§ Paul Levitz is back blogging at Newsarama, and as always many interetsing topics are touched upon, but perhaps this is of the most note for our interests:

* E-mails, memos and call slips to catch up on: Random House reports opening hundreds of new accounts for DC graphic novels since taking on our book trade distribution, a good sign that we’re accomplishing some of the goals of that shift; calls out to a couple of writers whose bits made it into an upcoming project to invite them to the celebration; calls in from people making recommendations for our open legal executive seat; good results from our revitalized AIDS WALK NEW YORK team, a priority cause since DC has lost several folks to that plague; Final Crisis launched well. Stacks of comics to be read and filed.

§ One ex-Tokyopop editor, Peter Ahlstrom braves his NDA and talks to PreCur. Maybe we’re just printing nerds, but we found this part the most interesting.

One more thing I’m proud of contributing to at TOKYOPOP was the use of stochastic printing. I don’t take very much of the credit for it, but I did push for its consideration and participated in discussions with the top-quality printer Worzalla. In traditional linescreen B&W printing, only black ink is used on white paper—any gray you see on the page is an illusion formed by regularly-spaced black dots. In stochastic printing, the illusion is even better because the dots are much smaller and their placement is pseudo-randomized instead of regular. Now, most TOKYOPOP books, especially the ones from Japan, are scanned as bitmaps with no gray at all, so printing them stochastically looks identical to printing them via traditional linescreen. However, anything with gray in it looks much sharper and shows more details when printed stochastically. .hack//XXXX is a book that has a lot of gray details and really benefits from a stochastic treatment—but the Japanese book was printed traditionally. I made sure that when we printed it, it was done stochastically—so the end result is that for once, the English version of the manga looks better than the Japanese version (barring the presence of a slipcover, of course). I know many longtime readers of TOKYOPOP books will read this pronouncement skeptically, but I really don’t believe I’m exaggerating. If you get a chance to compare the English and Japanese versions of .hack//XXXX vol. 1 side-by-side, pay close attention to gray areas such as flashbacks. The English version shows fine details much more clearly.

§ The Baltimore Sun looks at Manga versions of Shakespeare that are coming out:

Count Mari Shigeta, 14, among the manga enthusiasts. She spent her early childhood in Japan where manga debuted and now attends Edison Middle School in Champaign, Ill. Shigeta likes to read, but on the classics she was succinct: “It’s just so much easier to read [Shakespeare] this way. The plays are really intimidating. Manga isn’t.”

Enthusiastic as some kids are about the new line of manga editions, adults aren’t as sure that manga is the way to bring Shakespeare or other classics to the masses of kids moaning at the thought of reading beyond the YouTube curriculum.

Personally, what’s so hard about understand Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth? They should really manga-fy the plays that no kids will EVER read, like Titus Andronicus or Henry VI, Part 2.

§ Colleen Doran goes to Portugal — comedy ensues.

However, despite the fact that almost everyone I met in Portugal spoke very good English, we had a failure to communicate right away. I did not realize that the slang term for comics in Portugal is “BD”. Now, where I come from, BD refers to bondage and domination, so in my very first television interview, the lady reporter began asking me “Do you do BD? How long have you done BD?” and my sleep deprived brain just went somewhere else and I got goggle eyed and blurted “What? I’m sorry?”

§ Valerie D’Orazio has lots of pictures of the Friends of Lulu Awards.


  1. “…Random House reports opening hundreds of new accounts for DC graphic novels since taking on our book trade distribution, a good sign that we’re accomplishing some of the goals of that shift…”

    Translation: more non-comicbook store outlets are carrying graphic novels (and might possibly carry other publishers as well).

    This is VERY significant, as the previous trade distributor of DC Comics was Warner Books (later Hachette). They went from a major distributor to another major distributor, and increased their market exposure.

    Which means more Innocents being Seducted, which is what bookselling is all about.

  2. there are a ton of different manga shakespeare things out there, it seems. but, gotta say, if you can get your hands on it….check out what they are doing at SelfMadeHero. not just shakespeare, but other classic work as well. their shakespeare manga shows a different twist and makes it a bit more approachable than the standard text by having modern settings, etc. really fun stuff!

  3. Shakespeare plus Dickens plus Bronte plus Mary Shelley. Versions with no abridging and just wait until you see Frankenstein! They’ve put previews up on the site at Classical Comics. OMG! I’ll be buying Christmas Carol. Jane Eyre is by one John M Burns. Oh, i see, they do different versions..same artwork but one modern english and one easy reading as well as they original. Great idea! I wonder who will ‘do’ Titus Andronicus first?

  4. “…Random House reports opening hundreds of new accounts for DC graphic novels since taking on our book trade distribution, a good sign that we’re accomplishing some of the goals of that shift…”

    I’m curious about this statement. Most existing trade bookstores do not need to open an account with Random House because, Random being the 800 pound gorilla of the book world, virtually every bookstore already has an account with Random House. So where are these new accounts coming from? Gift book stores? Comic book stores wanting to order direct instead of dealing with Diamond? Brand new bookstores (of which there are a few, but statistically insignificant).

    Unless Random House’s setup is such that they require a separate account for each of their distributed lines, I am wondering where the extra new accounts are coming from. That said, more power to ’em–getting GNs in bookstores of any sort, and being able to capitalize on the Random House Sales staff’s expertise and widespread coverage, is a Very Good Thing.