SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Digital comics | Amazon has removed the manga Younger Sister Paradise 2 (Imōto Paradise! 2) from the Japanese Kindle store, two days after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government declared the manga a “harmful publication to minors” because of its “glorification of incestuous acts” and restricted its sale to customers over 18. As a result, beginning Friday, brick-and-mortar bookstores in Tokyo must keep the manga in a separate area for adults only. Whether because of all the attention or because it was unavailable elsewhere, the manga was the top-selling comic in the Japanese Kindle store before Amazon removed it. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | The inaugural Indiana Comic Con, held over the weekend at the Indianapolis Convention Center, attracted nearly 15,000 attendees, and it sold out on Saturday. Guests included comics creators Joe Eisma, Steve Englehart, Geof Isherwood, Joelle Jones, Don Kramer, Cary Nord and George Perez, and actors Evan Peters, Caity Lotz, Maisie Williams and Daniel Cudmore. [WRTV]
Comics sales | Comics sales in the direct market were down in February for the second time in two months, according to Diamond Comic Distributors. John Jackson Miller runs the numbers: Sales of comics and graphic novels combined are down 10.39 percent from February 2013 in terms of dollars, 14.77 percent in units. Because January sales were also anemic, year-to-date sales are down as well. Still, Miller notes, total dollars are up 3 percent from February 2012. February is traditionally a low month for comic sales, and the number of releases is the lowest in months, with just 692 new products (comics, graphic novels and magazines) being shipped last month. [Comichron]
Seriously, it’s beautiful and bleak, telling the story of “the world’s most deadly spy” Black Kaiser, who’s ripped out of retirement by an assassination attempt that places him “on a collision course with a stab-happy torture expert and a seductive but deadly redhead. His mission only ends if he dies or kills everyone out to get him, and he’s not in the habit of dying.”
Arriving Dec. 11, the 160-page comic has been rescripted for print. You can get a taste of Polar, and some of the new dialogue, below.
A major benefit of sharing a town with Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta is that when one of the school’s professors has a new book, if I am lucky they want to do an interview. That’s the case this week, with sequential art/foundation studies Prof. Doug Dabbs, who recently celebrated the release of Holliday (Oni Press), his collaboration with writer Nate Bowden. The creative team’s project is a modern-day noir-ish reworking of the town of Tombstone and the distinctive life of Doc Holliday. Thrown into the mix is Wyatt Earp, Curly Bill and, of course, a standoff. Once you’ve enjoyed the interview, please be sure to check out Oni’s 16-page preview of the book.
Comic-Con International has released a jam-packed programming schedule for Thursday, July 21, that includes the first of DC’s aforementioned “New 52″ panels, presentations from IDW Publishing and BOOM! Studios on some of their licensed titles — Transformers, G.I. Joe, Dungeons & Dragons and Planet of the Apes — spotlights on Grant Morrison, Joyce Brabner, Paul Levitz, Jo Chen, Roy Thomas and Alex Nino, and a look at Dark Horse’s fall releases.
But that barely scratches the surface. There’s also a panel for Robert Kirkman’s new Skybound imprint, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund master classes, a Q&A with Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane and Yoshiki, an examination of the X-Men’s gay characters, themes and fans, and the screening of a documentary about the late Jeffrey Catherine Jones.
To help you with your Comic-Con planning, we’ve highlighted the comics-specific programming below. To see the full Thursday schedule, complete with television, film and video game content, visit the convention website.
The global ramifications of the killing of Osama bin Laden on Sunday by U.S. Navy SEALs will be pondered by intelligence experts, media pundits, politicians and historians for weeks, months and years to come. On a much, much smaller scale, and one germane to comics readers, it also raises an immediate question:
How will the death of Al Qaeda’s leader affect Frank Miller’s long-gestating graphic novel Holy Terror?
Announced in 2006 as a Batman project, the book was described by the artist at the time “as a piece of propaganda” that would pit the Dark Knight against the terrorist organization. “Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That’s one of the things they’re there for,” Miller said.
The revenge-fantasy concept drew more criticism and bewilderment than praise, with Grant Morrison firing perhaps the most widely reported shot across Miller’s bow: “Batman vs. Al Qaeda! It might as well be Bin Laden vs. King Kong! Or how about the sinister Al Qaeda mastermind up against a hungry Hannibal Lecter! For all the good it’s likely to do. Cheering on a fictional character as he beats up fictionalized terrorists seems like a decadent indulgence when real terrorists are killing real people in the real world. I’d be so much more impressed if Frank Miller gave up all this graphic novel nonsense, joined the Army and, with a howl of undying hate, rushed headlong onto the front lines with the young soldiers who are actually risking life and limb ‘vs’ Al Qaeda.”
By various authors, edited by Ian Brill
BOOM! Studios, $14.99
CBGB is a graphic novel anthology of short stories about the legendary punk nightclub CBGB and the people who hung out there. The music of the era plays a huge part in the stories, especially the introductory tale, but overall the book is really about the things that went with the music—drugs, sex, ambition, rebellion, being young and living in New York City—and most of the characters are on the floor watching the music, not onstage playing it.
