The GeeksverseNEWS Round-up | Week of November 23, 2013

NEWS Round-up | Week of November 23, 2013
Published on Saturday, November 23, 2013 by
Read on for the summary of the ICv2 Conference white paper, comiXology’s new library acquisitions, a recap of the bizarre case of death threats being sent Tadatoshi Fujimaki’s way, Jed Perl’s contentious opinions on Art Spiegelman and Maus, and more.
ICv2: Digital comics market growth slows, graphic novel and manga sales up

ICv2 has released a summary of a white paper outlining current industry trends issued during the recent ICv2 Conference held during last month’s New York Comic Con. Some highlights:

Attack on Titan by Hajima Isayama

While still robust at an estimated 25% growth rate after three quarters of 2013, according to the ICv2 report, digital comics growth is slowing after three years of blistering growth.  In 2012 digital comic sales nearly tripled, they more than tripled in 2011, and increased by a factor of 10 in 2010.

Sales of graphic novels and manga across all channels, including both comic stores and bookstores, are turning in a positive direction in 2013 for the first time since 2008, according to ICv2 estimates.  Graphic novels are up 6% through three quarters of 2013, with manga growing faster than the overall graphic novel growth rate.  That’s driven by growth in both the bookstore and graphic novel channels.

The summary goes on to state the major roles Image Comics’ The Walking Dead and Kodansha Comics’ Attack on Titan have played in the growth of the graphic novel market. The latter, along with Kodansha’s reissues of Sailor Moon, the steady popularity of VIZ Media’s most popular titles, as well as the expansion of publishers Yen Press and Seven Seas Entertainment, are cited as instrumental factors in the North American manga market’s recovery.

Click here to read the full summary on ICv2.

Related story:

ComiXology acquires digital distribution rights to BOOM! Studios’ collected editions and OGNs, Fantagraphics’ Violenzia

BOOM_Trades_comiXology_iPadBOOM! Studios and comiXology announced earlier this week the completion of a deal that will see the latter distribute the former’s original graphic novels and collected editions of its most popular series and miniseries. The initial rollout of comiXology’s BOOM! Studios library features the following titles, with more titles to be added in the coming weeks:

  • 28 Days Later Omnibus  & Vols. 1–6
  • 2 Guns
  • Cthulhu Tales Omnibus Vol. 1–2
  • Adventure Time Vol. 1
  • Adventure Time: Playing With Fire
  • Bravest Warriors Vol. 1
  • Deathmatch Vols. 1–2
  • Hellraiser Masterpieces Vols. 1–2
  • Hellraiser Vols. 1–4
  • Higher Earth Vol. 1
  • Hypernaturals Vol. 1
  • Incorruptible Vols. 1–7
  • Irredeemable Vols. 1–10
  • Supurbia Vol. 1

Also announced this week was the launch of the Violenzia one-shot (50 pages, full color, $4.99) on comiXology, marking Fantagraphics Books’ first foray into digital exclusive comics distribution. Violenzia is created by 2009 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Artist nominee Richard Sala (Peculia, Cat Burglar Black). Sala discusses the comic in an interview with Claire Donner here.


Dark Horse’s Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon sells out its initial 17,000 print run; The Art of Plants vs. Zombies announced

From the press release:

pvzhcp0Following the same pattern as other stunning Dark Horse video game comic titles, Diamond Comics Distributors and Diamond Book Distributors are now sold out of the critically acclaimed Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon!

In response, Dark Horse is reprinting the hardcover collection. The reprint is available for reorder now, with a planned ship date of February 5, 2014.

Additionally, Dark Horse confirms it will publish The Art of Plants vs. Zombies in May 2014. Part zombie memoir, part celebration of zombie triumphs, and part antiplant screed, this is a treasure trove of never-before-seen concept art and material from Plants vs. Zombies, Plants vs. Zombies 2, Plants vs. Zombies Adventures, and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare.

