yaoi manga Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Comics A.M. | ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ blackmailer withdraws appeal

Kuroko's Basketball, Vol. 24

Kuroko’s Basketball, Vol. 24

Legal | Hirofumi Watanabe has withdrawn the appeal of his conviction last month on charges of sending more than 400 threatening letters to venues in Japana connected with the manga Kuroko’s Basketball. The 37-year-old former temporary worker admitted to all charges during his first day in court, but mpoved to have his conviction overturned after he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Watanabe, who said he doesn’t feel guilty for what he did and won’t apologize, acknowledged that he sent the letters out of jealousy of the success of Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. [Anime News Network]

Manga | The most promising new market for manga right now? India, where the comics market in general is exploding. Kevin Hamric of Viz Media says manga is already well known there and fans can’t get enough, while Lance Fensterman of ReedPOP, the company behind New York Comic Con, talks about the planned collaboration with Comic Con India. The one obstacle: the same one that afflicted the American manga market, Japanese publishers’ reluctance to license their properties. [The Japan Times]

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Comics A.M. | Judge rules Sherlock Holmes is in public domain

Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #4

Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #4

Legal | In a decision that will undoubtedly usher in more Holmes and Watson novels, comic books, movies and television, a federal judge has issued a declarative judgment that the elements included in the 50 Sherlock Holmes stories published by Arthur Conan Doyle before Jan. 1, 1923 are in the public domain in the United States. That means creators are free to use the characters and elements from those stories (but not from the 10 published after 1923) without paying a licensing fee to the protective Arthur Conan Doyle Estate Ltd.

The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit filed early this year by Leslie Klinger, who served as an adviser on director Guy Ritchie’s two Sherlock Holmes films and with Laurie R. King edited In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of new stories written by different authors. Although Klinger and King had paid a $5,000 licensing fee for a previous Holmes-inspired collection, their publisher received a letter from the Conan Doyle estate demanding another fee; in response, Klinger sued. [The New York Times]

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Digital Manga to resume print publication ahead of schedule

Postcard

Despite its name, Digital Manga Inc. has always had a robust line of print manga, skewing heavily toward yaoi and boys-love titles, so the company’s announcement late last year that it would be placing a number of print manga on hiatus sent shivers up fans’ spines; that sort of announcement is often a prelude to more dire news.

Not this time, though. Not only is Digital resuming print publication, it has moved some of its titles up and is making them available earlier than originally planned. Yoko Tanigaki, Digital’s vice president, sales and distribution, confirmed the publisher is resuming print publication, and none of its print manga series have been canceled. And there’s more: Three titles that were slated for publication later this year are either available now or will be available next week via Digital’s retail site, Akadot.com (note: link may be NSFW). Vol. 8 of Ai no Kusabi, scheduled for an October release, is available now, and Vol. 7 of Ze, originally set for September, will be there next week. And there’s more: Vol. 8 of The Tyrant Falls in Love will also be available next week, well ahead of its July release date, and it will come with a special postcard for Akadot buyers only. In an e-mail, Tanigaki said:

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Comics A.M. | Graphic novel sales jump 38% over January 2012

Fables, Vol. 18

Publishing | Comics sales were up 22 percent in the direct market over January 2012, and graphic novels increased by nearly 38 percent. This good news is tempered a bit by the fact there were five Wednesdays in this January (or 25 percent more Wednesdays, if you want to look at it that way), but that fifth week is usually a quiet one for new releases, so I think we can call this a win. The retail news and analysis site ICv2 credits Marvel NOW! and a strong backlist for the boost. [ICv2]

Publishing | Dark Horse’s video-game art book The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia last week was the No. 1 book in the United States, according to Nielsen BookScan — not merely in the graphic novel category, but in any category. The initial print run was 400,000 copies. (Comic Book Resources interviewed the book’s editor Patrick Thorpe last month.) [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Mary & Bryan Talbot win Costa; Tardi refuses top honor

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

Awards | Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, by Mary and Bryan Talbot, has won the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Awards) in the biography category, marking the first time a graphic novel has received the literary prize. “Just being shortlisted was amazing and hearing we’d won the category was stunning,” Mary Talbot said. “We’re delighted of course, both personally – it’s the first story I’ve had published – but also for the medium, I can’t believe a graphic novel has won.” [The Guardian]

