Here’s a complicated story out of Japan. Alan Gleason, translator of Keiji Nakasawa’s classic manga about the bombing of Hiroshima, has a talk at a Japanese high school canceled because of vague reasons involving “recent circumstances” and “social trends.”
When he questioned staff if the cancellation was due to controversy over the manga in the southwestern Japanese city of Matsue, principal Chieko Akaogi declined comment stating the decision was made internally. Akaogi told The Mainichinewspaper that the cancellation was her decision and they did not consult the metropolitan or ward boards of education.
Akaogi stated, “I have not read Barefoot Gen. The students have not studied it, either, so I thought they would not be interested in the lecture. When I asked that Gleason not focus the speech onBarefoot Gen, he refused.”
It seems Barefoot Gen has been restricted in some schools because of the graphic violence involving the acts of the Japanese Imperial Army, a still sensitive topic. Shades of the Persepolis controversy!
§ Can you guess of which new graphic novel Dave Scheidt wrote the following? No fair peeking at the URL!
It’s scary, funny, intoxicating and an absolute treat to own. It’s familiar yet takes turns you’d never expect. It’s exactly what comic books need right now: It’s got something for everyone.
§ Kapow! Universe is a comic focused store that has two outlets, one in Beijing, and now one in Manila, where they take their Marvel with two lumps of Kapow.
The Philippines store is only the second Kapow! Universe outlet after the first one opened in Beijing; Alan said more stores are in the works, possibly even another branch in the country. Ivan said that talks to bring Kapow! Universe to Manila began in May, just months after the relaunch of the Filbar’s franchise. “We were looking for new licenses to bring in and MINDstyle was one of the first we approached,” he recounted. “At the same time, they were like, ‘Oh, we have this concept, are you interested?’ And we’re like, ‘Marvel? Of course! Oh my goodness!’”
§ The LA Times digs in to the whole San Diego/convention center/Comic Con/Chargers thing, and paints it as more of a “Chargers vs Comic-Con” deal, although the acting mayor says that as a world class city, San Diego should not have to choose between a football team and Comic-Con. The source of the dispute is the Chargers needing a new stadium; their owners are pitching the idea of a new downtown stadium with attached convention facilities.
Joining a convention center with a multipurpose stadium is considered key to the Chargers’ plan because of a hope that it would spur other development to make the area into an entertainment zone with shopping, restaurants and more. Without it, a downtown site is a non-starter, Fabiani said. But Nelson and other officials say convention planners are adamant that a non-contiguous expansion would not be attractive to people who book conventions.
The Chargers, like Comic-Con, often threaten to leave San Diego. Would they find a more receptive home in Los Angeles, where they haven’t had a pro football team in 20 years?
§ If this link lets you get past the paywall, you will find that this WSJ story Old Myths Get Graphic, is not, as one might expect, a look at how superheroes are modern myths, but rather a look at a fresh crop of eclectic books that engage in comics style world building, such as Brahma Dreaming, by John Jackson and Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, above.
§ One of the books profiled is Isabel Greenberg’s The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, a completely unique take on romance and myth and the evolution of both. Greenberg was the winner of the Jonathan Cape Short Graphic Story award for “Love in a Very Cold Climate,” which you can read right here. It was pretty much universally loved when it came out, and the book is more of the same. All of which leads me to this universally reviled profile of Greenberg in a UK paper that attempts to treat her like a female celebrity, with descriptions of her coffee stirring habits and appearance. I agree that the piece was totally lame-oh, but I don’t see much difference in tone between the piece and how all celebrity profiles are written. Do we want our cartoonists to be celebrities? If this is the result, I’d say no. But if Greenberg starts licking sledgehammers, let’s talk.
§ I regret that I did not profile this weekend’s Capicons Comic Book & Pop Culture Con which was held at the Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire Dept. in Dunn Loring, VA. It sounds like a charming venue for a comics show, and one hopes there was a baked bean supper afterwards. Hope everyone had a good time.
§ As NYCC looms, Ron Salkowicz looks back at one of the strangest moments in recent comic book convention history: last year’s Craftsmen Tools booth, which he brands a disaster:
The Craftsman fiasco was a full-on fail – for the brand, which looked ridiculous; for NYCC, which looked venal; and for fans, who missed out on whatever could have better occupied that floor space, and who may have left a little bit disgusted at the direction their hobby is going in. I’ve heard people argue this was just a tactical failure that could have been redeemed through better execution. In other words, traditional brands can reach geeks where they live if they do it right. Maybe this year’s big Chevy event, with cars tricked out in the colors of Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Image and Valiant, will somehow create synergies between the nerd culture and the most meat-and-potatoes American auto brand.
§ This is an old one. I should have made more of comiXology passing 200 million comics downloads, a milestone whether they were free, pay, or bartered with noodles. I meant to highlight the snark at Amazon in this piece from Crains.
But the company’s dominance could be under threat from no less than Amazon. In July, the e-commerce juggernaut launched its Jet City comics and graphic-novel imprint—with Game of Thrones novelist George R.R. Martin as headliner—and, after a late start, has been focused on building digital comics sales for its Kindle Fire tablet and Kindle apps.
“They’ve got incredible customer data,” said one industry executive. “Kindle is really coming up fast.”
But if Kindle ever does overtake comiXology, it won’t happen soon. A visitor to the Amazon website will not find digital editions of single-issue Marvel comics; comiXology has an exclusive on them. And reading dialogue on a phone through the Kindle app still requires a magnifying glass.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.