Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Udon Entertainment announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego that it has acquired one of the most sought-after manga licenses ever, Ryoko Ikeda’s “Rose of Versailles,” as well as two other series: Moyoco Anno’s “Sugar Sugar Rune,” which was previously published by Del Rey Manga, and “Stein’s Gate” based on the “Steins;Gate” video game.
“Rose of Versailles,” set in the court of the French queen Marie Antoinette, is one of the most popular and influential manga of all time, and became a shared experience for a generation of Japanese women. The main character in the story is Oscar Francois de Jarjayes, the youngest daughter of the leader of the palace guard, who is raised as a man so she can succeed her father. The story mingles real historical events with romance, drama, and palace intrigue, with Oscar in the center and Marie Antoinette, her paramour Count Axel von Ferson, and Oscar’s childhood friend Andre Grandier all playing major roles.
Awards | Jillian Tamaki has won the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Prize for children’s literature illustration for her work on This One Summer, a graphic novel collaboration with cousin Mariko Tamaki (who was nominated in the text category). Their first book, 2008’s Skim, was previously nominated in the text division, further demonstrating a separation of illustration and story that Jillian Tamaki finds “strange.” ““I think we are both creators of the book,” she tells the Edmonton Journal. “You can’t read a comic without either component, it won’t make sense. It’s something I will always be addressing when talking about the award. But I am completely flattered by the honor and will be sharing the prize with my cousin.” [Edmonton Journal, via The Comics Reporter]
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
Moyoco Anno writes unsparingly about the lives of Japanese women, and In Clothes Called Fat, recently published in English by Vertical, is no exception. Complete in one volume, this manga wraps together the themes of bullying, body image and eating disorders in a story that veers sharply from the usual narrative.
Noko is an office lady with a longtime boyfriend and a lot of extra pounds. People are openly rude to her because of her weight, but in the beginning she doesn’t seem to be too unhappy about it; she has always had friends, and her boyfriend, Saito, is supportive and doesn’t want her to lose weight.
Retailing | An American collector donated about 800 comics to the Books For Amnesty charity store in Bristol, England, just ahead of a planned sale of comics and graphic novels. Volunteer Richard Wallet said the collection, which goes back to the 1960s, is probably worth tens of thousands of pounds. The store, which benefits Amnesty International, recently had another windfall when someone donated a copy of the Beatles album Revolver signed by the designer, Klaus Voormann, and valued at £1,000 (about $1,716 U.S.). [Bristol Post]
Comics | Jim Rugg interviews retailer Andrew Neal about the Ghost Variant cover program, which was created by a group of store owners. The idea was to commission a prominent artist to do a special variant cover for a particular comic and release it, through the stores in the group only, with very little promotion. It turns out that some comics buyers like a little mystery! [BoingBoing]
Conventions | The Salt Lake Comic Con spinoff event FanXperience is shaping up for its April 17 debut with the addition of KidCon, a pavilion dedicated to younger attendees. “We don’t want the impression that we have KidCon there for everything else to become less kid-friendly,” says co-founder Dan Farr. “Although I would imagine 99 percent of the people that are coming are going to take their kids throughout the whole hall, it’s just to have an area where they can go and spend a little more time with their kids.” The inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con in September drew an estimated 80,000 attendees; organizers anticipate as many as 100,000 for FanX, which will have almost double the floor space. [Deseret News]
Legal | The judge was a no-show for what was supposed to be the announcement of the verdict in the trial of Algerian cartoonist Djamel Ghanem, who stands accused of “insulting the president of the republic” in a cartoon that was, bizarrely, never published. Ghanem’s lawyer says the verdict has been postponed; the cartoonist faces up to 18 months in prison and a fine of 30,000 dinars ($380 U.S>) if found guilty. [Global Post]
Death, taxes and new comics. Those are just a few things we can expect in the New Year (not YOUR death necessarily, just death in general). Anyway, lots of comics will be published this year. Here are six I’m really looking forward to and that I think you should be excited about as well. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments.
1. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Random House). A bit of an obvious choice perhaps. Still, whether you loved Scott Pilgrim or hated it to tiny, tiny pieces, there’s little doubt that O’Malley’s big follow-up to his uber-successful and much ballyhooed series is going to draw a lot of attention from all corners of comics fandom. There’s a lot of people curious about this book, about which little is known other than it takes place in a restaurant. Count me among them.
