Technical issues have delayed this edition of the News Round-up, but hey, you were probably busy with the Lunar New Year or watching the big game, anyway, right? Click through to read summaries of last week’s biggest stories, including Marvel’s new API, the latest on the Angoulême International Comics Festival, and more.
Marvel launches API for professional developers, general public
The latest from the Angoulême International Comics Festival
Japan’s ambassador to France Yoichi Suzuki publicly expressed his government’s disappointment with the recently-concluded Angoulême International Comics Festival’s organizers and their decision to allow the staging of a Korean comics and animation exhibit spotlighting the plight of World War II’s “comfort women.” It should be noted, however, that the Japanese embassy in France did not ask festival organizers to bar the exhibit. [click here for our take on the original story and a brief backgrounder on the issue of comfort women—ed.]
In a separate incident, festival organizers also shut down a press conference and booth of a manga association that displayed what they considered offensive, revisionist World War II-themed material. [The Gayssot Act makes it illegal in France to question the existence or size of the category of crimes against humanity as defined in the London Charter of 1945—ed.].
In more positive news, Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson received the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême award, beating out fellow nominees Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) and Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchmen). The famously reclusive Watterson wasn’t on hand, either virtually or physically, to receive the award, so the award presenter instead made a long-distance phone call onstage to Calvin and Hobbes editor Lee Salem:
The Grand Prix winner becomes the president of the next Angoulême International Comics Festival jury and it will be interesting to see how and if Watterson will conduct that responsibility, given his aversion to public appearances. Asked by the award presenter if Watterson even plans to attend the 2015 Angoulême International Comics Festival, Salem stated that he would do his best to convince the cartoonist.
The Beat’s Heidi McDonald has the complete list of award winners here, and while the field was dominated by Franco-Belgian titles and creators, it’s worth pointing out that the French language edition of Fuzz and Pluck by American cartoonist Ted Stearn won the Best New Series plum.
DC, Dark Horse, Image, and BOOM! win big at Diamond Gem Awards
Diamond Comics Distributors, the largest print comics distributor in North America, released the list of winners for its annual Diamond Gem Awards, which recognizes vendors and publishers for achievements in sales impact. DC Entertainment and its subsidiaries and affiliates earned a field-leading six awards despite a year that has seen the publisher deal with the fallout from much-publicized issues with creators and retailers while Dark Horse led the “indie” comics publishing field with five awards. Image Comics landed the Comic Book Publisher of the Year (Over 4% Market Share) award, beating out both Marvel and DC, while BOOM! Studios got the nod for the Comic Book Publisher of the Year (Under 4% Market Share). VIZ Media came away with the Manga Publisher of the Year award, but it should be noted that its biggest competitor, Kodansha Comics, isn’t eligible to compete for the award since it is distributed in North America by Random House. This is also likely the final year that Dark Horse trades and hardcovers will be eligible for the Diamond Gem Awards, at least not for a while, as the company has entered a multi-year bookstore distribution deal with Random House that takes effect this summer.
Below is the complete list of winners:
- 2013 Comic Book Publisher of the Year – Over 4%: Image Comics
- 2013 Comic Book Publisher of the Year – Under 4%: BOOM! Studios
- 2013 Top Dollar Comic Book Publisher of the Year: Marvel Comics
- 2013 Comic Book of the Year – Under $3.00: Afterlife with Archie #1 (Archie Comics)
- 2013 Comic Book of the Year – Over $3: Superior Spider-Man #1 NOW! (Marvel Comics)
- 2013 Top Dollar Comic of the Year: Superman Unchained #1 (DC Comics)
- 2013 Licensed Comic of the Year: The Star Wars: Lucas Draft #1 (Dark Horse)
- 2013 Magazine of the Year: Batman Automobilia Figure Collectors Magazine (Eaglemoss)
- 2013 Backlist Publisher of the Year: DC Entertainment
- 2013 Original GN of the Year: Hellboy: Midnight Circle HC (Dark Horse)
- 2013 Reprint TP or HC of the Year: Batman: Death of the Family Vol. 3 HC (DC Entertainment)
- 2013 Licensed TP or HC of the Year: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Vol. 1 TP (IDW Publishing)
- 2013 Manga TP of the Year: Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus Vol. 1 TP (Dark Horse)
- 2013 Manga Publisher of the Year: VIZ Media
- 2013 Anthology of the Year: Dark Horse Presents (Dark Horse)
- 2013 Indie GN of the Year: March: Book One TP (Top Shelf Productions)
- 2013 Trade Book of the Year: Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia HC (Dark Horse)
- 2013 Best Free Comic Book Day Book: FCBD 2013 The Walking Dead Special (Image Comics)
