by Gene Luen Yang
First Second, 64 pages, $6.99
Every book by Gene Yang thus far follows the same basic thematic plot: A young man (or woman, but usually man) feels his life would be perfect if he could only attain that one special thing (acceptance, money, popularity, etc.). Through supernatural or otherwise fantastical means, he obtains his goal, only to discover (all together now) that it wasn’t what he really needed after all.
So it is with Prime Baby, Yang’s newest book, which was originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine. It’s about a young boy, Thaddeus K, who dreams of global conquest and is supremely resentful, jealous of, and thoroughly annoyed by his baby sister. When it turns out that his sister also serves as an inter-dimensional doorway to an alien world and tens of little pod spaceships start spitting up of her mouth, Thaddeus sees an opportunity to rid himself of his sister once and for all. Does he come to regret his decision? Are there stars in the sky?
Manga | Following up on Wednesday’s announcement that Yen Press will move its Yen Plus manga magazine online after the July issue, Gia Manry gets a few more details from Publishing Director Kurt Hassler — among them, that the web version will utilize a dedicated browser designed to emulate the print edition.
Digital publishing | In its White Paper presented last week at C2E2, ICv2 estimates that digital comics sales in North America last year totaled between $500,000 and $1 million. Naturally, it’s expected that sales in 2010 will “expand dramatically.”
iTunes | After Apple CEO Steve Jobs weighed in on the issue, the company has approved for its App store the NewsToon app from Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore. Apple had rejected the app in December, stating that Fiore’s Flash-animated political satire, “contains content that ridicules public figures,” a violation of its iPhone Developer Program License Agreement.
Digital comics | At Extreme Tech, Jim Lynch provides a lengthy overview of comics on Apple’s iPad: “Marvel and the other publishers have taken some important first steps, but they still have a way to go. The iPad has solved the problem of storage and readability, but now publishers must provide the app features, subscriptions, and digital delivery that will fully take advantage of the iPad and make reading comics on it as easy and as much fun as reading them in traditional book form.”
Copyright | A response to a brief post about the Manga Rock 1.0 app is a contender for quote of the day: “This is awful. You’re PAYING to use OneManga, which illegally hosts copyrighted materials! This is such crap.”
Yen Press announced today it will end the print edition of Yen Plus with the July issue and move the two-year-old manga anthology magazine online.
“The print magazine will be no more,” Publishing Director Kurt Hassler wrote, “but Yen Plus will live on as an online manga anthology! As such, it will have the ability to reach more readers than ever before while giving those same readers an option to peruse manga (and maybe some light novels?) legitimately online. Will there be other changes? Most definitely. You can expect to see content changes which we will announce when the time is right. Our commitment, however, is to keep bringing you the best and most diverse anthology experience every month.”
Launched in August 2008 by the Hachette Book Group imprint, the magazine has been used to introduce such titles as Black Butler, Nightschool and Soul Eater and the adaptations of Maximum Ride and Gossip Girl.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Yen Press announced yesterday that Twilight: The Graphic Novel had a highly successful debut week. Here’s the official word:
The graphic novel adaption of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight sold over 66,000 copies in its first week, the largest debut for a graphic novel in the US, according to publisher Yen Press. Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1, illustrated by Korean artist Young Kim, already broke the record for largest first printing for a graphic novel with 350,000 copies.
You may be saying, “Duh! It’s Twilight!” but success doesn’t always transcend genres when a prose work is adapted into a graphic novel. When best-selling author Christine Feehan tested the waters with Dark Hunger, a global manga based on her Carpathian novels, readers on Amazon gave it terrible reviews (some of which, admittedly, were due to people buying it online and not realizing it was a graphic novel). The book was on the remainder tables within months. And this for an author whose readers are so obsessed, they compile book-length guides to her created world.
Twilight looks like it will fare better. While the initial burst in sales is not surprising, early reviews have mostly been positive, aside from Chris Sims’ brutal commentary on the lettering. Japanator’s Karen Gellender does a good job of explaining how the graphic novel compares to the prose book, and what it does better.
