People have been sending us pots of pictures and links and stories and reports and stuff and we have not been doing ti justice at all. So here’s a kind of catch up post from the last couple of weeks, for the sake of Google if nothing else.
§ Neil Gaiman and Margaret Abouet (AYA) after their event at their Pen American event April 26th. Photo by Calvin Reid.
As part of Spider-Man Week, on May 4th, Marvel editor Ralph Macchio and librarian Matthew Sheehy discussed the NY Puiblic Libraries collection, including its comics offerings. The NYPL had it’s comics on display for the first time in public as part of Spidey Week…dunno if they are still up there.
Diamond’s Kuo-yu Liang attended the Bologna Children’s Book Fair April 24th and 27th and was kind enough to send us his observations:
Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the biggest and most important trade show for children’s books in the world. The primary focus here is on licensing rights, doing business and relationships. As with other trade shows, more is done at dinners and cocktail hours than during the actual show.
I was strolling in Hall 25 with Sandra Wilson, the children’s book buyer from American Wholesaler Book Company (and Patsy Jones, VP Merchandising) where Sandra noted it seems the Asian are taking over the world.
Indeed, overall several long aisles are huge and bustling booths from the Koreans, Japanese and Taiwan all featuring comics. All the powerhouses were there – Kodansha, Kadokawa, Shueisha, Seoul Cultural, Daiwan. The Taiwan comics pavilion was massive and nicely displayed the best comics artists from their country. MDA, the media government agency from Singapore, were walking the floors scouting out business practices in their defined goal of turning Singapore into a manga/comics export country. Minumsa, the biggest publisher in Korea, is rumored to be starting a manwha line later next year but I could not confirm the specifics. Through their imprint Semicolon, Minumsa recently published Frank Miller’s 300 in Korea and is actively looking for other American materials, signaling a cross-pacific opportunity. Heck, even when you turn away from the publishers role you run smack into rolls of Asian printers and their displays of comics (such as 300 and Penny Arcade.)
Over in Europe there were, amazingly, even more comics. Giant publishers Panini, Egmont and others displayed the latest translated manga & manwha as well as their own strong fares (usually translated from the French). Dr Kapp from Tokyopop Germany reported record sales, while Tokyopop UK mentioned their very successful manga tour, where an event last week drew over 300 fans. Viz Europe hinted at a much more expanded plans in the UK in the near future. After the fair I traveled to Florence, Siena & Amsterdam and often saw people (most young male) reading comics at bus stops, subways and on airplanes. There were also movie posters for Spider-Man 3 everywhere.
On the American side things were just as groovy. Dark Horse, Tokyo Pop and Viz Media all had very busy booths and the rights team from DC Comics were seen in, somehow, every aisle. The massive Disney and Scholastic ‘’mansions’’ featured comics everywhere – from Bone to High School Musical to Witch. Comics were also on display at the traditional houses such as Random House and Harper Collins.
From Diamond’s perspective our role is distribution, or more accurately exporting English language graphic novels into foreign countries. This business is booming along with everything else. Demand is spiking from China to Lebannon, Thailand to Australia, Hong Kong to Greece. The stores want it all – 300, Marvel, Blankets, Bone and of course manga, manga & more manga.
§ Clay Harrison was kind enough to send us a huge picture gallery from last weekend’s CAPE, in Dallas. You can see the whole gallery here.