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Comics A.M. | Cosplay, and the fight against harassment

NYCC's "Cosplay Is Not Consent" poster, designed by Amy Reeder

NYCC’s “Cosplay Is Not Consent” poster

Cosplay | Visiting New York Comic Con, Andrea Romano takes a look at the world of cosplay, the issue of sexual harassment — one person notes it’s certainly not exclusive to cosplay, observing, “There’s harassment when a woman is just wearing a crop top on the street” — and efforts being made to stop it.  Convention organizers placed their new anti-harassment policy front and center this year, and it seems to have helped: There were just eight reported incidents of sexual harassment during the four-day event. [Mashable]

Conventions | Fensterman talks at greater length about NYCC’s anti-harassment measures in this article, which contrasts the comics scene with what’s going on in the gaming world. [Time]

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Comics A.M. | Square Enix fires back in manga copyright feud

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Legal | The Japanese publisher Square Enix has filed a counterclaim against SNK Playmore, asking Osaka District Court to rule that its manga Hi Score Girl doesn’t infringe on copyrights held by the video game company. Earlier this year, SNK brought criminal copyright violation charges against Square Enix after learning Hi Score Girl contains more than 100 unauthorized images of characters from SNK Playmore games. The manga has been put on hold because of the dispute. [Anime News Network]

Conventions | Who’s buying, and how much are they spending, at conventions? Rob Salkowitz mines the numbers from a recent Eventbrite poll of convention-goers to get some answers: Most people spend between $100 and $500 per person; cosplayers actually spend a bit more than average; and women shell out more money at conventions, while men spend more online. [ICv2]

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‘Attack on Titan’ posters swap humans for fast food

attack-on-titan1

Hajime Isayama’s manga Attack on Titan is as popular as it is gory, with enormous creatures that devour humans in the same way we might dig into a bucket of KFC — only with a lot more indiscriminate bone-crunching. Needless to say, those probably aren’t the kind of images you want to plaster throughout the Tokyo subway.

So what do you do if you’re tasked with promoting an art exhibit at a Tokyo museum devoted to Attack on Titan? Well, Rocket News24 reports the designers cleverly avoided complaints about graphic imagery by covering the unfortunate humans on each of the posters with a photo of fast food — pizza, burgers, fried chicken and the like. I suppose there’s an argument to be made those are even more horrific than the originals.

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Comics A.M. | A look back at the 1964 New York comic con

A Thor sketch by Jack Kirby, from the 1946 convention program

A Thor sketch by Jack Kirby, from the 1946 convention program

Conventions | Ahead of New York Comic Con, George Gene Gustines shares producer Michael Uslan’s program from a 1964 comics gathering in New York City; it actually was released after the show, and includes some thoughts on how things could be improved, mainly by shifting the focus from buying and selling comics to bringing in creators so the fans could meet them personally. Nonetheless, Steve Ditko was there, and the list of registered participants included George R.R. Martin. [The New York Times]

Creators | Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa talks about taking Sabrina the Teenage Witch to the dark side in her new series, a Riverdale horror story in the same vein as Afterlife With Archie. In this case, rather than zombies, Aguirre-Sacasa is drawing inspiration from the 1960s film Rosemary’s Baby. [Hero Complex]

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Comics A.M. | Two GNs among inaugural Kirkus Prize finalists

From "El Deafo"

From “El Deafo”

Awards | The finalists for the inaugural Kirkus Prize literary awards include two graphic novels: Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is one of six nominees in the Nonfiction category, and Cece Bell’s El Deafo is one of the picks for the Young Readers award. The winners in all three categories, who will receive $50,000 each, will be announced during a ceremony held Oct. 23 in Austin, Texas. [The Washington Post]

Manga | A prequel to Osamu Tezuka’s classic Astro Boy manga is in the works for the Japanese magazine Monthly Hero’s. Tezuka’s son, Makoto Tezuka, is supervising the production of the story, which focuses on the time before the “birth” of the iconic robot boy. [Anime News Network]

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Chinese newspapers warn against ‘blue fatty’ Doraemon

doraemon2

In an unexpected turn, the smiling blue robot cat Doraemon has become embroiled in a political controversy in China, where critics charge that the popular anime character is a tool for Japan’s “cultural invasion.”

