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If My Little Pony can have a large, devoted male following, then why shouldn’t Hello Kitty?
It may be because, even after 40 years, many people still considering the adorable little merchandising juggernaut too feminine. However, Anime News Network reports Sanrio is hoping to change that with the Hello Kitty Men Project.
Launched Wednesday with a six-day exhibit at the department store Hankyu Men’s Tokyo, the initiative boasts the tagline “Sorry to keep you waiting, boys.” The goal is to put an end to the gender stereotype, and convince men that it’s OK to like Hello Kitty — and to buy her products.
Over the past four decades, Hello Kitty has planted her flag on the worlds of toys, fashion, animation, music, video games, comic books, restaurants and even home appliances. And next the adorable Japanese bobtail/merchandising juggernaut is setting sail for new waters: conventions.
As part of the character’s 40th-anniversary celebration, owner Sanrio is staging the first-ever Hello Kitty Con Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in Los Angeles. Held at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the four-day event will feature lectures, panels, workshops, exhibits, a pop-up shop, a tattoo parlor, parties, an arcade and, of course, plenty of exclusives.
An online-privacy advocacy group has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate MarvelKids.com and the Hello Kitty Carnival mobile app, which it insists fail to protect children’s personal information as required by federal law.
In twin complaints filed Wednesday, the Center for Digital Democracy claims neither Marvel nor Sanrio Digital “provides adequate notice or obtains verifiable parental consent prior to collecting, using, or disclosing personal information about its child users,” as mandated by the 14-year-old Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The complaints are the first to be filed since the FTC implemented stricter rules in July.
Launched in January 2008, MarvelKids is a hub “designed to entertain and educate children” using the company’s kid-friendly comics, animated series and games. Visitors can watch episodes and clips from shows like Ultimate Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men, read issues of titles like Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and assorted Power Pack team-ups, and play upward of 20 online games.
Sanrio will make its Comic-Con International debut next week with Hello Kitty Fashion Music Wonderland, an “interactive experience” that includes a fan hub and pop-up shop at the Comic-Con Interactive Zone at San Diego’s Petco Park, the Kitty-chan Secret Space at the convention center and the release of the first Hello Kitty graphic novel.
Published in partnership by Viz Media, Hello Kitty Fashion Music Wonderland features three wordless stories based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, each illustrated by a different artist: Jacob Chabot, Victoria Maderna and Ian McGinty. (You can see a preview at Hero Complex.)
The fan hub at Petco Park will be hosted by Hello Kitty’s band of Lolitas, while the pop-up shop will feature event-only and limited-edition collectibles. The Kitty-chan Secret Space (booth #4537) will offer, among other items, the limited edition pink Hello Kitty flocked collector’s figure by Funko.
Read the full breakdown in the press release below:
We’ve all seen Hello Kitty grow from a quirky Japanese import into a household name, but do you remember the time its corporate owner set out to “conquer comics”? Me neither, but I learned a lot from reading comic/animation historian Fred Patten’s excellent post on Cartoon Research called “Sanrio And Me.”
In 1978, Sanrio held a series of press conferences in the United States trumpeting its goal to, as Patten says, “take over the American comic book industry and the moribund theatrical animation industry.” With an office in Santa Monica, California, the means for doing that was a slick manga anthology publication called Lyrica (which it had already launched in Japan) and a full-length animated feature called Metamorpheses, which executives promised as their Fantasia, referring to the Disney feature that had been reissued the year before. Metamorpheses had a trial run in the Japanese edition of Lyrica as a comic strip by American animation artist Dan Morgan, who did double-duty in the movie’s art department.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment have partnered with Sanrio for a new Hello Kitty line, which features the international marketing phenomenon dressed as her favorite DC Comics superheroes, such as “Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman” (although it’s obvious in the image above that those are classic Supergirl and Batgirl).
Debuting next year, the costume-clad Hello Kitty will appear on apparel, accessories and footwear, stationery, publishing, personal care, promotional products and food products. Continue Reading »
Viz Media has inked a deal with “global lifestyle brand” Sanrio to publish a series of original Hello Kitty graphic novels, as well as a special-edition comic that will debut in July at Comic-Con International.
The single-volume comic will feature a cover by Eisner-nominated artist Jacob Chabot, with interior art by Victoria Maderna, Ian McGinty and Chabot. That will be followed in the fall by the release of Here We Go!, a collection of stories about Hello Kitty’s world travels and the first volume in the main graphic novel series.
DC Comics, Disney and Sanrio have sued a California birthday party entertainment company for copyright and trademark infringement, alleging that it’s using counterfeit costumes of such well-known characters as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Superman, Wonder Woman and Hello Kitty.
Law 360 reports that the lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Los Angeles, accuses Party Animals and owner Jason Lancaster of using and renting costumes resembling the companies’ characters and logos for birthday and corporate parties, in violation of copyright and trademark laws.
“[Party Animals] is actively selling, offering for sale, renting, distributing or manufacturing unlicensed and counterfeit costumes, which incorporate unauthorized likenesses of the animated or live action characters or other logos owned by plaintiffs,” the complaint said. “[The] defendants have never been authorized by the plaintiffs to distribute the plaintiffs’ copyrighted properties.”
What are they putting in the water at the Sanrio Corp? The parent company of Hello Kitty is letting its prize property wander off in some mighty odd directions: At Comic-Con International, the company mentioned a Hello Kitty/Street Fighter crossover, and now it’s Hello Kitty meets Tony Tony Chopper in a Sanrio/One Piece mashup. And that’s not all: Look for Luffy D. Monkey and the rest of the Straw Hat Pirates, who will be entering the world of Hello Kitty for some good clean Kitty fun. Apparently this involves cross-species-dressing, and the pirates will have to figure out how to make do without knees or elbows, because it’s Kitty’s world, and they are only living in it. (Actually, I think it would be much more interesting to see One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda turn Hello Kitty into one of his exaggerated, energetic characters, but that’s just a pipe dream.) Watch for a wave of pirate-infested HK merch in fine import shops everywhere this fall.
Organizations | Friends of Lulu, the comics advocacy group whose struggles have come to light in recent months, is in danger of losing its tax-exempt status as a charitable organization. Johanna Draper Carlson reports the 16-year-old group appears on the Internal Revenue Service’s “List of Organizations at Risk of Automatic Revocation of Tax-Exempt Status,” which includes organizations “for which the IRS does not have a record of a required annual filing for 2007 and 2008, and whose 2009 return, due on or after May 17 and before October 15, 2010, has not yet been received.” [Comics Worth Reading]
Publishing | One year ago today, Disney announced its intent to acquire Marvel Entertainment. James Hunt looks back at the purchase and its effects: “A year on, the content of Marvel’s books has seen no significant shift. It’s true that the year-long ‘Dark Reign’ meta-arc has recently given way to a more upbeat, optimistic ‘Heroic Age’ meta-arc, where heroes are heroes and villains are villains, but mature readers comics such as Punishermax, Deadpoolmax and, yes, the sequel to Kick-Ass are all still coming out. If Miramax could aim its product at adults from within Disney’s backyard, so, it seems, can Marvel.” [Den of Geek]