Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Legal | A South Korea court has ruled an exhibition devoted to One Piece can be held as planned after it was abruptly canceled earlier this month following allegations that Eiichiro Oda’s popular pirate manga contains images that resemble the Rising Sun flag, considered a symbol of Japanese imperialism in South Korea. The company staging the One Piece show, which includes life-sized statues, rare figures and Oda’s sketches, asked the court to step in after the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul pulled the plug on the event just days before its scheduled July 12 opening. The court found that One Piece can’t be considered to “[hail] Japanese imperialism” simply because it depicts a flag reminiscent of the Rising Sun; and even if those images are of the Rising Sun flag, it’s mainly shown in a negative light. [The Asahi Shimbun]
Events | An extensive exhibit in Taipei, Taiwan, devoted to Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece manga and anime has drawn more than 100,000 visitors since its opening on July 1. Overseen by Oda, the exhibition is the first of its kind outside of Japan, where it was held from 2012 to 2013 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the insanely popular manga. “One Piece Exhibition: Original Art x Movies x Experience Pirate King Taiwan” runs through Sept. 22. [Kotaku]
More than 500 volumes of such top-selling manga as One Piece, Naruto and Death Note debuted today on comiXology as part of a new North American distribution agreement with Viz Media.
The publisher, which already had its own self-contained app for multiple platforms, brought its digital catalog to the Amazon Kindle in October; just days later, comiXology announced a deal to distribute titles from Viz Media Europe and its subsidiary Kazé to French-speaking European countries. Amazon purchased comiXology in April.
Manga | Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has knocked longtime bestseller One Piece from the top of Japan’s manga charts. Market research firm Oricon reports that Attack on Titan, which has 13 volumes in print, sold 8,342,268 copies in the first half of the year, making it the bestselling series in Japan. One Piece, which has long held that title, sold 4,936,855 copies of 73 volumes, but it did top the charts for single-volume sales, with 2,825,339 copies sold of the latest volume. The numbers cover the period from mid-November to mid-May. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee talks about his history with Batman in advance of DC’s 75th-anniversary celebration for the character. [Asbury Park Press]
Not that we necessarily required an further evidence of the popularity of One Piece, but now comes word that with the release of its 74th volume, Eiichiro Oda’s pirate manga has sold more than 310 million copies in Japan alone.
It’s worth noting that it was only November when Shueisha Inc. and Viz Media took out newspaper ads trumpeting the 300-million copy milestone (with another 45 million outside of Japan). Earlier that same month, it was revealed that One Piece has sold 130.15 million copies in Japan just since 2009, the year that market research firm Oricon began reporting book sales.
So what’s the secret behind the success of the world’s bestselling manga? Its sometimes-manic mix of action, comedy and sorrow, a seemingly magic formula the 39-year-old Oda attributes his short attention span. “The thing is, I get bored easily,” he told The Japan Times last fall. “So if my manga was just about the action, or comedy, or tear-jerking moments, I would get bored. I change the style of the series to keep up my motivation to draw. […] Humans can only come up with new ideas when they’ve reached their limits. When I finish a manuscript, I am completely exhausted.”
Oda, who’s been drawing One Piece since 1997, just announced that he’s placing the manga on hiatus for two weeks while he has his tonsils removed. “Since I’m having this surgery anyways, I plan to have a bazooka installed on my shoulder,” he said in a message to fans. “I’ll be back with my body stronger, so I can clear my workload in the latter half of this year. I’ll be right back, so please come play with me again.”
Retailing | Finally breaking its silence regarding the feud with Hachette over sales terms, Amazon acknowledged it’s buying less print inventory and “safety stock” from the publisher and is no longer taking pre-orders for its titles. And while Amazon conceded that “Hachette has operated in good faith and we admire the company and its executives,” the retail giant said “we are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon.” The company also recognized the affect the dispute may have on authors, revealing it offered to fund 50 percent of an author pool to help mitigate the impact. Hachette responded, saying it was glad Amazon has admitted its actions have an effect on authors: “We will spare no effort to resume normal business relations with Amazon—which has been a great partner for years — but under terms that value appropriately for the years ahead the author’s unique role in creating books, and the publisher’s role in editing, marketing, and distributing them, at the same time that it recognizes Amazon’s importance as a retailer and innovator.” [Publishers Weekly, GalleyCat]
In the battle no one ever expected — Dragon Ball‘s Goku vs. One Piece‘s Monkey D. Luffy — no clear winner emerges, but there is an obvious loser: the sidewalks of Tokyo.
The pretty impressive life-size sculpture is on display through Sunday outside the Shibuya Parco department store to promote the release of J-Stars Victory Vs., the Shonen Jump 45th-anniversary multiplayer fighting game featuring many of the magazine’s most popular characters.
More photos can be found at Game Watch Impress.
Following news that it had acquired the North American rights to Naoki Urasawa’s Master Keaton, Viz Media announced a handful of other releases for the fall and winter, including Yūsei Matsui’s supernatural action/comedy Assassination Classroom and the print edition of Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama’s newest work.
Debuting in July 2012, Assassination Classroom centers on a class of misfits who try to kill their new teacher, an alien octopus with bizarre powers who destroyed most of the moon and is threatening to do the same to Earth within a year — unless his students can destroy him first. The series will be available bimonthly in print and digitally from Viz beginning in December.
