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Comics A.M. | ‘Vinland Saga’ could end U.S. release with Vol. 7

vinland saga-v7

Publishing | Kodansha Comics announced Tuesday that its North American release of Makoto Yukimura’s historical manga Vinland Saga could end following the seventh volume. “Please preorder and don’t let this great series die!” the publisher wrote on Twitter, adding, “We’re hoping we’ll be able to license the next arc, but it’s up in the air at the moment.” Kodansha began the U.S. release of the series in October 2013. The seventh volume will be published Dec. 29. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | Amarillo, Texas, comic store robbed at gunpoint

Big Apple Comics

Big Apple Comics

Crime | Police in Amarillo, Texas, are searching for a man who robbed the Big Apple Comics at gunpoint on Tuesday. An employee was locking up the store at about 7:10 p.m. when a man approached him and told him to unlock the doors. The employee resisted, and the robber reportedly drew a semi-automatic pistol and demanded money. The employee handed over an undisclosed amount of cash. [Amarillo Globe-News]

Passings | Zack Davisson, who translated Shigeru Mizuki’s works into English for Drawn and Quarterly, pens the definitive obituary of the late manga master, writing not only about his impact on Japanese culture but also his criticism of Japan’s actions in World War II and its treatment of disabled veterans, which led writer Jake Adelstein to call him “the Voice of Japan’s Conscience.” [The Comics Journal]

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Brace yourselves, ‘Human Centipede’ has inspired a manga

centipede-human-social

After horrifying audiences the world over, the infamous film franchise The Human Centipede has inspired a new manga series in Japan.

Crunchyroll reports this week’s issue of Nemesis magazine debuted Centipede Human: Final Liberation, by Ryuta Yoshinaga, author of the vampire manga Chinomi. Although writer/director Tom Six’s 2009 original film was set in Germany, the manga transplants the story to a remote mountain village in Japan.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Fruits Basket’ manga to return from Yen Press

Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 1

Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1

Manga | Huge news for manga fans this weekend: Yen Press has picked up the license for Fruits Basket, one of the top-selling shoujo (girls) manga of all time. The story of Tohru Honda, a teenage orphan who becomes involved with a large family that suffers from an ancient curse, Fruits Basket was originally published in North America by Tokyopop and arguably helped create the manga boom of the mid-2000s. The series often made the USA Today bestseller charts, and together with Sailor Moon, it brought girls and women into the comics world in large numbers for the first time in decades. Also, it’s a cracking good read. Yen Press will publish it in deluxe two-in-one omnibus format with a new translation. [Anime News Network, Yen Press]

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Comics A.M. | Trial date set in alleged Pokemon gun plot

Pokemon World Championships

Pokemon World Championships

Legal | Two Iowa men suspected of plotting an armed attack in August against the Pokemon World Championships will stand trial on May 9 in Boston. A pretrial hearing is set for Dec. 30. Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, have been held since their Aug. 22 arrest on charges of possession of a large-capacity weapon and other crimes. Prosecutors say the two, who allegedly made multiple online threats against the event, drove to Boston with guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in their car. [Ames Tribune]

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Comics A.M. | ‘One Piece’ is the king of manga sales, again

one piece-v76

Manga | Continuing its seven-year streak, Eiichiro Oda’s pirate adventure One Piece was the bestselling manga in Japan in 2015, according to the market research firm Oricon. The series sold 14.1 million copies between Dec. 1, 2014, and Nov. 30, 2015, an increase of 18 percent from the previous year. It’s followed by The Seven Deadly Sins with 10.3 million, Attack on Titan with 8.8 million, Assassination Classroom with 8.6 million and Kingdom with 8.5 million. You can see the full Top 10, as well as breakdowns by volume, at Crunchyroll. [Crunchyroll]

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‘GeGeGe No Kitaro’ creator Shigeru Mizuki dies at age 93

Shigeru Mizuki

Shigeru Mizuki

Shigeru Mizuki, author of the enduring supernatural manga GeGeGe No Kitaro, which popularized the Japanese spirits known as yōkai, passed away today at age 93.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mizuki had been hospitalized since Nov. 11, following injuries he sustained when he fell and hit his head at his home in Tokyo.

Long beloved in his own country, Mizuki rose to international attention in 2007 when his NonNonBa became the first manga to be honored as Best Album at the Angouleme International Comics Festival. Drawn and Quarterly began publishing his work in English in 2011, with his searing semi-autobiographical war story Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, which won an Eisner Award; two volumes of Showa, his history of the Showa period, won the 2015 Eisner. His most recent work to be released in English is his biography of Hitler, published earlier this month by Drawn and Quarterly.

