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Comics A.M. | The convention market ‘is starting to saturate’

New York Comic Con 2015

New York Comic Con 2015

Conventions | ReedPOP Senior Vice President Lance Fensterman looks back at New York Comic Con 2015, which drew 167,000 people over four days; the increase came from making Thursday a full day, he says. Fensterman also offers some thoughts on conventions in general, saying the market is starting to become saturated, but not in terms of fans, who will always go to a cool show: “I think the saturation is more so on the side of content, and by content, I mean exhibitors, brands, guests, studios,” he says. “They don’t need that many shows.” Dealers will always show up, but, Fensterman says, “Fans don’t want to pay a ticket price to come in to spend money. There needs to be content that is engaging, exciting and unique. And there’s a limited quantity on that.” [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Comic Market draws 520,000 over three days

Comic Market 89 catalog

Comic Market 89 catalog

Conventions | The winter edition of Comic Market (aka Comiket), held Dec. 29-31 at the Tokyo Big Sight, drew 520,000 attendees across three days, down from 560,000 last year. (Note that figures are based on the number of visits to the convention site over the three days, rather than individual attendees.) The largest comic convention in the world, Comic Market is held each year in August and December. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Charlie Hebdo’ to mark anniversary of attack with special issue

 

Publishing | French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will release a special double-size issue on Jan. 6 commemorating the one-year anniversary of the  jihadist attack on its Paris office by that left 12 people dead. One million copies will be produced of the issue, which will feature drawings by the cartoonists killed in the massacre, as well as illustrations by current staff members. A special “survivors issue” released after the attack sold 7.5 million copies worldwide. [The Guardian]

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Comics A.M. | The state of the newspaper comics page

Evil Inc.

Evil Inc.

Comic strips | The end of Edge City has generated a conversation about newspaper comics in general. As co-creator Ray LaBan says, creating a comic strip was his childhood fantasy, and he got to do it, “But I got to do it when everybody stopped paying attention.” This article takes a broad view, looking at the fact that newspapers’ budgets for comics, like everything else, are shrinking, online portals are providing alternatives, and readers’ strong preferences for legacy strips like Beetle Bailey and Blondie, as well as safe topics, are limiting the opportunities for new strips. Universal UClick launches one new strip a year, according to president John Glynn. On the other hand, creator Brad Guigar is taking his comic Evil Inc. out of the Inquirer because he can do better with a more mature version, published online and supported through Patreon. With interviews with the syndicates, a newspaper features editor, and creators, this piece is a well rounded look at the current state of syndicated comics. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

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Comics A.M. | Charting the growth of the graphic novel market

"Drama," by Raina Telgemeier

“Drama,” by Raina Telgemeier

Publishing | Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald assemble a roundtable of comics insiders to for a detailed discussion of how the graphic novel market has evolved over the past 10 years, how their own business models have evolved, and what challenges they expect the future to bring. “Graphic novels are now firmly established in the book market worldwide in every genre: superhero, creator-owned, kids, middle-grade, young adult, webcomic, media tie-ins … etc,” says Kuo-Yu Liang, vice president of sales & marketing for Diamond Book Distributors. “While the overall book business is flat, most retailers are reporting comics/graphic novels and related merchandise as one of the few segments growing.” [Publishers Weekly]

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‘Saga,’ ‘Ms. Marvel’ and ‘Nimona’ among Angouleme finalists

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1

The 43rd Angouleme International Comics Festival takes place next month, and the organizers have released their list of nominated works in four categories: the Sélection Officielle (the general category), Sélection Jeunesse (young people), Sélection Patrimoine (classics and reprints) and Sélection Polar (mysteries and thrillers).

These graphic novels are eligible for the juried prizes at the festival, and they also make a pretty good reading list that spans the range of graphic novels being made today in Europe, North America, and Japan. As is usually the case, many have been published in English, so I’ll include the English titles, where they are different from the French titles, in parentheses.

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Comics A.M. | Visiting Koch Comics, Brooklyn’s ‘Warehouse of Wonders’

koch comics

Retailing | The New York Times pays a visit to a comics store that’s unusually hard to find: Joseph Koch’s Comic Book Warehouse, which is tucked away in an industrial area in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. There’s no sign on the door to the second-floor shop, but at the moment Koch is doing the majority of business online, selling comics in bulk to overseas retailers: “If you go to a comic book store in Iceland,” he said, “they’ll probably know who I am.” In New York, not so much, but he has plans to make the store more amenable to walk-in customers. [The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ Vol. 18 tops Japan’s weekly chart

Attack on Titan, Vol. 18

Attack on Titan, Vol. 18

Publishing | The 18th volume of Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan sold 969,743 copies in its first week of release in Japan, claiming the top spot on the weekly manga sales chart. According to market research firm Oricon, thats an increase of nearly 200,000 copies from the debut of Vol. 17 in August. Attack on Titan has sold about 8.8 million copies this year, a drop of almost 50 percent from 2013. [Crunchyroll]

Passings | Cartoonist and editor Jacques Hurtubise, who went by the pen name Zyx, has died at age 65. Hurtubise attended college in Montreal during a time of separatist turmoil, and in 1971 recceived a government grant to publish L’Hydrocéphale illustré, an anthology of work by emerging Quebecois cartoonists. The magazine folded a year later, but Hurtubise continued to be an active promoter of local comics in various forms, and in 1979, he teamed up with two other editors to start the children’s humor magazine Croc, which carried a large selection of comics. The magazine, which ran until 1995, provided paying work to many eminent Canadian cartoonists in their early years. After Croc folded, Hurtubise left the comics industry for a career in technology, but he was inducted in 2007 into the Shuster Awards Hall of Fame. [Sequential]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Edge City’ comic strip to end after 15 years

edge-city-r6

Comics strips | Terry LaBan and Patty LaBan are bringing their syndicated comic strip Edge City to an end after 15 years. In his farewell message, Terry LaBan cites not only exhaustion but also a sense that the funny pages aren’t what they used to be: “It’s rare to meet anyone who reads a newspaper anymore, at least anyone under the age of 50. Comic strips, which once occupied a place at the center of pop culture, have fallen completely off most people’s radar. As much as we love it, it’s depressing to work in a form that seems to have lost its relevance and is, for the most part, ignored.” [The Daily Cartoonist]

