Ayer Reveals Jared Leto's Tattooed "Suicide Squad" Joker
Square Enix’s Variant Play Arts Kai line has produced some terrific-looking action figures — we only recently spotlighted Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Stormtrooper releases – but this Wild West Batman may be my favorite to date.
Part of the Batman Timeless series teased at New York Comic Con that will include Spartan Batman, Medieval Batman and Steampunk Batman, it’s like a glorious return to DC Comics’ Elseworlds titles. Standing more than 10 inches tall, Wild West Batman is ridiculously detailed — ornate, even — with a tattered cape, chaps, boots, a grapnel gun (with holster), tomahawk and, best of all, a cowboy hat with its own little Bat-ears.
Looking at Darth Vader, Boba Fett and the Stormtrooper from Square Enix’s Variant line of Play Arts Kai figures, I’m reminded of Marvel’s 1977 adaptation of Star Wars, with its frequently wildly off-model characters. Here, of course, the deviation is purposeful — the Variant collectibles are all reimagined — and it works pretty well.
Sure, all three original designs are classic, but it’s kind of fun to see each of these armored warriors souped up, their looks taken more in a mech-infused direction (although as Star Wars reimaginings go, it’s tough to top Bandai’s samurai-styled Darth Vader and Stormtrooper).
Legal | The saga of Hi Score Girl continues this week, with the Osaka Prefectural Police charging creator Rensuke Oshihiri and 15 employees of publisher Square Enix with copyright infringement. Game publisher SNK Playmore originally filed criminal charges against Square Enix over the summer, claiming that Hi Score Girl, a comedy about gamers, used its characters without permission. Square Enix has recalled the published volumes of the series and halted serialization in its Monthly Big Gangan magazine. [Anime News Network]
Passings | Political cartoonist and collector Art Wood, a founding member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, died Nov. 4 at age 87. He donated more than 40,000 pieces of original cartoon art to the Library of Congress for its bicentennial, and the library published a book, Cartoon America, based on the collection. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Legal | The Japanese publisher Square Enix has filed a counterclaim against SNK Playmore, asking Osaka District Court to rule that its manga Hi Score Girl doesn’t infringe on copyrights held by the video game company. Earlier this year, SNK brought criminal copyright violation charges against Square Enix after learning Hi Score Girl contains more than 100 unauthorized images of characters from SNK Playmore games. The manga has been put on hold because of the dispute. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | Who’s buying, and how much are they spending, at conventions? Rob Salkowitz mines the numbers from a recent Eventbrite poll of convention-goers to get some answers: Most people spend between $100 and $500 per person; cosplayers actually spend a bit more than average; and women shell out more money at conventions, while men spend more online. [ICv2]
Comics | Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Collectibles explains why he and his partner Stephen Fishler were willing to pay a record $3.2 million last month for a pristine copy of Action Comics #1: “We feel very confidently this was a good price and that we will be able to sell this for a profit. We really believe in the strength of the comic book market and that it has a long way to go.” Zurzolo also talks about how he built up his business, starting out selling comics at conventions at the age of 15. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Legal | More trouble for Square Enix over the gamer manga Hi Score Girl: Publication was suspended last month following allegations the series, which runs in the Japanese magazine Monthly Big Gangan, had used characters owned by the game company SNK Playmore without permission. Now it turns out Square Enix asked permission from Sega to use characters from its Virtua Fighter game, but then went ahead and published the story before permission was granted. Sega executives “strongly objected” but took no further action and did grant the permission, reasoning it would be good publicity for the game. [Anime News Network]
Legal | The Japanese magazine Monthly Big Gangan has put the series Hi Score Girl on hold following allegations by the game company SNK Playmore that the manga is using its characters without authorization. The publisher, Square Enix, already recalled the five volumes of the series published so far and stopped releasing the manga digitally. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver talk about bringing Wonder Woman to Gotham City in their two-part story for DC Comics’ new digital first anthology Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. [Hero Complex]
Creators | Sonny Liew, creator of Malinky Robot and the artist of The Shadow Hero (written by Gene Luen Yang) was born in Malaysia, went to school in Singapore, then went to college in the United Kingdom and art school in the United States on his way to becoming a comics creator. There wasn’t much of a homegrown comics scene when Liew was growing up, so he read mostly imports, but that’s changing, and his newest project is an anthology featuring creators from the region. [The Malay Mail]
Legal | Japanese publisher Square Enix is voluntarily recalling all volumes Hi Score Girl and has suspended its digital distribution and sales following allegations the manga contains more than 100 unauthorized uses of characters owned by the game company SNK Playmore. However, the series will still continue to run in the monthly Big Gangan magazine, and a Square Enix spokesperson said the publisher isn’t admitting to the allegations. The publisher sent mixed signals on whether the anime adaptation in development will continue as planned. The manga also contains characters from games produced by CAPCOM, Sega and Bandai Namco, all of whom confirmed to IT Media that they had granted permission. [Anime News Network]
The Osaka police on Tuesday searched the Tokyo offices of game and manga publisher Square Enix as part of an investigation of alleged copyright violations.
The video game company SNK claims the manga Hi Score Girl, by Rensuke Oshihiri, contains more than 100 unauthorized uses of characters from its games, which include King of Fighters and Samurai Spirits. In addition to investigating materials confiscated from Square Enix headquarters and other offices, the police plan to question both Oshihiri and the editor of the series.
Serialized in Big Gangan magazine since 2010, Hi Score Girl is a romantic comedy involving two avid gamers, set during the 1990s 2D gaming boom. The collected editions list the owners of properties referenced in the story, including SNK, with a copyright mark, suggesting permission was given, but when SNK was contacted by a production company that planned to produce an anime adaptation, they determined the use was unauthorized.
