Manga | The Japanese market research firm Oricon reports sales of manga volumes (tankobon) slipped 1.5 percent last year, to about $2.886 billion, the first decline since the company began reporting the figures in 2009. [Anime News Network]
Graphic novels | The Scottish Archaeological Research Project has put together a rather lively looking graphic novel about the history of Scotland, including such little-known events as the Storegga Tsunami. [BBC News]
Manga | Someone with a sharp eye spotted a manga license that hasn’t been officially announced: Kodansha Comics will publish Sherlock Bones, a series about a crime-solving boy and a talking dog, by Shin Kobayishi (Drops of God, Kindaichi Case Files) and Yuki Sato (Yokai Doctor). [allfiction]
Legal | Both Warner Bros. and automobile customizer Mark Towle have filed for summary judgment in the studio’s 2011 copyright-infringement lawsuit against Towle, whose Gotham Garage sold several replicas of the Batmobile. Warner, the parent company of DC Comics, claims the design of the Batmobile is its intellectual property, while Towle argues that copyright law does not regard a “useful object,” such as a car, as a sculptural work and therefore the design can’t be copyrighted. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Crime | Police in Lincoln, Nebraska, are investigating the theft of 600 X-Men comics, dating back to the 1970s, from the communal storage area of an apartment building. [Journal Star]
The digital comics juggernaut comiXology is having quite a week: Mark Waid put his Insufferable, which is also hosted on his own Thrillbent site, onto the service, and the company signed a deal with Andrews McMeel for digital versions of Doonesbury, Dilbert and Big Nate. And today comiXology debuted something that was initially announced in October: ComiXology Submit, which allows creators to submit their own creator-owned comics to the platform. Here’s the deal, fresh from the press release:
With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hitting theaters Friday, fan interest is high — and some of those fans happen to be comic creators. Artist Daniel Govar and writer (and former comics executive) Ron Perazza are releasing today a unique one-off comic project on Comic Book Think Take celebrating an overlooked facet of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories: the walking songs of Bilbo Baggins.
The Road Goes Ever On is described by Perazza as “a lyrical presentation of the Shire” based on Baggins’ walking songs featured in the Middle-earth stories. In those original novels, the songs were featured in bits and pieces that are now collectively referred to as “The Old Walking Song.” Govar and Perazza have threaded those verses into one continuous piece that they’ve overlaid on a panoramic view of the Shire illustrated by Govar.
Publishing | The final print edition of the 75-year-old children’s comic The Dandy arrives Tuesday, featuring a cameo by none other than Paul McCartney. When it was announced the publication would move online, McCartney wrote the editors explaining it was his lifelong dream to appear in the comic; tomorrow he’ll be seen along with Desperate Dan. [Daily Mail, Daily Mail]
Passings | Jeff Millar, the co-creator, with Bill Hinds, of the comic strip Tank McNamara, has died at the age of 70. [Houston Chronicle]
For the past 18 years, Ron Perazza has worked in and around the comics industry in virtually every facet of the medium. He’s best known for spearheading DC Comics’ first major foray into original webcomics content with the celebrated but sadly defunct Zuda initiative, but now he’s in a different place — but still doing what he’s always done: pushing to get comics in front of as many people as possible.
After working for 12 years at DC and briefly at digital-comics platform comiXology, Perazza is pushing innovation in comics formats and delivery systems as a consultant for others and with his own initiatives. One of those is Comic Book Think Tank, an idea incubator of sorts for Perazza and collaborator Daniel Govar to examine and execute comics in a digital world. Their first release was the comic Relaunch, with more planned. I talked with Perazza about the future, and what led him down the path to where he is today.
It seems almost every new digital comics project announced is “destined” to change the industry and the way comics are read. Sometimes however, people find it’s not about reinventing the medium but about simply providing new stories for it and an easier way to read it.
Ron Perazz, former vice president of online for DC Entertainment and former vice president of comiXology, has teamed with artist Daniel Govar on a three-pronged foray into comics online: a website, a comics reader and a venue for works of that kind. Comic Book Think Tank will play host to all of this, working as one part incubator and one part firing range to test out new ideas and to showcase webcomics from the team. Their first offering is a science-fiction-themed series called Relaunch that’s available now on their website both for desktop and mobile devices.