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Comics A.M. | New Kickstarter study reveals failure rates

Kickstarter

Kickstarter

Crowdfunding | A new report released by Kickstarter shows that about 9 percent of the projects on the crowdfunding platform failed to deliver the promised rewards. While that is fairly consistent across all categories, comics do appear to do a bit better than most. Another interesting tidbit: Projects that raise less than $1,000 are the most likely to fail. [Kickstarter]

Creators | Writer Kyle Higgins talks about his new Power Rangers comic, Green Ranger: Year One, which focuses on the Ranger who was originally a villain before reforming and joining the team: “Basically, in going the modernization route I decided that I didn’t really want to jump in and tell new origins of the Power Rangers or anything like that. So looking at the introduction of the Green Ranger to the team, of him joining the team, was the window that I took for the story in order to get us into the world.” [Hero Complex]

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Comics A.M. | Tintinologist named as UK’s first professor of comics

tintin-social

Comics | Benoît Peeters, a French comics writer, critic and Tintin expert, has been named as Lancaster University’s Visiting Professor in Graphic Fiction and Comic Art, characterized as the first appointment of its kind in the United Kingdom. “This professorship is a great honour for me,” said Peeters, whose works include Tintin and the World of Herge. “I want to explore the connections between the history of graphic fiction and contemporary creation, between the world of French and Belgian bande dessinée, and the world of comics and graphic novels.” [The Telegraph]

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Comics A.M. | ‘The Walking Dead’ leads October bookstore sales

The Walking Dead Compendium Three

The Walking Dead Compendium Three

Graphic novels | The best word to describe October’s BookScan Top 20 is “diverse.” No one publisher or genre dominated the list, which tracks graphic novel sales in bookstores. The list boasts four entries from perennial bestseller The Walking Dead, including the first and third volume of the massive Walking Dead Compendium; five volumes of manga, including the final volume of Naruto and the first three volumes of Tokyo Ghoul; two Star Wars collections; two kid-friendly titles, the first volume of Avatar: The Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow and the second volume of Lumberjanes; two Batman books; and Adrian Tomine’s Killing and Dying. If any one publisher dominated, it was Image Comics, with six books on the list, including the four Walking Dead titles, the fifth volume of Saga, and the first volume of Bitch Planet. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Two ‘banned’ Judge Dredd strips to see print again

From the Judge Dredd "Burger Wars" episode

From the Judge Dredd “Burger Wars” episode

Legal | A Judge Dredd comic that makes fun of McDonald’s and Burger King is finally being reprinted in a collection, thanks to a change in the European Copyright Directive, which now allows creators to use copyrighted characters if the intent is clearly parody. In the “Burger Wars” story, first published in 1978, Judge Dredd is captured on a trip to the United States and force-fed fast food; the story includes images of Ronald McDonald and the McDonald’s logo. Another story, “Soul Food,” has a mad scientist creating versions of the Jolly Green Giant and the Michelin Man. Ben Smith of Rebellion Publishing says fans have been asking for years for these story to be reprinted in their collected editions, but they were held back for fear of legal action. When the law was changed, Smith said, they took another look: “It was like a light bulb went on. We thought: ‘Surely this means we can look at Burger Wars?’ We looked into it and here we are. This is straight-out pastiche, parody and arch satire. There didn’t seem any reason not to bring them to the public again.” [The Independent]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Real Stuff’ writer Dennis Eichhorn passes away

Dennis Eichhorn (photo by  Matt Crowley)

Dennis Eichhorn (photo by Matt Crowley)

Passings | Underground comics writer Dennis Eichhorn passed away on Oct. 8 at age 70. He’s best known for his autobiographical comic series Real Stuff, which often involved tales of alcohol, sex and drugs. Published from 1990 to 1995 by Fantagraphics, the multiple Eisner-nominated Real Stuff was illustrated by the likes of Lynda Barry, Chester Brown, Peter Kuper, Joe Sacco, Roberta Gregory and Ed Brubaker. [The Stranger]

Legal | Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani, already serving a 12-year sentence for a cartoon depicting members of the Iranian parliament with animal heads, and under investigation for shaking hands with her male lawyer, had to endure yet another indignity in August: She was forced to undergo a “forced virginity and pregnancy test” as part of the investigation of the latter charge. “In doing so, the Iranian judicial authorities have truly reached an outrageous low, seeking to exploit the stigma attached to sexual and gender-based violence in order to intimidate, punish or harass her,” said Said Boumedouha of Amnesty International, which is calling for her release. [Amnesty International]

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Comics A.M. | Retailer, perennial candidate Clint Thomas dies

Clint Thomas

Clint Thomas

Passings | Clint Thomas, the owner of Clint’s Comics in Monroe, Louisiana, was found dead Saturday at his home. He was 50 years old. In addition for running his store for nearly two decades, Thomas was known as a perennial political candidate, having run for mayor five times. He was challenging Ouachita Parish Sheriff Jay Russell in the current election, saying, if elected, he would look for “damsels in distress.” Thomas reportedly viewed himself as Batman, attempting to save the city from the “supervillains” who had taken over the government; as a candidate, he made no promises and accepted no donations, because he believed money corrupts politicians. [The News-Star, NBC 10]

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