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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vintage Review: Yaoi Press

NOTE: This review originally appeared in LA Alternative, Sept. 1, 2006 and was later posted on the Deviant Art site.

NO POINT, NO PROBLEM

by Lyn Jensen


Yaoi—the word—originated as an acronym for a Japanese expression that translates very roughly as, “No peak, no point, no problem.” The story may have no peak, the joke, no point, but the lack of meaning is no problem. The term was originally applied to fanzines (doujinshi in Japanese) that were bizarre parodies of other works, particularly in regard to homosexual content. This element of the bizarre helps distinguish yaoi from gay-themed material in general.

For evidence, take a look at Yaoi Press’ manga, including the publisher’s hottest series, Saihoshi: The Guardian. It’s a sword-and-sorcery manga about the adventures of a “Guardian of the North,” a special class of warrior whose traditional weapon is a giant pair of scissors. The bizarreness just keeps on coming, with a prince, servant, councilor, and mercenary all having the hots for just about every guy they see. Vol. 1 broke Yaoi Press sales records. Vol. 2 becomes available in September [2006].

Unlike other major English-language yaoi publishers, Yaoi Press does not reprint manga from Asia, but instead produces “Western yaoi” by American and European women. Yamilla Abraham founded the Las Vegas-based company in 2004. She has since published more than a dozen yaoi manga.

Another recent Yaoi Press manga, Stallion, gives “Western yaoi” a double meaning. From KOSEN, the same team that created Saihoshi, it’s a cheesy-but-fun one-shot parody about a cowboy and Indian who become partners in more ways than one. Although entirely different from Brokeback Mountain, Abraham admits she couldn’t resist drawing comparisons with the movie’s theme of unconventional romance. (In fact, if you’ve heard the expression, “brokeback manga,” it refers to yaoi.)

Yaoi Press brings together manga artists on a global scale. KOSEN is a pair of popular female artists from Spain. So is Kawaii, who collaborated with Abraham on a parody of the Arthurian legend, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” included in the first volume of Saihoshi. Kawaii’s own manga, Treasure, debuts this month. 2007 will find Yaoi Press offering a manga from the popular Italian team Dany & Dany. Who knew Spain and Italy had manga scenes, and yaoi, too?

Yaoi Press recommends its manga for mature readers (18-plus) but compares the contents to a PG-13 movie. Go on-line for Yaoi Press titles, as they’re not likely to be found on bookstore shelves.

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