Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
The tried and true method of lulling yourself to sleep may be counting sheep, but if you’re a Pokémon trainer, you likely have other things on your mind. Namely, Pokémon, and catching them — all of them. Now there’s a duvet cover that may help you at least catch some Z’s, and maybe help you catalog some of the species.
Available from RageOn, the Pokémon Collage Duvet Cover purports to include all 721 known Pokémon (I’m not counting them; let’s take their word for it). Ranging in price from $125 for a twin and $200 for a king, the duvet is made to order, meaning you’ll have to wait about three weeks for it to arrive.
Creators | Responding to the removal of Maus from Moscow bookstores as the Russian government cracks down on Nazi symbols, Art Spiegelman said, “It’s a real shame because this is a book about memory. We don’t want cultures to erase memory.” Retailers fear the swastika on the graphic novel’s cover may be enough to run afoul of a new law prohibiting “Nazi propaganda” as the country prepares to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Germany. “I don’t think Maus was the intended target for this, obviously,” the cartoonist told The Guardian. “But I think [the law] had an intentional effect of squelching freedom of expression in Russia. The whole goal seems to make anybody in the expression business skittish.” [The Guardian]
Combining two loves — professional basketball and video games — graphic designer Mark Avery-Kenny has created a series of logos that mash together classic characters like Pac-Man, Pikachu and Mario with NBA franchises.
While some of the combinations make perfect sense — King Hippo and the Sacramento Kings, for instance — others aren’t nearly as logical. But they’re all fun and well-executed. Check out just some of them below, and the rest on Avery-Kenny’s Instagram page.
As the headline states, this may be the absolute worst or the most inspired Pikachu cosplay in history, Really, it could go either way, likely depending to some extent on your fondness for the Greendale Human Being.
The photos — yes, there are more, below — were snapped at Comiket 87, which wrapped up today at the Tokyo Big Sight. Held twice annually, in August and December, Comiket (aka Comic Market) is the world’s largest dojinshi fair, drawing more than a half-million attendees. This edition opened Sunday with 180,000 people, an increase of about 10,000 from the first day of August’s Comiket 86.
Publishing | John Jackson Miller reflects on the news that the first issue of Marvel’s Star Wars will sell 1 million copies, and notes the last comic to do so was a Pokemon title in 1999. The last direct market comic to reach that mark was Batman #500 in 1993. Miller also delves deeper into history, pointing out that Marvel’s original Star Wars #1, released in 1977, also sold more than 1 million copies, making it the first comic to reach that height since Dell’s Uncle Scrooge in 1960. [Comichron]
Passings | Maurice Tanti Burlo, editorial cartoonist for the Times of Malta, has died at the age of 78. Burlo, who used the pen name Nalizpelra, was working for Telemalta in 1977 when Prime Minister Dom Mintoff suspended a number of Telemalta staff, including Burlo, for supporting doctors, nurses, and bankers who went on strike. Burlo started cartooning to “get back at Mintoff,” and just kept on doing it; he published three books of his work and won the BPC Award in 1998 an 2002. [Times of Malta]
Every once in a while, a Pokémon emerges that makes you reconsider the notion of catching them all. After all, not every one of them is as cuddly as Pikachu, and some of them are just plain disturbing.
Consider the Banette, a grudge-holding doll-like Pokémon possessed by “pure hatred.” That’s troubling enough, but now consider the Banette as drawn by Junji Ito, the wonderfully twisted mind behind such horror manga Tomie, Uzumaki and Gyo.
For Halloween, the Pokémon Company is teaming with the horror master for “Kowapoke,” or “Scarypoke,” a seasonal promotion on the company’s website trumpeted with Ito’s Banette illustration, which can be downloaded as a free wallpaper or purchased as a T-shirt. More content is on the way.
Viz Media will release three new Pokémon manga titles as part of its Viz Kids imprint, beginning next week with the debut of the tie-in to Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice. That will be followed in July by Pokémon Adventures: Black & White and in August by Pokémon Adventures: HeartGold and SoulSilver.
“From the exciting release of the tie-in manga to the latest feature film, Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice, to the debut of the new Pokémon Adventures: HeartGold and SoulSilver manga series and the publication of a new edition of the critically acclaimed Pokémon Adventures: Black & Whiteseries, there will be plenty of imaginative adventures to look forward to throughout the spring and summer,” Beth Kawasaki, Viz Media’s senior editorial director, said in a statement.
