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The Attack on Titan manga spinoff Attack on Titan: Before the Fall has more than 1.4 million copies in print, Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine announced over the weekend.
Based on the series of light novels by Ryō Suzukaze and illustrated by Thores Shibamoto, the prequel to the bestselling manga centers on Kuklo, a young man who was found as a baby inside the stomach of one of the fearsome Titans.
Digital comics | Japanese publisher Kodansha has launched a free Magazine Pocket manga app for iOS and Android devices, which in addition to titles already serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine features two exclusive spinoffs: Fairy Tail Spinoff: Twin Dragons of Sabertooth, springing out of Fairy Tail, and Brass of Diamond! Seidō High School Wind Instrument Club, based on Ace of Diamond. The app boasts more than 30 titles, with some chapters offered for free and others requiring a fee. [Anime News Network]
Retailing | “In Hungary there is little or nil culture for comics,” says Arpád Barabás, owner of the Budapest comic shop Trillian. “The main reason is that between 1946 and 1989 there was nothing except for the Boy Scout propaganda publications in this genre, all other things having been prohibited.” Barabás, who goes by the nickname Grif, is working hard to fill that vacuum, mostly with imported comics, but because of the cost, very few have been translated into Hungarian. [The Budapest Times]
Hajime Isayama’s smash-hit manga Attack on Titan has surpassed 50 million copies in print worldwide, according to the Japanese entertainment site Eiga.com.
For a bit of context, Anime News Network notes that in April, when the 16th volume was released in Japan, that figure was at 44 million. Kodansha Comics USA, the North American subsidiary of Japanese publisher Kodansha, announced last month that 2.5 million copies of the English-language editions are in circulation (the translation of the 16th volume will be released later this month).
The manga adaptation of Disney’s Big Hero 6 will conclude with the March 20 issue of Kodansha’s Magazine Special magazine, Anime News Network reports.
Announced in July, the manga by Haruki Ueno marks the first time Disney has used a full-fledged series, rather than a one-off story, to promote a movie release in Japan. Called Baymax, after the film’s Japanese title, the adaptation debuted Aug. 20, following a preview.
Conventions | Vendors who paid the $60 deposit to exhibit at Cherry City Comic Con are clamoring for a refund after word circulated that the Salem, Oregon, convention won’t happen this spring as planned. (There appears to have been some discussion about the con being canceled on Facebook, but the convention’s Facebook page now states, “A marketing solutions company is helping us start the new year right and get us back on track to make this a successful show everyone can love.” No other posts appear on the page.) This isn’t the first round of controversy for the con: Last May, organizer Mike Martin called an exhibitor “batshit insane” on Facebook when she asked for a refund and expressed concern that the con would not be a “safe place for female cosplayers.” Martin is also the organizer of a craft fair that was canceled; some exhibitors for that event were denied refunds because of “a locked PayPal account.” [KOIN]
Publishing | Keiko Yoshioka explains how Japanese publisher Kodansha is getting into the Chinese market, not by selling Japanese products but by publishing a magazine in China that’s geared toward Chinese audiences — and using Chinese creators as well. The article puts a special focus on the two-woman team known as Navar, whose suspense series Carrier: Xiedaizhe now runs in Japan as well. [The Asahi Shimbun]
Academia | Northwestern University Prof. Irving Rein discusses why superheroes have secret identities, ticking off several superhero comics tropes and then going a bit deeper: “The usual script of a superhero episode revolves around a threat occurring in which the superhero is the victim of the decision making of the criminals. The hidden identity is a standard form of the superhero narrative and it allows the creators to use the formula and still deviate from the script. Throughout the comic book or movie there are a series of fundamental questions. Will the superhero be identified? When and under what circumstances will the superhero become a superhero? How will the superhero get back into his civilian identity without being identified?” [Daily Herald]
Called Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition, the 1,000-page book will collect the first five volumes in a 7-inch by 10-inch format (the original size). Priced at $59.99, it’s set to arrive in stores on May 27.
Debuting in 2009, the manga is set in a world where humanity is forced to live in walled cities to protect itself against grotesque people-eating giants known as Titans. The story centers on three youths who vow revenge following the destruction of their hometown by one of the creatures.
Attack on Titan sold 15.9 million copies last year in Japan alone — it was second only to One Piece — and has made significant inroads into the North American book market, placing five volumes in the Nielsen BookScan Top 20 for September.
Twelve volumes have been released to date in Japan, and 11 in North America.
Takehiko Inoue’s acclaimed samurai adventure will go on a four-month hiatus from Kodansha’s Morning magazine while the artist devotes his time to research and other matters. Anime New Network reports the manga will return June 19.
Debuting in 1988, the series is a fictionalized account of the life of late 16th/early 17th-century Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Earning the Kodansha Manga Award and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, the title has sold more than 22 million copies worldwide.
The 34th volume will be released in March in North America by Viz Media.
Vagabond previously was placed on an 18-month hiatus, beginning in September 2010 and ending in March 2012, because of Inoue’s ongoing health issues. He continued to work on his basketball manga Real, which is released at the more leisurely pace of about one volume per year.