Awards | Jacques Tardi, the acclaimed creator of West Coast Blues, It Was the War of the Trenches and the Adèle Blanc-Sec series, has refused France’s highest honor, the Legion d’Honneur medal: “Being fiercely attached to my freedom of thought and creativity, I do not want to receive anything, neither from this government or from any other political power whatsoever. I am therefore refusing this medal with the greatest determination.” [AFP]

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Library director refuses to restrict access to yaoi manga

Occasionally we see public clashes between the mandate of public libraries to serve everyone without restricting access to books and the desire of parents and caregivers to keep children from seeing sexually explicit material they aren’t ready for.

The most recent incident involves a 10-year-old girl who checked out a stack of manga that included the second volume of Makoto Tateno’s Hero Heel from the White Center Library, just south of Seattle. The book had a parental advisory mark on the front cover (applied by the publisher, not the library) and was rated 18+ (again, by the publisher) on the back cover, but there was no family member watching what the girl checked out; her grandmother dropped her off at the library and waited in the car until she came out with her books. Her uncle, Travis De Nevers, found the book after she brought it home and wrote to the library, saying:

How can it be that a young girl can check-out this book? Why would it even be located in a place where children would have easy access to it? It was by chance that I happened to pick up the book from a pile of her library books and noticed the label.

I do not want this to happen again to my niece or other children. I am asking that you review your check-out practices and make the changes necessary to prevent it. Please send me a response detailing your steps to correct this serious situation.

(Note: The linked post includes fuzzy but NSFW scans from the book.)

“I don’t think he was objecting to us having it so much as how we are protecting kids her age from encountering things that might be difficult,” Bill Ptacek, director of the King County Library System, said in an interview with Robot 6. “Our response was, we are not in the business of policing what anybody gets. We adhere strongly to the idea of free and open access; we do expect either parents or caregivers to be actively engaged and be sure they are comfortable [with their children’s choices].”

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Digital Manga now on comiXology

You know, I remember a time when Digital Manga published only print manga. That was back in 2005, before digital comics were a thing — Tokyopop ran a couple of sample chapters on its site, and there were the scanlators, of course, but that was about it. The Kindle was still a flickering star in the distant future (2007), and even when it came along, the first-gen version was a crappy comics reader.

Now Digital is the most digital of all manga publishers, releasing its work on just about every platform there is — Kindle, Nook, its own iOS app (when it’s not getting thrown off for the naughty bits), its own eManga website, and just in the past few weeks, iBooks, DriveThruComics and Wowio. These last two offer comics the way readers say they want them, as DRM-free PDFs.

Today Digital completed its sweep by putting its manga on comiXology. Digital is starting slow, with four titles from its Juné line, priced at $9.99 each. (It also has some Vampire Hunter D volumes, which look like they have been on the site for a while.) The selection is small, but it’s a significant leap forward for Digital — because company is getting its manga out onto what appears to be the most popular platform for digital comics — and for comiXology, because the distributor is adding manga to its mix, and yaoi fans tend to be voracious readers.

Comics A.M. | Court rules Zunar’s arrest is lawful, books seizure is not

Zunar

Legal | Human Rights Watch reports on the lawsuit filed by Malaysian cartoonist Zunar after he was arrested and his books seized by authorities. The court ruled that while the arrest, on grounds of sedition and publishing without a license, was lawful, the government’s continued possession of his materials was not. Zunar was never formally charged — a judge threw the arrest out after authorities could not point to any actual seditious material in his book, Cartoon-O-Rama — and therefore, the court ruled, the government had no right to continue to hold the books and must return them and pay him damages to boot. [Human Rights Watch, via The Daily Cartoonist]

Legal | Rich Johnston reports that copies of Howard Chaykin’s super-erotic Black Kiss 2 have been held at the border by U.K. customs. Diamond Comic Distributors is in talks with customs officials and hopes to get the books into the country next week. [Bleeding Cool]

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What Are You Reading? with Andy Hirsch

Snarked!

