"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
Manga | Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama is writing a new series, to be illustrated by Video Girl Ai artist Masakazu Katsura. The series will run in Young Jump magazine in Japan. [Anime News Network]
Libraries | Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s YA graphic novel This One Summer was the first graphic novel to be named a Caldecott Honor Book, but being a pioneer isn’t easy: Because the Caldecott Medal honors illustrators, most librarians think of Caldecott honor books as being for younger readers. Answering a complaint from a librarian, Pat Scales, former chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, points out that the Caldecott Medal is awarded to books for readers up to age 14, and that This One Summer is generally regarded as an eighth grade book—so it qualifies, but it is an unusual case. [School Library Journal]
Dark Horse will publish omnibus editions of The New York Four and The New York Five, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, and Demo, by Wood and Becky Cloonan. Editor Sierra Hahn told Publishers Weekly the acquisitions are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the young-adult market.
Published in 2008 by DC Comics’ short-lived Minx imprint aimed at teen girls, The New York Four centers on four young women who move to New York City to attend New York University. A sequel miniseries, The New York Five, debuted in 2010 from DC’s Vertigo imprint.
Demo, released from November to 2003 to November 2004 by AiT/Planet Lar, was the breakout book for Wood and and Cloonan, who had previously collaborated on Channel Zero: Jennie One. The 12-issue series, which tells self-contained stories about young people with supernatural powers (well, mostly), was most recently collected in 2008 by Vertigo, which later published Wood and Cloonan’s sequel.
The American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services Association has unveiled its annual list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. The 56 titles come from 24 publishers, led by First Second Books with nine and Marvel/Icon with seven.
Chosen by the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee from among 78 official nominations, the books are recommended for readers age 12 to 18 as meeting “the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.” In addition, the committee singled out 10 titles “that exemplify the quality and range of graphic novels appropriate for teen audiences”:
The complete list of the 2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens can be found at the YALSA website.
“It’s utter BS that MERCURY is in its third printing, and yet unavailable through the direct market.”
–Cartoonist Hope Larson on her young adult graphic novel Mercury, which is apparently a hit everywhere but the one system of stores that’s supposed to specialize in selling graphic novels.
Publishing | The big news of the day, obviously, is DC Comics’ entry into the digital-distribution arena with its comiXology-developed application for the iPad, iPhone and iPad Touch. CBR’s Kiel Phegley gets the details from Co-Publisher Jim Lee and John Rood, executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development. (ComiXology is already updating the app to fix a bug that apparently caused early iPhones and iPods to crash.)
David Brothers has early analysis, looking as day-and-date digital release for Justice League: Generation Lost, and a tiered pricing structure. Meanwhile, Matthew Maxwell writes: “… This does mean that both of the Big Two are now officially putting pinkie toes, if not entire feet into the pool. But who will jump in along with them?” We’ll round up more reactions later today. [Comic Book Resources]
Business | Japanese e-book publisher Bitway has invested $750,000 in Crunchyroll, the San Francisco-based website that streams anime and live-action Asian movies. A major distributor of electronic books, including manga, in Japan, Bitway hopes to work with Crunchyroll to develop a comics-distribution platform overseas, with an emphasis on the United States and Canada.
Crunchyroll launched in 2006 as a for-profit site, and featured among its content illegally hosted user-uploaded fansubs and bootleg anime. But in 2009, following a $4 million investment from venture-capital firm Venrock, Crunchyroll began offering only licensed content. The website reportedly attracts 6 million unique visitors a month. [Anime News Network]
Forget trailers or Twitter accounts for fictional characters or MySpace pages. The next great trend in comics promotion just may be board games. Okay, maybe not. But you have to admit, this board game for Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro’s new graphic novel Foiled is pretty neat. (Michael May reviewed Foiled for Robot 6 earlier this week.)
On the First Second Books blog, Marketing Coordinator Gina Gagliano writes that the game has been described at the imprint’s offices as “Candy Land, but evil.” (For a truly evil children’s board game, see Uncle Wiggily. Terrifying.)
Gagliano notes that the game, which is based on the plot of Foiled, has been sent to booksellers “far and wide.” There’s even talk that Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn may organize a game-playing session as part of its Free Comic Book Day activities. However, you don’t have to wait: You can download a printable version of the game from the Macmillan website.
