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Comics A.M. | Stan Lee Media, Spider-Man & ‘litigation finance’

Spider-Man

Spider-Man

Legal | Those wondering how Stan Lee Media can possibly afford its long, and so far entirely unsuccessful, legal battle with Marvel and Disney may want to read this brief Wall Street Journal article about “litigation finance” — which it characterizes as the growing practice of investing in lawsuits. However, pointing to the fight over the rights to Spider-Man and other characters, writer Rob Copeland points out there are high risks: namely, that investors could never see financial return. As we’ve noted before, Stan Lee Media’s efforts are backed by a group of investors that includes the $21 billion hedge fund Elliott Management, which helps to explain why the lawsuits keep coming. [MoneyBeat]

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In Little Golden Manga, even human-eating titans are cute

little-golden-attack-on-tit

Whether it’s a sudden shared nostalgia or something in the water, something lately is inspiring artists to reimagine  Little Golden Books. Last month, Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California, debuted “Little Golden Tales,” an exhibit that included, among other works, Breaking Bad depicted as a heartwarming scene from those childhood favorites.

And now Matt Reedy is offering his take with his adorable Little Golden Manga, featuring FLCL, Death Note and Attack on Titan for the pre-school set. Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?

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Kodansha announces ‘Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition’

attack on titan-colossal editionKodansha Comics will release an omnibus edition of Attack on Titan, Hajime Isayama’s popular dystopian fantasy.

Called Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition, the 1,000-page book will collect the first five volumes in a 7-inch by 10-inch format (the original size). Priced at $59.99, it’s set to arrive in stores on May 27.

Debuting in 2009, the manga is set in a world where humanity is forced to live in walled cities to protect itself against grotesque people-eating giants known as Titans. The story centers on three youths who vow revenge following the destruction of their hometown by one of the creatures.

Attack on Titan sold 15.9  million copies last year in Japan alone — it was second only to One Piece — and has made significant inroads into the North American book market, placing five volumes in the Nielsen BookScan Top 20 for September.

Twelve volumes have been released to date in Japan, and 11 in North America.

‘Attack on Titan’ comes to life in terrifying Subaru TV ad

attack-on-titan-subaru

Hajime Isayama’s dystopian manga Attack on Titan is as unstoppable as its human-eating giants, selling 15.9  million copies last year in Japan alone — it was second only to One Piece — buoyed by the popularity of the television anime. It’s infiltrated the North American book market, too, placing five volumes in the Nielsen BookScan Top 20 for September. The are also Attack on Titan video games and a light novel, not to mention the live-action adaptation in development by director Shinji Higuchi.

If you’re curious how the grotesque Titans will translate to the big screen, Higuchi provides a sneak peek in this incredible TV commercial for the Subaru Forester, which has been has racked up more than 6.5 million views since its debut Friday on YouTube.

One of Japan’s top special effects supervisors, Higuchi is best known for his work on the Gamera trilogy. Attack on Titan is scheduled for release in 2015.

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Comics A.M. | Image has impressive December in bookstores

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

Graphic novels | Image Comics had a strong December in bookstores, snagging nine slots on BookScan’s Top 20 chart: Eight volumes of The Walking Dead (including the very first one, at No. 4), plus the first Saga collection, which was originally released in October 2012. The first two volumes of Attack on Titan, which are more than a year old, were also on the chart. [ICv2]

Legal | Colleen R. LaRose, aka “Jihad Jane,” was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for her role in a failed conspiracy to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who drew images of the Prophet Mohammed that offended many Muslims. [The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | What the growth of tablets means for comics

comiXology

comiXology

Digital comics | Ethan Gach contemplates what the popularity of tablets means for the comics industry, with a particular focus on comiXology. He points out that the digital distributor offers not only bestsellers but also titles that appeal to a broader audience — and has brought success to some indie creators via its comiXology Submit program. [Forbes]

Academia | Tom Spurgeon talks to Professor Benjamin Saunders, director of the Comics & Cartoon Studies Program at the University of Oregon, which just received a major donation that will serve as an endowment for the program. [The Comics Reporter]

Manga | Kodansha will release a second printing of the January issue of Aria magazine, which features the debut of Hikaru Suruga and Gan Sunaaku’s Attack on Titan spinoff No Regrets. The first printing was five times greater than the magazine’s usual press run — Aria has a verified circulation of 13,667 copies — so with this new printing, the January issue will have 10 times the number of copies of the  average issue. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Walking Dead’ reclaims top spot in bookstores

