PREVIEWS: "Daredevil," "Uncanny X-Men," & More Marvel Comics On Sale August 3, 2016
Retailing | Retailer Robert Scott of Comickaze Comics in San Diego, California, criticizes Marvel’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month variant covers as a poorly conceived gimmick, noting that they’re not a fund-raiser — no money goes to any cancer charity — and don’t even do a good job of raising awareness. Not only that, but he says the minimum-order requirement means that some retailers won’t be able to order them, and many of those who do won’t be able to donate their cut of the proceeds to prostate cancer causes. [ICv2]
While Thompson’s colleagues hailed “Cul de Sac” as a last flicker of greatness in a dying medium, Thompson himself will be remembered for the grace and humor with which he faced his disease — and the way it drew the cartooning community around him.
Conventions | There’s still plenty to do in San Diego this week, even if you don’t have a Comic-Con badge. A local news station runs down the options, from events that anyone can enjoy with minimal effort to the hard-core nerd stuff. [KPBS]
Political cartoons | The cartoonist Faro, who’s from Nice, pens an anguished explanation of why he will not do cartoon memes about tragedies any more: “At a certain point, one must know when to stop, and I am not convinced that my fellow citizens — yes I am both a press cartoonist and from Nice — have the heart to appreciate these digital or paper mournings one more time. And I am not speaking of those who take a risk in trying to find humor in a similar situation. I have a hard time understanding the practice of producing the official logo of carnage and then seeking to pass it on in posterity while these innocents pass over to the other side.” [The Huffington Post]
Conventions | In the wake of mass shootings in San Bernardino, Orlando and Dallas, and the attack last week in Nice, France, one newspaper looks at the security surrounding Comic-Con International, which kicks off Wednesday in San Diego. Although few details are revealed, a San Diego Police Department official says there will be “numerous” uniformed officers on foot, on bike, in patrol cars and in helicopters, as well as a “large” contingent of undercover cops “to make it was a safe and successful event.” The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System got more specific, noting that nearly 200 armed transit officers and TSA-trained K9 units will be deployed along transit route and platforms. [The Press-Enterprise]
Awards | Sonny Liew’s “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” is the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction. Ironically, the awards are supported by Singapore’s National Arts Council, which had originally provided financial support for the book but withdrew it last summer when controversy arose over its contents. “The award is given by the Book Council rather than NAC, so I don’t think it represents change in NAC’s stance towards the book, but it is a real honour winning this prize and gives me more encouragement for future projects,” Liew said. [Malay Mail]
Manga | It’s official: Tite Kubo’s “Bleach” will come to an end within the next 10 weeks. Japanese “Shonen Jump” editor Hisashi Sasaki revealed the news on Viz Media’s weekly Shonen Jump podcast. The 74th volume will be the final collection. [Anime News Network]
Passings | Nine Culliford, the woman who made the Smurfs blue, died on July 5 at the age of 86. Nine met Pierre Culliford, the artist who would later take the pen name Peyo, in 1946, the same year his first cartoon was published. Nine was the colorist for the Smurfs from their first appearance in “Johan et Pirlouit” (English title: “Johan and Peewit”) in 1958 until her husband’s death in 1992, and she continued to be active on Smurf projects after her son Thierry and her daughter Véronique took over. It was Nine who came up with the idea of coloring the Smurfs blue, as she felt the color would stand out agains the green, wooded backgrounds of the comic. [The Blue Print]
Comics | Sales of comics and graphic novels have crashed through the $1 billion threshold, according to calculations by Milton Griepp of ICv2 and John Jackson Miller of Comichron. That includes $350 million in sales through retail book channels, $90 million in digital, and $20 million in newsstand sales, with the rest coming through the direct market. Griepp and Miller estimate that graphic novels account for $535 million in sales and serial comics for $405 million. Griepp attributed the growth in sales to increased attention to comics properties from the media and an expanding audience, as more women and children come to the medium. [ICv2]
Digital Comics | Digital comics sales dropped 10% in 2015, according to calculations by the geek-industry retail site ICv2. This is the first decline since the category started to take off in 2010. “Industry participants” offered a number of possible explanations for this, including the leveling-off of new tablet and e-reader purchases and competition from Humble Bundle and other bundle services. Conspicuously not mentioned is comiXology’s decision, in spring of 2014, to eliminate in-app purchases on iOS devices, removing the most convenient way to buy comics from the most popular platform. The article does mention that sales through the Google Play store and direct digital sales from publishers of DRM-free comics had increased, although they are still a small segment of the industry. Also, e-book sales in general are down. Despite all this, ICv2 calculates that digital sales totaled $90 million last year, which is still pretty good considering that the market was just $1 million in 2009. [ICv2]
Conventions | New York Comic Con will extend the party with a series of events tagged “NYCC Presents,” running from October 3-9 (the con itself is October 6-9). The events include a “We the Heroes” Ball, Doctor Who costume and trivia contest, a live episode of “Game Grumps,” and “Shipwreck Presents: A Literary Erotic Fanfic Competition based on William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.” All events require separate tickets—your NYCC badge won’t get you in. [New York Comic Con]
