Manga | Eiichiro Oda’s hit pirate adventure One Piece has sold 130.15 million copies in Japan since 2009, the year that market research firm Oricon began reporting book sales. The series, which debuted in 1997, has 72 volumes — a total of 300 million copies — in print. [Anime News Network]
Tributes | The statue of Family Circus creator Bil Keane was finally unveiled in Scottsdale, Arizona. [KPHO]
Events | We relay a lot of stories in this space about cartoonists being suppressed abroad, so it’s heartening to see a country where conditions have improved: Next week, there will be an exhibit of cartoons in Myanmar, as part of the Tazaungdaing festival. The Tazaungdaing comics show is a longtime tradition that was shut down in 1997 under pressure from the government but was resurrected in 2011 when censorship laws loosened. The exhibit takes place on a street named for U Ba Gyan, who was a prominent cartoonist in the 1930s; he used to exhibit his cartoons by putting them on lanterns around his house, to escape official censors. [Myanmar Times]
Awards | Stan Lee will receive the Producers Guild of America’s 2012 Vanguard Award recognizing achievement in new media and technology. “Stan Lee’s creative vision and imagination has produced some of the most beloved and visually stunning characters and adventures in history,” Producers Guild Awards co-chairs Paula Wagner and Michael Manheim said in a joint statement. “He not only has created content that will forever be in our culture but continues to make strides in the digital and new media realms, keeping the comic book industry fresh and exciting. Stan’s accomplishments truly encompass the spirit of the Vanguard Award and we are proud to honor him.” George Lucas and John Lasseter are among the award’s previous recipients. [press release]
Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. One: 1980-1982
by Berkeley Breathed
IDW, 288 pages, $39.99.
The Family Circus Library, Vol. 1: 1960-61
by Bil Keane
IDW, 240 pages, $39.99
As more and more publishers realize that comic fans are interested in rummaging though the works of yesteryear, more and more of them are releasing sizable hardcover collections of allegedly classic comics at a breakneck pace. Some of those releases may cause question marks to rise above the heads of persnickety collectors. Take IDW’s new volumes focusing on Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County and Bil Keane’s Family Circus. Isn’t the former readily available in easy-to-find collections in libraries and used bookstores across the country? Isn’t the latter rather, well, overly precious and saccharine? Does this material really need to be reprinted in such lavish volumes? The answer, surprisingly, is yes and yes.