Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Passings | Italian comics artist Sergio Toppi has died at the age of 79. Most of his work seems to have been in Italian and French, but Archaia has plans to publish an English-language edition of his version of the Arabian Nights, Sharaz-De. [The Beat, Archaia]
Comics | Brian Truitt marks Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary by talking to creators from Stan Lee to Brian Michael Bendis about the 10 traits that make the web-slinger special. On a related note, Complex runs down the 50 most iconic Spider-Man images. [USA Today]
Publishing | If you’re interested in self-publishing, Todd Allen’s latest article about Ingram’s new, lower-cost color print-on-demand service is a must-read. Allen does the math for several different scenarios, in terms of format and distribution method, and boils it down into several handy charts. [Publishers Weekly]
One of the more interesting phenomena of the past few weeks has been the slow re-awakening of Tokyopop, which has returned to life after shuttering its manga operations more than a year ago; the current plan is to co-publish a small number of books as print-on-demand with the anime retailer RightStuf. The first few were volumes 1-3 of Hetalia: Axis Powers, a hugely popular Japanese manga; the next was the final volume of the OEL manga series Bizenghast; and the latest is the third volume of Psy-Comm, another original graphic novel.
Tony Salvaggio, the former manga columnist for Comic Book Resources, is the writer of Psy-Comm and has kept the flame burning for a number of years now, since the first volume came out in 2005. He had to get a new artist for the second volume, and the third just missed the chance to be published before Tokyopop shut down its original graphic novel line in 2008. Tokyopop did publish it online, for free, the following year, but when the company took down its site, the book disappeared as well. With the new announcement, we checked in with Salvaggio about making Psy-Comm, working with Tokyopop, and staying with a comic for the long haul.
Robot 6: Let’s start with the book. It’s been a while. Can you give us a quick description of what Psy-Comm is about?
Tony Salvaggio: Psy-Comm is set in a world where corporations have replaced nations and countries and exist as Corp-States and war has been replaced with televised battles that settle the differences between them. Each Corp State has its own Psychic Commando — the Psy-Comms –media superstars that inspire even the non-psychics to fight in the wars for fabulous prizes. One Psy-Comm’s past comes back to haunt him and he decides to run away from his Corp-State and celebrity status, taking along a rival Psy-Comm in training.
Awards | The Visual Effects Society has named Stan Lee as the recipient of the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors individuals whose “lifetime body of work has made a significant and lasting contribution to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry by way of artistry, invention and/or groundbreaking work.” Previous recipients include George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ray Harryhausen and James Cameron. The award will be presented Feb. 7 at the 10th annual VES Awards. [press release]
Organizations | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund reports it raised $12,500 last weekend at New York Comic Con. [CBLDF]
Awards | Comic-Con International has opened nominations for the The Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, which awarded to “an individual retailer who has done an outstanding job of supporting the comics art medium both in the community and within the industry at large.” [CCI]
One of the most intriguing comics I picked up at the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo a few weeks back was Minimum Paige, an anthology produced by the Harvard Bookstore and printed in-house on their print-on-demand machine, Paige M. Gutenborg. I checked in with editor Ryan Mita to get the story behind the stories.
Brigid Alverson: First of all, tell me about Paige M. Gutenborg—what is it and what can it do?
Ryan Mita: Paige M. Gutenborg is a book machine and fantastic opportunity for artists to custom print their works. Books must be over 40 pages long, there is no minimum print run and artists can design the book anyway they like.
In addition to custom printing, Paige can print nearly five million titles, including Google Books in the public domain, and later this fall, HarperCollins will make 5,000 backlist titles available.
We’re excited about the future of bookselling and Paige keeps Harvard Book Store a step ahead.
Dan Hipp’s Gyakushu was originally published by Tokyopop and then moved online for a while (it seems to be gone now) after Tokyopop discontinued their global manga line. Now it is taking on a third life: Tokyopop is publishing volume 3 as a print-on-demand book, and Hulu just posted a motion comic of the first volume. You might as well settle in; it’s 41 minutes long.
Meanwhile, Hipp is posting some awesome fanart at his blog, and it’s all for sale.
Digital comics | A free digital comic starring Wallace & Gromit, the popular animated UK duo, has been downloaded more than 500,000 times since Nov. 7, leading one eBook blogger to wonder whether The W Files is the “FIRST eBook best-seller.” (If it’s free, can it still be considered a bestseller?) Released by Titan Publishing, the free iPhone app marks the 20th anniversary of Wallace & Gromit. Subsequent issues cost 99 cents each. [GalleyCat]
Digital comics | Marvel is giving away 1,000 one-year subscriptions for its Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited online service to enlisted military personnel through Jan. 7. [Air Force Times]
Publishing | Reed Stevenson looks at the growth of manga in Europe, where the market is expanding at a pace of 10 percent to 15 percent each year: “Sales of printed manga books have fallen in Japan in recent years but grown elsewhere, particularly among European young people who are consuming such titles as Naruto, Fruits Basket and Death Note with the same appetite as an earlier generation showed for The Adventures of Tin Tin and The Adventures of Asterix. [Reuters]