I’ve noticed that a lot of manga that I like were initially published by BEAM COMIX (rendered as Comic Beam in the linked Wikipedia article for reasons I can’t ascertain). It’s a magazine that serializes manga mainly targeted at an adult male audience.
It seems to me, judging from their published titles that I’ve enjoyed, that the publisher releases offbeat works with unique premises that are compellingly readable. What have I read of theirs? Let’s see, there’s the magical realism of Ran and the Gray World, the character-driven kitchen sink comedy of Hinamatsuri, the indie comic action of Bambi and Her Pink Gun, the anthropological detail of A Bride’s Story, the science fiction violence of Immortal Hounds, and the adventure comedy of Dungeon Meshi. This is an all star line-up.
According to the ol’ Wiki, the magazine is considered by many as focusing on “alternative” manga, which from context sounds like the Japanese equivalent of indie comics. It has a very small readership of 25,000 but consisting largely of hardcore enthusiasts and art students. To my mind, BEAM COMIX’s readers would probably be the type to own copies of Understanding Comics (the comic book bible) were they to live over here instead. In fact, quite a few of the magazine’s Japanese audience probably do own copies of Understanding Comics themselves.
Whatever they’re doing, BEAM COMIX is doing it right. Their editors know how to pick a winning story. I’m going to keep an eye out for their other stuff from now on.