The New York Times reports the rumpus follows the successful opening in mid-August of the 100 Doraemon Secret Gadgets Expo in Chengdu, which apparently led three major newspapers last week to question the motives of Japan’s Foreign Ministry, and not its cultural or economic branches, in naming the cartoon cat as “anime ambassador.” Doraemon, the argument goes, is merely a Trojan Horse for Japan’s political goals.

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Comics A.M. | Bestselling ‘One Piece’ spawns a spinoff series

One Piece

One Piece

Manga | Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, the bestselling manga in Japan, is getting a spinoff: Starting with the January issue, which ships in December, the manga magazine Saikyo Jump will carry a series focusing on Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates. There doesn’t seem to be any information yet on who the creators will be. [Anime News Network]

Publishing | In a business-oriented interview, Mark Waid talks about the strategy behind his digital comics site Thrillbent, especially its appeal to diverse groups of readers. The key is flexibility, Waid said, in terms of platforms and content. His goal is to make the comics readable on any digital device, which he says is not difficult once the site is set up. In terms of content, he says, “Pay attention to the audience, let them tell you who you’re clearly not serving, and go after them.” [The Wall Street Journal]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ blackmailer withdraws appeal

Kuroko's Basketball, Vol. 24

Kuroko’s Basketball, Vol. 24

Legal | Hirofumi Watanabe has withdrawn the appeal of his conviction last month on charges of sending more than 400 threatening letters to venues in Japana connected with the manga Kuroko’s Basketball. The 37-year-old former temporary worker admitted to all charges during his first day in court, but mpoved to have his conviction overturned after he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Watanabe, who said he doesn’t feel guilty for what he did and won’t apologize, acknowledged that he sent the letters out of jealousy of the success of Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. [Anime News Network]

Manga | The most promising new market for manga right now? India, where the comics market in general is exploding. Kevin Hamric of Viz Media says manga is already well known there and fans can’t get enough, while Lance Fensterman of ReedPOP, the company behind New York Comic Con, talks about the planned collaboration with Comic Con India. The one obstacle: the same one that afflicted the American manga market, Japanese publishers’ reluctance to license their properties. [The Japan Times]

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Indonesian TV watchdog says ‘Crayon Shin-chan’ is ‘essentially’ porn

Crayon Shin-chanBranding the popular anime as borderline “pornography,” Indonesia’s television regulator has warned a broadcaster to censor “indecent” images on Crayon Shin-chan or air the series at a later time, when it’s unlikely to be seen by children.

Based on the manga by the late Yoshito Usui, Crayon Shin-chan follows a the adventures of a mischievous 5-year-old who’s prone to inappropriate behavior — he frequently moons other characters — and off-color language. Scantily clad women and risque humor are staples of the series; there’s also the matter of his infamous “Mr. Elephant” dance.

That’s too much for the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI), a government-sanctioned but independent regulatory body, which on Monday issued the warning to the Jakarta-based RCTI television network.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ will likely end in three years

Attack on Titan, Vol. 14

Attack on Titan, Vol. 14

Creators | Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama estimates that the blockbuster manga series will end in three years. “I’d like to end things quickly, with a tight pace of story developments,” he told Japan’s Da Vinci magazine, “and then I always end up feeling like I should qualify that with a ‘but,’ so for now, I can’t say anything more specific.” [RocketNews 24]

Conventions | Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, has a thriving entertainment industry, and comics are blossoming there as well. At The Beat, Deji Bryce Olukotun interviews Ayodele Elegba, co-founder of this past weekend’s Lagos Comic Con, about the popularity of comics, what makes the Nigerian comics scene different from others, and the ever-present problem of piracy. [The Beat]

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Comics A.M. | Graphic novel sales up 10% in bookstores this year

Saga, Vol. 1

Saga, Vol. 1

Graphic novels | Sales of graphic novels are up 10 percent so far this year compared to the same period in 2013, according to Neilsen BookScan, which tracks sales in bookstores and other general retail channels. In terms of unit sales, that’s about 5.6 million books sold this year, as opposed to 5.1 million in 2013. The trend is echoed by Diamond Comic Distributors’ numbers for the direct market, which show graphic novels up 3.8 percent in dollars and 5.8 percent in unit sales year to date. [Publishers Weekly]