Passings | Illustrator Geneviève Castrée, whose debut graphic novel “Susceptible” was published in 2013 by Drawn & Quarterly, passed away Saturday from pancreatic cancer. She was 35. “She was truly driven to work and stay living right up to the last minute, insisting on getting up and going to work in her studio way beyond when many would have surrendered to rest,” Castrée’s husband, musician/songwriter Phil Elverum, wrote on her GoFundMe page. “Last night and this morning she declined quickly and receded into her own eyes as her body vetoed her wishes, her lungs filling with fluid. She died at home with me and her parents holding her, hopefully having reached some last minute peace.” Castrée was diagnosed with cancer in May 2015, just four months after giving birth to their daughter. [GoFundMe]
Retailing | The Sacramento, California, comic shop Big Brother Comics was severely damaged last weekend by a fire. Owner Kenny Russell, whose apartment adjoins the store, heard a loud noise on Sunday morning and opened his back door to see his store in flames. “It was all on fire, like movie-style fire,” he said. Although firefighters responded quickly, and his apartment was protected by fire doors, his store is “toast” and much of his merchandise suffered smoke damage. A GoFundMe campaign to help Russell rebuild has already brought in more than $12,000. [KCRA]
Comics | “Dick Tracy” writer Mike Curtis has donated his 17,000-piece collection of Superman memorabilia to the Cleveland Public Library, which will establish a permanent exhibit dedicated to the Man of Steel. Some of Curtis’ items date back to as early as 1939. The library is applying for grants to preserve and restore the collectibles, and hopes to have some of them on display by November. The Man of Steel was of course created by Cleveland by high school friends Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. [The Columbus Dispatch]
Crime | French police are investigating two new death threats to the staff of the French satirical weekly “Charlie Hebdo.” The first threat was posted on the magazine’s Facebook page and then removed; the second was sent to the editor a few days later. “The messages raise the idea of killing several members of the editorial, again,” an anonymous source told the French newspaper Le Parisien. Security is tight at the “Charlie Hebdo” editorial office, which was moved to a secret location after 12 people were killed in an attack in January 2015. [The Local]
Conventions | Rob Salkowitz interviews Comic-Con International chief communication and strategy officer David Glanzer, who has been going to Comic-Con since 1978 and working for them since 1994. Glanzer discusses attendance, the possible saturation of the pop-culture convention market, and what might cause the con to leave San Diego, however reluctantly. And he emphasizes the importance of comics to Comic-Con: “We have a great and unique demographic and are pinged constantly by organizations who want to target that demographic for marketing purposes. But while it may be true that they are a key demo for marketing, we don’t want a participating company to exhibit or present a panel for that reason alone. They should have an organic relationship to comics and popular art. It’s a difficult area to maintain, but it’s one we pride ourselves on at least trying to remain true to our mission.” [Forbes]
Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in North America, ended yesterday, and after a flurry of news on Friday, there were more announcements over the weekend: Yen Press will publish the manga “Erased” and “Bungo Stray Dogs,” Kodansha Comics has an “Attack on Titan” themed choose-your-own-adventure book in the works, Viz will continue to publish the “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” manga, and Vertical has licensed the “Nisimonogatari” light novels.
Yen Press had already announced a number of new licenses, but at a panel sponsored by the Japanese publisher Kadokawa, they revealed two more: The time-travel story “Erased” and the action manga “Bungō Stray Dogs.” Anime based on both series are currently available on Crunchyroll. Earlier this year, Kadokawa purchased a 51% share of Yen Press, making it a joint venture with the original owner, Hachette. At the same time, Kadokawa announced a partnership with Crunchyroll. At the panel, Yen Press publisher Kurt Hassler said Yen manga and light novels are now available digitally on Kadokawa’s Bookwalker e-book service and that the company’s goal is to make all its books available in digital format. Yen also publishes on other e-book platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle.
Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in North America, is happening this weekend in Los Angeles, and there’s a lot of activity on the manga front. This weekend’s announcements include “Dragon Ball Super,” a new “Revolutionary Girl Utena” box set, a Hatsune Miku manga and light novel, and a new series from the creators of “Deadman Wonderland.”
There was also some anime news, naturally: The streaming anime service Crunchyroll is going into the physical media business and will release “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress,” “Berserk,” “Gintama,” and other series on Blu-Ray and DVD, and the dubbed version of the “One-Punch Man” anime will be added to Adult Swim’s Toonami block starting on July 16, which should bring new fans to the franchise.
Business | WizKids has canceled pre-release events for Marvel HeroClix: The Superior Foes of Spider-Man after losing its shipment in an explosive train collision Tuesday in Texas that killed two crew members. A third is missing and presumed dead. “While a sizable amount of the product release will be in an unknown state for an unforeseeable time,” the company said in a statement, “our current plan is to proceed with the launch of the product as scheduled as we have sufficient quantities for all stores who have preordered to date and the majority of the product is unaffected. Our thoughts go out to the families who lost their loved ones in this horrific accident.” [WizKids, via ICv2.com]