Journalista for June 1, 2010: No way to make lemonade

Posted by on June 1st, 2010 at 12:50 AM

 

 

“Manga is becoming an increasingly difficult business in the U.S. While I will always say there is plenty of grade-A material to license from Japan available, access to those properties has become quite limited over the last three to four years. I find it curious that this lack of competition has occurred during the recent decline of the U.S. manga market. While there might not be a clear direct correlation, I feel there are many titles that are better served by other publishers and even more properties that have been ignored because of what are essentially embargos.”

Ed Chavez
(link via Tom Mason)

 

“Now I’m wondering though, if [The Rise of Arsenal is] that bad, is it perhaps that bad on purpose? Did Krul and/or his editors decide at some point that there’s just no way to make lemonade out of the lemons they were handed, and so decided to try and make the comic so incredibly bad that people would have to read it, if only to see if it was really as bad as they heard?”

 

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Charles Burns, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes and Paul Gravett speak at a panel during the recent Copenhagen International Comics Festival; photo ©2010 Frederik Høyer-Christensen.

 

Recently posted to our homepage:

And in the news…

 

Above the Fold

 

Life in interesting times

  • Mark Evanier caught word that cartoonist Don Sherwood died on March 6 at the age of 79. In addition to a stint at Charlton Comics, much of Sherwood’s career revolved around newspaper strips, most notorious among them Dan Flagg — click the link to read Evanier tell the story.
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    Screenshot from a video featuring Perry as he discusses his association with the cartoonists’ charitable organization The Hero Initiative.

  • Howard Altman reports that the Zephyrhills, Florida Police Department has acknowledged investigating the death of Timespirits writer Steve Perry as an apparent homicide. Steve Bissette remains the blogger most closely following the story.
  •  

  • Horrible news from Kazu Kibuishi:

    My sister was murdered & we need help finding the suspect. Please contact the detectives if you have any info.

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  • Pakistan has partially lifted a ban on Facebook, which was imposed after users of the site organized Everybody Draw Muhammed Day recently. On the other hand, Bangladesh has imposed a Facebook ban of its own…
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  • Also in Bangladesh: “Mahbub Alam Rodin, who was arrested Saturday on charge of uploading satiric images of some political leaders on [Facebook] was placed on a three-day remand after he was produced before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court of Dhaka seeking remand for seven days.”
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  • Alain Berenboom, a lawyer for Tintin rightsholders Moulinsart, has compared an effort by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo to have Tintin in the Congo banned in a Belgian court to book-burning.
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  • The Borders bookstore chain saw a 15.8% drop in sales for the first quarter of 2010.
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  • Elin Winkler:

    Preparing for A-Kon, which means I am answering some email, and in my email box, I discover Diamond Distribution has finally decided to standardize what they want for bar codes. To whit, ONLY UPC bar codes will be allowed on floppy comic books (periodicals). ISBN or EAN bar codes will not be accepted on any floppy comics. (Previously, when they started the “you must have a bar code” rule in 2007, they accepted other types of bar codes; as long as it scanned, they did not care.)

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  • The manga business could be much worse. It could be the anime business:

    Navarre Corporation […] today announced that it has engaged Houlihan Lokey to assist it in structuring and negotiating a potential transaction for the sale of FUNimation Entertainment. There can be no assurances that this process will result in the consummation of a transaction.

    So what does that mean? It means this:

    Currently in the R1 industry, Funimation is the 800lb gorilla in the room. They own maybe 55-60% of the total R1 Anime market, with all the other players together carving up the [scraps]. Plus, this move will put fully half the current available Anime catalog ‘in play’.

    (Hat tip: Steven Den Beste.)

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  • Ted Rall, Matt Bors and Steve Cloud are off to Afghanistan in August.
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  • Jonathan Foerster speaks with one-time Marvel Comics executive James Galton, who takes credit for moving the company toward a focus on the Direct Market for its primary mode of distribution.
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  • Avoid the Future presents an interview with the proprietors of Arkham Comics in Paris.
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  • Sadie Mattox and Adi Tantimedh offer their thoughts on the current state of the manga industry.
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  • Answer: Because you’ll pay $3.99, and everyone knows it.

 

Today’s Format WarsTM report

  • Last Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a lawsuit against HTMLcomics.com owner Gregory Steven Hart in a Tampa, Florida Federal court. Hart is accused of pirating comics and magazines.
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  • Speaking of online piracy: Kevin Melrose notes that the scanlation-aggregation site One Manga made Google’s list of the 1000 most-visited websites. As Simon Jones notes:

    If manga were really a fad and fewer people were reading, or manga quality had gone down, would a pirate site get a billion page views per month?

    Come on now, everyone has to admit this is a real problem.

