Finn Wields a Lightsaber in New "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Footage
Manga | Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto ended its weekly serialization in Shonen Jump magazine in November, but a spinoff miniseries, Naruto Gaiden: Nanadaime Hokage to Akairo no Hanatsuzuki (Naruto Spinoff: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring Month), will launch in the April 27 issue of Japanese Shonen Jump. The magazine teases, “”Urgent News: The story enters a new generation …” [Anime News Network]
The Ignatz Awards were handed out Saturday night at Small Press Expo in a ceremony that culminated with a mock wedding in which Simon Hanselmann married Comics (represented by a stack of graphic novels and real-life creator Michael DeForge).
Named in honor of the brick-wielding mouse in George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strip, the festival prize recognizes achievement in comics and cartooning. Nominees are selected by a panel of five cartoonists, and then voted on by SPX attendees.
Creators | Jim Toomey sets his comic strip Sherman’s Lagoon under the sea, and now he’s going to get a close-up look at underwater life: As the artist in residence on Alvin, a Navy deep-sea submersible vehicle, he will get an up-close look at undersea life in the Gulf of Mexico. “Only three people are able to go down on the sub at a time, so it’s a very coveted opportunity,” said Toomey, who will talk to his children’s class from aboard the submersible and has set the current Sherman’s Lagoon story in the Gulf so he can introduce the sea creatures he is seeing firsthand. [The Washington Post]
Jason Shiga, the creator of the innovative Meanwhile …, the creepy Fleep and the super-cool Bookhunter, has kicked off another webcomic called Demon. The story thus far revolves around a man trying to kill himself, but with each attempt he ends up waking up afterwards without any explanation as to why it didn’t work.
Shiga, who recently served as a judge for the Ignatz Awards, explained that the submissions for the webcomics category overwhelmed him.
“It felt like being hit by a tidal wave of comics and subsequently drowning to death,” he wrote. “To read every page of every webcomic that was sent to me would literally be a life’s work. It was a truly humbling experience to learn that what I thought of as comics was in fact just a small crumb in the vast expanse of the comics universe. I hadn’t really felt that way about the comics medium since walking into a shojo manga store in Japan 10 years ago.”
Publishing | As part of its coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Variety spotlights DC Entertainment’s digital moves, particularly its “Digital First” initiative, with titles like Smallville, Arrow and Batman: Arkham Unhinged, and the increase in sales since the company began going day-and-date with its comic books in September 2011. “What we launched last year as an experiment, we’ll increase the frequency now because it’s gotten so popular,” Hank Kanalz, senior vice president of Vertigo and Integrated Publishing, says of Digital First. [Variety]
Retailing | Halifax, Nova Scotia, comics retailer Calum Johnston is looking for a new location for Strange Adventures, as the current location is being redeveloped and the rent will go up as a result. Johnston would rather pay for more staff than pay a higher rent: “When people come in looking for a major title like the death of Peter Parker in Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man, they inevitably have questions about other titles. It is important to have staff available to keep customers up to date on new developments and titles.” [The Chronicle Herald]
The Alternative Press Expo, or APE, returns to the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco this weekend. The show’s special guests are Groo creator Sergio Aragonés, Flood creator Eric Drooker, all three legendary Hernandez Brothers, The Cardboard Valise creator Ben Katchor, jobnik! creator Miriam Libicki, and Weathercraft creator and giant pen owner Jim Woodring, all of whom have spotlight panels over the course of the two days. In addition, other guests attending the show include Shannon Wheeler, Stan Mack, Justin Hall, Derek Kirk Kim, Jason Shiga, Thien Pham, Jamaica Dyer and many more.
In addition to the spotlight panels, the show has panels on politics and comics, censorship, queer cartoonists and a “Gigantes” meet-up with the Hernandez Bros. and Aragones. They also have workshop panels if you’re interested in making comics and a “creator connection” that allows aspiring creators to find writers or artists to work with.
