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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.
Conventions | Cox Communications and Comic-Con International will provide free WiFi to the entire downtown area of San Diego from July 8 to July 24, a period that encompasses the 2016 MLB All-Star Game as well as Comic-Con International. However, the WiFi will only be available outside the convention center during Comic-Con. Cox will install 100 hotspots around town, and for the period of Comic-Con will make them available for free to all users. After July 24, the hotspots will be available to Cox customers, and non-subscribers will be allowed one free hour per month. [San Diego Union-Tribune]
It’s hard getting over a cancelled TV series, but Dark Horse is making it that much less difficult by introducing new adult coloring books for cult sci-fi/fantasy properties “Serenity” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” On sale this fall, both books come printed on thick, heavyweight 10 x 10-inch pages, for the affordable price of $14.99 USD.
Illustrated by Jed Henry, the “Avatar” book was crafted in collaboration with series creators Michel Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko to ensure the most authentic “Avatar” coloring experience.
Publishing | Dark Horse founder and CEO Mike Richardson looks back at 30 years in the business in a two-part interview that covers the rise of shoujo manga and the way it changed American comics, the evolution of comics distribution and the direct market, the status quo and future plans for Dark Horse, and how the comics world is changing and continues to change: “The internet, of course, has changed the industry dramatically. The comic book industry was pretty much focused on the East Coast. As the internet rose, it helped companies like Dark Horse build a comics industry here in Portland. Portland right now is probably the epicenter of the comic book industry in the United States — companies, creators, organizations, all related to comics. We have a huge comic book population here from all angles of the business. It’s pretty amazing.” [ICv2]
Awards | Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has been named the Grand Master of the 2016 Spectrum Fantastic Art Awards, which honor fantasy, horror and science fiction art. First presented in 1995, the Spectrum Award for Grand Master goes to an artist who was worked at a consistently high level for at least 20 years, and who has influenced and inspired others. Previous honorees include Frank Frazetta, Jean “Moebius” Gerard, H.R. Giger and Ralph McQuarrie. [Spectrum Fantastic Art]
Graphic novels | The latest volume of Tokyo Ghoul topped the February BookScan chart of the bestselling graphic novels in the bookstore channel, and four volumes of that series made the top 20. The third volume of The Walking Dead Compendium took the second slot. Overall, the list is an interesting mix: It’s half manga, a couple of Marvel and DC Comcis titles, Dark Horse’s Plants vs. Zombies (an all-ages graphic novel based on a video game), and Philippa Rice’s Soppy: A Love Story, a print version of her webcomic about her life with her boyfriend. [ICv2]
Legal | Former Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Maurice Sinet has sued philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy for calling him an anti-Semite. Levy wrote in an article in Le Point magazine that Sinet, who goes by the pen name Sine, was “a former employee of Charlie Hebdo who was kicked out for his anti-Semitism and racism.” Sine wrote an article in 2008 claiming that Jean Sarkozy, the son of the former French president, had dodged the consequences of a car accident by saying he was planning to convert to Judaism and marry a Jewish woman. The story was intended to be satirical, but it caused a controversy and he was ultimately fired from the magazine. [Times of Israel]
Dark Horse Comics and Blizzard Entertainment have set a release date for their new World of Warcraft trilogy, World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1. When the project was initialy announced, Chronicle was set to debut in November of this year. Now Dark Horse and Blizzard are splitting to the book into three volumes, the first of which debuts March 15, 2016. Continue Reading »
Retailing | Variety Comics, which opened in Chicago in summer 1974, will close its doors for good Halloween. “Business is down,” says co-owner Vin Nguyen. “It’s sad but you know, it is what it is.” Nguyen and his partner Victor Olivarez bought the store in 2009 following the death of original owner Rick Vitone. [DNAInfo]
Conventions | The Houston Press looks at allegations of organizational problems and financial mismanagement at the Houston-based convention Anime Matsuri, which has been growing steadily (attendance at this year’s event was 24,000), despite leaving a trail of lawsuits, unpaid bills and angry guests. [Houston Press]
It would be an exaggeration to say Dark Horse saved this 22-year-old Aliens one-shot from obscurity by re-publishing it in a slick, if slim, new hardcover, although it’s tempting to do so, if only for the play on words.
