SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Graphic novels | April was a slow month for new graphic novel releases, so the BookScan Top 20 had plenty of room for some backlist titles. The Walking Dead dominated, of course, but the 10th volume of Sailor Moon was there for a second month and actually moved up a notch. And the first volume of Saga came in at No. 12, perhaps because people were curious as to what all the fuss is about. [ICv2]
Editorial cartoons | Nick Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle, has responded to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s criticism of Jack Ohman’s cartoon with a cartoon of his own. [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | Jeff Smith, Brian Wood, Sean Murphy and Raina Telgemeier are the headline guests at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland on May 19. [Foster’s Daily Democrat]
Publishing | Longtime industry hand Jason Thompson has written a thoughtful essay on why the manga industry is in trouble, going beyond the American scene to point out structural problems in the Japanese market: An aging readership, the decline of print and the reluctance of Japanese publishers to embrace digital publishing in any coherent way. “Perhaps wary of creating an iTunes-like behemoth which could drive prices down,” Thompson writes, “publishers haven’t united in any reasonable way to create a consistent digital newsstand/bookstore format for their titles.” This, of course, has just made life easier for the scanlators. He also points to a shift toward the individual creator — it’s the big publishers who are hurting, while self-published and indy manga are on the rise. All this may sound familiar to American comics fans, but Thompson’s prescriptions for the future — more gag manga, simpler art, more color, and motion comics — don’t seem like convincing ways to rescue the industry. An iTunes-like behemoth is probably the way to go. [io9]
Awards | The Horror Writers Association has released the preliminary ballot for the 2011 Bram Stoker Awards, which includes a graphic novel category. [Horror Writers Association]
Ten years ago, author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka had a chance meeting with the lunch lady from his old school. That led him to think about what her life was like outside the lunchroom, and that, in turn, led to the creation of the Lunch Lady books, a series of all-ages graphic novels that feature a superhero lunch lady (armed with fish-stick nunchuks and a banana boomerang) and her sidekick, Betty. There are Sadly, Jarrett reported that the original Lunch Lady, Jeannie, passed away recently.
On a more upbeat note, Krosoczka is holding a pretty nifty auction to raise funds for the Joe and Shirl Scholarships, which he established in memory of his grandparents, who raised him. The scholarships will be used to pay for underprivileged children to attend art classes at the Worcester Art Museum. In an interview with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Krosoczka talked about how his grandparents encouraged him to study art—and how much he looked forward to the classes at the museum.
“That time, 1989, was another time like we’re living through now where the art budgets were just slashed at public schools, so at Gates Lane Elementary School I actually went from having art class once a week to once every other week to once a month to not at all,” he said.
Because of those classes, Krosoczka said, he realized that a career in art was a real possibility. And it seems to be working for him; the Lunch Lady books are being developed into a movie, with Amy Poehler in the title role. The auction items include a sketchbook, original art, and lunch with Krosoczka in his studio, and the bidding ends on December 5.