SNK sent out a press release early today saying it had asked Square Enix to stop selling the manga but did not receive a “sincere response,” so the company filed criminal charges. The case is being investigated by the Osaka Police’s Consumer and Economic Crime Division.
Considering that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight, it’s safe to presume Comic-Con International will be packed with Batman programming and merchandise. And this morning, Square Enix added one more to the list.
The company is bringing a convention-exclusive Batman: Arkham Origins PVC action figure depicting the Caped Crusader at the beginning of his career. Along with its metallic coloring, the figure boasts an articulated cape, allowing for a variety of poses, as well as Batarang and grappling gun accessories.
Yen Press unveiled its digital distribution plans for Square Enix manga on Monday — and while the implementation is news, the basic concept isn’t; Yen announced at New York Comic Con 2012 that it would be the exclusive worldwide digital distributor for Square Enix. The digital manga model has shifted quite a bit since then, though, and what was announced yesterday was a bit different from what one would have expected a year and a half ago.
Here’s how it will work: Full volumes will be sold as e-books through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google and Kobo, while individual chapters (some being published simultaneously with their release in Japan) will be available through those platforms and via the Yen Press iOS app, which is limited to North America, according to Kurt Hassler, Yen Press’ vice president and publishing director. “The Yen Plus magazine, our previous ‘streaming’ service, was closed following the December issue of the magazine to pave the way for individual chapter availability by virtue of these various platforms,” he said in an email to ROBOT 6.
Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been a boon for independent comic creators, providing much-needed start-up cash to get their projects off the ground. Similar in scope to the rise of underground comix in the 1960s or the black-and-white boom of the 1980s, it’s changed the game for a number of creators. That’s why recent news that the massive video game publisher Square Enix is partnering with Indiegogo is so interesting.
To briefly summarize: Square Enix is one of the big players in the video-game market, especially in Japan, with titles such as Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider. In the partnership with Indiegogo, the two companies have essentially formed a think tank for independent developers outside of Square Enix to post video game proposals as Indiegogo campaigns. If they’re successful in the crowdfunding stage, they’ll receive marketing and development help from Square Enix to make the projects a reality. Going further, Square Enix even says there’s a possibility that video game developers could pitch projects based on the company’s immense back catalog.
Japanese video game and manga publisher Square Enix will shut down its North American and French digital-manga websites on May 23 following a rocky few weeks that saw a projected corporate loss of about $140 million for the fiscal year, the resignation of its president and layoffs in the Los Angeles office.
Crunchyroll reports users who have already purchased manga will be able to continue reading those titles for an unspecified time. A post on the Square Enix Manga website notifies visitors of scheduled maintenance on May 23 but makes no mention of the closing.
Announced at Comic-Con International 2010, the North American store launched that December with volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, The Record of a Fallen Vampire and Yumekui Kenbun: Nightmare Inspector.
The Square Enix news arrives a little more than a month after JManga will shut down its online manga portal on May 30. ROBOT 6 contributor Brigid Alverson has analysis at Good E-Reader.
Manga | Yen Press announced a number of new manga licenses over the weekend at SakuraCon, including the manga series based on the Square Enix game Kingdom Hearts. The company will re-release some of the manga originally published by Tokyopop and publish some of the newer series as well. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Christopher Irving interviews, and Seth Kusher photographs, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman: “I am certain that I will never be able to top it, and I’m coming to grips with that. It’s somewhat disconcerting that something I created when I was 23 will be something I’m remembered for when I die, when I’m 35 (or whenever it is). …I’ll be 34 in a little bit, so I wasn’t being too optimistic for myself.” [Graphic NYC]
Square Enix is a Japanese publisher of manga and video games. It licenses print manga (including such high-profile titles as Fullmetal Alchemist and Black Butler) to Viz Media and Yen Press, and last year launched an online manga site that carries both those titles and 13 others. However, several reviewers (myself included) found the price of $5.99 per volume (in a streaming-only, no download format) to be a bit on the high side.
From now through Aug. 10, however, Square Enix is offering the first volume of any of its 15 series for free to readers who “Like” the company’s Facebook page or get a special URL at SDCC.
There are a lot of caveats to this: The offer is open to residents of North America only (“Regional eligibility will be determined by MindMax® geolocation services,” says the press release, which sounds a little ominous). You’re also going to have sign up for a Square Enix account and download its proprietary reader. The press release seems to say you have to have a Windows computer to use the reader, but I managed to make it work on my Mac.
Obviously, the Square Enix folks are trying to get people to sign on with their sites. Their registration process is pretty cumbersome; I signed up a few weeks ago and I counted five separate registration processes, including creating two passwords, before I could buy a book in their store and read it on my computer. Offering a free volume may make readers a bit more patient with the process, though. I’m curious to hear what other people think, so if you take them up on the offer, feel free to drop back here and comment on how you liked it.
The Japanese publisher Square Enix, whose properties include the best-selling series Black Butler and Fullmetal Alchemist, revealed its online manga plans at the Tokyo Game Show yesterday.
Square Enix already has a website through which fans can purchase games, and they set up an online manga site for North America in July, with some sample chapters and an announcement that its digital media store would launch in Fall 2010. According to the information released at the Game Show, that date has been pushed back to winter. Square Enix already allows users to buy games through their website, and they will use the same system for manga, so existing users will not have to create new accounts.
Several Square Enix properties, including Black Butler, Soul Eater, and Pandora Hearts, are licensed by Yen Press but are not available on Yen’s online Yen Plus magazine. It looks like those series will be running on the Square Enix website.
As far as other platforms are concerned, Square Enix seems to be moving cautiously. In November, it will launch Gangan Online, an iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch app, but that will only be available in Japan, and foreign-language versions are not in the cards for the immediate future.