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Comics A.M. | Tintinologist named as UK’s first professor of comics

tintin-social

Comics | Benoît Peeters, a French comics writer, critic and Tintin expert, has been named as Lancaster University’s Visiting Professor in Graphic Fiction and Comic Art, characterized as the first appointment of its kind in the United Kingdom. “This professorship is a great honour for me,” said Peeters, whose works include Tintin and the World of Herge. “I want to explore the connections between the history of graphic fiction and contemporary creation, between the world of French and Belgian bande dessinée, and the world of comics and graphic novels.” [The Telegraph]

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Comics A.M. | The rise of the custom retailer variant cover

John Romita Jr.'s exclusive "Dark Knight III" #1 variant for Ssalefish Comics

John Romita Jr.’s exclusive “Dark Knight III” #1 variant for Ssalefish Comics

Retailing  | The Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal looks at the increasing popularity of custom retailer variant covers, focusing on local stores Acme Comics and Ssalefish Comics, which last week debuted an exclusive red-foil variant for Wrath of the Eternal Warrior and this week will release a cover by John Romita Jr. for Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1. The latter costs Ssalefish $18,800, which covered printing of color and black-and-white covers and Romita’s commission. “Even if we don’t make money back on the books, it’s still nice advertising,” said Bret Parks, owner of Ssalefish. “It’s a lot of fun and it makes our customers realize they’re getting something special, because although you might see a big stack of these ‘Eternal Warrior’ variants in our store, we’re the only store in the world that has them.” [The Winston-Salem Journal]

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Comics A.M. | Locust Moon to close store, focus on publishing

Locust Moon

Locust Moon

Retailing | The Philadelphia comics and art shop Locust Moon is closing its doors as a retailer so that co-owner Joshua O’Neill can focus on a different area of the business: publishing. “[A]s publishers, we’re just getting started,” O’Neill posted on his Facebook page. “[W]e’ll now be able to focus our attentions on making books full time. we’re incredibly excited about that. locust moon is not dying — it’s still just being born.” Locust Moon has already published an Eisner Award-winning anthology of Little Nemo comics, and is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of some very early “lost” Will Eisner comics. [PhillyVoice]

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Viz Media issues response to digital-piracy arrests

one piece-v69

Manga publisher Viz Media has issued a statement reaffirming its stance on digital piracy following the arrests in Japan of four men accused of illegally uploading a chapter of One Piece to a scanlation website.

Police in Japan say a delivery company employee stole a copy of Weekly Shonen Jump while it was en route from the printer to the retailer and sold the magazine to three other men, who then uploaded the comic to an English-language pirate site. Here’s Viz’s statement:

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Comics A.M. | Michael Gross, designer of ‘Ghostbusters’ logo, passes away

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters

Passings | Michael C. Gross, the artist, designer and film producer best remembered for creating the iconic Ghostbusters logo, passed away Monday following a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 70 years old. Hired in 1970 as the art director of The National Lampoon, Gross is credited with pioneering the magazine’s approach to comics and illustration; he’s also famed for his notorious cover bearing the headline, “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.” Gross was encouraged by his friends John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd to move in the early 1980s from New York to Los Angeles, where he produced such films as Heavy Metal, Twins and both Ghostbusters films, and worked on the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. [The Associated Press]

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Comics A.M. | Three arrested for illegally uploading ‘One Piece’

One Piece

One Piece

Legal | Japanese police have arrested three men on copyright violation charges, alleging they scanned and uploaded a chapter of One Piece from Weekly Shonen Jump to mangapanda, an English-language scanlation site. Police also arrested an employee of a delivery company who allegedly got his hands on a copy of the magazine at some point on its way from the printer to the newsstands and handed it over to the scanners. All four men are denying any wrongdoing. The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, which first reported the news, said this is the first time action has been taken regarding a foreign-language website. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Sandman: Overture’ is Amazon’s best comic of 2015

The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition

The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition

Best of the year | Amazon lists its Top 20 graphic novels of 2015 in order of sales, but the editors chose The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III as the best graphic novel of the year. Other notable titles include Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine DeLandro’s Bitch Planet, Scott Snyder and Jock’s Wytches, Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona, and Kate Beaton’s Step Aside, Pops. Amazon also included Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl, and Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll’s Baba Yaga’s Assistant in its lists of the best children’s books of the year. [Amazon]

Comics | Wayne Bell says his new comic book ISIS: A Culture of Evil, is a valuable tool to tell stories of atrocities the media won’t cover: “It’s factual, it’s accurate, it’s the real deal, and unlike a TV program it absolutely goes to the bone quick.” Some veterans who were shown the book weren’t so sure, though, especially as it looks like a coloring book; they felt the medium wasn’t appropriate for the message. [CBS St. Louis]

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Comics A.M. | SDCC preregistration badge sale arrives Saturday

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Although it may seem way too early to begin the countdown to Comic-Con International, badge sales open Saturday at 9 a.m. PT for those who attended the 2015 convention and preregistration (this isn’t the annual mad dash, which arrives in a few months). If you’re eligible, you should receive your registration code by email at least 24 hours before badge sales open. Comic-Con provides a detailed walk-through of the process. [Toucan]

Legal | The Malaysian Federal Court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the government shouldn’t have banned two books of Zunar’s political cartoons, 1Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun. “This is a victory for all cartoonists, it tells the Home Ministry and the government that drawing cartoons is not a crime,” Zunar said. He also said the ruling means that the government must also lift bans on all his books and drop sedition charges against him. “Stop raiding this my office, stop harassing my webmaster for selling the books online, and stop raiding and threatening printers and shops involved in the production and sales,” he said. [Malaysyakini]

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