EXCL. PREVIEW: "Avatar: Smoke & Shadow" TPB Threatens the Fire Nation
Piracy | The Japanese government is joining with 15 anime production companies and manga publishers to launch a major initiative that will target foreign pirate sites. The push will start Aug. 1 and will have two components: The government will send takedown requests to 580 pirate sites and also launch a website that directs people to legitimate sources of online manga. The Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency estimates that Chinese pirate sites cost the industry 560 billion yen (about $5.5 million) last year. [Crunchyroll]
Comics | Lidia Jean Kott talks with writer Jason Aaron about his female Thor and pays a visit to Fantom Comics in Washington, D.C., where a quarter of the customers are women and the bestselling title is Saga (the bestselling superhero comic is Ms. Marvel). [NPR]
Publishing | Spurred by the GoFundMe campaign launched last week by Dan Vado to get SLG Publishing “back on its feet,” Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture author Rob Salkowitz wonders whether a nonprofit model might make sense for some indie/niche publishers: “Contrary to popular perception, however, being a non-profit doesn’t mean you can’t make money. Lots of successful non-profits generate revenues in the millions and pay their staff, executives and contributors salaries comparable with those in the private sector. They can also pay contractors and contributors like performers or creators full market rates. They just don’t pay shareholders, and they plow any excess revenues back into their operations.” [ICv2.com]
Born a poor, put-upon peasant ridiculed by those around him, he would grow up to become one of the most recognizable figures in his profession, his worldwide fame leaving an indelible mark upon the chilhoods of more than one generation. But his greatest strength, that which made him such a powerful presence on the world stage, was also his greatest weakness; that which so defined his life would ultimately kill him.
You can’t make this sort of thing up, and in telling the life story of Andre Roussimoff, better known as Andre the Giant, cartoonist Box Brown doesn’t have to make anything up — although he may have to massage some anecdotes to better fit the format of a story, or imagine visual details where none were provided. In other words, Brown has to “put over” his narrative, to borrow some of the wrestling jargon that appears throughout his story (and is helpfully contained in a glossary).
Brown’s bio-comic Andre the Giant: Life and Legend opens with an illustrated version of a 2010 interview with Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea, a man who worked with Andre for years in professional wrestling, and became one of its most popular faces during a storyline in which Andre graciously decided to play the heel, the villain to Bollea’s hero.
“There was never a fork or a knife …. even a bed!” the cartoon Bollea says. “There was never a situation where he could be comfortable.”
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Cosplay | The Christian Science Monitor looks at how cosplay is spilling out of comics and sci-fi/fantasy conventions and into “daily life,” such as movie theaters, pubs and public squares: “The spread of cosplay owes a lot to the Internet. Social media sites build buzz around the next big cosplay event. Tumblr and Instagram allow strangers to pass around photos of past work and offer words of encouragement from afar. YouTube videos reveal how to craft foam core into realistic-looking armor and braid hair like an elf.” [The Christian Science Monitor]
Conventions | Marking San Francisco’s third year without WonderCon, pop-culture critic Peter Hartlaub relates the feelings of “confusion, withdrawal and anger” experienced by local fans, and explains why city leaders should care whether the convention ever returns from Anaheim. [SFGate]
Creators | Gary ODD Edmund combined two things he loved, comics and “marijuana culture,” to come up with the comic The Bud. While weed may be the news hook in this story, the numbers are interesting as well, as Edmund claims to have made $10,000 last year selling The Bud at comics conventions, where he typically moves 200 to 300 copies per event. He is now at the point where it’s worth his while to drop other projects to make more time for The Bud, and he figures his Bud-related income will at least triple this year. Can’t make it to a comic con? There’s a digital version as well, available via indie publisher CCP Comics. The digital release of The Bud (on 4/20, of course) drew so much traffic it crashed CCP’s website. [AOL Jobs]
After finding out about Box Brown‘s comics here at Robot 6 last year, I’ve been following his work intently. And now I get the opportunity to show off a little gem of a story Brown just posted online for free. It’s a short Brown wrote and illustrated called “Sock” about a teenage boy getting drunk and trying to hit on a girl, and being sucked into a sidebar conversation with his nerdish friend. In true Brown style he finds a way to work talk about pro wrestling, but I’m not complaining … brother.
Brown is offering “Sock” as a print minicomic for sale online and from his convention appearances, so I was shocked to see him put it online for free — but hey, it’s great comics so I can’t turn it down.
It seems like Box Brown has been making comics for a long time, so it’s a bit of a shock to realize that when First Second Books publishes his Andre the Giant next year, it will be his first full-length graphic novel. Brown is the creator of the webcomic Bellen and Everything Dies (which doesn’t seem to be available online, except for this). An episode from that comic, “Ben Died of a Train,” won the Ignatz Award for Best Comic. Most recently, his The Survivalist was published by U.K. publisher Blank Slate.
Brown is also the moving force behind Retrofit Comics, which published a number of indy one-shot comics in print format, as well as several Kickstarters; the latest is an anthology in the spirit of the alt-manga magazine Garo.
Andre the Giant is a big step for Brown, who is going from self-published and small-press indy comics to a graphic novel from a big publisher. So naturally, I had some questions, which he was kind enough to answer.
Robot 6: What interested you about Andre the Giant, and why do you think his story is a good fit for the comics medium?
I grew up a big wrestling fan. And, at some point last year found myself looking up Andre on the Internet. I read that Andre got a ride to school from Samuel Beckett when he was a kid. I had two free weeks before SPX and thought that would make a good zine. Then I just kept diving back in for more. And eventually I’d assembled 100 pages worth of Andre stories.