Kickstarter alert: Deck-building game based on Josh Howard’s Dead@17


Never Peak Games is currently looking for crowdfunding in support of Dead@17: The Battle for Darlington Hills, a deck-building game based on the Dead@17 comics property created by Josh Howard (Black Harvest, Clubbing).

To learn more about the game and the unique incentives available for backers (including an all-new Kickstarter exclusive Dead@17 comic by Josh Howard), visit the Dead@17: The Battle for Darlington Hills Kickstarter page. The campaign runs until 16 December 2013 and, as of this writing, has reached 61% of its $25,000 goal.

A primer on the bizarre vendetta against Tadatoshi Fujimaki and Kuroko’s Basketball

Kuroko_no_Basuke_CoverAccording to a report from Anime News Network, major Japanese manga and video game rental chain Tsutaya and chain bookstore Yurindo have begun restocking and displaying Kuroko’s Basketball merchandise, after an unspecified threat made via letters sent to Tokyo’s Sophia University and nearby retail and rental establishments carrying Kuroko’s Basketball merchandise apparently failed to materialize. Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki is an alumnus of Sophia University.

This is only the latest twist in the bizarre, ongoing, anonymous vendetta against Fujimaki that wouldn’t be out of place in a psychological thriller manga. Over the past thirteen months, Fujimaki has received numerous anonymous death threats, routed through letters sent by post to the high school and university Fujimaki attended, Kuroko’s Basketball publisher Shueisha, organizers of comic book conventions that feature Fujimaki’s work, stores that carry Kuroko’s Basketball merchandise, and television stations that broadcast the manga’s anime adaptation. A threat letter sent to Sophia University in October of last year was laced with what police suspected was a toxic chemical and a month later, a Kuroko’s Basketball covention in Fukuoka was cancelled after organizers received a letter stating “If you don’t cancel the event, there will be lots of casualties.”

Japanese law enforcement authorities have yet to identify the person responsible for the threats although they have confirmed that all the letters have come from various locations in Saitama Prefecture and that they have video footage of a possible suspect. A person claiming to be the sender of the letters has posted messages on the Japanese textboard 2channel, including one posted last year where he identified himself as “The Reaper in Mourning” and stated the motivation for the threats:

There’s only one reason for why I’m doing this!

It’s because I hate Fujimaki Tadatoshi, graduate of Sophia University and now a popular manga artist. Fujimaki took everything away from me. I wanted to take revenge on Fujimaki directly, but unfortunately I don’t know where he stays. I had no choice but to attack his manga. If you’re angry, then hate Fujimaki!

I’m not going to run or hide. If you ask Fujimaki, he probably knows exactly who I am. If he pretends not to know, you can easily find out by asking Fujimaki’s high school and university friends.

You better watch out, Shueisha, Toyama High, and you kurobas-crazed fujoshi!

The Reaper in Mourning will massacre the Kuroko franchise.

Odds and sods

More links to news from the world of comics and related media:

