Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Digital comics | To celebrate One Piece’s new Guinness World Record, Shueisha’s Shonen Jump+ digital manga app has released the entire July 1997 issue of Weekly Shonen Jump for free. That’s the issue that launched Eiichiro Oda’s wildly successful fantasy adventure. The publisher has also unveiled a One Piece app (in Japanese only) that updates daily with a new chapter in color, starting from the very beginning of the series. [Anime News Network]
Digital comics | The online sales platform Selz has informed creator Dale Lazarov that it won’t sell his gay comics (despite previous assurances that it would) because its banking partner won’t permit the sale of adult materials. Lazarov reproduces the company’s letter and his response on his Facebook. ComiXology, Gumroad and Ribbon have also declined to carry his comics. [Bleeding Cool]
Digital comics | Tom Spurgeon reports that Bongo Comics has quietly left comiXology and will be putting its comics in a new Simpsons Store app instead. While users won’t be able to buy new Bongo comics on comiXology, they will still be able to access those they already purchased. [The Comics Reporter]
Political cartoons | The American Freedom Defense Initiative has a new advertising campaign, placing Bosch Fawstin’s cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on billboards around St. Louis. Transit systems in several cities, including New York and Washington, D.C., have stopped accepting political advertising rather than carry the group’s ads depicting the Prophet Muhammad. In St. Louis, they have drawn mixed reactions: Dr. Ghazala Hayat of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis says she would like to see the signs removed but not at the cost of violence or property damage, while Jim Hanson, the executive vice president of the Center for Security Policy, said that freedom of speech is more important than avoiding offense. [WKRC]
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]
Gilbert Shelton, creator of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, recently turned 75, and the digital comics app Sequential is celebrating with a free collection of his work.
It includes some classic Freak Brothers strips, covers and a history of the comic, as well as a few interesting bits of ephemera such as the package design for the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers rolling papers and the label for Tall Toad ale, Fat Freddy’s favorite brew. The sampler is available for free through the end of June.
Shelton was one of the pillars of the underground comics movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, a co-founder of Rip Off Press as well as the creator of the Freak Brothers and Wonder Wart-Hog. He was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 2012 (I was proud to be one of the judges that year).
Manga | Viz Media announced Friday it will publish a print edition of One-Punch Man, which managed to garner an Eisner nomination in its digital-only format. Zainab Akhtar provides some background on the book and reproduces a review by David Brothers. [Comics and Cola]
Conventions | Scott Eric Kaufman follows Devin Pike, one of the organizers of Dallas Comic Con, throughout the three-day event and gets a good look at what goes on behind the scenes: “As I witnessed these lines [of fans] snakes down corridors and spill into causeways, they began to seem like a physical manifestation of the passion fans have invested in these individuals and the iconic characters they’ve played, and it’s up to people like Devin to ensure that that passion is rewarded with an experience that is, if not equal to it, at least a reflection of it.” [Salon]
Legal | Witnesses testified Wednesday in a preliminary hearing that driver Matthew Pocci honked his horn and drove through the crowd of spectators last year during the annual SDCC ZombieWalk: San Diego, despite attempts by spectators stop him. Pocci, who is deaf, has been charged with felony reckless driving causing serious injury. But Pocci’s fiancee, April Armstrong, said the crowd had mostly passed when he started the car, and that the people surrounding them were frightening: “People then started laughing at us. People were getting close to us. I started to freak out. I couldn’t understand what was going on. I was looking back at my son, he was scared. I told Matt, ‘please let’s go.'” Armstrong also testified, however, she had told a neighbor she felt she couldn’t tell the true story because of her relationship with Pocci. [San Diego Union-Tribune]
About a year and a half ago, the founders of Medium did something that was both totally old-school and daringly novel: They set up a dedicated cartoon site, The Nib, hired editorial cartoonist Matt Bors to run it, and gave him a budget to pay the contributors. At a time when even venerable institutions like The Atlantic expect writers to pitch in their articles for free, this was a welcome sight — a publication with enough respect for its contributors to offer them paying work.
It showed, too; some of the most remarkable comics of the past year and a half have appeared on The Nib, including work by Leela Corman, Mike Dawson, Eleanor Davis, Shannon Wheeler and Sarah Glidden. Those are just the creators who appear on the front page today.
