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Comics A.M. | Irving Fine, founder of Siegel and Shuster Society, dies

Jerry Siegel's childhood home (courtesy of the Siegel and Shuster Society)

Jerry Siegel’s childhood home (courtesy of the Siegel and Shuster Society)

Passings | Irving Fine, cousin of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and founder of the Siegel and Shuster Society, passed away March 11 at his home in suburban Cleveland. He was 87. Fine, whose late brother introduced Siegel to Joe Shuster in the 1930s, made preserving and promoting Superman’s ties to Cleveland a priority: During his tenure as co-chairman of the Siegel and Shuster Society, Ohio introduced a Superman-themed license plate, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport installed a Superman Welcome Center, and Siegel’s childhood home was restored. Michael Sangiacomo notes that Fine also played a key role in the plans for a monument to Superman and his creators, set to be unveiled in 2018 near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

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Seven Seas licenses new yuri manga from Milk Morinaga

gakuenpolizi1The small but growing manga publisher Seven Seas has been beefing up its line lately, and it has announced a new license today: Gakuen Polizi, a lesbian romantic comedy by Milk Morinaga.

Morinaga is well known in yuri (lesbian) manga circles; Seven Seas has also published her earlier manga, Girl Friends, and her short story collection Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry Blossom Pink. There isn’t a lot of yuri manga — it’s a niche of a niche — so it’s good to see a creator’s works being brought over with some consistency. In addition, this is quite a recent series—it launched last year and is still being serialized in Japan. Here’s the blurb:

As a child, Sasami Aoba fantasized about becoming a defender of justice, like the magical girls and “Sentai Rangers” she admired on TV. Years have passed and now Sasami has become a police officer herself. Her first assignment is to infiltrate Hanagaki All-Girls High School and ferret out any trouble she may find.

On her first day posing as a student, Sasami is shocked to discover that a supposed book thief at school is actually a fellow undercover police officer, Sakuraba Midori. What’s more, Midori insists that she herself is the officer in charge of the school, not Sasami. Will the two girls become rivals, partners…or something more?

If that piques your curiosity, blogger Katherine Hanson has a review up at her site, Yuri no Boke, in which she traces that magical-girl bit back to Morinaga’s love of the genre and the doujinshi (fan comics) she makes. Hanson’s conclusion: “So far, Gakuen Polizi is one part much-needed social commentary and one part love letter to a genre its author loves, with some romance seeds being planted.”

The first volume is due out in June 2014.

Comics A.M. | SPX apologizes for registration meltdown

SPX

SPX

Conventions | Small Press Expo organizers apologized to exhibitors for the problems they experienced trying to register for the show. Despite several server upgrades ahead of time, the site went down when the “tsunami” of applications hit on Sunday morning. They then opened up PayPal to take the table orders, but they were unable to shut it down when all the tables were sold. They are sorting it out now, and if the tables were oversold, refunds will be issued. Roger Langridge depicted his registration experience on his blog. [SPX Tumblr]

Publishing | After 13 years of publishing and promoting yuri manga, Erica Friedman is stepping down as Yuricon events chair and giving up on publishing: “I can’t afford print, you don’t want digital, the JP companies won’t talk to me and all the many differences between JP publishers and US fans are so huge and insurmountable. I don’t have the energy or clout or money to bridge the gap.” [Okazu]

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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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Comics A.M. | Steve Ditko won’t be appearing at London convention

Steve Ditko self-portrait

Creators | Contrary to some reports this morning, reclusive comics legend Steve Ditko won’t be a special guest at the second annual London Super Comic Convention, to be held Feb. 25-26 at the Excel Centre in London. A press release that circulated has been confirmed as a hoax. [ComicConventions, Bleeding Cool]

Publishing | Trajectory, publisher of the Classics Illustrated comics, announced at the Beijing Book Fair that it has begun publishing Chinese translations that will be available as ebooks. The first two titles: Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. [press release]

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