Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Conventions | After a profitable 2014, Wizard World Inc. is reporting a $1.8 million loss in the second quarter of 2015 (in contrast to a $760,000 profit during the same period last year), owing much to the rapid increase in the number of conventions it’s producing. However, as ICv2.com notes, the company is also seeing a drop in revenue per show. Wizard World also reports that its inaugural convention in China, held May 30-June 1, “was not as successful as we anticipated.” [ICv2]
Legal | Game company SNK Playmore has dropped its charges against manga publisher Square Enix and will allow the manga Hi Score Girl to use its characters without penalty. Last year, SNK filed a criminal complaint against Square Enix, charging that the manga, a comedy about gamers, included more than 100 instances of unauthorized use of SNK Playmore’s characters. As a result, serialization of the manga was suspended while police pursued charges against 16 of the people involved in its publication. Today, Square Enix announced that the two companies have reached an agreement: SNK Playmore has dropped its claim, and the two companies will work together with regard to sharing their characters. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Masashi Kishimoto says he’s done with Naruto and his friends, now that the manga has ended its 15-year run, and he’s also not eager to return to the grind of a weekly series. However, that doesn’t mean he’s putting away his pen and ink. On the contrary, he has already created character designs for a new sci-fi series, and he’s interested in working with the digital magazine Shonen Jump Plus, which would be more flexible with regard to the story’s length and schedule. “Since Naruto was a bigger hit than I could ever imagine,” he said, “I’d like to aim for the next hit. I don’t know when I can announce the next manga, but because I plan on challenging myself to surpass Naruto, please wait for it.” [Kotaku]
Koei Tecmo has debuted the first screenshots from Attack on Titan, the “tactical hunting game” for PlayStation based on Hajime Isayama’s hit manga.
The images arrive courtesy of the Japanese magazine Famitsu, which reveals that 50 percent of the game is complete. According to Koei Tecmo executives Hisashi Koinuma and Tomoyuki Kitamura, much of the focus has been on making flight, through the manga’s signature 3D maneuver gear, as fun as possible, with the controls rewarding both newcomers and skilled gamers.
Conventions | Comiket, the world’s largest comics expo, drew 550,000 attendees to its summer edition, which ended Sunday at to the Tokyo Big Sight. That’s about the same number of people as the summer 2014 installment. (Note: Those figures account for the number of visits during the three-day convention to the Tokyo Big Sight, rather than individual attendees.) The winter installment of the biannual event will be held in December. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | In an attempt to avoid the sort of bad press they got last year, organizers of Rhode Island Comic Con put a clause in this year’s press application requiring news organizations promise to avoid “insulting or disrespectful comments and giving a bad image of the show” in order to get press passes. That worked about as well as you would expect: The convention quickly apologized and reversed course following push-back from not only the Rhode Island Press Association but also the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center. [GoLocal Providence]
Legal | Anime and manga fans in Japan are raising concerns that a proposed provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership would threaten the existence of doujinshi, fan-made comics that are often parodies of commercial manga. Many established manga creators cut their teeth on doujinshi (and some return to it even after their series hit the big time), and the biggest comics expo in the world, Comiket, is devoted to doujinshi. The works are self-published and made in small batches, sold to fellow enthusiasts at large and small conventions, and Japanese publishers generally ignore them. Under current Japanese law, only the rights holder can bring a copyright complaint, but the TPP would allow complaints from third parties, including the creator of a rival doujinshi. “If creators can be prosecuted without complaints from rights holders, it could lead to some kind of snitching battle between fans,” said Negima creator Ken Akamatsu, himself a former doujinshi-ka. “Places for people to share their work will also disappear.” [The Japan News]
Nearly 10,000 people have signed an online petition demanding Amazon remove a bootleg T-shirt with the slogan “Keep Calm and Kill Your Teacher,” inspired by Yūsei Matsui’s popular manga Assassination Classroom.
Debuting in 2012 in Weekly Shonen Jump, the supernatural comedy-adventure centers on a class of misfits devoted to killing their new teacher, an alien octopus with incredible powers who has just destroyed most of the moon and is threatening to do the same to Earth.