At CBR, cartoonist Hope Larson talks to Kiel Phegley about her new graphic novel Mercury, hitting stores April 6. Mercury tells the parallel stories of two teenage girls living 150 years apart in the same Nova Scotia town, and the very different paths their young lives end up taking. And to hear Hope tell it, creating a graphic novel targeted to teens opens up a whole host of headaches that even prose writers dedicated to that demographic don’t have to face:
The problems I’ve run into being a cartoonist in book publishing have usually been with things like swearing or anything that’s kind of ‘racy.’ […] They crack down way harder on that kind of stuff, because if you open the book and there’s a naked breast – if a parent opens that up and sees it, you’re automatically not selling the book to them. You have to be a lot more careful. It’s the same thing with dialogue. If a parent opens a [comic] and there’s ‘Shit,’ it can’t hide behind those other words….I don’t feel like I’ve had to compromise or make changes I really didn’t want to make in terms of content. I had to make changes to make sure my book got into school libraries and libraries in general, but my editors definitely let me know when something was going to be an issue. And most of the time, I figure it’s less important for me to have ‘Fuck’ in my story than for the story to be in a library where kids can get at it.
PG-rated language notwithstanding, if you tend to think of YA books and comics as rather gutless affairs, Mercury will set you straight — this book’s got an edge. In addition to Larson’s trademark hints of the supernatural, there’s a tinge of darkness that really flourishes by the book’s climax. I was really impressed by it — you can check out my review of the book to see how much.
Publishing | The filmmakers behind Spellbound, the Oscar-nominated documentary that followed competitors in the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee, plan to premiere an authorized documentary on the history of DC Comics at Comic-Con International. Mac Carter (The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft) is directing the project, with Spellbound‘s Sean Welch producing and Jeffrey Blitz executive producing.
“DC Comics contacted us and asked if we would do this,” Welch told Collider. “Jeff and the director are comic book enthusiasts since they were kids and remain comic book enthusiasts. So yes, we have access to their archives, their material, their covers, their panels, the creatives and the executives in the DC world. [Collider]
Publishing | The weeklong standoff between Amazon and Macmillan over the price of digital books ended Friday evening, with the publisher’s electronic and paper books quietly returning to the website of the retail giant. Details of the dispute’s resolution have not been made public. [Bits]
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]
The American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services Association this morning released its annual list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens.
This year’s list singles out 73 titles recommended for readers ages 12 to 18 that “meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.” In addition, the selection committee chose its Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens:
• The Helm, by Jim Hardison and Bart Sears (Dark Horse)
• Children of the Sea, Vol. 1, by Daisuke Igarashi (Viz Media)
• Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer, by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins (SLG Publishing)
• I Kill Giants, by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Nimura (Image Comics)
• Omega: The Unknown, by Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple (Marvel)
• Bayou, Vol. 1, by Jeremy Love (DC Comics/Zuda)
• A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, by Josh Neufeld (Pantheon Books)
• Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation, by Tom Siddell (Archaia)
• Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki (Viz Media)
• Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 1, by Fumi Yoshinaga (Viz Media)
The complete list of the 2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens can be found at the YALSA website.
Update: David Welsh breaks down the list by publisher.
Three graphic novels were honored at the Youth Media Awards, presented this morning during the American Library Association’s midwinter conference in Boston.
Geoffrey Hayes’ Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!, published by TOON Books, received the (Theodor Seuss) Geisel Award, which recognizes authors and illustrators of books for beginning readers. Jeff Smith’s Little Mouse Gets Ready, also from TOON, was one of four Geisel Honor Books.
Nominees have been announced for the 2009 edition of the Cybils, the literary awards presented annually by bloggers who write about children’s and young-adult books.
The finalists in the graphic-novel category are:
• Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime, by Aaron Reynolds and Neil Numberman (Henry Holt and Company)
• Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics, by James Sturm (First Second Books)
• Amulet, Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse, by Kazu Kibuishi (Graphix)
• The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook, by Eleanor Davis (Bloomsbury USA)
• Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom, by Eric Wight (Simon & Schuster)
• The Dreamer: The Consequences of Nathan Hale, Part 1, by Lora Innes (IDW Publishing)
• Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation, by Tom Siddell (Archaia)
• Crogan’s Vengeance, by Chris Schweizer (Oni Press)
• Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Death and Dementia, by Edgar Allan Poe and Gris Grimly (Atheneum)
• Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood, by Tony Lee, Sam Hart and Artur Fujita (Candlewick Press)
The full list of finalists in all 10 categories can be found here. The winners will be announced in February (I think).