Previously serialized digitally by Viz, Toriyama’s quirky comedy Jaco the Galactic Patrolman follows a retired scientist who lives alone on a desert island, where he researches time travel. However, that quiet life is interrupted when galactic patrolman Jaco crash-lands on the island and decides to move in. Featuring new, bonus content for Dragon Ball Z, the print edition debuts in January.
Those two manga are joined by One Piece Box Set 2 (November), which includes Vols. 24-46, the third and fourth story arcs of the “Skypiea” and “Water 7″ arcs, as well as the “Strong World” minicomic, and Naoki Serizawa’s Resident Evil, a five-volume prequel to the video game Resident Evil 6 (November).
Welcome to Best of 7, our new weekly wrap-up post here at Robot 6. Each Sunday we’ll talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out on Wednesday.
So without further ado, let’s get to it …
Manga | Roland Kelts looks at the international popularity of One Piece, whose sales number 300 million volumes in Japan and 45 million in the rest of the world. The piece includes an interview with creator Eiichiro Oda — he says he writes what he imagines his 15-year-old self would like to read — as well as editors from Viz Media, the American publisher of One Piece, who discuss the reasons for its popularity overseas as well as the global impact of manga piracy on these manga pirates. [The Japan Times]
Conventions | Which shows are money-makers for creators, and how much do they make? The answers, broken out into a handy infographic, may surprise you. [The Devastator]
“The thing is, I get bored easily. So if my manga was just about the action, or comedy, or tear-jerking moments, I would get bored. I change the style of the series to keep up my motivation to draw. […] Humans can only come up with new ideas when they’ve reached their limits. When I finish a manuscript, I am completely exhausted.”
— Eiichiro Oda, the 38-year-old creator of One Piece, crediting a short attention span and sheer exhaustion as the secrets behind his hit pirate adventure, which has more than 345 million copies in print worldwide. He reveals that he doesn’t sleep or eat much when he’s working.
Manga | While Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has been burning up the bookstore sales charts in the United States, the dystopian manga is also giving the smash-hit One Piece a run for its money in Japan. According to market research firm Oricon, Attack on Titan sold more than 15.9 million copies in the past year, just behind One Piece‘s 18.1 million (Kuroko’s Basketball is a distance third with about 8.8 million). Of course, Eiichiro Oda insanely popular pirate manga has little to fear: The 72-volume (and counting) series has 300 million copies in print in Japan, and 345 million worldwide. Kodansha’s Attack on Titan, meanwhile, is on its 11th volume. [ICv2]
Auctions | Select titles from Don and Maggie Thompson’s collection of rare comics — among them, The Avengers #1, Journey Into Mystery #83 and The Incredible Hulk #1 — sold at auction last week for a combined $835,384. A 9.6 copy of Tales of Suspense #39 alone fetched $262,900. [Heritage Auctions]
Publisher Shueisha Inc. took out full-page ads in The New York Times and The China Times to celebrate One Piece‘s position as the bestselling manga of all time, with more than 300 million copies in print in Japan, and 345 million worldwide.
According to The Japan Times, the company launched a similar campaign across that country on Nov. 1, when the 72nd volume of the pirate adventure was released.
Illustrated by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, the ads proclaim, “Hey, World, This Is The Manga!” U.S. readers are directed to Viz.com, the website Viz Media, for “free previews and more.” (The San Francisco-based company is jointly owned by Shueisha, Shogakukan and the latter’s licensing division ShoPro Japan.)
Viz is marking the milestone with a free digital retrospective that features an interview with Oda, a gallery of the manga’s first 69 covers, color artwork, and a new One Piece chapter from Japan’s Weekly Shonen Jump.
“One Piece has achieved something very significant, and the sales milestone speaks to the strong international appeal of the enduring characters and gripping story that Eiichiro Oda created that are universally loved in multiple countries by millions of fans of all ages,” Andy Nakatani, editor-in-chief Weekly Shonen Jump, said in a statement. “The continuing spread of digital technology will bring these action packed high-seas adventures to even more readers.”
Manga | Eiichiro Oda’s hit pirate adventure One Piece has sold 130.15 million copies in Japan since 2009, the year that market research firm Oricon began reporting book sales. The series, which debuted in 1997, has 72 volumes — a total of 300 million copies — in print. [Anime News Network]
Tributes | The statue of Family Circus creator Bil Keane was finally unveiled in Scottsdale, Arizona. [KPHO]
Events | We relay a lot of stories in this space about cartoonists being suppressed abroad, so it’s heartening to see a country where conditions have improved: Next week, there will be an exhibit of cartoons in Myanmar, as part of the Tazaungdaing festival. The Tazaungdaing comics show is a longtime tradition that was shut down in 1997 under pressure from the government but was resurrected in 2011 when censorship laws loosened. The exhibit takes place on a street named for U Ba Gyan, who was a prominent cartoonist in the 1930s; he used to exhibit his cartoons by putting them on lanterns around his house, to escape official censors. [Myanmar Times]
I’ve always disliked fireworks, an aversion I blame on a crippling childhood fear that they would rain down on me like the white-hot fire of a sparkler. That said, I might be convinced to change my mind about them if there were more manga-themed pyrotechnic displays like the one held Thursday in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture.
At Kotaku, Brian Ashcroft writes that Shonen Jump held its own fireworks celebration at a summer festival, with the focus on many of its own hit properties, like One Piece, Naruto, Dragon Ball and Gintama. Judging from the photos, and the video below, Luffy’s hat was definitely my favorite. You can see many more images at Kotaku.