Of course, these numbers are tiny compared to the real giant of the industry: Jeff Kinney’s graphic novel-ish Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has sold 24 million copies, according to official company PR. That gives Bella and Co. something to shoot for.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is none other than acclaimed cartoonist and co-founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies, James Sturm. Sturm, the author of such books as The Revival and The Golem’s Mighty Swing, has a new book coming out next month from Drawn & Quarterly entitled Market Day, and you definitely want to check it out, it’s a lulu.
In the meantime though, let’s simply check out what Sturm and the rest of the R6 crew is currently reading.
We’re continuing our look at the year ahead in comics with a rundown of Yen Press’ plans up through the summer. The company has their own online schedule that you can peruse, but I thought it might be useful to point out a few titles of note. As with Viz and other manga publishers, I’m not going to list every single ongoing volume that they’ve got in the hopper, but merely highlight the ones that strike my fancy. I’m flighty that way.
Publishing | Publishers are wagering that Stephenie Meyer isn’t the only prose author whose name can move massive amounts of graphic novels. We already knew that Yen Press is rolling out a staggering — by North American comics market standards, anyway — 350,000-copy first printing for Twilight: The Graphic Novel. But now George Gene Gustines reports that Dark Horse will print 100,000 copies of Troublemaker!: A Barnaby Adventure, a continuation of Janet Evanovich’s series of Motor Mouth novels. The Evanovich deal was announced in May. [The New York Times]
Business | Imagi International, the computer-animation studio behind TMNT and Astro Boy, has shut down amid layoffs and mounting debt. Although the studio will ask a Hong Kong court to name liquidators, it plans to continue to develop film ideas and outsource the animation work to other countries. [ABC News]
Publishing | Deb Aoki notes that within hours of the announcement last Wednesday of a March 16 release, Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1, rocketed from No. 230 on the Amazon.com sales chart to within the Top 10. As of this morning, the Yen Press adaptation hovers at No. 7. The current issue of Entertainment Weekly features a 10-page preview of the hardcover, which will receive a staggering first printing of 350,000 copies. [About.com]
Passings | Tom Spurgeon pens an obituary for French cartoonist Jacques Martin, who passed away on Jan. 21 at age 88. Martin, who collaborated with Herge on several Tintin books, in 1948 created the series Alix, which centered on the adventures of a young Gallo-Roman in the late Roman Republic. [The Comics Reporter]
Sales charts | Viz Media’s accelerated release schedule for Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece — five volumes a month through June — seems to be paying off, as two volumes vault onto The New York Times’ graphic books bestseller list. R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis Illustrated remains atop its perch on the hardcover chart, while Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen reclaims its paperback throne. Meanwhile, the fourth volume of Naoyuki Kageyama and Kazuki Takahashi’s The Yu-Gi-Oh! GX 4 debuts at No. 1 in the manga division. [The New York Times]
Publishing | Gonzalo Ferreyra, Viz Media’s vice president of sales and marketing, discusses the state of the manga market in North America, the performance of top titles like Vampire Knight and Naruto, digital comics and, yes, the impact of Twilight: “[Fans] can only read Twilight so many times. That’s when they come over and they start poking around and they find the Vampire Knights and Rosario & Vampires and other titles. … Let’s not kid ourselves, the Twilight fans number in the many, many millions — they’re manga-like numbers in Japan, here. If we can get a fraction more of those readers actively reading manga, if Yen can do that and bring those kids over to read the Twilight manga, and then move on and become manga fans it’s very encouraging.” [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Speaking of Twilight, Simon Jones points out that, with a 350,000-copy first printing, Yen Press’ $19.99 hardcover Twilight: The Graphic Novel has a retail value nearly $7 million, “which immediately vaults it into contention for one of the best-selling comics in the U.S. for 2010, by both volume and dollar sales”: “Whether you like the source material or not, or welcome the books’ legion of female fans young and old (it’s shocking how elitist fandumbs can be), there is absolutely no questioning the significance of this title. If it does as well as Yen clearly hopes it would, it will expose more fresh eyeballs to comics than any other single release, even series, in 2010.” More at the link. [Icarus Publishing]
Yen Press will debut its graphic-novel adaptation of Twilight on March 16 with a staggering first printing of 350,000 copies.
