Legal | A new study claim the shutdown two months ago of file-trading site The Pirate Bay by Swedish authorities “significantly, if temporarily, disrupted” the illegal trafficking of digital files worldwide. The emphasis is on temporarily. The white paper, released by anti-piracy company DtecNet, found the closing forced traffic to flood other BitTorrent trackers, “causing temporary secondary outages” for several days.
The study finds that BitTorrent traffic is soon expected to return to levels seen before the shutdown, with relatively new website OpenBitTorrent emerging as the successor to The Pirate Bay. [The Live Feed]
Sales charts | R. Crumb’s much-publicized adaptation of The Book of Genesis debuts at No. 8 on USA Today’s bestseller list. Meanwhile, the 46th volume of Masashi Kishimoto’s popular shonen series Naruto inches up three spaces to No. 136. [USA Today]
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.
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]
The Kurkutta blog posted a few sample pages from one of Osamu Tezuka’s early works, namely his adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The scans are from a long-out-of-print English version that Frederick Schodt translated back when nobody knew what shojo meant. Look at the way he sets mood in these simple panels (remember: read right to left). Even in his early days, he was testing the boundaries of the medium. (found via Matthew Brady)
Vertical Press book designer Peter Mendelsund wants some help choosing the color scheme for the next volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack:
I am a simple man (I know) and choosing the colors for this design (of which I am proud) brings me great satisfaction every time. But… I thought it might be fun to open up this process to the readership in order to see if any of you have any radical ideas vis a vis color: what colors look good together, what colors pop, what colors ring your own peculiar bell etc. So dust off your color theory books or just fly by the seats of your collective pants. Anyone, as they say, can be a winner.
(Found via Drawn!)
• Man, everyone and their Uncle Bob is reviewing David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp these days aren’t they? This week alone we’ve seen Brian Hibbs, Rob Clough, Douglas Wolk and the LA Times’ David Ulin.
Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I’ll probably have my own review of the book up this Friday.
• The Groovy Age of Horror’s Curt Purcell has been spending a lot of time talking about Blackest Night, and, given that he’s not a regular fan, he has some interesting things to say about the crossover event. Rather than link to all the separate posts, I’ll just say start here and work your way back.
Oh, and while you’re at it, read his new review of Gilbert Hernandez’s Speak of the Devil.
• Johnny Bacardi likes Blackest Night quite a bit too.
Chris Butcher is once again touring the Land of the Rising Sun and sending back photos of his excursions. So far he’s bought manga about cats and stopped by the Village Vanguard book store, but the real gold mine so far is his trip to the Tezuka World Installation. Man, I can think of at least five people who would love getting one of those Astro Boy coffee mugs for Christmas.
DMP will be publishing one of “God of Manga” Osamu Tezuka’s more interesting and perhaps controversial works, Swallowing the Earth, in June, and they’ve got a 25-page preview of the manga up on TezukainEnglish.com. Here’s a brief synopsis of the plot:
One of Tezuka’s most adult series, Swallowing the Earth treats the use of female sexuality as a weapon, and the abuses of women in human history. Zephyrus, a mysterious, icy seductress, uses her power over men to snare them into aiding her scheme to overthrow the world order in order to avenge the wrongs done to womankind over the course of history. The only one immune to her charms is young Seki Gohonmatsu, a Neanderthal-like perpetually-drunken sailor whose only goal is to drink all the liquor in the world, a crass parallel to Zephyrus’ schemes to swallow the Earth with her revenge.
So, yeah. There’s nothing exceptionally R-rated at the link, but depending on where you’re employed, you may want to consider it NSFW.
* The esteemed Jeet Heer reviews Guy Delisle’s excellent Burma Chronicles for the Literary Review of Canada:
Delisle’s style of journalism, with its reliance on small anecdotes, can be contrasted to other approaches. Prominent journalists such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman practise a form of hit-and-run travel writing, where they parachute into a hot spot, interview a few bigwigs (and maybe a cab driver for local colour) and then go back home to expound grand themes about the future of globalization. Delisle’s small-scale storytelling seems like a deliberate antidote to this type of cocky and overheated journalism.
* Note to writers, artists, cartoonists and other people who make stuff: No matter how negative, nasty, mean-spirited or just plain harsh a critic is in reviewing your work, posting a smart-ass reply in the comments section of their blog is never a good idea.
* Dan Nadel reviews the Dave Stevens bio Brush With Greatness and in the process comments on Stevens’ work as well: “Stevens made a conscious choice to marginalize himself, to live within the bubble of fandom. He was a willful anachronism, frustrated by his chosen intellectual and artistic world but unable or unwilling to see beyond it.”
* A la Casey Kasem, Tom Spurgeon counts down (or really, up) the top 10 best comic series of all time. Quick, before you click on the link: can you guess what number one is based on this quote? “Three generations of American adults not only read some excellent comics in this magazine, they saw a great deal of an age-stratified pop culture through its lenses.”
* Speaking on Radio Canada International, novelist Miguel Syjuco offered an early (and, I think, first) review of Seth’s new book, George Sprott (click on the first part of the program link. It’s around the 12-minute mark).
* Steve Duin (who really, you should be reading regularly) has some nice things to say about Fantagraphics’ new collection of Nell Brinkley cartoons.
* Graeme McMillan eviscerates that second half of Neil Gaiman’s two-part Batman story.
* Shaenon K. Garrity writers about her trip to Japan and how exactly she ended up there.
* Rob Clough reviews Miss Lasko-Gross’ A Mess of Everything.
* Derik Badman continues his look at Tezuka’s Phoenix series with a look at Volume 8.
* Kinukitty gets global with her yaoi coverage by looking at In the End, a German-made manga.
Welcome to What Are You Reading, where we pull the curtain back and show you what’s on our bedside tables. And yes, we have curtains in our room. Don’t ask.
To find out what Lasko-Gross and the rest of us are reading, click on the link below …
• How have I blathered on all this time without calling attention to Derik Badman’s great volume by volume analysis of Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix series? Obviously I need my head examined. (In backwards order, Karma, Yamato, Space, Future and Dawn).
• Craig Fischer has nice things to say about Patsy Walker: Hellcat : “It’s not designed to be immortal art–in other words, it’s not Raw or Love and Rockets–but as far as mainstream comics go, it’s clever and fun, virtues that are too easy to take for granted.”
• Takekuma Kentaro, co-author of Even a Monkey can Draw Manga wonders why the manga version of Hayao Miyazaki’s Naussica is so hard to read: “Each individual panel is too complete, and the characters and background are drawn with lines of equal thickness. This leads to the characters not standing out.”
• Awesome Engine is doing a series of posts on Go Nagai’s Violence Jack who lives up to his name rather well (link is so NSFW by the way).
• Paul Gravett provides an interesting look at the work of Italian comics artist Gianna DeLucca.
• Stripper’s Guide’s Allan Holtz offers some capsule reviews of recent comic strip-related releases.
Words Without Borders, “The Online Magazine for International Literature,” is celebrating the graphic novel all this month with loads of previews of new and upcoming books from a variety of publishers, including Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life, the fourth volume of Osama Tezumka’s Black Jack, Diane Obomsawin’s Kaspar, The Pig by Riccardo Falcinelli and Marta Poggi, Blizzard in the Jungle by Jo Hak-Rae and Ri Chol-Geun and Ari Folman and David Polonsky’s adaptation of the Academy Award-nominated film Waltz with Bashir. There’s also an interview with Polonsky if you’re so inclined.