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Food or Comics? | Batwoman, 20th Century Boys, Regenesis and more

Batwoman #2

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d first grab hold of my favorite of DC’s New 52, Batwoman #2 (DC, $2.99). J.H. Williams III has successfully kept up to the immense expectations he accumulated following his run with Greg Rucka, and the artwork seems to benefit even more by J.H.’s input into the story as co-writer. Next I’d dig down for two of my regular pulls, Northlanders #45 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Uncanny X-Force #16 (Marvel, $3.99). For my final pick, I’d have to miss a bunch of other titles for the chance to get the CBLDF Liberty Annual 2011 #4 (Image, $4.99). I love the anthology format, and having that plus the good cause plus the a-list talent makes it a must get; seriously, can you imagine one comic book containing new work by Frank Quitely, Williams, Mark Waid, J. Michael Straczynski, Matt Wagner AND Craig Thompson? BELIEVE IT!

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Smile! Creators react to Japan disaster with optimism

One of Takehiko Inoue's Smile drawings

Even as rescue operations continue and officials scramble to avert a nuclear disaster in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on Friday, some manga artists are reaching out to their fans with a message of hope.

Takehiko Inoue, the creator of Vagabond and Slam Dunk, has been posting pictures of ordinary Japanese people smiling with the Twitter hashtags #prayforjapan and #tsunami, as a sort of prayer. Shoujo manga creator Arina Tanemura (Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne, The Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross) also drew one of her characters with a big smile. Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball) posted a lively drawing with a message of support on the Shonen Jump website. And Itou Noizi, who illustrated the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novels, has drawn a picture of Haruhi in prayer.

A number of well-known creators, including Naoki Urasawa (Pluto, 20th Century Boys), Natsume Ono (House of Five Leaves) and Kanata Konami (Chi’s Sweet Home) have posted drawings and messages of encouragement at the website of Kodansha’s Morning magazine. Anime News Network has a full list of contributors in English.

Japanese-Canadian artist Nina Matsumoto (Yokaiden) is doing commissioned drawings of her characters for $25 each, with the proceeds to go to the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund.

Comics A.M. | Spiegelman wins Grand Prix, Borders delays more payments

Art Spiegelman

Awards | Art Spiegelman on Sunday won the Grand Prix at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, marking only the third time an American has received the honor (the other two were Will Eisner and Robert Crumb). “Considering my poor skills, I’m looking a little like the president Obama receiving the Nobel Peace prize,” he told the festival by telephone from the United States. Spiegelman will serve as the grand marshal for next year’s event.

Other winners at the four-day festival, which drew an estimated 200,000 visitors, include David Mazzuchelli for Asterios Polyp (Grand Jury Prize), and Naoki Urasawa and the late Osamu Tezuka for Pluto (Intergenerational Award). The full list of winners can be found here. [Agence France-Presse]

Retailing | The beleaguered Borders Group announced on Sunday that it’s delaying January payments to vendors and landlords in an effort to save cash while it tries to complete a debt restructuring. This marks the second round of delays for the bookseller, which has been pressuring large publishers and distributors to agree by Feb. 1 to convert late payments into $125 million in loans. The bookstore chain announced just last week that it secured a $550 million credit line from G.E. Capital, but only if several tough conditions were met — including an unlikely agreement from publishers. [The Wall Street Journal]

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What Are You Reading?

Deadpool Team-Up #886

Hello and welcome to a special “birthday bash” edition of our weekly “What Are You Reading” feature, where the Robot 6 crew talks about what books we’ve read recently. Usually we invite a special guest to share what they’ve been reading, but since today isn’t just an ordinary day for us, we thought we’d invite a whole bunch of special guests to help us out — our friends and colleagues from Comic Book Resources, Spinoff and Comics Should Be Good!

To see what everyone has been reading, click below …

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Bone: Tall Tales

Bone: Tall Tales

Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item.

So join Brigid Alverson, Chris Mautner and me as we run down what we’d buy this week, and check out Diamond’s release list to play along in our comments section.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

This one’s easy, as Wednesday sees the arrival of Jeff Smith’s latest Bone-related project, Tall Tales ($10.99 paperback, $22.99 hardcover — I’m obviously going for the paperback here). My daughter has become obsessed with Bone — to the point where she’s started making her own Bone-related comics (complete with theme music) — and is eager to pick up the latest volume, even if it does mostly collect material she and I have read before (namely the Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails series). I’ll probably pick it up on the sly this week and give it to her for for her birthday next month.

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What Are You Reading?

Afrodisiac cover

Afrodisiac cover

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? Our guest this week is Van Jensen, writer of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater. To see what Van and the rest of the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below.

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Libraries | Two library employees in Nicholasville, Kentucky, were fired last month after they refused to allow an 11-year-old girl to check out The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which they dubbed pornographic. However, the policy of the Jessamine County Library states it’s the responsibility of parents to decide what’s appropriate for their child to read.

The fired employees, Beth Bovaire and Sharon Cook, stand behind their decision, asserting that the award-winning comic by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill contains lewd pictures that are inappropriate for children.

“If you give children pornography, a child, a 12 year old, can not understand and process the same way a 30 year old can,” Cook told a local television news station. [WTVQ, WTVQ]

Tokyo International Manga Library

Tokyo International Manga Library

Libraries | A private university in Tokyo hopes to promote the serious study of manga by opening a library stocked with 2 million comics, anime drawings, video games and other artifacts. If everything goes as planned, the Tokyo International Manga Library would open on the campus of Meiji University in 2015. [AFP]

Publishing | Even after the closing last year of Virgin Comics, upbeat profiles of the Indian comics industry continue to appear regularly. But here Gaurav Jain, head of the Mumbai-based Illusion Interactive Animation, offers a more dismal assessment of the scene in India: “While competition has arrived, the local industry continues to live in its shell, churning out visually unappealing and terribly written local content with little or no film and television possibilities. One of the most widely read labels offers sanitized, vanilla retellings of Indian mythology and historical figures with visuals inspired from the works of Raja Ravi Verma. Derivative art work and bland writing, leads to visual fatigue.” [The Wall Street Journal]

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