That figure comes from Entertainment Weekly‘s Shelf Life blog, which offers a look at the cover and interior art, plus an excerpt from an interview with Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. (A 10 -page preview plus the full Q&A will run in the new edition of the magazine, which hits stands on Friday.)
Announced in July, Twilight: The Graphic Novel is adapted and illustrated by Korean artist Young Kim, with input from Meyer, whose series of young-adult novels has sold 53 million copies worldwide.
Yen Press, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group USA, recently published adaptations of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride and Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak, and in December announced plans to “re-imagine” Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl novels.
Update: Brigid Alverson posts the official press release, which indicates Twilight: The Graphic Novel will be a $19.99 hardcover.
MTV’s Splash Page has a preview of Yen Press’ recently announced manga based on on Cecily von Ziegesar’s bestselling Gossip Girl young-adult novels. Written and illustrated by HyeKyung Baek, Gossip Girl: For Your Eyes Only will be serialized in the monthly Yen Plus anthology beginning with the January issue and then collected in a volume to be released in August.
Yen Press will publish a manga based on Cecily von Ziegesar’s bestselling Gossip Girl young-adult novels, to be serialized monthly in its Yen Plus anthology.
Gossip Girl: For Your Eyes Only, which debuts in the January issue, is described as “an original re-imagination” of the girls’ senior year at an elite private school on New York City’s Upper East Side. The manga is written and illustrated by HyeKyung Baek.
Yen Press and Gossip Girl publisher Little, Brown and Company are subsidiaries of Hachette Book Group USA. Yen Press recently published an adaptation of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride, and has announced manga versions of Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight.
Debuting in 2002, the 13 Gossip Girl novels have sold more than 5 million copies, and spawned a spin-off series as well as a cult-hit television show airing on The CW.
Hey there, hi there, ho there, it’s time once again for What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is blogger and Top Shelf pr guru Leigh Walton. Want to know what Leigh is reading this week? Of course you do! Click on the link to find out, then let us know what you’re reading in the comments section.
Welcome to What Are You Reading. I hope everyone had a nice Halloween and spent at least part of it reading comics.
Our guest this week is Chip Mosher, Marketing Director at Boom! Studios, publisher of such fine books as Irredeemable and The Muppet Show. As the image above hints, Chip’s been reading some rather interesting (and gritty) material, so click on the link below to discover what he and the rest of Robot 6 have been reading recently. Oh, and don’t forget to let us know what you have been reading in the comments section.
Retailing | Could Disney’s planned $4-billion purchase of Marvel signal the return comic books to the mass market? “I see the Marvel acquisition by Disney helping to expand the genre of comic books and remove it from the dusty basement of the world,” says direct-market retailer Creswell. “I do see Disney stepping in and offering retailers outside of the direct comic book market incentives for selling Marvel products,” Creswell said. [Reuters]
Publishing | Long-struggling e-book site Wowio reportedly has informed publishers that payments for the second quarter of 2008 will be made by Nov. 15. Wowio, which was purchased last year by Platinum Studios, was sold in July to a holding company formed by Platinum President and COO Brian Altounian. [Bleeding Cool]
Conventions | The inaugural Long Beach Comic Con kicks off today at the Long Beach Convention Center in California. Guests include Berkeley Breathed, Stan Lee, Tim Bradstreet, J. Scott Campbell, Amanda Conner, Geoff Johns, Dave Johnson, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Scott Lobdell, Dustin Nguyen, Darick Robertson and Mark Waid. The Long Beach Post and Gazettes Town-News have previews. [Long Beach Comic Con]
Events | 24-Hour Comics Day will be held Saturday at locations around the world. [24-Hour Comics Day]
Conventions | Heidi MacDonald posts her Small Press Expo round-up/wrap-up/photo parade. [The Beat]