OMG these Yotsuba&! figures are so cuuuuuuuute!

3f7b266875decf95f0f037299589a7611434454139_full.jpg

Not only are these tiny Yotsuba&! figures from Kotobukiya adorable as the dickens, they got me thinking about the place of merchandising in a creator’s business plan.

Is TokyoPop still coming back?

Tokyopop_Logo.jpg

Founded in 1997, TokyoPop was one of the most influential publishers of the Aughts, driving the manga boom in the US as the first publisher to print manga in its original right-to-left format, a move that helped cement its authenticity among young readers. Later on their “original English language manga” line developed an entire generation of young creators working in a manga style, including Becky Cloonan and Amy Reeder Hadley. But it all came to an end in 2011 when the company shut down except for the German office. Owner and founder Stuart Levy went on to make a documentary about the Tohoku earthquake, even amidst continuing controversy about the reversion of rights to creators However there have been flickers of life since then, with some new digital publishing, licensing OEL books like King City to Image, and a TokyoPop-branded newsletter that was part of Nerdist’s adventures in that area.

Since TokyoPop never went bankrupt, it’s entirely possible that Levy can bring it back, as promised on the company’s about page:

UDON to unleash the Persona 4 manga in English this September

Persona 4 manga

Picture it. 2008. I was a bored twenty-something who hadn’t touched a console game in years. Through random internet searching, as these bored young adults are prone to do, I found out about Persona 4. Which sounded like the kind of weird mix of slice of life with demon fighting that I’ve always wanted. I […]

Super News Flash: One Piece breaks Guinness World Record

one-piece-guinness-625x750

The Japan News announced this morning that the long running manga series One Piece is the Guinness World Record winner for having “the most copies published for the same comic book series by one author.” Yoshihisa Heishi, Editor-in-Chief of Shonen Jump (the monthly magazine where new chapters of the popular Manga series are first published) accepted […]

24 Hours of International Comics: Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story

81-I1iclYdL

by Zachary Clemente 24 Hours of International Comics continue and, for me, it’s been leading up to this: A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori. There’s nothing I so vehemently recommend to anyone and everyone like this beautiful tale of life in 19th century Central Asia. Though mostly focusing on a main narrative thread, Mori lets her story […]

24 Hours of International Comics: Japan and Solanin

solanin

The Beat takes a look at Japan with the manga Solanin during their 24 Hours of International Comics.

Interview: We talk Europen graphic novels with Titan’s new editor Lizzie Kaye

Lizzie_pic1

Last week Titan Comics announced it had hired Lizzie Kaye, formerly of SelfMadeHero, to the position of editor for their European graphic novel line. We talked with Kaye within a week of her jumping on-board the Titan Comics team about her new gig and Titan’s expansion into the bande dessinée market.

Can you smell what Junji Ito has cooking? A deluxe version of horror classic Gyo

GyoDeluxeEdition.jpg

A seaside town is haunted by a terrible, terrible stench—and soon much more in Junji Ito’s classic horror manga GYO. Originally published in Japan in 2001 (and in English in 2003), Viz is bringing it back in a deluxe 400-page edition in April, with a new cover design and full-color endpapers. Ito is one of […]

RIP: Yoshihiro Tatsumi

IMG_6488.jpg

Manga pioneer Yoshihiro Tatsumi has passed away at age 79, according to a letter received by Paul Gravett. Tatsumi had been battling cancer for several years.

Tatsumi is best known as the pioneer of the “gekiga” style of manga (a term be invented), true to life stories of ordinary people. He own work featured haunting adult themes of alienation, dread and obsession. His autobiography A Drifting Life, depicting his struggles as an artist, won the Eisner award for Best Reality Based Work in 2010. He also won the World Outlook Award at Angoulême and the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize.

Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club and “the toxic ever present white gaze.”

Ep1_Cover

There’s no question but that in American culture the predominant view is one that is rich, white, male, straight and Christian. And while “The male gaze” is pretty well known, we’re getting to learn about the “white gaze” as well. Have you ever wondered what it looks like? Now we know. Except it’s from peace loving New Zealand AND America.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/30/15: Chew on this!

corto.jpg

A week’s worth of reading: § Has Manga Become a Niche Category? Johanna Draper Carlson examines some opinions on this, and quotes comments by Vertical’s Ed Chavez that I missed: The fact that shonen continues to be the only category that is consistently strong, and that moe has kinda catching up to shojo for second […]

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service gets an omnibus

kurosagi-corpse-delivery.jpg

If you have room on your shelf for ONE MORE omnibus series, make a little room for Dark Horse’s just announced omnibus series for The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki’s manga is a dark humored tale about five college students who form a special team to help spirits move on. It’s […]

Diamond 2014 Stats: top manga, indies and small publishers

Afterlife-With-Archie-Volume-1

Diamond released a bunch of year end charts yesterday including the top 1000 comics and GNs. I may load those up at some point but here are some charts that won’t make headlines. First a piece count: Title counts Publisher Comics GNs Magazines Total DC COMICS 1107 340 6 1453 MARVEL COMICS 953 387 3 1343 […]

Manga master Junji Ito’s Fragments of Horror from Viz

fragments_of-Horror-ito.jpg

Junji Ito! Junji Ito! Junji Ito! Japanese horror master Ito has been avoiding the genre of his greatest triumphs—Uzimaki, Tomie, Gyo— for eight years, but he has a new book out, and Viz will bring it to the US next year: Fragments of Horror, a new collection of short horror tales to be published under […]

Vertical to make Tezuka backlist available in digital editions

black-jack

Americans can’t get enough Tezuka!

Well sort of. The Japanese comics pioneer was as prolific as he was influential and recently we’ve recently seen a pretty ambitious attempt at getting a bunch of his works into print here in the US from DMP.

But a lot of primo Tezuka’s work was already published here via a series of very attractive volumes published by Vertical which ranged from Black Jack—perhaps his most accessible series and one of the best known—and standlone volumes like Ode to Kirihito. Sadly many of these books are out of print, but not to worry, Vertical is bringing them back in digital form:

The secret history of alternative manga

matsumoto-botchansensei-clocks-350x543.jpg

Manga isn’t all awkward schoolgirls and giant robots. There has long been a very strong alternative and literary thread of manga, and two recent articles give you some perspective on it.

I would call Ryan Holmberg’s Proto-Gekiga: Matsumoto Masahiko’s Komaga a must read, but I have to confess, it is very long and involved, and I have set it aside for weekend reading. BUT the important thing is that he compares and contrasts Yoshihiro Tatsumi, who is kind of credited as the father of “gekiga” or realistic manga, with Matsumoto Masahiko, a figure who appears in Tatsumi’s autobiographical A Drifting Life under another name. Masahiko’s work went down a slightly different path than Tatsumi’s but Holmberg shows that it was equally important: