digital comics Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Comics A.M. | Comic sales surpass $1 billion, ‘Smurfs’ colorist passes away at 86

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Passings | Nine Culliford, the woman who made the Smurfs blue, died on July 5 at the age of 86. Nine met Pierre Culliford, the artist who would later take the pen name Peyo, in 1946, the same year his first cartoon was published. Nine was the colorist for the Smurfs from their first appearance in “Johan et Pirlouit” (English title: “Johan and Peewit”) in 1958 until her husband’s death in 1992, and she continued to be active on Smurf projects after her son Thierry and her daughter Véronique took over. It was Nine who came up with the idea of coloring the Smurfs blue, as she felt the color would stand out agains the green, wooded backgrounds of the comic. [The Blue Print]

Comics | Sales of comics and graphic novels have crashed through the $1 billion threshold, according to calculations by Milton Griepp of ICv2 and John Jackson Miller of Comichron. That includes $350 million in sales through retail book channels, $90 million in digital, and $20 million in newsstand sales, with the rest coming through the direct market. Griepp and Miller estimate that graphic novels account for $535 million in sales and serial comics for $405 million. Griepp attributed the growth in sales to increased attention to comics properties from the media and an expanding audience, as more women and children come to the medium. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Digital comics sales dropped in 2015 for the first time

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Digital Comics | Digital comics sales dropped 10% in 2015, according to calculations by the geek-industry retail site ICv2. This is the first decline since the category started to take off in 2010. “Industry participants” offered a number of possible explanations for this, including the leveling-off of new tablet and e-reader purchases and competition from Humble Bundle and other bundle services. Conspicuously not mentioned is comiXology’s decision, in spring of 2014, to eliminate in-app purchases on iOS devices, removing the most convenient way to buy comics from the most popular platform. The article does mention that sales through the Google Play store and direct digital sales from publishers of DRM-free comics had increased, although they are still a small segment of the industry. Also, e-book sales in general are down. Despite all this, ICv2 calculates that digital sales totaled $90 million last year, which is still pretty good considering that the market was just $1 million in 2009. [ICv2]

Conventions | New York Comic Con will extend the party with a series of events tagged “NYCC Presents,” running from October 3-9 (the con itself is October 6-9). The events include a “We the Heroes” Ball, Doctor Who costume and trivia contest, a live episode of “Game Grumps,” and “Shipwreck Presents: A Literary Erotic Fanfic Competition based on William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.” All events require separate tickets—your NYCC badge won’t get you in. [New York Comic Con]

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Comics A.M. | 17,000-item Superman collection donated for Cleveland exhibit

action1-social

Comics | “Dick Tracy” writer Mike Curtis has donated his 17,000-piece collection of Superman memorabilia to the Cleveland Public Library, which will establish a permanent exhibit dedicated to the Man of Steel. Some of Curtis’ items date back to as early as 1939. The library is applying for grants to preserve and restore the collectibles, and hopes to have some of them on display by November. The Man of Steel was of course created by Cleveland by high school friends Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. [The Columbus Dispatch]

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Anime Expo: Yen Press to publish “Erased” manga, “Attack on Titan” choose-your-own-adventure style book

erased

Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in North America, ended yesterday, and after a flurry of news on Friday, there were more announcements over the weekend: Yen Press will publish the manga “Erased” and “Bungo Stray Dogs,” Kodansha Comics has an “Attack on Titan” themed choose-your-own-adventure book in the works, Viz will continue to publish the “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” manga, and Vertical has licensed the “Nisimonogatari” light novels.

Yen Press had already announced a number of new licenses, but at a panel sponsored by the Japanese publisher Kadokawa, they revealed two more: The time-travel story “Erased” and the action manga “Bungō Stray Dogs.” Anime based on both series are currently available on Crunchyroll. Earlier this year, Kadokawa purchased a 51% share of Yen Press, making it a joint venture with the original owner, Hachette. At the same time, Kadokawa announced a partnership with Crunchyroll. At the panel, Yen Press publisher Kurt Hassler said Yen manga and light novels are now available digitally on Kadokawa’s Bookwalker e-book service and that the company’s goal is to make all its books available in digital format. Yen also publishes on other e-book platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle.

