I didn’t make it to the Del Rey panel at C2E2 due to a time conflict, but I did encounter Del Rey’s effervescent marketing manager Ali T. Kokmen in the hallways and he was kind enough to give me the quick rundown.
The first thing I asked him is a burning concern to many in the manga industry: Is Kodansha USA cutting in on their game? Del Rey always gets the lion’s share of the Japanese publisher Kodansha’s licenses, and tends to treat them well, so when Kodansha set up its American arm some fans were worried Del Rey’s license stream would try up. Kokmen’s answer was cheering: “The existence of Kodansha comics has not affected our publishing program.”
Del Rey has started to publish some series, such as School Rumble, in three-in-one omnibus editions, and others seem to be coming out at a slower rate; after the cancellation of the X-Men and Wolverine manga there was a bit of speculation as to what was going on. Kokmen seemed puzzled when I brought this up. “We have been reevaluating the publication schedule for a while. Those decisions have been made, but they are just starting to shake out,” he said. “Part of this was the omnibus decision for a few titles.” But there’s no strategy to slow things down: “Projects slip; every book is unique.”
Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier’s response to the news that the second volume of their X-Men: Misfits manga series was canceled is a model of how to deal with bad news gracefully. They talk a bit about how they would have done things differently had they known the series would be just one volume, but they are philosophical about it:
And, because it was work for hire, and the characters are all licensed, there’s no way the rest of the story will ever see the light of day. There is nothing we can do about it. We did the work and we got paid (for both books). Del Rey had to make cuts; we fell under the knife. End of story.
No drama; these two are a class act. (This reminded me of Dave’s advice to freelancers, which in addition to a lot of technical advice included a paragraph that began “Don’t be a jerk.”) They go on to thank their editors, their fans, and artist Anzu, and they wind up with this:
And of course, a final word of thanks to all the people who have vocally supported X-Men: Misfits. We knew there would be a lot of skepticism about the project from the beginning, so hearing from so many people who “got it” really made us happy. The cancellation is still sinking in and we certainly appreciate the people who have already shared their feelings with us. That’s publishing, though. Series are NOT sure things. The best way to support a series you love is to buy the books, and spread the word. In the meantime, we imagine we’ll continue to get tons of Google Alerts, letting us know about all the torrents and rapidshare files of X-Men: Misfits there are out there …
This being Livejournal, their fans all send them hugs in the comments. Of course, with Dave’s Airbender prequel about to hit the stores, his Astronaut Elementary on its way to print, and Raina’s Smile getting a warm reception from the critics, they won’t have much time to brood.
It looks like the manga publisher Del Rey has canceled the second volumes of its X-Men: Misfits and Wolverine: Prodigal Son. The news broke in a conversation on Twitter, where manga blogger Deb Aoki tweeted a tip that the books had been canceled and Lissa Pattillo noted that they had been taken down from retail sites.
Dave Roman, who co-wrote the X-Men books with his wife, Raina Telgemeier, confirmed this in two tweets of his own:
Wow! News travels fast! @goraina and I super disappointed since it was written as a 2-part story and it will be unfair to readers.
We only found out last week. We still don’t have a lot of the details beyond it being a cost of licensing vs. profits issue. :/
Roman added that he had seen some of the pencils and assumed that the artist, Anzu, was “far along, but still deep into it.”
Antony Johnston, the writer of Wolverine: Prodigal Son, confirmed that book’s demise on his blog:
USA Today’s Whitney Matheson has a first brief preview of Del Rey’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Graham-Smith’s bestselling twist on the Jane Austen classic that led a bit of a mash-up trend (Graham-Smith’s followup, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, was released earlier this month).
The graphic novel, by Tony Lee and Cliff Richards, will arrive in stores in May.
• The big news of the week is that Top Shelf has not only completely updated and streamlined their Web site, but has also unveiled a whole heckuva lot of new projects for the fall, 2011 and beyond, including new books by Jeff Lemire, Nate Powell, James Kochalka and Chris Eliopoulos. All in all it looks like an interesting line-up, containing a solid mix of all-ages and more adult-oriented material.
• Top Shelf isn’t the only one doing the Web site shuffle. Both Savage Critics and All About Comics have moved/updated their blogs,
• IcV2 offers some more information on Vertical’s plans to publish Osamu Tezuka’s Ayako in the fall.
• Tokyopop is planning to publish Neko Ramen, four-koma (or comic strip) about a cat that runs a noodle shop, and they’re posting sample strips to get folks all hot and bothered.. Look for it in stores in June.
• Here’s what the cover to the Essential Superman Encyclopedia will look like.
• And here’s what the cover to the next Zippy the Pinhead collection will look like.