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

Graphic novels | Five volumes of The Walking Dead made the November BookScan list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores. As ICv2 points out, the fact that the first volume is still charting (at No. 13) bodes well for the series, as it means new readers are continuing to come in. The latest volume of Naruto took the No. 2 slot, and there were nine volumes of manga overall, including three volumes of Attack on Titan and the newest volume of Yotsuba&! There were five DC Comic titles on the list, as well as the latest volume of Dark Horse’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. Completely missing from the Top 20? Anything from Marvel. [ICv2]

Publishing | After three years at DC Entertainment, John Rood will step down on Jan. 1 as executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development. The position is being eliminated, with marketing and publicity to fall under the auspices of Amit Desai, senior vice president of franchise management. Sales, custom publishing and business development will again be overseen by Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. [The Beat]

Gift Guides | Here’s a spin on the traditional gift guide: Ten things not to buy a comics fan. [Crave Online]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Asterix’ family feud continues with Uderzo lawsuit

Asterix

Asterix

Legal | Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo has filed a legal complaint against his daughter Sylvie and her husband Bernard Choisy, claiming “psychological violence.” The dispute began in 2007, when Sylvie and Bernard were dismissed from their positions at Les Éditions Albert René, which published Asterix; a year later, Uderzo sold his stake in the company to Hachette Livre. The two filed their own legal challenge in 2011, claiming Uderzo, who is now 86, was being exploited by others. In this week’s filing, Uderzo says he is perfectly capable of managing his own affairs, and adds, “The sole purpose of these acts is to undermine our psychological integrity and to hasten our debility, in order to get their hands on our legacy, which they covet.” [The Guardian]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ closes in on ‘One Piece’ in Japan

Attack on Titan, Vol. 10

Attack on Titan, Vol. 10

Manga | While Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has been burning up the bookstore sales charts in the United States, the dystopian manga is also giving the smash-hit One Piece a run for its money in Japan. According to market research firm Oricon, Attack on Titan sold more than 15.9 million copies in the past year, just behind One Piece‘s 18.1 million (Kuroko’s Basketball is a distance third with about 8.8 million). Of course,  Eiichiro Oda insanely popular pirate manga has little to fear: The 72-volume (and counting) series has 300 million copies in print in Japan, and 345 million worldwide. Kodansha’s Attack on Titan, meanwhile, is on its 11th volume. [ICv2]

Auctions | Select titles from Don and Maggie Thompson’s collection of rare comics — among them, The Avengers #1, Journey Into Mystery #83 and The Incredible Hulk #1 — sold at auction last week for a combined $835,384. A 9.6 copy of Tales of Suspense #39 alone fetched $262,900. [Heritage Auctions]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan,’ ‘Walking Dead’ dominate in October

Attack on Titan, Vol. 1

Attack on Titan, Vol. 1

Graphic novels | Between them, Attack on Titan and The Walking Dead claimed nine of the 20 spots on BookScan’s October rundown of the top-selling graphic novels in bookstores. The first volume of Attack on Titan led another strong month for manga, which placed nine titles in the Top 20. New DC Comics books, rather than simply evergreen sellers, made an appearance, too, with the Batman: The Court of Owls mask and book set, the Joker: Death of the Family hardcover and the third Justice League hardcover landing in the Top 10. [ICv2]

Creators | Joe Sacco talks about his work, his collaboration with journalist Chris Hedges, and why he doesn’t portray himself with eyeballs. [Straight.com]

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Comics A.M. | New ‘Asterix’ lands in middle of political debate

Asterix and the Picts

Asterix and the Picts

Graphic novels | France 24 examines the Thursday release of Asterix and the Picts — the first album by new creative team Jean Yves-Ferri and Didier Conrad — from a political perspective, noting that the story, in which Asterix and Obelix journey from ancient Gaul to Iron Age Scotland, has already become part of the current debate about Scottish independence. [France 24]

Creators | Chinese cartoonist Wang Liming, who spent a night in police custody last week on charges of “suspicion of causing a disturbance,” spoke to the press this week. Liming, who has more than 300,000 followers on his microblog account, first ran into trouble two years ago for one of his cartoons, but police told him that China has freedom of speech and he could continue drawing. Nonetheless, another of his cartoons, depicting Winnie the Pooh (a frequent cartoon stand-in for Chinese President Xi Jinping) kicking a football was deleted and suppressed by censors. “For them, drawing leaders in cartoon form is a big taboo,” the cartoonist said. “I think the controls on the Internet are too harsh. They have no sense of humor. They can’t accept any ridicule.” [Reuters]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ invades bookstore chart

