"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Conventions | ReedPOP has officially announced it will fold the New York Anime Festival into New York Comic Con, rather than continue them as separate events held at the same location. “This move has nothing to do with our loyalty or commitment to the anime community and everything to do with the growth and identity of New York Comic Con as a leading pop culture event,” ReedPOP’s Lance Fensterman said in a statement. “NYCC embraces all elements of the pop culture world, including anime, and we have evolved to a point where the existence of NYAF outside our universe is almost a contradiction. We will be better able to serve the anime community from within the NYCC infra-structure rather than have a show which is separate and which will always be dwarfed by everything that New York Comic Con represents and is.” [press release]
Passings | Cartoonist Jim Unger, whose one-panel comic Herman served as an inspiration for Gary Larson’s The Far Side, passed away Monday at his home in British Columbia. He was 75. The comic appeared in about 600 newspapers worldwide from 1974 until Unger’s retirement in 1992. [The Daily Cartoonist]
When the news broke last week that Kodansha would stop licensing its manga to Del Rey and publish them under its own imprint, some commenters reacted with dismay. Aside from being unimpressed with the first few releases from the Japanese publisher, American readers are not happy with Kodansha’s complete lack of accessibility to the public — no content on their website, no press releases and very few interviews.
So when the Kodansha panel abruptly disappeared from the schedule for New York Comic Con & New York Anime Festival, online reaction was sharp and rather resentful. Fortunately, the Kodansha honchos seem to realize that things were going off-kilter and authorized Dallas Middaugh, who will continue to edit the publisher’s books under the new arrangement, to address what exactly happened.
And what happened was not a sudden cancellation, but rather a miscommunication, Middaugh explained. Kodansha had originally planned to do a panel at NYAF but decided to cancel it at the end of August. “We realized that we were a little off schedule,” he told Robot 6. “We really weren’t going to have any titles to announce, and without any titles to announce, we didn’t see any point in having the panel. I contacted the [New York] Comic Con folks and told them ‘We got nothing, please cancel the panel.’ And in their defense, I did say ‘What’s the latest we can get back to you if we decide we do want a panel?’ That day came and went, we had canceled the panel, they unfortunately took it as a yes and ran the panel information, and we were surprised the panel was listed.”
So what looked like an abrupt cancellation was actually a correction.
I’m going a little off topic this week because I spent the weekend at New York Anime Fest—which, despite the name, included a fair amount of comics action. Yes, they had Gundam director Yoshiyuki Tomino as their keynote speaker, and Viz drew cheers with the announcement that they would be showing the last season of the InuYasha anime online, for free, at almost the same time it will be broadcast in Japan. But there was plenty to love for those of us who don’t like their pictures moving. Here’s a sampling of the highlights:
Peepo Choo: Vertical, which has mostly published classic manga up to now, caused a stir with their announcement that they had licensed this Japanese manga by American creator Felipe Smith. Smith was one of Tokyopop’s early global manga creators, and his first manga, MBQ, showed a lot of promise. A year ago, the editors of Kodansha’s Morning 2 magazine decided they wanted to add an American to their lineup, and Smith was their choice. Peepo Choo is an adventure/comedy about an otaku in Japan, and much of the humor turns on his bad Japanese, which will make translating a challenge despite the fact that Smith partially wrote it in English. However, Vertical is uniquely suited to publish this book as its marketing director, Ed Chavez, helped edit it during a stint at Kodansha. (Here is the author showing off a sample at his MySpace page.)
Del Rey’s kids’ lineup: Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be all that excited about another round of Ben 10 manga; I read the first one and was pretty unimpressed. But Del Rey is taking a new tack: They are setting real comics creators loose on these properties and letting them use their own styles. So the next Ben 10 manga will be written by Peter David and illustrated by Dan Hipp. Are you wondering what a Hulk writer and the creator of Gyakushu! are going to do with Ben 10? Because I sure am. Along the same lines, the next Bakugan Battle Brawlers will be written by the veteran team of Nunzio DeFillippis and Christina Weir and illustrated by Kriss Sison, and the team working on their manga prequel and novelization of the movie The Last Airbender will include X-Men: Misfits writer (and veteran Nickelodeon magazine editor) Dave Roman and Yokaiden artist Nina Matsumoto. In other words, Del Rey is throwing a lot of talent at these books.
Publishing | Deb Aoki rounds up the license-acquisition announcements from last weekend’s New York Anime Festival. If Library War is half as awesome as it sounds — a fearless squad of librarians fight censorship! — I can’t wait to read it. [About.com]
Conventions | Now on to the Small Press Expo, and convention recaps from David Welsh, Alert Nerd and Samuel Rules. Johanna Draper Carlson reports on the Critics’ Roundtable panel, while Sean T. Collins provides the audio. [SPX]
Publishing | Arthur de Wolf comments on the debut this week of Mickey Mouse & Friends under the BOOM! Kids banner, noting that the 10-part “Wizards of Mickey” story was told in weekly installments in Italy. In the United States, it will be published monthly: “When Gladstone and Gemstone printed long Don Rosa stories in their original three parts (meant for the European weeklies), readers complained about the stories being spread out over three months. It’ll be interesting to see if readers will have the patience to follow Mickey’s wizardry adventures for nearly a year before its conclusion.” [Disney Comics Worldwide]
Creators | Using the copyright-reclamation bid by Jack Kirby’s children as a news hook, Geoff Boucher takes a look at the artist’s legacy, his creative partnership with Stan Lee, and his bitter feud with Marvel. “A lot more people know the name Stan Lee than the name Jack Kirby,” says daughter Lisa Kirby. “I’m not putting down Stan Lee’s talents but it’s difficult for us to see that he does dominate the credit. That doesn’t reflect the work or the reality. To see Jack Kirby in small letters and Stan Lee in big letters, that’s hard for us.” [Los Angeles Times]
Publishing | Jim Shelley considers what effect the recession may be having on the illegal downloading of comic books. He finds there are more downloads, but they’ve become more difficult to track. [Flashback Universe, via Kleefeld on Comics]
Business | During a surprise appearance Thursday at the D23 Expo, Walt Disney Company President and CEO Bob Iger assured reporters that, “There will be no Disney-fication of Marvel.”
“When you look at it as part of the Walt Disney Company and the application, the presence of Marvel is virtually in everything that we’re in,” Iger said at the presentation. “You can expect that, over time, that’s what you will see. We became impressed with the talent of Marvel as we got to know them better. Once the the deal closes their is expected integration, but we plan to keep Marvel as an entity and and to respect both the talent that is there, working as one and also respect what Marvel is and what the essence of Marvel is. There will be no Disney-fication of Marvel.” [ScreenCrave]
Business | I overlooked this nugget when I was assembling our overview of the new DC Entertainment: Batman: Arkham Asylum, the new video game from Warner Bros. Interactive and Eidos Interactive, has sold a reported 2 million copies since its release on Aug. 25. [Los Angeles Times]
Conventions | Deb Aoki has commentary on Thursday’s confirmation that Reed Exhibitions will “co-locate” next year’s New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival. That means the two events will be held at the same time — Oct. 8-10, 2010 — and share exhibition space in the Javits Center while maintaining separate programming and guest lists. “With a tight economy to contend with,” Aoki writes, “Reed Exhibitions has likely figured out that combining New York Anime Festival with New York Comic-Con might make it more appealing for more publishers, game and anime companies to put some of their marketing budget toward exhibiting at next year’s shows.” [About.com]