King of RPGs Vol. 1
Story by Jason Thompson; Art by Victor Hao
Del Rey, 240 pages, $10.99
Jason Thompson is a talented, erudite guy. He knows more about manga than I can ever hope to absorb in the rest of my lifetime. His Manga: The Complete Guide is one of the best reference guides on the subject around and one of the most frequently pulled books off of my shelves. His monthly (or whenever) column on Comixology brims with intelligence and wit. Plus, he’s got a helluva collection.
Time again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for interesting new adventure comics. I know it’s only been a week since the last one, but that’s ’cause I’d gotten behind.
Black Coat: Or Give Me Death – It took a while, but the second collection of my favorite Revolutionary War-era monster-hunter’s adventures is finally arriving.
Robin Hood – I’m a little nervous about Antarctic’s take on Robin Hood, but I’m encouraged by their publishing Richard Moore. I’ll give this a “shot” (ba-dum CHING!).
Cold Space #1 – Celebrity comics aren’t exactly known for their high quality, but Samuel L Jackson is a smart, talented man. I’m taking the bet that he’s a pretty good writer too. Plus: space men.
We’re continuing our look at various publishers’ plans for the new year with an in-depth look at the Random House imprints Del Rey and Villard, which are best know for the number of manga, Webcomics and licensed material they release. What’s on their schedule for 2010? Click on the link to find out.
Army of Two #1
by Peter Milligan, Dexter Soy and Jose Marzan Jr.
I’ve read great Peter Milligan comics and I’ve read horrible Peter Milligan comics. This, however, falls in neither category. That’s because this could have been written by anybody. There’s nothing unique or interesting about it. It betrays none of Milligan’s stylistic quirks or themes, and the art by Soy and Marzan merely serves to underscore how thoroughly and depressingly inane this spin-off of a somewhat popular video game franchise is. I suppose there’s the off chance this is intended to be some sort of satire, but if so it misses the mark sharply, not to mention the fact that others (most notably Kyle Baker) have done that sort of thing better. No, there’s no nice way to say it: This is hackwork, pure and simple, from someone who is capable of much, much better, and the fact that it’s a tie-in product to a video game doesn’t really excuse its shabbiness.
More reviews after the jump …
Welcome to another round of What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is scholar, author and Comics Reporter columnist Bart Beaty, whose translation (along with Nick Nguyen) of Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books by Jean-Paul Gabilliet of the University of Bordeaux just came out this week via the University Press of Mississippi.
Click on the link to find out what Mr. Beaty and the rest of us are reading this week, and then let us know what’s on your plate in the comments section.
• Abhay Khosla wraps up his five-part series on the recent Blue Beetle run over at Savage Critics, and asks questions that perhaps cannot be answered:
Looking back, the list of nerdy crap that I have been a dorky spazz-wad for is very, very long– but why does that stuff work on me? What does all that dopey shit have in common? Is there a grand unified field theory of dorkism that can explain why certain ideas, images, idiocies, why they’re capable of burrowing under the skins of sloppy nerds such as myself? And can that theory explain why that material consumes not just my attention, but more and more attention globally at a time when attention is such a precious commodity?
• Speaking of The Comics Journal, here are a few links of note: Steven Grant derides the Spirit Pop-Up Book; Robert Stanley Martin reviews David B’s Nocturnal Conspiracies; and some idiot blathers on and on about Pluto and 20th Century Boys. Under what rock did they find that moron?
Moyasimon Vol. 1: Tales of Agriculture
by Masayuki Ishikawa
Del Rey, 240 pages, $10.99
When I heard the basic gimmick for Moyasimon — incoming college student has the ability to see germs — a number of possible scenarios ran through my head. None of them, however, involved a professor sucking out the innards of a dead bird through its anus after the bird had been sealed up in the stomach of an equally dead seal that had been buried under the ground for several weeks. Nor did they involve the main character having his hand stuck up a cow’s anus with everyone watching (he does wear gloves) for several panels.
Having had Thought Ballonists’ Craig Fischer over as our WAYR guest the other week, it seemed more than appropriate to invite his blogging colleague, scholar, educator, critic, author and all-around nice guy Charles Hatfield.
Find out what Mr. Hatfield is reading and see some embarrassingly complimentary birthday greetings about yours truly by clicking on the link below. And don’t forget to tell us your own reading picks in the comments section.
Welcome to Shelf Porn. Our guest this week is blogger and manga fan Cathy Pajunen. Cathy had posted some pics of her collection on her blog, so I asked her if she’d be interested in doing an expanded tour of her collection for Robot 6. Thankfully, she said yes.
Remember that we’re also on the lookout for holiday-themed shelf porn this month. If you’ve got some swell DC or Marvel tree ornaments, or a Naruto-themed creche, take a pic or two and send them to cmautnerATcomcastDOTnet and we’ll post them here in the coming weeks.
And now, on with the tour:
Here at What Are You Reading, we don’t let a little thing like a holiday weekend keep us from our comics, no sir. Nor do we stop blogging about them.