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Comics A.M. | Del Rey manga titles return – on iTunes

Nodame Cantabile

Nodame Cantabile

Manga | Four older manga series are making a comeback in digital format: School Rumble, Alive, Nodame Cantabile, and Princess Resurrection, all originally published in English by Del Rey, will be available in the iTunes Store beginning on July 26. The Del Rey manga imprint became defunct in 2010, when the Japanese publisher Kodansha stopped licensing its manga to them and started publishing the books directly as Kodansha Comics. [Anime News Network]

Passings | Chester “Chet” Krause, who was the owner of the Comics Buyers Guide from 1983 to 1991, has died at the age of 92. Krause, who also owned a number of other papers catering to special interests (Numismatic News, Sports Collectors Digest), hired Don and Maggie Thompson as the editors of CBG, and under their leadership it became an important gathering point and communications channel for comics fans in the days before the internet. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Brabner gathering cartoonists for GOP convention

cleveland rnc

Political cartoons | Joyce Brabner, the widow of Harvey Pekar and a comics creator in her own right, is raising funds to bring a group of cartoonists to Cleveland to do a live feed of comics and videos about the Republican National Convention “by people who detest everything Donald Trump stands for.” Tim Fielder, Ted Rall, Tony Puryear, Vishavjit Singh and Seth Tobacman are on board already, with other names to be announced. Brabner works with Gerta Oparaku, a Muslim artist who lives in Albania, and she is particularly interested in bringing more women and Muslim cartoonists into the mix. She will be providing housing, food, and escorts when needed; the GoFundMe is intended to pay travel expenses for artists who would not otherwise be able to participate. [GoFundMe]

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Comics A.M. | Free WiFi comes to San Diego for Comic-Con

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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]

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Comics A.M. | ComiXology adds new titles to Unlimited service

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Digital Comics | ComiXology Unlimited, the “all you can eat” service offered by the digital platform comiXology, has announced some new additions that will debut on June 27. The new selections include Afterlife with Archie #1-3, Bee and Puppycat #1-4, vol. 1 of Katie Cook’s all-ages comic Gronk, Legends of Red Sonja #1-5, The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun #1-5, and vol. 1 of The Steve Ditko Archives. And a new publisher is joining the mix: Magnetic Press will debut on the service on June 27 with an array of comics that includes The Adventures of Basil & Moebius #1-4, Daomu: Complete Edition, Naja #1-2, and Poet Anderson #1. [ComiXology Unlimited]

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Comics A.M. | Maggin, Hughes, to receive Bill Finger Awards

Herbie the Fat Fury

Herbie the Fat Fury

Awards | A committee chaired by writer and historian Mark Evanier has chosen Elliot S! Maggin and Richard E. Hughes as the recipients of this year’s Bill Finger Awards, which honor writers whose work has not gotten the recognition it deserves. Maggin is a longtime comics writer whose credits include Green Arrow, Batman, Justice League, Peter Parker, Strange Sports Stories, and the Marvel Classics version of The Iliad. Hughes, who died in 1974, was a prolific writer who worked under a number of pen names. He created The Black Terror for Standard Comics in the 1940s and later became editor at American Comics Group, where he scripted many comics. He is the co-creator of Herbie Popnecker, the Fat Fury, who later got his own comic. The awards will be presented at the Eisner Awards ceremony at Comic-Con International in San Diego. [Comic-Con International]

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Comics A.M. | Superheroine debuts at Puerto Rican Day parade

