"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Political cartoons | Joyce Brabner, the widow of Harvey Pekar and a comics creator in her own right, is raising funds to bring a group of cartoonists to Cleveland to do a live feed of comics and videos about the Republican National Convention “by people who detest everything Donald Trump stands for.” Tim Fielder, Ted Rall, Tony Puryear, Vishavjit Singh and Seth Tobacman are on board already, with other names to be announced. Brabner works with Gerta Oparaku, a Muslim artist who lives in Albania, and she is particularly interested in bringing more women and Muslim cartoonists into the mix. She will be providing housing, food, and escorts when needed; the GoFundMe is intended to pay travel expenses for artists who would not otherwise be able to participate. [GoFundMe]
Manga | ICv2 kicks off a week of manga coverage with a two-part interview with Kevin Hamric, Viz Media’s senior director of sales and marketing. Sales are up, with particularly strong growth in the direct market, where their older and darker series, like the Signature line, tend to do better. Interestingly, sales of shoujo (girls’) manga are up 20 percent in the direct market as well. In bookstores, as measured by BookScan, they are the number one graphic novel publisher of 2014, and they had five of the top ten best-sellers. Given all that, Hamric is genial about ceding the top spot to a Kodansha title: “Attack on Titan is #1, but whatever works and brings people into the stores and into the category is good for everybody.” In Part 2, he reveals what he expects to be the biggest book of 2015, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. [ICv2]
If you’re still searching for a gift for a Marvel fan on your shopping list, you might keep this in mind: The publisher is offering a two-month subscription to its massive digital archive for the price of one.
Through Jan. 4, new and returning subscribers can purchase two months of Marvel Unlimited for $9.99, gaining access to more than 15,000 classic and newer comics, dating from the Golden Age to about six months ago. In October, the publisher added some of its Season One graphic novels to the lineup.
Marvel Unlimited can be accessed on the web and through the Marvel Unlimited app on iPhone, iPad and select Android devices.
For full details, visit the Marvel Unlimited website; to take advantage of the limited offer, use the promo code “Unwrap.”
In a move that we can only presume is tied to Marvel’s upcoming television and movie plans, the publisher has announced the addition of some of its Season One graphic novels to the Marvel Unlimited digital library — specifically, Ant-Man, Daredevil and Doctor Strange.
Launching in 2012 with Fantastic Four: Season One, the line features current creators retelling, and expanding, the origins stories of some of Marvel’s most popular characters. Neither Fantastic Four nor Season One titles devoted to the X-Men, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor are mentioned in the announcement.
To celebrate New York Comic con, Marvel is once again offering access to its massive digital archive for a discounted price.
Through Oct. 16, you can buy a one-year membership to Marvel Unlimited Plus for $69, a savings of $30. Just go to the Marvel Unlimited website, and use the promo code “SAVE30″ at checkout.
If you’ve wanted to explore Marvel’s massive digital archive, now’s your chance: For the next week, in celebration of Comic-Con International, 99 cents will get you a month-long subscription to Marvel Unlimited and its online collection of more than 15,000 classic and newer comics, dating from the Golden Age to about six months ago.
The publisher offered a similar deal in March for South by Southwest; a monthly membership normally costs $9.99, while a basic annual subscription is $69.
Samsung on Thursday announced a partnership with Marvel designed to showcase the graphic capabilities of its new Galaxy Tab S tablets, a direct challenger to the Apple iPad.
With the July release of the Galaxy Tab S, users will receive a free three-month subscription to Marvel Unlimited, the digital service that features more than 13,000 issues from the publisher’s catalog. Over the next year, tablet owners will also receive early peeks at Marvel Studios films, including The Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as access to Marvel One-Shots and other content.
The agreement also calls for “the world of Samsung Mobile” to be seamlessly integrated into the Marvel Universe, both on the screen and on the page, which translates as product placement in films and comic books. That’s of course nothing new for movies — indeed, Marvel’s The Avengers was used to debut the new Acura supercar — but it’s not seen quite as often in comics. That said, Marvel has inserted (if not exactly “seamlessly integrated’) sponsored logos into its pages, through in-story signs, billboards and T-shirts.
The publisher’s digital subscription service allows users to access more than 15,000 classic and newer comics on their desktop browser or through the Marvel Unlimited app. A monthly membership normally costs $9.99; a basic annual subscription costs $69.