Welcome to the turkey hangover edition of What Are You Reading?, your weekly look into the reading lists of the Robot 6 crew. Our special guest today is Andy Hirsch, creator of Varmints and artist of The Royal Historian of Oz.

To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.

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Comics A.M. | ComiXology top iPad app for past six Wednesdays

Comics by comiXology

Digital | Comics by ComiXology has topped Apple’s charts as the top-grossing iPad application for the last six Wednesdays. ComiXology cited the launch of DC’s New 52 initiative, as well as many other comic companies moving to a same-day digital release schedule, as reasons for its success. “When have comic books, not comic book movies, not comic book merchandise, but the actual comic books been #1 in anything, much less high tech?” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. “Being the number one grossing iPad application six Wednesdays in a row isn’t just a huge milestone for comiXology, but a huge milestone for comics as a medium … and we could not be prouder.” [press release]

Creators | An auction for the naming rights to a character in Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ The Secret Service raised $5,100 for St. Bartholomew’s Primary School, where Millar attended. The money will be used to pay for field trips for the school’s students. “I’m a former pupil at St. Bartholomew’s and have so many great memories of the place,” Millar said. “I know there’s not a lot of money in local government at the moment and I was sad to hear that the annual school trip for the children had been cancelled. By establishing this fund, I hope to have a pot the head-teacher can dip into every Christmas and take the entire school to a pantomime every year.” [Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser]

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Viz goes full-on digital with new BL line

As the shape of the digital comics world emerges from the haze of uncertainty, readers are saying one thing loud and clear: “I want to own my digital comics.” And most publishers are sidestepping the whole issue by saying “We will gladly sell you a license to read our digital comics” and going no further.

So when Viz Media reps unveiled their SuBLime line of Boys Love (yaoi) manga at Yaoi-Con on Saturday, they made manga history: They will be publishing some titles digitally in a download-to-own format, according to manga blogger Deb Aoki, who was tweeting from the panel. The licenses will be worldwide, not restricted to the U.S. and Canada like Viz’s other digital releases. What’s more, the downloads will be PDFs, which can be read on a Kindle, Nook or iOS device as well as pretty much any computer.

That’s right: DRM-free downloadable comics, available worldwide. And the cover price on these e-books is a very reasonable $5.99.

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This weekend, it’s Yaoi-Con—with Jo Chen

Yaoi-Con, subtitled “A Celebration of Male Beauty & Passion in Anime & Manga,” is an opportunity for yaoi enthusiasts to get together without distractions (unlike, say, New York Comic-Con, where you have to coexist with video games, movies, cars, and a bunch of comics you really don’t care about). This weekend, a couple thousand yaoi fans will crowd into the San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel to enjoy panels, guest appearances, a scavenger hunt, and yaoi-specific events like Bishie Pictionary and a Bishounen Auction (one of the more controversial aspects of Yaoi-Con).

It says something about the importance of this event that Viz Media (the largest manga publisher in the U.S.) opted to launch its new yaoi manga imprint at Yaoi-Con rather than at NYCC. Digital Manga, which skipped NYCC altogether (as they have for the past few years) will also be there. Guests at this year’s con include Japanese manga creator Fusanosuke Inariya (Maiden Rose) and American artist Jo Chen, who draws yaoi doujinshi (fan comics) when she isn’t working on Buffy, Runaways, and Thor. Chen’s doujinshi In These Words has been picked up by the Japanese publisher Libre and will run in their magazine Be Boy Gold.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Yaoi-Con, and while it is much smaller than most anime cons (with attendance that stays in the four digits), it has become well established as one of the moveable feasts of the manga lover’s year. And while I have never been, I have a feeling that Yaoi-Con is the ideal con, the one place where everyone in the room has something in common—and it’s something the rest of the world knows nothing about.