In reality, re-releasing Aliens: Salvation in this nice, standalone, bookshelf-ready format probably has as much to do with putting out one more book with Mike Mignola’s name on the spine as making sure that one of the better-looking, more idiosyncratically designed Aliens tie-ins is readily available.
The fact that it’s back in print and on shelves this week is more important than the how and why of it, though.
It’s penciled by Mignola, who also drew the original cover as well as what appears to be a new one (in his current, even more stripped-down style), from a script by Dave Gibbons. It’s inked by Kevin Nowlan, colored by Matt Hollingsworth and lettered by Clem Robins.
Conventions | After a profitable 2014, Wizard World Inc. is reporting a $1.8 million loss in the second quarter of 2015 (in contrast to a $760,000 profit during the same period last year), owing much to the rapid increase in the number of conventions it’s producing. However, as ICv2.com notes, the company is also seeing a drop in revenue per show. Wizard World also reports that its inaugural convention in China, held May 30-June 1, “was not as successful as we anticipated.” [ICv2]
Legal | Game company SNK Playmore has dropped its charges against manga publisher Square Enix and will allow the manga Hi Score Girl to use its characters without penalty. Last year, SNK filed a criminal complaint against Square Enix, charging that the manga, a comedy about gamers, included more than 100 instances of unauthorized use of SNK Playmore’s characters. As a result, serialization of the manga was suspended while police pursued charges against 16 of the people involved in its publication. Today, Square Enix announced that the two companies have reached an agreement: SNK Playmore has dropped its claim, and the two companies will work together with regard to sharing their characters. [Anime News Network]
Comics | How do you say “Bam! Pow!” in Russian? A group of Russian translators is calling for comics translators to use words derived from the official languages of the Russian Federation rather than simply rendering the existing sound effects in the Russian alphabet. “In comic books you can often encounter words imitating sounds,” the translators said in a letter to the Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “How can one express the sound of a phone ringing, of a creaky door, or a soda can being popped open, or the crinkle of an ice cream wrapper, or the sound of a motorcyclist’s foot rubbing against the ground? Often translators simply transliterate the English words.” Instead, they recommend using indigenous substitutes such as “chorkh” (scratching) and “khurt-khurt” (swallowing), both derived from Lezgian, a language spoken in Dagestan and Azerbaijan. [The Moscow Times, The Calvert Journal]
With their powers combined, Dark Horse Comics and Swyft Media have taken “Hellboy,” “Itty Bitty Hellboy” and “Usagi Yojimbo” into all-new territory with a series of emoji keyboards based on the properties, each of which will provide digital stickers, photo filters and phone themes of the characters.
The emoji keyboards will be available in several apps and marketplaces, including BBM, Photofy, PicsArt, CocoPPa, and Xbox Live Marketplace, as well as in the Apple iTunes App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android. The apps will allow the emoji keyboards to be used in services like Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber, LINE, Skype, WhatsApp and more. “Hellboy,” “Itty Bitty Hellboy” and “Usagi Yojimbo” are just three of the upcoming Dark Horse properties that will find their ways to a digital audience.
Manga | Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama is writing a new series, to be illustrated by Video Girl Ai artist Masakazu Katsura. The series will run in Young Jump magazine in Japan. [Anime News Network]
Libraries | Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s YA graphic novel This One Summer was the first graphic novel to be named a Caldecott Honor Book, but being a pioneer isn’t easy: Because the Caldecott Medal honors illustrators, most librarians think of Caldecott honor books as being for younger readers. Answering a complaint from a librarian, Pat Scales, former chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, points out that the Caldecott Medal is awarded to books for readers up to age 14, and that This One Summer is generally regarded as an eighth grade book—so it qualifies, but it is an unusual case. [School Library Journal]
Dark Horse will release Makoto Yukimura’s acclaimed hard sci-fi manga Planetes in an omnibus format, debuting in December. The listing was spotted on Amazon by Brian Ruh, and then confirmed by Anime News Network.
The series centers on the crew of the Toy Box, orbital debris collectors tasked with snaring and disposing of any “trash” — from screws to old satellites — that could possibly damage or destroy space stations and spacecraft. Both the manga and its anime adaptation won prestigious Seiun Awards for speculative fiction.
Tokyopop previously licensed Planetes in North America, and published all four volumes between 2003 and 2005.