Business | The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved Disney’s plan to build a 58-acre television and film production facility on the sprawling Golden Oak Ranch, near Santa Clarita, California. Located less than an hour north of Los Angeles, the 890-acre ranch has been owned by Disney since 1959, serving as the backdrop for projects ranging from Little House on the Prairie to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Pirates of the Caribbean: The World’s End. ABC Studios has been producing more series than Disney’s Burbank facilities can handle, requiring additional sound stages to be rented. The new facility is targeted for completion in 2016.
Marvel Animation opened a new studio early last year in Glendale, just minutes from Disney’s Burbank lot. Marvel Studios later followed suit, moving from Manhattan Beach to new offices in Glendale. [TheWrap]
Manga | The recent move by a Japanese school board to restrict student access to Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen has resulted in a surge in sales of the book — so much so that the publishers had to increase their reprint numbers by a factor of three, bookstores are reporting shortages, and an e-book distributor expects it to make the Top 10 this month. As we noted Monday, the board has reversed its policy. [The Mainichi]
Digital comics | Marvel has updated its Marvel Unlimited app for iOS and Android, addressing the two chief user complaints by doubling the number of comics that can be downloaded and read offline from six to 12 and improving searchability by allowing users to search by publication date. [PC Magazine]
Digital comics | Although the Marvel Unlimited and DC Comics apps work very differently, Noel Murray has similar complaints about both: Specific titles are difficult to find, and the damn things keep crashing: “Frankly, while some of the other major comics apps have better search functions — Dark Horse’s, for example — none of the big companies have created the digital comics retailing equivalent of an Amazon or iTunes.” [Hero Complex]
Publishing | Drawn & Quarterly has announced its fall lineup, which includes Peter Bagge’s biography Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story. [Drawn & Quarterly]
Marvel’s Digital Comics Unlimited service allows unlimited access to a library of more than 13,000 comics, all more than six months old. The service has been around for a while — I’ve been a subscriber for more than a year — but it took a great leap forward a few days ago with the release of a new iOS app that allows the user to read comics on an iPad or iPhone and download up to six comics at a time. Marvel executives discussed the new service, now rebranded Marvel Unlimited, over the weekend at South by Southwest, and it has received a good deal of coverage since its debut. I thought it would be interesting to dig a little deeper, so I asked ROBOT 6 contributors to join me in a discussion about how they read digital comics and whether Marvel Unlimited ties in with that.
Brigid Alverson: What do you think of the idea behind Marvel Unlimited, an all-you-can-eat streaming service? Would you prefer it to a download service like comiXology?
JK Parkin: I’m torn about it, to be honest. On the one hand, having access to Marvel’s complete library — or a huge chunk of it, or however many comics they have out there — sounds appealing. But I don’t think I’d have time to really use it enough to get the bang for my buck I’d be looking for. I spend most of my comics reading time trying to keep up with all the new comics I read — and I’ve got a stack of comics and graphic novels that tell me I’m not doing such a good job in that department already — so I don’t think I’d have time to make use of a library of stuff like this.
Publishing | Dark Horse President Mike Richardson discusses how he became one of the first publishers of manga in the United States, explains how the company selects its titles, and suggests some manga for first-time readers. [Previews]
Digital comics | Retailer Ron Catapano points to the comiXology server crash triggered by the response to the free Marvel comics promotion as “the problem with digital content that fans keep complaining about”: “I can’t read the books I paid for because I can’t save them on my own computer and I’m limited in what I can save to my tablet by the small storage on tablets. Instead, the books I pay for are kept by comiXology and as long as I have a high speed internet connection available… I can log on and read my books on their web site or I can download a few to my tablet. BUT NOT TODAY … because someone decided it was a good idea to put 700 Marvel issue #1’s up for free at the same time.” [ICv2.com]
In “By the Numbers,” ROBOT 6 takes a look back at the events of the past five days … in numbers. Our starting point this week is Wednesday’s announcement that retailers ordered a record-breaking number of comics for Free Comic Book Day, an international event that will draw millions of customers into specialty shops on May 4.
However, there was another figure that’s almost as impressive: the print run for the latest volume of the hit manga One Piece.