"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Manga | Tokyopop announced Thursday at Anime Expo that it will return to publishing new manga from Japan, and it has also acquired some anime licenses. In addition, it is launching an app, PopComics, that will allow users to upload and share their own comics. Tokoyopop was the largest manga publisher in the United States at the height of the manga boom, but it closed down its publishing program in 2011. In the past few years it has been making a slow-motion comeback, selling some of its properties as e-books and print-on-demand books and publishing three new volumes of Hetalia: Axis Powers. [Anime News Network]
Manga | Remember when Kadokawa published a manga based on the BBC’s popular Sherlock television series? Well, maybe not, because the manga hasn’t been licensed for English-language countries. But now the first volume has been translated: Kadokawa, the publisher of the original manga, has released a bilingual Japanese and English version of “A Study in Pink” intended for students of English. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | Attendance at ReedPOP’s second annual Special Edition: NYC, held June 6-7, reportedly increased 40 percent from the first year. [Publishers Weekly]
Conventions | Comic-Con International is seeking a new sponsor for Artists’ Alley after DeviantArt, the sponsor of the area for the past two years, withdrew support. In a letter sent Wednesday to exhibitors, organizers said they are seeking a new sponsor and remain committed to Artists’ Alley. Heidi MacDonald provides context, noting that the development comes amid ongoing fears about the future of Artists’ Alley, which occupies valuable floor space in an exhibition hall starving for more. [The Beat]
Political cartoons | Michael Cavna has issued an open for cartoonists to draw cartoons in support of imprisoned Iranian artist Atena Farghadani, and tweet them with the hashtag #Draw4Atena. Robert Rusell, executive director of Cartoonist Rights Network International, has written an open letter to the leaders of Iran asking them to intervene. [Comic Riffs]
The winners of the 2015 Doug Wright Awards, recognizing the best in English-language comics by Canadians, were presented Saturday in conjunction with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. This year’s recipients were:
Best Book: Fatherland, by Nina Bunjevac
The Spotlight Award (aka “The Nipper”): Photobooth: A Biography, by Meags Fitzgerald
Pigskin Peters Awards (for experimental or avant-garde work): “Swinespritzen,” by Connor Willumsen
Following the announcement last month that it will begin accepting unsolicited submissions and pitches, Oni Press has released detailed guidelines that not only cover what to send, but also what not to.
Among the things to avoid, “Superheroes! They have their place but their place is not with us,” and “long-form series or stories in oversaturated genres such as supernatural noir, zombies, vampires and gritty detectives with a dark past.” Also, “delicate subjects such as rape and sexual abuse as fodder for exposition in genre stories.”
Oni’s submission periods will operate on a two-months open, two-months closed schedule, with the first window opening from May 1 to June 30.
“Over the years, when he heard somebody liked other artists more than his work, he was really non-competitive. The thing, though, that I think a lot of people never got about Jack was that Jack wasn’t really competitive with most other comic book artists, because in his mind, they had a different job description. When John Buscema sat down to draw an issue of Fantastic Four — and, actually, nothing I’m about to say is knocking John Buscema in any way, or any of the artists I’m going to mention here — his goal was to do an issue of the Fantastic Four. When Jack sat down to do an issue of Fantastic Four, in his mind his job description was to create a new universe, three spinoffs and take comics to another level.”
Note: The original version of this post misattributed the comment. It’s been edited to correct that, and to provide a fuller quote.
Following in the footsteps of Mark Hamill, Gotham star Robin Lord Taylor throws his weight behind Free Comic Book Day, playing up both the in-store events and the books as inspiration for many popular adaptations.
“So many movies and TV shows are based on comic books,” says the actor, who plays Oswald Cobblepot on the Fox drama, “so you can go and, like, find out where all these amazing characters came from … I would know.”
