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Fumio Obata’s ‘Just So Happens’ arrives from Abrams in March

just-so-happens-tease

Courtesy of Abrams ComicArts, we’re pleased to present a preview of Just So Happens by Fumio Obata.

The graphic novel tells the story of a Japanese woman living in London who returns to Tokyo for the funeral of her father. While there, she finds herself immersed in the rituals of Japanese life and death — and confronting a decision she hadn’t expected to have to make.

Check out the preview below, and look for the book in stores on March 17.

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End of the world, with cats: Andrew MacLean on ‘ApocalyptiGirl’

AG-Cover-tease

Andrew MacLean is one of many artists I’ve enjoyed following over the past few years, from his self-published work on the two volumes of Head Lopper to his collaborations with writers like Jim Gibbons, Nolan T Jones and Jamie Gambell. This year he’ll be hitting comics in a big way with the release of ApocalyptiGirl, a graphic novel about a girl, a cat and an apocalypse.

Due out May 20 from Dark Horse (and listed in the current Previews), ApocalyptiGirl is both written and drawn by MacLean. I spoke with him about the book, as well as his plans for more Head Lopper.

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Preview | Mummies play hoops (for keeps) in ‘Fantasy Sports’

Fantasy_sports-tease

While basketball season will be over by the time the summer rolls around, fans jonesin’ for some hoops in July can check out Sam Bosma‘s Fantasy Sports, the Nobrow Press expanded edition of his self-published comic Fantasy Basketball.

Previously available directly from Bosma on Gumroad, the new edition expands the original award-winning comic into an oversized hardcover. Combining elements of sports manga, video games and old-fashioned tomb raiding, this new version is in full color, which makes Bosma’s beautiful drawings pop.

Check out a preview, as well as additional information on the book, below.

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Brian shares his Hulk-sized Shelf Porn

sp-hulk-brian-facebook

Welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly trip into the abode of a fan. Today Brian invites us into his home, showing us his graphic novels, toys and much more.

If you’d like to see your collection here, you can find instructions on how to submit it at the end of this post.

Now here’s Brian …

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Comics A.M. | Tokyo’s ‘Astro Town’ still celebrates Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka

Creators | Osamu Tezuka, the “godfather of manga,” has been dead for 25 years, but his influence lives on, not just in manga and anime but in his old neighborhood, where a restaurant features his favorite dish and merchants have their own local currency, Astro Money. There’s even a group of inventors who were inspired by Astro Boy to design a “power-assisted hand.” [The Yomiuri Shimbun]

Creators | Ivan Brunetti tried to draw Nancy and failed, but he learned how to be a cartoonist in the process: “Nancy is a harsh taskmaster; resuscitating it was a grueling task, but the challenge was invigorating and edifying. By drawing Nancy, I realized that every character (even the environment) in a strip is the cartoonist and is invested and imbued with the cartoonist’s life force. This is perhaps why continuing a strip after a creator’s death is so misguided, and it also explains the precious few exceptions that prove the rule: those cartoonists made the preexisting characters truly their own, commandeering their ink-on-paper souls.” [BoingBoing]

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Amazing Spider-Fan shows us his Shelf Porn

shelfporn-spidey-facebook

Happy holidays and welcome to Shelf Porn, your weekly look at one fan’s collection. Today we show off the web-tangled shelves of Alex in the Philippines, a huge fan of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

If you’d like to see your collection here, you can find instructions on how to submit it at the end of this post.

And now let’s swing into things with Alex …

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Stan Lee Excelsior Award announces 2015 shortlists

image-rocket girlThe shortlist has been announced for the 2015 Stan Lee Excelsior Award and the new Stan Lee Excelsior Award Junior, whose winners are selected by students at secondary and primary schools, respectively, across the United Kingdom.

Established in 2011 by Paul Register, a school librarian in Sheffield, the Stan Lee Excelsior Award is designed to promote comics and to encourage children and teenagers to read. The Stan Lee Excelsior Award Junior is being introduced this year.

The winners — first, second and third place — will be announced in July. The nominees are:

Stan Lee Excelsior Award

  • All-New Ghost Rider: Engines of Vengeance, by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore (Marvel)
  • Barakamon, by Satsuki Yoshino (Yen Press)
  • Rocket Girl, Vol. 1, by by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder (Image Comics)
  • Red Baron: The Machine Gunners’ Ball, by Pierre Veys and Carlos Puerta (Cinebook)
  • Superman/Wonder Woman: Power Couple, by by Charles Soule and Tony S. Daniel (DC Comics)
  • Moonhead and the Music Machine, by Andrew Rae (Nobrow)
  • Alone: The Vanishing, by Bruno Gazzotti and Fabien Vehlmann (Cinebook)
  • Ms. Marvel: No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Marvel)

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Robot Reviews | ‘Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?’

Can't We Talk About Something More PleasantCan’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
By Roz Chast

In Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Roz Chast has produced an amazingly honest and clear-eyed memoir of her relationship with her parents in their declining years. It’s both a universal story of something many of us will go through and a very particular account of a single family of quirky individuals.

Chast had an unusual upbringing: She was an only child (a sister died at birth 14 years before she was born), and her parents had her late in life, so she always felt like a bit of an interloper. Her mother had a domineering personality and a sharp temper — she described her own outbursts as “A blast from Chast.” Her father was quieter, easier to get along with, but also plagued by anxieties and phobias, which led him to rely completely on her mother. They were, as Chast describes them, “a tight little unit,” and they seemed to believe that if they carefully avoided the subject of future unpleasantness, nothing would change. She depicts this perfectly in a single panel in which the hooded figure of Death roars “What’s THIS??? The Chasts are talking about me! Why, I’ll show THEM!!!”