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  • Also courtesy of Jones, the German government turns out to be interested in Apple’s little problem with censorship.
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  • Brian Heater reports:

    The timing couldn’t have been better. Apple apparently waited until the publishers of the world were tied up with Book Expo America in New York to announce its new Sell Your Books initiative, which lets authors get their books into the new iBooks store without having to deal with publishers.

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  • It’s official: Netbook manufacturer Asustek is entering the tablet-computing market.
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  • Sarah Weinman examines Amazon’s entry into the world of publishing.
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  • According to Stan Schroeder, Apple has sold two million iPads in two months. Philip Elmer-DeWitt notes that as consumers get further entangled in Apple’s proprietary network of apps and purchases, they’ll find it increasingly difficult to switch to another system later — although this is true of any such network, including Google and Microsoft. Tim Sheehy, meanwhile, just hopes that the Japanese debut of the iPad means that he’ll finally get the otaku apps he’s been waiting to use.

 

 

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Graphic NYC

 

Profiles

 

  • Kelly Thompson on Hope Larson

    “My approach to marketing has got to be like an octopus. One arm in the Manga community, one arm in indie comics, one arm in mainstream comics, one arm in the bookstore market, one arm online… There’s no one easy way to reach girls, so I have to think across genres and across markets.”

 

  • Geoff Boucher on Tim Hensley


    From Wally Gropius, ©2010 Tim Hensley.

    “That’s one of the things that can be satisfying when you do the whole thing; you take it from script to finished page all by yourself. There are things to be gained by collaborating with somebody and having somebody respond to things in a way you don’t expect, but a lot of times, it’s not a lot collaboration, and it’s more like an assembly line.”

 

Also

 

Reviews

 

 

  • Michael Lorah on Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965

    “Readers can truly examine how closely Kubert skews to the facts of what this group of men experienced, while Kubert’s fictional cast maintains the story’s focus on what occurred. It’s beautifully drawn, as you’d expect from Joe, and it’s a moving historical document.”

 

Also

 

Commentary

 

  • Chris Mautner on Harvey Kurtzman

    An introductory primer to the Mad Magazine creator’s career.

 

  • Gina Barreca: Is there a doctorate in the house?


    Detail from Daniel Clowes’ recent New Yorker cover.

    “We’re being oversensitive, sure, but I would like to see a character putting a medical degree on the wall. I’m sure there are doctors and lawyers who are still living at home. Somehow, the Ph.D. is being treated as merely a keepsake, like a sea shell from a trip to the beach or a poster from a rock concert.”

 

Also

 

Business and Craft

 

  • Miriam Libicki: The evolution of a page

    “I chose this page more or less because it was the page I was working on when I was offered to blog about my process, so I was able to un-tape it from my drawing board and scan it several times before I finished it. Below, find more detail on my process than anyone could possibly want!”

 

Comics and Art

 

  • Gabriel Corbera: It’s Better With Your Shoes Off


    ©1955 Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc.

    Okay, it’s been nine months since Corbera posted this first part of a planned serialization of Anne Cleveland’s wonderful, long out-of-print cartoon book, so I might as well link now and get it over with.

 

Also

 

Comics Culture

 

  • Rich Johnston: Eagle Awards Initiative announced

    “The winner will be awards £1000, the runner up £500 and the second runner up £250. All three stories will appear in the Initiative Anthology published in print and digitally in multiple languages.”

 

Also

 

  • Your Not-Comics Link of the Day:

    Over the holiday weekend, I wound up watching The Book Group, a twelve-episode comedy series from the U.K., pretty much straight through in one sitting. It’s smart, funny and a bit sexy — adult in the best sense of the word.

 

Events Calendar

 

This Week:

 

  • June 3 (Oakland, CA): Dan Clowes will discuss and sign copies of his new book Wilson at the Diesel Bookstore on College Avenue, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • June 3 (New York City, NY): Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan and Pascal Dizin sign their new book City of Spies at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art on Broadway, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • June 4-6 (Charlotte, NC): This weekend it’s HeroesCon, taking place at the Charlotte Convention Center and boasting an inclusive gathering of the various comics tribes. Details here.
  • June 4 (Seattle, WA): The Lobster and the Liver, a full-length documentary about Jim Woodring, will be shown at the Central Cinema on 21st Avenue, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • June 4 (Los Angeles, CA): It’s all-fanboy stand-up comedy night at Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard, beginning at 8PM. Admission is $4. Details here.
  • June 5 (London, England): Jamie McKelvie, Kieron Gillen and Becky Cloonan make an appearance at Gosh! Comics on Great Russell Street, from 2-4PM. Details here.

 

Want to see your comics-related event listed here? Email a link to dirk@tcj.com and let me know. Please include an online link to which I can send people for more information. No sales-only events, please — it’s nice that you’ve marked things down at your store or website, but I won’t be listing it here.

 

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