Digital comics | Ethan Gach contemplates what the popularity of tablets means for the comics industry, with a particular focus on comiXology. He points out that the digital distributor offers not only bestsellers but also titles that appeal to a broader audience — and has brought success to some indie creators via its comiXology Submit program. [Forbes]
Academia | Tom Spurgeon talks to Professor Benjamin Saunders, director of the Comics & Cartoon Studies Program at the University of Oregon, which just received a major donation that will serve as an endowment for the program. [The Comics Reporter]
Manga | Kodansha will release a second printing of the January issue of Aria magazine, which features the debut of Hikaru Suruga and Gan Sunaaku’s Attack on Titan spinoff No Regrets. The first printing was five times greater than the magazine’s usual press run — Aria has a verified circulation of 13,667 copies — so with this new printing, the January issue will have 10 times the number of copies of the average issue. [Anime News Network]
Graphic novels | Graphic novel sales are up 6.59 percent in comics shops, and they are also up in bookstores, according to the latest issue of ICv2’s Internal Correspondence. Sales have been increasing in the direct market for a while, but this is the first uptick in bookstore sales since the economy crashed in 2008. There seem to be several factors, including the popularity of television and movie tie-ins — the success of DC’s graphic novel program linked to Man of Steel is singled out — and a turnaround in manga sales. The article winds up with lists of the top properties in a number of different categories. [ICv2]
Digital comics | Here’s today’s news article on Crunchyroll’s new digital manga service, which offers same-day releases of 12 Kodansha manga titles for free and an all-you-can-eat service for $4.99 a month. Tomohiro Osaki interviews Japanese publishing insiders, who are upfront about the fact that this is an attempt to compete with pirate sites, and translator Matt Thorn, who says that better translations on the official site may lure readers away from scanlations. [The Japan Times]
Comics | You can’t buy this kind of publicity: Before the comic has even debuted, the U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail eagerly reports Royal Descent is being “slammed” by critics for its depiction of a thinly disguised Royal Family forced to fight to the death in a Battle Royale- or Hunger Games-style tournament. Not content to let the book be “slammed” by anonymous “enthusiasts,” writer John Farman joins in, saying, “I personally believe this is possibly the most controversial comic book to ever come out of the United Kingdom.” How’s that for hype? Royal Descent #1 arrives Nov. 6 from Edinburgh publisher Black Hearted Press. [Daily Mail]
Digital comics | Deb Aoki fleshes out some of the details of Crunchyroll’s new streaming manga service, which will feature chapters of Kodansha manga the same day they are released in Japan, for free. The subscription service allows readers access to all chapters of the manga for a monthly fee, not unlike Marvel Unlimited. [Publishers Weekly]
Beginning Wednesday, the streaming anime website Crunchyroll will offer digital manga from Japan’s biggest publisher, Kodansha — some of them on the same day they’re released in Japan.
The service will kick off with 12 series, including Attack on Titan, which is one of the top-selling manga in the United States right now, Fairy Tail, and Ken Akamatsu’s new series UQ Holder. And they will be available in 170 countries, including the United States (where many of the same titles are published in print by Kodansha Comics, which also releases them digitally on Kindle and other e-book platforms). Readers will be able to access the manga via a web browser and can read them on Android or iOS devices as well as desktop or laptop computers.
Legal | Former comics retailer Michael George has lost his appeal for a new trial. He was convicted twice for the 1990 murder of his wife, first in 2008 and then in a 2011 retrial. George is serving life in prison without parole. [The Macomb Daily]
Creators | John Sutter profiles Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, whose hands were broken by government troops in an (unsuccessful) attempt to keep him from ever drawing again. [CNN]
Creators | Michael Diana, the first artist in the United States to be convicted of obscenity (for his comic Boiled Angel), returns to Miami after more than 20 years for a show of his work at the Miami Art Museum — which paid his remaining fines so he could enter the state without risk of arrest. [Miami New Times]
Publishing | Calvin Reid looks at Archie Comics’ growing book-market presence, which has exploded since the publisher signed Random House as its distributor in 2010. [Publishers Weekly]
Creators | Matt Kindt, author of Red-Handed, writes about how becoming a comics creator has made it impossible for him to enjoy reading comics for their own sake. [The Huffington Post]
Awards | Animal Land, by Zatch Bell creator Makoto Raiku, took the Best Children’s Manga honors in Kodansha’s 37th annual manga awards. The sports manga Gurazeni won the overall award for best manga. [Anime News Network]
Yahoo! Japan has excerpted the first chapter of the serialized manga adaptation of Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, debuting today in the josei anthology magazine Kiss.
Based on Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of the late co-founder of Apple, the manga is Mari Yamazaki’s follow-up to her acclaimed historical comedy Thermae Romae, which concluded earlier this month. Publishing giant Kodansha, which owns Kiss, published Isaacson’s 2011 book in Japan.
There’s also a new nearly minute-long promo spot, featuring Yamazaki, which you can see below, along with some pages from the manga’s first chapter.