And now, just like that, it’s gone, to be replaced by … well, it’s not clear. Bors posted an announcement Friday that things would be different going forward:
Passings | Underground comics artist Michele Wrightson has died. As Michele Brand, she was a contributor to the first all-women underground comics anthology, It Ain’t Me Babe, with a story titled “Tirade Funnies” that still rings true 45 years later. That comic spawned the ongoing Wimmen’s Comix, to which she was also a contributor. Wrightson was also a colorist for Marvel and several other publishers and was married first to cartoonist Roger Brand and then to artist Bernie Wrightson, with whom she collaborated on the Creepshow graphic novel. Stephen Bissette has more in a Facebook post, including the fact that she helped Louise Simonson get her first job in comics. [The Beat]
Ahead of its launch of 24 new series, beginning this week with Batman Bey0nd, The Omega Man and Midnighter, DC Comics is kicking off a digital sale it calls its biggest ever.
Throughout June, the publisher will roll out more than 1,200 digital comics for 99 cents each as part of its “New DC Universe Sale.” It all starts Tuesday with Week 1, featuring more than 600 issues from the New 52, with titles ranging from Aquaman to Batgirl to Harley Quinn.
If neither Cerebro nor the Eye of Agamatto can provide the information you’re looking for, it’s time to turn to iMarvel.
Libraries | Digital media distributor Midwest Tape has announced a new e-book and comics service for libraries, which will be accessed via its hoopla platform. Unlike the widely used Overdrive, the service will allow multiple checkouts for a single book, rather than limiting checkouts to one user at a time. [Publishers Weekly]
Legal | The trial began Tuesday for Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani on charges of spreading propaganda and insulting members of parliament, stemming from a cartoon she posted on Facebook depicting politicians as monkeys and other animals. Farghadani has been an activist in other ways as well, meeting with the families of people killed during the 2009 presidential elections. She was arrested last August and sent to prison, released, and then arrested again after posting a video online describing beatings by prison guards. She has been in solitary confinement since January and suffered a heart attack in February, after being on a hunger strike for three weeks. [The Washington Post]
Creators | Saying his job has become “too much to bear,” cartoonist Renald Luzier (Luz) is leaving the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. He said he worked too hard in the aftermath of the January attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in which 12 people, most of them his co-workers, were killed, and he did not give himself time to grieve. “I needed time but I carried on for solidarity and not to let anyone down,” he said. However, the loss is taking its toll: “Each issue is torture because the others are gone.” He had previously announced he would no longer draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, saying it no longer interested him, and he is tired of the media attention. “We are not heroes, we have never been, we never meant to be,” he said. “Everyone evokes the spirit of Charlie for anything and everything now.” [The Independent]
Passings | Inker Rick Ketcham has passed away. Details are sparse, but Ketcham’s Facebook quickly filled with tributes from friends and colleagues who hailed his kindness, his professionalism, and his willingness to mentor others. Ketcham worked on a number of titles for DC Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image Comics and other publishers, including The Amazing Spider-Man, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, G.I. Joe, New X-Men, Runaways and Venom. [Tsunami Studios Facebook]
Creators | Responding to the removal of Maus from Moscow bookstores as the Russian government cracks down on Nazi symbols, Art Spiegelman said, “It’s a real shame because this is a book about memory. We don’t want cultures to erase memory.” Retailers fear the swastika on the graphic novel’s cover may be enough to run afoul of a new law prohibiting “Nazi propaganda” as the country prepares to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Germany. “I don’t think Maus was the intended target for this, obviously,” the cartoonist told The Guardian. “But I think [the law] had an intentional effect of squelching freedom of expression in Russia. The whole goal seems to make anybody in the expression business skittish.” [The Guardian]
The British sci-fi anthology 2000AD was one of the first publishers to offer digital comics, and it ofers readers a choice: They can buy single issues and graphic novels within their iOS and Android apps or as direct downloads from their web store.
The advantage to the latter has always been that direct downloads are free of digital rights management (DRM) — they are simply files that can be freely moved from device to device — while comics purchased within the apps can only be read within the apps. Each way of buying comics has its advantages; the apps allow the user to store comics in the cloud and keep them organized in a single place on their tablet or computer, while PDF and CBZ files come with no strings attached.