Passings | Manga creator Cocoa Fujiwara died March 31 at age 31. Fujiwara’s Inu x Boku SS, a story about humans with yokai blood who live together in a special apartment building, with some serving as bodyguards for others, is being published by Yen Press and has been made into an anime. Her first manga, a short story titled “Calling,” was published when she was just 15, and she chose not to go to high school in order to pursue a career as an artist. Her current series, Katsute Mahō Shōjo to Aku wa Tekitai Shiteita, runs in Square Enix’s Gangan Joker magazine, as did Inu x Boku SS. [Anime News Network]
CTM Media Holdings, which owns a majority interest in IDW Publishing, has changed its name to IDW Media Holdings, and placed IDW co-founder and CEO Ted Adams at its helm. The move paves the way for IDW to become listed on a stock exchange.
Telecommunications company IDT Corporation bought a controlling stake in the publisher in 2007, and then two years later created the spinoff CTM Media Holdings to house IDW Publishing, travel-based web portal Ettractions, and brochure and digital advertising distributor CTM Media Group.
This week, The Nib published a comic strip by artist Ronald Wimberly, whose work includes Prince of Cats and Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm, titled “Lighten Up.” In it, Wimberly details his experience of being asked by a Marvel editor to lighten the skin tone of supporting character Melita Garner in a recent issue of Wolverine and the X-Men.
Passings | Cartoonist and illustrator Roy Doty, best known for his long-running Wordless Workshop cartoon, has died at age 92. Wordless Workshop, which ran in Family Handyman and other similar publications, featured a pipe-smoking handyman who, when faced with a domestic problem of some sort, would immediately visualize something he could build, including a simple set of plans. Doty also illustrated over 100 children’s books, including several by Judy Blume, and drew a syndicated Laugh-In comic based on the television show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. He had a short-lived show of his own on the Dumont Network in 1953, in which he told stories and drew cartoons. He won 10 awards from the National Cartoonists Society, including their Gold Key Hall of Fame Award, and continued to be an active cartoonist until last year. [Mike Lynch Cartoons]
The Portland, Oregon-based publisher announced this morning that it will begin accepting electronic submissions and pitches in May, not only from artists but from writers and colorists as well. More details are promised in May.
Founded in 1997, Oni publishes comics ranging from Scott Pilgrim and Stumptown to The Bunker and the upcoming Invader Zim.
Chris Sims, announced last week as the writer of Marvel’s X-Men ’92 digital-first series, publicly apologized Tuesday to Valerie D’Orazio after the blogger and former DC Comics editor called him out for years-old online harassment.
“I was wrong, and in every way the bad guy,” he acknowledged on his personal blog.
D’Orazio, a writer who rose to online prominence in late 2006 with “Goodbye to Comics,” a memoir that shone a harsh light on comics culture and her experiences as an assistant editor at DC, took to Twitter early Tuesday to criticize both Marvel and Sims. “Because of the actions of this person — who is now writing the X-Men for Marvel Comics — I have been diagnosed with PTSD from cyberbulling [sic],” she tweeted.
In a subsequent blog post, D’Orazio stated she was bullied online between 2007 and 2010, and claims Sims “ring-led the harassment” against her at the time of the March 2010 release of her Punisher MAX: Butterfly one-shot.
The promotional push for Free Comic Book Day 2015 kicked off this morning with a video from legendary Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, who not only endorses the event but also brick-and-mortar stores.
“Don’t buy them [comics] over the Internet,” he says. “Where’s the fun in that? You gotta get out, experience the community that is the fan world, maybe see some titles you never dreamed that you wanted.”
ReedPOP, which produces such events as New York Comic Con, Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo and Star Wars Celebration, is expanding its global reach with Shanghai Comic Convention, to be held May 16-17 in China.
The event is only the company’s latest move on the international stage, following the additions of Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention, India Comic Con, Australia’s Oz Comic Con, PAX Australia, Star Wars Celebration Europe and, as announced last fall, Paris Comic Con.