2. Arsene Schrauwen by Olivier Schrauwen (Fantagraphics). Is Olivier Schrauwen one of the most amazing, inventive and original cartoonists to come along in decades? Well, duh. If you’ve read The Man Who Grew His Beard, My Boy or perhaps the initial chapter of this (I’m assuming) invented tale of the author’s grandfather, you know how creative and fearless he can be. This might well be the book I’m most looking forward to this year.
Legal | Palestinian cartoonist Mohammed Saba’aneh was released from an Israeli prison on Monday, as scheduled. Saba’aneh, who was originally held without charges and eventually sentenced to five months for “contacts with a hostile organization,” drew several cartoons while he was in prison and plans to do a show of his prison drawings, focusing on Palestinian prisoners who, he says, are in prison “just because they are Palestinians.” [PRI’s The World]
Manga | In a major coup for a manga publisher, Digital Manga (which, contrary to its name, also published print manga) announced at Anime Expo that it has signed a deal with Tezuka Productions to publish all of Osamu Tezuka’s works in North America. While the details aren’t entirely clear, it sounds like Digital is working on some new licenses and will have digital rights to books released here in print by other publishers. [Anime News Network]
Legal | The lawyer for Jack Kirby’s heirs asked the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to overturn a 2011 ruling that Marvel owns the copyrights to the characters the late artist co-created for the publisher, arguing that a federal judge misinterpreted the law. Attorney Marc Toberoff, who also represents the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in their fight against DC Comics, told a three-judge panel that a freelancer who gets paid only when a publisher likes his work is not, under copyright law, performing work for hire. Marvel countered that Stan Lee’s testimony established Kirby drew the contested works at the publisher’s behest; the Kirby family insists the lower court gave too much credence to Lee’s testimony. Kirby’s children filed 45 notices in 2009 in a bid to terminate their father’s assignment of copyright to characters ranging from the Fantastic Four and the Avengers to Thor and Iron Man under a provision of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act. However, in July 2011, a judge determined those comics created between 1958 and 1963 were work made for hire and therefore ineligible for copyright termination. [Law360.com]
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, the third issue of Batman Inc. would be a must for me this week [after Chris turned in his picks, DC announced that the issue will be delayed until next month], especially since it features the return of Matches Malone, a character I wasn’t even aware I missed until now. I might also spring for the first issue of Axe Cop: President of the World, a new limited series featuring the hatchet-swinging lawman.
I read very little manga by Moyoco Anno, but what I have read has impressed me and what I’ve read about her has made me want to seek more of her work out. So with $30, I’d almost certainly nab Sakuran, Vol. 1, about a high-priced courtesan/geisha looking to escape her gilded cage.
If I really, really wanted to splurge, I’d plunk $125 down for the second printing of the Wally Wood EC Stories Artist Edition from IDW, of which I’ve only heard wonderful things. If my splurging had to be a little budget-friendly, and I was in a more academic mood, I’d at least flip through Cerebus: The Barbarian Messiah, a collection of critical essays on Dave Sim’s controversial opus.
Although it’s only June, I’m predicting that Moyoco Anno’s Sakuran is going to be one of the most interesting manga of the year. It’s a bit like the novel Memoirs of a Geisha, with gorgeous Edo-era settings and costumes and a streak of cruelty amid the beauty, only the main character (whose name changes several times) is not a geisha; she is a prostitute. The book was the basis for the movie of the same name.
Sakuran is a bit of a challenge for those who don’t read a lot of manga, because the story is very compressed. However, the fascinating subject matter and Anno’s jerky, expressive art should make up for that. Comics Alliance has a generous preview, and that’s a good opportunity to go see for yourself.
To see what Ed and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
Broadway | Reeve Carney, who plays Peter Parker and Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has extended his contract with the musical through May. Carney’s original contract was set to expire in November. “I can’t imagine a more wonderful, harder-working company than my mates on Broadway, and I look forward to being with them until shooting begins, and again as soon as we’ve wrapped,” he said. [Wall Street Journal]
Creators | The works of cartoonists Frode Överli, Lise Myhre, Christopher Nielsen and Jason are being featured on postage stamps in Norway, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first comic book to be published in the country, The Katzenjammer Kids. [cats without dogs]
Creators | Firebreather creator and former Wonder Woman writer Phil Hester is profiled in conjunction with a visit to Limited Edition Comics and Collectibles in Cedar Falls, Iowa. [WCF Courier.com]