"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Viz Media will publish Blanc et Noir: Takeshi Obata Illustrations, the high-end art book by acclaimed artist of Death Note and Hikaru no Go.
Originally released by Japanese publisher Shueisha, the oversize book collects Obata’s work from 2001-2006, including illustrations from Death Note and Hikaru no Go. Within the silver-stamped slipcase are 132 pages of full-color art, foldout posters and artist commentary, including a “how to draw” section. There are also three double-sided laminated posters.
Viz Media will publish Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto spinoff Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring as a single volume early next spring.
Set shortly after the conclusion of the original manga, the miniseries centers on Sasuke’s daughter Sarada, and serves as a prelude to Boruto: Naruto the Movie. The story was serialized earlier this year simultaneously in Japan and in North America — although the latter only in digital form.
Legal | Mohammed Moghini, the attorney for jailed Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani, has been arrested for shaking his client’s hand. (According to this Pakistani source, the official charge is “fornication.”) Held at Rajai Shahr Prison, his bail has been set at about $7,000. This presents a potential problem for Farghadani, who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for drawing a cartoon “insulting” the country’s Parliament and leader, as she has only a limited time to appeal that sentence, and now her attorney is behind bars. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Manga | Viz Media announced Friday it will publish a print edition of One-Punch Man, which managed to garner an Eisner nomination in its digital-only format. Zainab Akhtar provides some background on the book and reproduces a review by David Brothers. [Comics and Cola]
Conventions | Scott Eric Kaufman follows Devin Pike, one of the organizers of Dallas Comic Con, throughout the three-day event and gets a good look at what goes on behind the scenes: “As I witnessed these lines [of fans] snakes down corridors and spill into causeways, they began to seem like a physical manifestation of the passion fans have invested in these individuals and the iconic characters they’ve played, and it’s up to people like Devin to ensure that that passion is rewarded with an experience that is, if not equal to it, at least a reflection of it.” [Salon]
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]
That means English-language readers will get the story the same day as those in Japan, although in a different format, as Viz’s Shonen Jump is digital-only.
One of the top-selling manga in the United States for many years, the original series ended in November. However, Kishimoto said he had more Naruto stories to tell before moving on to a different series.
The city of Sukagawa, Japan, is honoring hometown hero Ultraman with not one but four statues.
The star of a 1960s television series as well as multiple manga and anime series, Ultraman is the brainchild of Sukagawa native Eiji Tsuburaya, and the city has erected four statues — of Ultraman, Ultra Seven, Gomora and Eleking — on the street where he once lived.
The installation marks the second anniversary of Sukagawa’s sister-city relationship with the Land of Light, Ultraman’s homeland in the series, and city officials are hoping that the statues will put the city on the map for tourists, especially Ultraman fans.
Manga | ICv2 kicks off a week of manga coverage with a two-part interview with Kevin Hamric, Viz Media’s senior director of sales and marketing. Sales are up, with particularly strong growth in the direct market, where their older and darker series, like the Signature line, tend to do better. Interestingly, sales of shoujo (girls’) manga are up 20 percent in the direct market as well. In bookstores, as measured by BookScan, they are the number one graphic novel publisher of 2014, and they had five of the top ten best-sellers. Given all that, Hamric is genial about ceding the top spot to a Kodansha title: “Attack on Titan is #1, but whatever works and brings people into the stores and into the category is good for everybody.” In Part 2, he reveals what he expects to be the biggest book of 2015, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. [ICv2]
Viz Media has announced the August launch of Ultraman, the manga series by Linebarrels of Iron creators Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi.
Debuting in November 2011 in Shogakukan’s Monthly Hero’s magazine, the series is inspired by the 1966 Japanese superhero television show. Set decades later, the manga centers on Shinjiro Hayata, a seemingly ordinary teenager who learns that his father Shin Hayata was the first Ultraman and passed on the “Ultraman Factor” to him.
Boys Over Flowers was one of the series that helped propel the manga boom of the mid-2000s. It’s a classic shoujo romance about a girl of modest means who goes to a fancy high school and ends up in a love triangle with two guys, one that’s haughty and one that’s nice.