Publishing | The X-Files is in the headline, but this interview with IDW Publishing Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall covers a lot of ground, including the logistics of continuing a defunct TV franchise as a comic, the standouts among IDW’s young creators, and the challenges of being a comics writer. [Hero Complex]
Publishing | Alvin Lu has left his position as executive vice president of the manga publisher Viz Media. Lu had been at Viz for 13 years and was one of the top executives in the company, reporting directly to CEO Hidemi Fukuhara. [ICv2]
Comics | The graphic novel Metro, once banned in Egypt, is available in Cairo once more. [The Comics Reporter]
Digital comics | I talked to Viz Media Executive Vice President Alvin Lu and the head of Viz Labs, Gagan Singh, about the company’s digital strategy, which includes the recent announcement that their digital magazine Shonen Jump Alpha will publish manga chapters simultaneously with Japan; the idea, Lu explains is to create the same sort of weekly ritual that superhero comics readers have, and to use the digital releases to build a community both online and in the real world. [Good E-Reader]
Creators | Fantastic Four was the first Marvel Universe comic, so it has been around for a while, but writer Matt Fraction is doing his best to keep it fresh: “Anything you can do to run contrary-wise to expectation to keep people guessing and wondering and entertained and surprised, you should do because otherwise people are going to dismiss the book as ‘Been there, read that.'” [USA Today]
I’ve seen people make little statues out of empty aluminum cans, but Makaon takes it to a whole other level. Her Batman is probably my favorite, but hit the jump to see a Smurf, Pikachu, Ultraman, and an Imperial Stormtrooper. And of course, there’s lots more at her website.
It’s all there in the headline. Artist Melissa Smith has taken a Pollock-like approach with these superhero paintings and the result is amazing. I’ve posted Black Widow, Spider-Man and Pikachu below, but visit Smith’s DeviantArt page to see other Avengers, Batman villains and video game characters.
One of the things a lot of pros like about C2E2 is the late start on Friday. It doesn’t open to the public until 1:00 pm, so creators can sleep in and recover from their trips if they want. Or, if they want to go early to set up or just walk around and visit with each other, they can do that too. It’s also helpful for press jerks taking lots of pictures. Lots. Of pictures.
Viz, the largest publisher of manga in the U.S., announced five new additions to its Viz Kids line yesterday, and they quietly added a twist: Several of the new series are not coming from Japan.
This is news because Viz is really a Japanese company operating in the U.S.; its parent companies are the Japanese publishers Shueisha and Shogakukan and their joint licensing company, Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions. Naturally, Viz has always focused on Japanese manga, and when every other manga publisher in the U.S. started publishing global (non-Japanese) titles, Viz announced its willingness but hung back.
The new Viz lineup changes all that. The press release lists four graphic novels, and three are created specifically for Viz:
Mameshiba on the Loose!, a graphic novel featuring Mameshiba, creatures that are a cross between a bean and a dog. While Mameshiba are popular in Japan (and, like Domo-kun, not necessarily a children’s product), Viz’s graphic novel is a homegrown effort; the Amazon page lists James Turner as the writer and Jorge Monlongo and Gemma Correll as the artists.
Mr. Men and Little Miss: The Japanese do love their adorable, rounded, anthropomorphic creatures, but Mr. Men and Little Miss were created by British author Roger Hargreaves and have a huge fandom in the U.S. and Europe. Why did Viz choose these? Maybe because there’s an animated film in the works, maybe because they are just so awesome. Expect to see Little Miss Sunshine, Mr. Bump, Mr. Strong and Little Miss Daredevil books pop up next spring.
Voltron Force: This is a straight-up tie-in with the Nickelodeon animated series of the same name, which in turn is an updated version of the 1980s cartoon Voltron. I know someone out there is going to be made very happy by this. I couldn’t possibly describe it any better than whoever wrote the press release:
Anime News Network notes that yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the release of the first Pokémon game, Pokémon Red and Green. That game gave rise to a whole series of other games, as well as four anime series, numerous manga series, feature films, and even chapter books. (The chapter books presented a unique challenge for the authors, who had to somehow allow the Pokémon to express complex thoughts and emotions with a one-word vocabulary: their names.)
It also helped shape the manga industry as we know it today. A few years ago I talked to manga translator and scholar Matt Thorn, who was a freelance translator for Viz in their early days. Thorn described the atmosphere as “laid-back” and the company itself as having only three employees, including the president, Seiji Horibuchi. “For [parent company] Shogakukan, it was almost a vanity project,” he said. “They didn’t expect it to make money.”
And then Pokémon came along. Recalls Matt,
One day, I got a call from Shogakukan Productions. They said, “We’re going to try to promote Pokemon in the U.S., and we’d like you to help.” I said, “I’d love to, but I’m really busy these days, so I’m afraid I can’t. And to be honest, I don’t think Pokemon will fly in America.”
Despite Matt’s misgivings, of course, Pokémon went on to become a media phenomenon in the States, and Viz is now the largest manga publisher in the business, thanks at least in part to that initial burst of energy from Pikachu and his pals.