Comics | How do you say “Bam! Pow!” in Russian? A group of Russian translators is calling for comics translators to use words derived from the official languages of the Russian Federation rather than simply rendering the existing sound effects in the Russian alphabet. “In comic books you can often encounter words imitating sounds,” the translators said in a letter to the Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “How can one express the sound of a phone ringing, of a creaky door, or a soda can being popped open, or the crinkle of an ice cream wrapper, or the sound of a motorcyclist’s foot rubbing against the ground? Often translators simply transliterate the English words.” Instead, they recommend using indigenous substitutes such as “chorkh” (scratching) and “khurt-khurt” (swallowing), both derived from Lezgian, a language spoken in Dagestan and Azerbaijan. [The Moscow Times, The Calvert Journal]
Creators | The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has named its first Cartoonist in Residence: Cameron McPhail, who left his job in 2002 as chief executive of wealth management at the Royal Bank of Scotland to become a full-time cartoonist. He and his colleagues in the Kartoon Faktory collective will produce books about the animals in the zoo and possibly a comic strip as well. [Edinburgh News]
Graphic novels | BookScan’s Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores in July has a decidedly different makeup than usual, with the 1988 one-shot Batman: The Killing Joke topping the list, and seven other DC Comics titles making the cut as well (however, just one of those, Batgirl, Vol. 1, is a new release). Other entries include hardy perennials American Born Chinese and Fun Home make the chart, perhaps as summer reading, and as always, the first volume of Attack on Titan. [ICv2]
Conventions | Denver, already home to one of the larger comics and pop culture conventions, is getting its own independent comics festival, the Denver Independent Comic and Art Expo (DINK), which will launch in March. The show will be held in the Sherman Street Event Center, which organizer Charlie LaGreca describes as “like something out of a Wes Anderson movie,” and is looking for sponsors with ties to the community. “The pop-culture, big-box cons are amazing and incredible, and we have them in spades now. They provide such a huge array [of options],” said LaGreca, a Denver Comic Con co-founder who exited the organization last year in a highly publicized dispute. “What’s cool about this is we can bring the focus back to just art and comics and the cross-pollination of what it means for art. It’s really embracing all comics genres, not [just] focused on sci-fi and superheroes and stuff like that.” [Westword]
The comics publisher Last Gasp has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of a new edition of the manga Barefoot Gen for distribution to libraries, schools and individual readers.
Barefoot Gen is a partially fictionalized account of creator Keiji Nakazawa’s experiences during the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath. Nakazawa, who was six years old at the time, was walking to school when the bomb was dropped. The woman who was walking with him was killed instantly, and his father, brother and sister died when their burning house collapsed on them — in front of his mother, who managed to escape; she gave birth that day to a baby who died a few days later.
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]
Manga | Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto has collaborated with Kenji Taira, author of the Naruto spinoff Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals, on a one-shot comic that will appear in the Japanese edition Shonen Jump (and most likely in the North American version as well). The story ties in to the upcoming Boruto: The Naruto Movie, which opens on Aug. 4 in Japan before receiving limited U.S. release in October. The issue also includes a variant cover for the collected edition of the Naruto sequel Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | Ethan Gilman looks forward to Boston Comic Con, which kicks off today and will feature appearances by Stan Lee, Jason Latour, and some movie and TV people as well. Boston Comic Con drew 900 attendees for its inaugural show, in 2007, and organizers expect 50,000 this year. [Boston Globe]
Creators | Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto isn’t getting the break he was looking forward to, although he was finally able to take his honeymoon, more than 10 years after his wedding. At a preview of Boruto: The Naruto Movie, he talked about moving from the hit manga, which ended its 15-year run last fall, to working on the movie: “I had thought that I could finally rest when I finished the manga series, but I couldn’t rest …” His own son is the same age as Boruto, the protagonist of the new movie (and Naruto’s son). And when asked about a sequel, he said, “I can’t. Please let me rest now,” adding that he thought Boruto was “perfect.” The movie will open on Aug. 7 in Japan and Oct. 10 in the United States. [Anime News Network]
Manga | More than 2.5 million copies of the English-language editions of Attack on Titan in print, Kodansha USA announced earlier this month at Anime Expo. Although that may seem like a lot, there are more than 44 million copies of the same 15 volumes of Hajime Isayama’s post-apocalyptic manga in print in Japan. The Asahi Shimbun estimates the U.S. comics market as one-fifth the size of the Japanese market. [The Asahi Shimbun]
Passings | Bill Garner, the editorial cartoonist for The Washington Times from 1983 to 2009, has died at age 79. Garner was born in Texas and attended the Texas School of Fine Arts, then went to the University of Texas at Austin for one year. He served in the Army from 1956 to 1962, then went to work as an illustrator for The Washington Star. His editor there suggested he try his hand at cartooning, and it took. He moved on to become the editorial cartoonist for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, where in 1981 he won a National Headliner Award. His best-known cartoon is one he drew for the Times shortly after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, showing a tank with the bumper sticker “Saddam Happens” driving over a sand dune. [The Washington Times]