Now, 12 years after the manga ended in Japan and five years after the final volume appeared in English, creator Yoko Kamio is back with a sequel series, Boys Over Flowers Second Season. And this time, it will be published online, for free, in both English and Japanese — and the English version comes out first.
It appears the story will still be set in the elite Eitoku Academy, but two years later than the original series and with a different cast of characters.
Arriving in May from the publisher’s Perfect Square imprint, the full-color edition will collect the loose adaptation of the original game’s story, which was originally serialized in 1992 in Game Power magazine. The story was re-released as a trade paperback the following year.
The story by Ishinomori, creator of Cyborg 009, Kamen Rider and Hotel, followed the overall story arc of the game, but included new plot twists and characters, including Link’s fairy guide Epheremelda and a descendent of the Knights of Hyrule named Roam.
“Many older fans recall eagerly awaiting each new issue of Nintendo Power magazine back in the ‘90s for a new monthly chapter of A Link to the Past,” Beth Kawasaki, Perfect Square’s senior editorial director, said in a statement. “While it followed the overall story arc of the original Super Entertainment System game, creator Ishinomori also added new plot twists and characters that made this a stand-alone favorite among multiple generations of fans.”
To celebrate its third anniversary of going digital, Shonen Jump is offering four issues for free in the next four weeks, as well as a discounted price of $19.99 for a one-year subscription. The free issues are available via the Shonen Jump website and the Viz Manga and Weekly Shonen Jump iOS and Android apps.
The nice thing about an anthology is the variety, and the Jan. 19 issue, the first to be offered for free, has a good mix of stories. There’s One Piece, the long-running pirate tale; if you’re not particular about understanding the details of the plot, you can jump right in and enjoy the kinetic, cartoony battle scenes.
Toriko is another classic Shonen Jump story, about a group of “gourmet hunters” who travel the world looking for foods that are rare, hard to get, and uniquely delicious. It’s an odd combination of battle and foodie manga, and it’s fun to see big, over-muscled guys get all weepy over a salad, as happens in this week’s chapter, or watch a gourmet dig into a bowl of “Ojiya-style eyeball porridge.” It’s amazingly imaginative, and well worth a read.
It’s deja vu all over again for the Diamond Gem Awards: Voted on by comics retailers, the winners this year look a lot like the 2013 lineup, with Image Comics and BOOM! Studios once again taking honors as top publishers in their divisions. Marvel was named top dollar publisher, DC Comics as top backlist publisher and Viz Media as top manga publisher — just like in 2012 and 2013.
The first issue of the widely acclaimed Ms. Marvel was honored as comic book of the year in the under $3 division, and Thor #1 was the choice among pricier comics. The Amazing Spider-Man #1 brought in the most dollars, however. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was named the best all-ages comic of the year, Batman: Earth One took the honors as best original graphic novel, and Box Brown’s Andre the Giant was the best indie comic.
In terms of who got what, DC Comics won seven awards, Marvel won six and Dark Horse won three, including best anthology for Dark Horse Presents, another three-peat.
Here’s the full list of winners:
Crime | Police have surrounded an industrial park in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, France, 25 miles north of Paris, where the two suspects in Wednesday’s massacre at the offices of satire magazine Charlie Hebdo are believed to be hiding. Police say brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi have taken over a print shop and are holding a hostage, and have reportedly told negotiators they wish to die as martyrs. The Associated Press reports that a second, apparently linked siege at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris is believed to involve Amedy Coulibaly, suspected of killing a police officer on Thursday. Police say he’s holding at least six hostages. [The Guardian]
Publishing | The British independent publisher Great Beast, which has released the work of Dan Berry, Marc Ellerby and Isabel Greenberg, among others, will close on Jan. 7. Founded in 2012 by Ellerby and Adam Cadwell, the publisher was something of a victim of its own success, as Cadwell explains: “As the group got bigger, as the books became more successful and as we widened the range of shops we sold to there became more of a need for the management and promotion to come from one or two people and Marc Ellerby and I (Adam Cadwell) happily took up that role. However, as time went on we found that the time spent working for the benefit of the group was getting in the way of us actually making our own comics, which is why we started the group in the first place… We looked at many ways of monetising the group so we could pay someone to run things whilst still giving the creators the bulk of the profits but we just couldn’t find a fair way to make it work.” [Great Beast Blog]