The show is usually one of my favorites of the year, mainly because it’s so easy going and loaded with opportunities to discover something new and cool. Here’s a round-up of some of the folks you can see and buy cool stuff from at the show, as well as things to do inside and outside of the Concourse:
Sales | The comic book market was up more than 19 percent in November when compared with the same period last year, with comics up 23 percent and graphic novels up 12 percent. So far this year the comics and graphics novel market is up 1.87 percent versus the first 11 months of 2010. If December cooperates, this could be the first up year for the market since 2008.
DC Comics was once again the top company in terms of market share. The company took six of the top 10 spots on Diamond’s Top 100 Comics list, with Justice League #3, Batman #3, Action Comics #3, Green Lantern #3 and Marvel’s Point One #1 making up the top five comics of the month. Batman: Noel took the No. 1 spot on the Top 100 Graphic Novels list. [The Comichron]
Publishing | IDW Publishing has promoted Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein to president, with a focus on new markets and acquisitions. He joined the company in 2008 from Upper Deck. [ICv2.com]
If there was ever a graphic novel that was ready-made for its own iPad app, it would have to be Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile. The interactive “Choose Your Own Adventure”-like graphic novel came with tabs at the side of each page directing readers to choose the next step in the story — if they could avoid wiping out all of mankind in the process, of courses.
In this case it seems like turning the graphic novel into an app could actually make it easier to read, as the device does the work of keeping track of where you are in the story and, in theory, lets you move backward and forward to see the various plot points. So it’s no surprise that Shiga has been working with interactive fiction writer Andrew Plotkin on a version for the various iOS devices.
“I picked up Meanwhile at PAX East in 2010 … I immediately fell in love with it — a thoughtful, beautifully-designed take on the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure genre,” Plotkin said on his blog. “When I got my iPad, I immediately said ‘That. I have to do that. In people’s hands. Interactively. It will happen.'”
The Meanwhile app is due out this fall.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15: It would be tough. For one thing, DC has three books for $5 or more each that I’m interested in — the last issues of Justice League Generation Lost and Brightest Day, as well as Action Comics #900. If I bought all three, well … I couldn’t buy all three, at least not for $15. I stopped reading Brightest Day several issues ago, so I’m more curious about the return of a certain character to the DCU proper than anything. And I’ll probably hold off on Action as well, at least for now. But Justice League Generation Lost‘s final issue ($4.99) would be at the top of my buy list for sure.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Nate Cosby, co-writer of the upcoming Image series Pigs and editor of the upcoming Jim Henson’s The Storyteller anthology, which will feature stories by an impressive group of talented creators.
To see what Nate and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
Welcome to another round of What Are You Reading, where we all sit around the virtual coffeehouse and talk about the books we’re currently enjoying (or not as the case may be). Our guest this week is Wilfred Santiago, author of the soon to be released biography of Roberto Clemente, 21. Look for an interview with me and Santiago about his new book in the coming weeks. In the meantime, click on the link below to see what he and my fellow Robot 6ers are reading this week.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, the Flashlight Worthy blog asked ten bloggers (male and female) to nominate their favorite comics by and about women. The range and quality of the list is a reminder that talent knows no gender—or genre: the nominations include Jessica Abel’s La Perdida, Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting, Alison Bechdel’s The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, and Fumi Yoshinaga’s All My Darling Daughters.
If you’re reading this column, you’re probably hip enough to know that all manga does not feature big, sparkly eyes, but in case you missed that memot, Paul Gravett has an explanation and lists six worthy series that don’t have a sparkly eye in the bunch.
Sean Gordon Murphy sets snobbery aside to look at the good points of house styles.
Suzette Chan explains how Faith Erin Hicks tweaks the tropes of boarding-school stories in The War at Ellesmere.
Kate Dacey mulls over the dilemma of being a feminist and a yaoi fan in her review of Hinako Takanaga’s Little Butterfly.
Carlo Santos takes the second volume of Alice in the Country of Hearts as seriously as anybody is going to, and he does some nice analysis of how the book relates to its inspiration, Alice in Wonderland.