Comics A.M. | Fantagraphics’ first Pogo collection finally goes to press

Pogo

Publishing | Mark Evanier, who is providing editorial assistance on Fantagraphics’ long-awaited Walt Kelly Pogo collections, notes that the first volume has gone to print. “My friend, the lovely Carolyn Kelly, lovingly supervised the loving restoration of her lovely father’s lovely strip and she also did the lovely design of this lovely book and its lovely dust jacket and the lovely imprints under that lovely dust jacket. Sure sounds like a labor of love to me. Not that the contents need any help but the strips are supplemented by a foreword from writer (and friend o’ Walt’s) Jimmy Breslin and essays/annotations by Steve Thompson, R.C. Harvey and myself. If I were you, I’d read all that text stuff after I read the strips themselves about eleven times.” [News from Me]

Comics | Todd Allen runs through some of the “actual changes” to the DC titles come September, noting the eight new (or fairly new, or returning after being absent) writers, plus four who have been “poached” from Vertigo. [Indignant Online]

Comics | Martin Wisse takes The Atlantic to task for publishing an “utterly dull and middlebrow” list of 10 nonfiction graphic novels they called “masterpieces.” He notes that when commenters call out the author for not listing any works by Joe Sacco, she responds that she “chickened out” on including Footnotes in Gaza because “the topic is so polarizing.” Tom Spurgeon has commentary as well, noting, “It’s galling that an author can admit to not including something for publication because they were afraid of Internet reprisals and not be automatically fired and/or laughed out of town.” [Wis[s]e Words, The Comics Reporter]

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Digital Manga Guild launches first title

The Digital Manga Guild, an experiment in fan translation created by Digital Manga Publishing, launched yesterday with its first manga, Tired of Waiting for Love, which is available online only at Digital’s eManga.com website.

Digital’s strategy is to get a lot of manga onto the market quickly by using nonprofessional translators, editors, and letterers who don’t get paid up front but get a 12% cut of profits once the books start selling; Digital and the Japanese licensor also wait for their share until the profits start rolling in. Digital CEO Hikaru Sasahara says that one thing keeping manga off the U.S. market is the high initial costs, both the license fee paid to the Japanese licensor and the cost of translation and other prep. By shifting those costs to the end of the process, rather than the beginning, he hopes to be able to vastly increase the number of books brought over here: The DMG plans to publish 50 to 100 books per month, all digitally on the eManga site and, eventually, via Kindle, Nook, and other channels.

This could be bad news for professional translators, editors, and letterers, especially in the manga field, but in fact the Digital Manga Guild is an idea that probably works better for yaoi manga than for other genres. The reason lies in the similarity of yaoi manga to romance novels, something that Sasahara has long been aware of (Digital also offers Harlequin manga at eManga.com). Like romance readers, yaoi fans are voracious readers who will read just about everything available. They have their favorite authors, and Digital is planning quite a few books by creators whose work has already been published in English, but they will also read a book by an unknown. When you read so many manga, getting a new story is more important than having a physical copy, and many readers may prefer digital to print because it gives them fresh stories without the clutter (and at a lower price). And most yaoi manga are one-shots, so Digital doesn’t have to worry about maintaining consistency across a series, which makes it easier to have multiple books being translated by different teams at the same time.

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Comics A.M. | Robert Crumb explains withdrawal from festival

Robert Crumb

Creators | Robert Crumb pens a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, explaining why he pulled out of the Graphic 2011 festival: “I was quite alarmed when I read the article in the Sunday Telegraph. I showed it to my wife, Aline, who said, ‘That’s it, you’re not going.’ She got a very bad feeling from the article. She feared I might be attacked physically by some angry, outraged person who simply saw red at the mention of child molesters. She remarked she’d never seen any article about me as nasty as this one.” Sunday Telegraph staff writer Claire Harvey, meanwhile, responds to Crumb’s comments and criticisms lobbed at the newspaper: “Crumb seems to be living in fear of the reaction he once sought to provoke. It seems a sad place for any artist to be.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Passings | Kim Thompson eulogizes Argentina cartoonist Francisco Solano López, who passed away on Friday. [The Comics Journal]

Conventions | Reporting from this weekend’s Wizard World Chicago, the Chicago Tribune talks to former comic shop owner Gary Colabuono, who displayed rare ashcan editions of comics from the 1930s and 1940s featuring Superman, Superwoman, Superboy and Supergirl at the show. Blogger Matthew J. Brady has pictures of the ashcans, as well as a report from the show. [Chicago Tribune]

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