Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Kodansha International closing; Blizzard ending Tokyopop deal?


Publishing | Kodansha Ltd., Japan’s largest publisher, will close its 48-year-old Kodansha International subsidiary by the end of April. The division is a separate company from the New York-based Kodansha USA, which Kodansha Ltd. established in 2008. Kodansha International specialized in English-language translations of Japanese books and original English-language books on Japanese topics, and published the occasional few manga-related title. At the February press conference at which incoming Kodansha Ltd. President Yoshinobu Noma announced the publisher’s 46.7 percent stake in Vertical Inc., he revealed the company would increase its focus on digital publishing and overseas markets. [The Japan Times, Anime News Network]

Publishing | Video game developer Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind World of Warcraft and Starcraft, is rumored to be ending its licensing agreements with troubled U.S. manga publisher Tokyopop. Although the report comes on the heels of Tokyopop’s latest round of layoffs — Troy Lewter edited many of the current Blizzard titles — the two events are apparently unrelated. [Lore Hound, via Joystiq]

Naruto, Vol. 50

Retailing | The 50th volume of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto led BookScan’s February list of graphic novels sold in bookstores, a Top 20 dominated by manga and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim. DC’s Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne hardcover collection was No. 2. []

Creators | Christopher Irving posts his lengthy profile of the late Dwayne McDuffie, accompanied by Seth Kushner’s portraits. “I look at the new Blue Beetle, which was really well done and really entertaining, even though it didn’t sell at all,” McDuffie said. “The new things in the [DC] universe are pretty much impossible, and new things out of the universe are pretty unlikely, because people won’t try new things. I hope I’m wrong and there’s some wonderful new thing. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Static will break, but I don’t think people will try it, or that people at comics stores will even care. That book should have come out in 2002 when it was the #2 cartoon on television, and not 2010 when it was in reruns on Disney XD.” [Graphic NYC]

Jonathan Hickman

Creators | Nicholas Slayton spotlights the work of writers Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer and Scott Snyder. [Daily Trojan]

Creators | James Carbone briefly profiles Atomic Robo writer Brian Clevinger. [The Daily Anthenaeum]

Creators | Dean Haspiel analyzes a panel of Jack Kirby art from Devil Dinosaur #4. [Kirb Your Enthusiasm]

Comics | Berkeley Place wraps up a five-part retrospective of The Amazing Spider-Man. [Berkeley Place]

Crime | Police in Watsonville, Calif., have arrested a 16-year-old suspected of being one of five people who jumped out of a minivan Wednesday night and beat a man and stole his Superman sweater. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]



“Police in Watsonville, Calif., have arrested a 16-year-old suspected of being one of five people who jumped out of a minivan Wednesday night and beat a man and stole his Superman sweater.”


Regarding the McDuffie story, I’m glad to see a creator who actually blames the fans for the failure of a book, for once. You get so many people lamenting the loss of a book like Blue Beetle or even something like Freedom Fighters, and the fans themselves are to blame. Stick a ‘Batman’ or ‘Superman’ on the cover, and it’ll sell. Like every other culture-based industry, comics are now firmly rooted in brand names, and it fucking sucks.

Hey now! Thanks for the shout out, but how did you get my legal name? If you wouldn’t mind replacing it with either Ekko or Berkeley Place, I would really appreciate it.

Nicholas Slayton

March 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

Thanks for linking my story!


I think that’s still an oversimplification.

Comics are no longer disposable chaff. These things cost $3-$4 a piece now. That’s HARD-earned money and unless your salary has kept pace with both inflation AND the price jack-ups in the comic industry, it’s a higher-amount of disposable income than ever before.

Two, despite the brand names like Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman, there are other reasons the new Blue Beetle and The Freedom Fighters didn’t take off.

Many fans HATED the callous way the previous, more iconic versions of those characters were disposed of. It’s hard to love a new Blue Beetle or Freedom Fighters when the previous versions were written off so vulgarly. Sorry, but I didn’t care for the way Ted Kord/Beetle’s brains were depicted as being blown out or the hideous ways various Freedom Fighters were disposed of by Geoff Johns “imaginative” writing. It’s more like snuff fiction instead of great adventure writing. Geoff does way too much of that in his writing. I’ve never been comfortable with that aspect of him, nor do I think his writing is much more than competent most of the time.

We all know Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, and Peter Parker aren’t going away even if they get “killed off.” As for the the second and third tier characters — there are no guarantees that Oliver Queen, Wally West, Barry Allen, or Donna Troy would return from the writer’s/editor’s mausoleum.

Hal Jordan was popular enough amongst the GL fandom and several popular creators that the character was revived (successfully) after 10 years of not being the primary GL. Most of us are aware that the only reason Barry Allen came back was that Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns wanted him back. Forget the business of Didio wanting Silver Age DC back — he’s just not that imaginative or creative an editor. Most Flash fans had accepted Wally as the successor Flash. The business of saying the previous Flash titles sales were bad enough to warrant a return of Barry Allen or that previous writers (Waid AND Johns primarily) had written Wally into a deadend with the marriage and kids doesn’t wash… There could have been a reboot without killing off supporting characters OR retconning the marriage. A “Spidey-cide” didn’t have to happen with Flash nor did Barry Allen have to brought back.

I like ALL The Flashes except for Bart, to be honest… But I do understand the bitterness of seeing favorites replaced. Although they weren’t my favorites, I sure didn’t like the way Ted Kord and the previous Freedom Fighters were disposed of much, either.

There have to be much better ways of introducing new characters rather than shitting all over the previous versions… That practice is bad whether it’s ordered by an editor or carried out by Brad Meltzer, Chuck Austen, Geoff Johns, or Grant Morrison.

Andrew Collins

March 4, 2011 at 10:02 am

Pretty much in full agreement with you there, George. I have to admit, I DO like the Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle and would like to see him stick around (a testament to the quality of John Rogers’ writing on BB’s book) but I would have liked to see Ted Kord remain as a ‘mentor’ type character. Heck, Kord wasn’t even using the Beetle that gives Jaime his power, so it’s not like they had to kill Ted off for Jaime to inherit the powers.

And yeah, they killed off the goverment-operative team Freedom Fighters to replace them with the Freedom Fighters…a government operative team…*slow clap* Nice work, DC. Maybe someday Johns will grow up and realize that “Brutal Death” does not equal “Awesome.”

You could make similar arguments for the failures of the new Firestorm (another unceremonious death for the original), The Question (though Montoya seems to be sticking with the role, I still disagree with Vic’s death, another potential ‘mentor’ character) and The Atom (there was no reason to kill of Ryan Choi even if they did want Palmer back in the suit…)

This is why I’m so fed up with the general direction of the DCU under Johns and Didio…

So, as to George’s post, you don’t like it when characters are killed off, and you don’t like it when killed off characters are brought back. I’m sorry, how was that post an argument AGAINST the notion that fans unwilling to try new things are the reason for the stagnation of mainstream superhero comics………….?

everyone’s angry about something.

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