  • preacherbookoneAMC reportedly looking to adapt Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher for television, pilot episode already on order. (Badass Digest)
  • BOOM! Studios officially unveils new “BOOM! Box” imprint; imprint to be about “experimenting, having fun, and embracing the limitless form of comics,” according to Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. First title to be published under imprint is The Midas Flesh, by the award-winning Adventure Time creative team of Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb. (Comixverse)
  • Jason Thompson shares his impressions of Crunchyroll’s new digital manga streaming service, which offers the latest Kodansha Comics titles in free and premium subscription plans. (Anime News Network)
  • R.I.P. Joey Manley, webcomics pioneer. (The Comics Journal)
  • Writer Jason Quinn (Steve Jobs: Genius by Design) launches a new graphic novel biography, Mahatma Gandhi: My Life Is My Message. (Times of India)
  • Avatar’s God Is Dead will be ongoing and bi-weekly starting with issue #7. [Click here to read our review of God Is Dead #1—ed.] Co-writer Mike Costa will be going it alone on the writing duties from that point forward, as series creator Jonathan Hickman will be focusing on his Marvel work. (Bleeding Cool)
  • bandette1p0Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover talk about their Eisner Award-winning Monkeybrain digital comic Bandette, which now has a print incarnation courtesy of Dark Horse Books. (Diamond Bookshelf)
  • Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, producing a film adaptation of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Sleeper, originally published by DC under the Wildstorm imprint [Not under the Vertigo imprint, as mentioned in the original article—ed.] (Variety)
  • Bill Willingham talks about the latest Fables spin-off, the Fairest of Them All graphic novel. (USA Today)
  • Ryan Holmberg looks at the phenomenon of circulating libraries in Mumbai that rent out English-language comics, both local and American. Fascinating stuff. (The Comics Journal)
  • Former Comics Buyers Guide editor Maggie Thompson is auctioning off over 500 pieces from her personal comics collection. Eighty-six issues were put up for bid on Thursday. All 86 issues found buyers—netting over $780,000 at the end of just the first day of bidding—with Thompson’s copy of Avengers #1 fetching $89,625, Journey Into Mystery #83 (Thor’s first comics appearance) going for $77,675, and a remarkably well-preserved The Incredible Hulk #1 finding a new home for $58,256. (Associated Press via Yahoo! News)

  • Of course, comics collections that can net multiple millions of dollars in auction like Thompson’s are the very rare exception. As Business Week‘s Eric Spitznagel pointed out, most modern comics collections are barely worth the paper they’re printed on. Michael R. Murray looks into why this is so in a recent piece. (The Celebrity Cafe)
  • Black-Eyed Peas frontman and Intel futurist Brian David Johnson to collaborate on a new comic entitled Wizards & Robots. The comic is set to be published by IDW on March 2014 and will feature art by Adam Archer (Batman Beyond, Friday the 13th). (CNN Money)
  • Contentious opinion alert! Art critic and The New School visiting professor of liberal studies Jed Perl thinks Art Spiegelman is “comics’ most pretentious faux-artist” and “constitutionally incapable of making a single mark with any power.” He also describes the animal-based metaphors for the Jews, Poles, and Germans in Spiegelman’s Maus as coming “uncomfortably close to a joke-book version of the Nazis’ own racial theories.” (The New Republic) [We’re not even going to try and wade into the comments section of this one—ed.]
  • Shuster estate loses appeal in the latest iteration of a decades-long Superman exploitation rights case. (The Comics Beat) [Click here to read our prior coverage of the case—ed.]
  • Marvel set to launch a new Moon Knight series with a creative consisting of writer Warren Ellis, illustrator Declan Shalvey, and colorist Jordie Bellaire. (L.A. Times)
  • Dark Horse Digital to offer 150 Star Wars comics for $100 during its Black Friday Sale, which runs from midnight (PST) Friday, 29 November to midnight (PST), 1 December. [via e-mailed press release]
  • Just in time for the holidays, Diamond Comics Distributors has released its annual Previews holiday gift guide. Give it a read if you’re stumped for gift ideas for that special comics fan on your gift list:


In case you missed them…

A busy week meant that we didn’t have much in the way of new, original content this week, but we still have new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers. This week, we added sneak peeks of ten titles including The Last Christmas (Image Comics), Doctor Who Classics, Vol. 9 (IDW), Hopeless, Maine, Vol. 2: Inheritance (BOOM!/Archaia), and Polar: Came From the Cold (Dark Horse). We also have the covers and detailed issue descriptions of all 61 of IDW’s upcoming February 2014 releases.


Check in early and often next week, as we’ll be posting our reviews of Umbral #1, Clown Fatale #1, Protocol: Orphans #1, Amazing X-Men #1, Manifest Destiny #1, Alex + Ada #1, and more, along with the return of our regular columns.

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