La Borinqueña

La Borinqueña

Characters | Puerto Rican superhero La Borinqueña will make her debut in her own comic this fall, but she made an advance appearance on a float at the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York last weekend. Creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez wanted to create a heroine who embodied both a classic superhero look and Puerto Rican iconography. And she will have dark skin: “It’s a 2016 approach to creating an image. Meaning that, as a Latino creating an image that represents Latinos, she’s not going to be whitewashed, like a telenovela actress. She’s not going to be the trigueña that’s going to be the nanny, or the maid, in the background. She’s going to be in the forefront. There’s room for all of us, but there’s a necessity to represent all of us as well.” The comic will debut at the Café con Comics event in New York later this year. Miranda-Rodriguez and Run-DMC member Darryl McDaniels are co-founders of Darryl Makes Comics!, but they have not decided whether La Borinqueña will be published by them or another publisher. Either way, a cut of the sales will go to the National Puerto Rican Day Parade organization’s scholarship program. [New York Daily News]

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Comics A.M. | Russ Manning Award nominees announced

"Shutter" #20, by Leila del Duca

“Shutter” #20, by Leila del Duca

Awards | The nominees have been announced for the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Daniel Bayliss, artist of Kennel Block Blues and Translucid (BOOM! Studios); Leila del Duca, artist of Shutter (Image Comics); Dan Mora, artist of Klaus and Hexed! (BOOM! Studios); Marguerite Sauvage, artist of DC Comics Bombshells (DC Comics), Scarlet Witch (Marvel) and Faith (Valiant); and Tillie Walden, writer/artist of I Love This Part and The End of Summer (Avery Hill). The winner will be announced in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego. [Comic-Con International]

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Comics A.M. | Stu Levy on Tokyopop’s return to print

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Publishing | As Tokyopop returns to the graphic novel market, CEO Stu Levy talks about what he learned when the company stopped doing print in 2011, what happened with Tokyopop Germany, and how he sees the market now. Tokyopop is relaunching in print with three manga based on Disney properties, which Levy compares to the Korean tacos popularized by the food truck Kogi in Los Angeles: “To me that’s the epitome of fusion food done right, and I think what we’re doing with Disney manga is along those lines. It’s Japanese manga artists interpreting Disney characters and stories in a way that makes it uniquely manga, but it also retains the essence of Disney and the beloved characters that are a worldwide brand for a reason.” [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Nick Sousanis’ ‘Unflattening’ wins Lynd Ward Prize

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Awards | Nick Sousanis’ Unflattening is the winner of the 2016 Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year. Two graphic novels were named honor books: Lucy Knisley’s memoir Displacement and Kathryn and Stuart Immonen’s Russian Olive to Red King. The award is named for Lynd Ward, who published six wordless graphic novels between 1929 and 1937, all based on woodcuts. Ward’s daughters donated a collection of his original art to Penn State, which sponsors the award. [Penn State News]

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Comics A.M. | Ta-Nehisi Coates wins PEN Literary Award

Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Awards | Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer of Marvel’s Black Panther, has won a 2016 PEN Literary Award recognizing the art of the essay for his acclaimed memoir Between the World and Me. The author and journalist has already received a National Book Award and a MacArthur “genius grant,” as well as a nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. The PEN award comes with a $10,000 prize. [PEN]

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Comics A.M. | Fan selling comics collection to pay for child’s college

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Fandom | Al Sanders started collecting comics when he was in grade school, at one point selling plasma to support his hobby. . Over the years he amassed a collection of 5,000 comics, all from 1990 or earlier, including such popular titles as Batman and X-Men. But all good things must come to an end, and with his daughter Rose heading to college next year, Sanders has decided it’s time to sell his collection. He’s heading this weekend to Emerald City Comicon, where he hopes to turn the comics into cold cash. He’s not being totally mercenary about this, however: “I just hope someone can enjoy them, as much as me.” The report indicates Sanders believes his collection is in mint condition; he may discover otherwise once he talks to dealers at the convention. [12 News]

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