For an anthology about punk rock and New York life in the 1970s, CBGB is remarkably colorful. The art leans more toward neon colors than the blacks and grayed-out colors one might expect, although there is quite a range of styles and story types.
Comic-Con | Registration opened this morning at 6 PST for Comic-Con International following technical problems on Nov. 1 that forced organizers to shut down sales after only a handful of badges were purchased. Registration is for daily passes and four-day memberships without Preview Night. Those with the Wednesday preview sold out on the final day of this year’s convention (more could be released later, depending on returns and cancellations). Prices have increased slightly, from $100 to $105 for four-day memberships and from $35 to $37 for single-day passes ($20 for Sunday). Comic-Con International will be held July 20-24 in San Diego. [Comic-Con International]
Legal | Sankaku Complex wades into Tokyo’s resurrected “anti-loli” legislation, and finds the revised bill has been expanded to target manga, anime and video games that “‘improperly glorify or emphasise’ illegal sexual acts, such as rape, groping, BDSM, voyeurism, exhibitionism, etc., by extension including underage sexual activity as well.” The previous version focused on the depictions of “fictional youths,” a controversial term that’s been dropped from the legislation. [Sankaku Complex]
No doubt you and probably everyone you know have seen Kagan McLeod‘s illustrations. His art has appeared in seemingly every major magazine being published today — Time, Entertainment Weekly, BusinessWeek, Maxim, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Money, Wired and many more, as well as newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. When he isn’t drawing illustrations for his clients or winning awards, he’s self-publishing his own comic, Infinite Kung Fu. You can also find chapters of it on Top Shelf’s website.
At Comic-Con International today, Top Shelf announced they will collect the series into one graphic novel next year. The collection will include all seven of McLeod’s self-published comics, plus about 200 as-yet-unpublished pages. McLeod was kind enough to answer my questions about the book, kung fu, self-publishing and more.
JK: When did you start self-publishing Infinite Kung Fu, and what led you to start doing it on your own?
Kagan: I guess it was 2000 or 2001. It was my first trip to an Artist’s Alley at a comic convention that made me want to do it on my own. I had never even thought of showing it to a publisher. The thought of getting tables at shows and getting the books into local comic shops was very appealing, though after a few years it kicked in that making money in $3 increments is tough, especially when you factor in all the expense that goes with it.
Editor’s Note: With Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer from SLG Publishing hitting comic shops this week, we asked writer Van Jensen to share his thoughts on vampires in this guest post for Robot 666 week.
by Van Jensen
This past weekend, I was a guest at the Vampire Film Festival in New Orleans, a fitting enough setting with my first book — Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer — coming out this week. With vampires in books (Twilight), TV (True Blood and Vampire Diaries) and movies (Twilight and The Vampire’s Apprentice) exhibiting unrivaled pop cultural dominance at the moment, it’s a good time to be aboard the bloodsucker bandwagon.
But I have to confide a secret: I don’t like vampires.
It’s not that the concept is a bad one. Immortal, undead, shape-shifting, bloodsucking monsters of the night? I can get behind that. But the execution almost always leaves so much to be desired. Twilight is the obvious punching bag, with its ridiculous additions to the mythology (sparkle, anyone?), disturbing sexual commentary and milquetoast vampires. Grady Hendrix already perfectly explained the disappointment of these sissified vampires whose chief concern is how not to bite anyone, so I don’t need to elaborate.
Welcome once again to What are you reading?, the weekly column where the Robot 6 team runs through what comics and other stuff they’ve been checking out lately. As Chris is in Bethesda this weekend, I’m filling in for him as your host.
Our special guests this time are Philip Gelatt and Rick Lacy, creators of the Labor Days graphic novels published by Oni Press. Volume two, Just Another Damn Day, is now available in finer retail establishments everywhere. (You can check out a preview here).
See what they’ve been reading, as well as the rest of the Robot 6 crew, after the jump …
Before he was deliniating Joe Casey’s fevered imaginings in Godland, artist Tom Scioli was writing and illustrating his own take on late-70s Kirby mythos with his Myth of 8-Opus series of comics. Now he restarting the series with a new graphic novel, The Labrynth, which will be coming out in August, and he’s got a 28-page pdf preview of the book here. You can also see a few sample panels on his Web site.
Vulture, after taking a brief haitus (or what seemed to me like a brief hiatus anyway) is back to posting previews of new and interesting graphic novels up on their Web site again. This time they’re offering a sampling of Shaun Tan’s latest book Tales from Outer Suburbia.
I sometimes think that because his books have an “educational” bent, Jay Hosler tends to get short shrift in the comics community. Sure, his books are filled with interesting facts and figures and are largely aimed at a younger audience, but they often have a wider emotional resonance that move them beyond mere textbook value. Beyond providing bon mots about the lives of honeybees, Clan Apis offered some bittersweet truths about the cycle of life and death. Beyond providing a 101 lesson in evolution, The Sandwalk Adventures offered a rather pointed rejoinder to the Creationist movement as well as a meditation on how new ideas can upset culture and tradition.
Optical Allusions, Hosler’s newest work, isn’t quite as good as those two books — it leans a bit more toward the educational side of things — but it’s smart, imaginative, hilarious and in terms of plot and structure, his tightest book yet.