Attack on Titan, Vol. 1

Attack on Titan, Vol. 1

Publishing | ICv2 has Nielsen BookScan’s Top 20 graphic novels for September, which reveals an interesting month for bookstore sales. First of all, there are five volumes of Attack on Titan on the list, which means 25 percent of September’s list comes from one series — and that series is not The Walking Dead. It sort of looks like the old days, with nine volumes of manga on the chart. What’s more, the non-manga side is dominated by older titles: Watchmen, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: The Killing Joke, Fun Home… and a Garfield book. Once again, no Marvel releases — and no new DC Comics books — charted. [ICv2]

Conventions | ICv2 explains the significance of the partnership between Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo and Diamond Comic Distributors, and the article gives some background on the Expo, which started in 2011 and has grown quickly into a solid regional event. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Acclaimed editorial cartoonist Roy Peterson dies

Roy Peterson

Roy Peterson

Passings | Roy Peterson, editorial cartoonist for the Vancouver Sun, died Sunday at the age of 77. During his 40-year career, Peterson won more National Newspaper Awards than any other Canadian creator, but he was remembered by his peers chiefly for his sense of humor and his mentoring of younger artists. [Vancouver Sun]

Publishing | CNN contributor Bob Greene profiles Victor Gorelick, the editor-in-chief and co-president of Archie Comics who began working for the publisher at age 17, in 1958. [CNN.com]

Creators | Craig Thompson talks about the short story he wrote and drew for First Second’s Fairy Tale Comics anthology, and he reveals an interesting fact: “For six years or so, my entire income was based on drawing kids’ comics for [Nickelodeon] magazine. Later on my career shifted to drawing ‘serious’ graphic novels aimed at adult readers, but I’ve always wanted to revisit my more fun and cartoony style.” Former Nickelodeon editor Chris Duffy is the editor of Fairy Tale Comics. [Hero Complex]

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Comics A.M. | Wimpy Kid author spearheads Okla. library benefit

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

Creators | Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, was traveling the day a tornado devastated Moore, Oklahoma, and he saw the damage on a news broadcast while waiting for a flight. The images stuck with him, so he rounded up fellow creators Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine, Timmy Failure) and Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants), all of whom he describes as “novelists whose DNA is in comics,” to hold a benefit to rebuild the town’s school libraries. The quartet will meet in Norman, Oklahoma, for a panel discussion and will raffle off original art and sell autographed copies of their books this weekend, with all proceeds going to the Moore Public Schools Foundation, earmarked for the school libraries. [Oklahoma Gazette]

Creators | Joe Sacco, author of Palestine, Footnotes in Gaza and, most recently, The Great War, talks about his work day, his process and the places he’s been. [The Telegraph]

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Smells like teen soldiers: ‘Attack on Titan’ gets a fragrance line

titansmell_02American comics fans may have their Stan Lee, Avengers and Hellboy colognes, but now manga and anime devotees are getting their own incongruous perfume: a set of three fragrances based on Attack on Titan, which has been tearing up the charts in Japan while becoming a sleeper hit in North America.

Created by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan (here’s a primer) is about teenagers fighting people-eating giants, and the three scents are named after three of the teenagers, not the Titans themselves (who probably just smell like guts). Each scent is tailored to the personality of a particular character: Eren, a determined fighter with the power to turn into a Titan himself (mint and citrus with notes of spice and musk, embodying his “strong desire to eradicate giant”); Mikasa, Eren’s friend who’s just as fierce and a better fighter as well (sweet floral top notes moving to sweet and sour berry and musk — its calm femininity conceals the intense feelings she harbors for Eren, if I’m reading the Google translation right); and Levi, their squad leader, who is brave, smart and a total clean freak (soap and the calming scents of cedarwood and musk, celebrating both Levi’s fastidiousness and his strength as a warrior). The perfume costs 5,775 yen (about $58) per bottle.

This all seems tame compared to the other Attack on Titan items floating around: Fans can wear Attack on Titan tights (in two patterns, boots and belts for the soldiers, raw muscles if you want to look like a Titan), sip tea from a mug topped by the Colossus Titan, and even fix their own Titan-themed pasta and potato salad while they wait for the next episode.


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