Creators | Alison Bechdel is having a busy week: Following the news that she has been awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship, she announced her new book: The Secret to Superhuman Strength, a memoir of her obsession with exercise and a history of American fitness fads, to be published in 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | Pulitzer-winning cartoonist Tony Auth passes away

Tony Auth

Tony Auth

Passings | Tony Auth, editorial cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1971 to 2012, died Sunday at age 72. Auth, who won both the Pulitzer and Herblock prizes during his lengthy career with the newspaper, began drawing as a child, when a lengthy illness confined him to bed for a year and a half. He graduated from UCLA in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in biological illustration, and worked as a medical illustrator for a time. He began his cartooning career doing a weekly cartoon for a local alternative newspaper and then started drawing a thrice-weekly cartoon for the UCLA Daily Bruin. He left the Inquirer in 2012 to pursue digital cartooning and became the Digital Artist in Residence for WHYY’s News Works. In addition to his cartooning work, he illustrated 11 children’s books. His editorial cartoons have been collected into two books, and Temple University has begun fund-raising for an archive of his work. Michael Cavna has a roundup of tributes from Auth’s colleagues at Comic Riffs. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

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Japanese police charge two men with illegally uploading manga

Berserk, Vol. 37

Berserk, Vol. 37

A 27-year-old Japanese man has been charged with copyright infringement after he allegedly uploaded the 37th volume of Kentaro Miura’s action-fantasy manga Berserk without permission.

According to Crunchyroll, Fukuoka Prefectural Police’s Anti-Cyber Crime Division and its East station arrested the unemployed Kaga City resident on Wednesday, saying he used the file-sharing software Share on April 28 to upload the manga. He’s also accused of illegally uploading music.

On the same day, Miyagi Prefectural Police’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Division and its Shiogama station arrested a 44-year-old office worker who’s accused of illegally uploading volumes of the manga OK-ON!, Tennen Joshi-kō Monogatari, Jo-Kura no Okite, Kanban Musume wa Sashiosae and Working!! on May 5.

Police confiscated his personal computer and other property; the man allegedly admitted to the crime.

Illegally uploading manga in Japan is punishable by as many as 10 years in jail or a fine of about $98,000.

Teen claims ‘Soul Eater,’ Slender Man led her to set home on fire

soul eaterA 14-year-old Florida girl reportedly told police she was inspired by Atsushi Ōkubo’s manga Soul Eater and the Internet legend Slender Man to set her house on fire while her mother and brother slept. Both escaped unharmed.

WTSP Channel 10 reports that when firefighters arrived early Thursday to the burning house in Port Richey, they found the woman and 9-year-old, but the teenager was unaccounted for. As rescue workers searched for the girl, her mother allegedly began receiving text messages from her that read, “Mom Im so sorry I dont know why I did it” and “Did any of u get hurt.”

Police soon apprehended the teen, who allegedly said she had a fight with her mother the night before, and was influenced by reading Soul Eater, a supernatural action-adventure that centers on a young death god in training who, along with her classmates, must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch.

“There’s a part in this book where two characters get in a fight with each other,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco explained during a press conference. “All of a sudden that clicked something in her mind, and she decided she was going to kill her family.

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Comics A.M. | Salt Lake Comic Con draws a reported 120,000

Salt Lake Comic Con

Salt Lake Comic Con

Conventions | Attendance at the second annual Salt Lake Comic Con was estimated at between 120,000 and 130,000, putting it on a par with the big shows like Comic-Con International in San Diego and New York Comic Con. Even better, Stan Lee proclaimed it “the greatest comic con in the world” (but he probably says that to all the shows). [The Salt Lake Tribune]

Conventions | The scale of the first Las Cruces [New Mexico] Comic Con was considerably smaller, with expected attendance of 3,000 to 5,000, but organizers were pleased with the event, which featured a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament, a Comic Strip Burlesque show, and appearances by Jim Steranko, Power Rangers stuntman Jason Ybarra, and the 1966 Batmobile. [Las Cruces Sun-News]

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