission be compromised by his ally’s secrets?

To learn more about MÄR anime and manga series, please visit or (free Chapter 1 manga preview available).

Infinite Vacation #1 Review

Image Comics is on a roll lately, with some stand out new series that have flown off shelves and garnered much interest even before their release. Of their recent string of successes, I’ve only read Chew #1 but liked it, it did take me a while to warm up to the charms of Skullkickers, 27 was an interesting idea but not enough of one to keep me coming back, and Who Is Jake Ellis? was a clear fave. Infinite Vacation from Nick Spencer (writer of another popular Image series Morning Glories) and artist Christian Ward (Olympus) is the latest title to generate buzz.

It’s apparent why that would be the case, with its central concept being so attractive. The notion of alternate universes has been a popular one in sci-fi and comics for a long time, and to take that idea and put it in the hands of today’s techno loving populace is a grand one. For the most part, it works here.

Basically, red headed Mark makes the most of this possibility, like 97% of the population, to buy and sell alternate versions of their own lives. After recounting a few horror stories where his other lives didn’t end up like he’d hoped, Mark remarks that whatever life he chooses, it always ends the same, with a dead-end job, failed relationship and boredom. As an everyman hoping for more from life and craving it like an obsessive, Mark’s a good central character, though in this first issue he primarily serves as the personification of exposition. It’s understandable that Spencer would want to make the protagonist’s life relatable, but so far he seems more like an alt-universe junkie than a well rounded, sympathetic figure.

Early in this issue there’s a 4 page sequence using photographs that shows a sleazy salesman pitching the Infinite Vacation application. It looks good and is a novel visual idea, but it’s in a comic that is already filled with such, thanks to Ward’s dazzling art, which renders this photo explanation unnecessary.

Those who’ve read Olympus, or checked out Ward’s site know what he’s capable of and his work stands out in a welcome way. This is the kind of trippy story filled with potential that allows an artist of Ward’s loose layouts and experimentation with design to take this comic and make it even better, in much the same way J.H Williams III and Jonathan Hickman (the artist) do.

The concept of all the alternate Marks slowly dying and “our” Mark’s investigation into why makes what could’ve been a flat, easily throw-away idea into something well rounded and filled with intrigue. Ideas such as other Marks being his own therapist and technical support consultant are just awesome, as is one scene where Mark is bidding on a world in which a lovely lady at a cafe stays a little longer for a chat. It’s a shame the script and the lettering is out of synch on the exact price though, but that’s a minor detail.

In what could well be the deserved next big thing, Infinite Vacation is off to a pretty good start, but to keep the momentum, deeper issues about the interaction between technology, fate and responsibility will have to be addressed.