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Comics A.M. | Store suffers reported $300,000 loss in burglary

Mark Rowland

Mark Rowland

Crime | Wichita, Kansas’ KWCH TV is showcasing the Nov. 19 burglary of comics and collectibles store Riverhouse Traders as its Crime Stoppers crime of the week. The thieves apparently knew what they were looking for, and stole a reported $300,000 worth of rare comic books and memorabilia, leaving owner Mark Rowland with an unwanted shift in priorities: He has always given free comics to local children who get As on their report cards, and he provides gifts to local families at Christmas, but this year he has to cut back to pay for a security system. [KWCH]

Creators | Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Terry Dodson discuss their new graphic novel Teen Titans: Earth One. George Perez and Marv Wolfman’s Teen Titans were Lemire’s gateway to comics, so he was particularly enthusiastic about this project, and, he that affected his choice of a cast: “My decision early on was just to use the unique characters that Marv and George created that weren’t sidekicks, and that freed me from having to establish the adult superheroes in this world.” [Comic Riffs]

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Four romances, four stories: Jose Garcia’s ‘Seasons’

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Cartoonist Jose Garcia has been hard at work on a 120-page wordless graphic novel that explores four romance stories set in the four seasons. He’s looking to self-publish the book, fittingly titled Seasons, next year.

“Each one has its own mood and peace,” Garcia writes on the project’s Indiegogo page. “[Seasons is] based solely on feelings so I intend that each reader interpretation depends on his or her mood, and that by reading it in different occasions, the story’s meaning change!”

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Comics A.M. | DMP gives Tezuka Kickstarter another try

Ludwig B

Ludwig B

Crowdfunding | Digital Manga Publishing’s recent Kickstarter campaign raised some questions as to the proper role of crowdfunding in publishing. When DMP acquired the rights to all of Osamu Tezuka’s manga that haven’t already been translated into English, CEO Hikaru Sasahara launched an ambitious Kickstarter effort to publish about 400 volumes in just a few years. The campaign raised eyebrows not only because of the large amount of money involved (with stretch goals, it would have been more than half a million dollars) but also because it went beyond the direct costs associated with single volumes to include travel and staffing. That campaign failed, but DMP immediately launched another one that’s closer to the usual model. I interviewed Sasahara and one of his most prominent critics to get both sides of the discussion. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | Retailer Brian Jacoby passes away

Brian Jacoby

Brian Jacoby

Passings | Brian Jacoby, owner of the Tallahassee, Florida, comic shop Secret Headquarters and a well-known presence on Twitter and comics discussion boards, died suddenly on Thanksgiving. The news was first released in a tweet from the store. His memorial service will be held Tuesday. [ICv2]

Editorial cartoons | Bob Staake’s New Yorker cover showing a broken Gateway Arch in St. Louis, a commentary on the events in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, received a lot of attention just before Thanksgiving — and even more when it got around that syndicated cartoonist R.J. Matson had drawn a similar cartoon in August. Matson brushes that aside, however, pointing out that editorial cartoonists often come up with similar visuals: “Finding a good joke is like solving a puzzle and very often there is one very best solution to the puzzle. Any cartoonist worth his salt would kick himself or herself for not finding that solution.” And when five cartoonists do it on the same day, he said, “we call it a Yahtzee.” [The Washington Post]

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Nominees announced for Angouleme comics festival

Angoulême International Comics Festival

Angoulême International Comics Festival

The 42nd Angouleme International Comics Festival is coming up Jan. 29, and over the Thanksgiving holiday organizers announced the nominations for the four juried prizes: the Sélection Officielle (the general category), Sélection Jeunesse (young people), Sélection Patrimoine (classics and reprints) and Sélection Polar (mysteries and thrillers).

Angouleme lives up to the “international” part of its name, as many of the selections were first published in English, including Chris Ware’s Building Stories, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga, and Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer.

See the full list below.

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Comics A.M. | Greenberg plans ‘sort-of’ sequel to ‘Early Earth’

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

Creators | Isabel Greenberg has announced she’s working on a “sort-of” sequel to The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, her British Comic Award-winning debut graphic novel. She also posted her new comic Dreadful Wind and Rain, which is being published as a limited edition by Gosh! Comics, and will be included in her follow-up to Early Earth. [Isabel Greenberg, via Digital Spy]

Manga | Yen Press associate editor and letterer Abigail Blackman talks about her job: “I see that the editor has a twofold obligation – to the original creator and to the reader. I think everyone in the process has to be most careful of not imposing his or her own sensibilities onto the material. I and Yen feel very strongly about preserving the meaning and intent of the original and making sure it translates clearly to the reader. It’s so easy for a rewriter to get carried away with his or her own voice, or for a letterer to get too cutesy with the fonts and placing emphasis.” [Organization Anti-Social Geniuses]

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Comics A.M. | Charges filed against ‘Hi Score Girl’ creator, others

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Legal | The saga of Hi Score Girl continues this week, with the Osaka Prefectural Police charging creator Rensuke Oshihiri and 15 employees of publisher Square Enix with copyright infringement. Game publisher SNK Playmore originally filed criminal charges against Square Enix over the summer, claiming that Hi Score Girl, a comedy about gamers, used its characters without permission. Square Enix has recalled the published volumes of the series and halted serialization in its Monthly Big Gangan magazine. [Anime News Network]

Passings | Political cartoonist and collector Art Wood, a founding member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, died Nov. 4 at age 87. He donated more than 40,000 pieces of original cartoon art to the Library of Congress for its bicentennial, and the library published a book, Cartoon America, based on the collection. [The Daily Cartoonist]

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