- 2013 Best All-Ages Series: Adventure Time (BOOM! Studios)
- 2013 Best New Comic Book Series: East of West (Image Comics)
- 2013 Game Manufacturer of the Year: Wizkids/NECA
- 2013 Game Product of the Year: The Walking Dead: Monopoly PX (USAopoly)
- 2013 Toy Manufacturer of the Year: DC Collectibles
- 2013 Toy Product of the Year: DC Comics Super Villains: The Joker Action Figure (DC Collectibles)
- 2013 Toy Line of the Year: POP! Vinyl Figures (Funko)
- 2013 Collectible Statue of the Year: DC Comics Bombshells: Harley Quinn Statue (DC Collectibles)
A summary of the week’s press releases
Straight from our inbox to your eyeballs, here’s a list summarizing notable e-mail press releases of the week from Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Studios, comiXology, and multiple Eisner Award-winning artist Steve Rude:
‣ Early, press-exclusive Dark Horse Comics previews
- King Conan: Conqueror #1 by Timothy Truman, Tomás Giorello, and José Villarrubia (in stores February 26, 2014)
- Pariah #1 by Aron Warner, Philip Gelatt, and Brett Weldele (due in stores February 26, 2014)
- Tomb Raider #1 by Gail Simone, Nicolás Daniel Selma, Juan Gedeon, and Michael Atiyeh (in stores February 26, 2014)
- Vandroid #1 by Tommy Lee Edwards, Noah Smith, Dan McDaid. and Melissa Edwards (in stores February 26, 2014)
- Terminator: Enemy of my Enemy #1 by Dan Jolley, Jamal Igle, and Ray Snyder (in stores February 19, 2014)
‣ Dark Horse launches The Sakai Project:
From the press release:
The most amazing artists in the world have come together to celebrate thirty years of Stan Sakai’s marvelous samurai rabbit saga, Usagi Yojimbo, in a new oversized hardcover benefit book: The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of “Usagi Yojimbo”!
“It has been an absolute pleasure publishing Stan’s work over the years, and recently collaborating with him directly on 47 Ronin,” said Dark Horse’s president and founder, Mike Richardson. “With the thirtieth anniversary of his most beloved creation, Usagi, and in a time of need for Stan and his family, we are honored to publish this tribute to Stan and his work. We are donating all of the proceeds to Stan and his wife, Sharon. We hope you will join us in honoring one of the comics industry’s shining lights.”
The participating artists bring their own interpretations and their own styles to the subject, making this book a one-of-a-kind treasure.
The Sakai Project is produced in association with the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS). All proceeds from this book will go to Stan and Sharon Sakai.
The list of participating artists in The Sakai Project includes Adam Hughes, Alain Mauricet, Alex Maleev, Allison Sohn, Andy Grenen, Arthur Adams, Batton Lash, Bill Morrison, Brian Ching & Michael Atiyeh, Brian Michael Bendis, Carlos D’anda & Gabe Eltaeb, Chris Scalf, Dan Panosian, Dave Gibbons, David Mack, Doug Wheatley, Edgar Delgado, Eric Powell, Gabriel Hardman, Geof Darrow, Howard Chaykin, Jan Duursema, Jeff Smith, Joyce Chin, Mark Crilley, Matt Groening, Matt Wagner, Michael Allred, Michael Avon Oeming, Michael Golden, Mike Kunkel, Mike Mignola, Oscar Martin, Paul Gulacy, Paul Renaud, Phil Yeh, Richard Corben, Scott Shaw, Sergio Aragonés, Stephanie Gladden, Tim Sale, Tom Mandrake, Tom Richmond, Walter Simonson, William Stout, and more.
‣ BOOM! Studios releases sequence of visual teasers: BOOM! PR department sent these five images across the past week, accompanied by the hashtag #WhatIsThisPlace. Your guess is as good as ours.
‣ Steve Rude launches Sketchbook Presale Fundraiser on IndieGoGo: Multiple Eisner Award-winning artist Steve Rude has launched an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign for his 2014 sketchbook. The video below has previews of the images that will be included in the book:
To learn more about the sketchbook and the incentives for backers, go to the project’s IndieGoGo campaign page.
‣ Comixology releases French customer profile infographic: In time for last weekend’s Angoulême International Comics Festival, comiXology released a handy infographic detailing the profile of its French customer base:
Click here to view the infographic in French.
Odds and Sods
More news links from around the world of comics and related media:
‣ Image Comics president Eric Stephenson in a very candid interview with Heidi McDonald (The Beat)
‣ Jimmie Robinson remembers cartoonist Morrie Turner, who passed away last week. Turner’s popular Wee Pals comic strip was the first nationally-syndicated comic strip published in the United States to feature an ethnically-diverse main cast. (Jimmie Robinson on Tumblr)
‣ Tyler James has some practical words of advice for indie comics creators looking to submit their work to comiXology’s Submit platform. (Comix Tribe)
In case you missed them…
‣ Don’t forget that we regularly post new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers.
‣ In part one of our First Impressions look at the releases of December 2013 and January 2014, we share our reviews and preview galleries of Juice Squeezers #1, The Saviors #1, Black Widow #1, The Midas Flesh #1, Hacktivist #1, Furious #1, Deceivers #1, Dead Body Road #1, All-New X-Factor #1, and Bad Blood #1.
‣ Learn more about the phenomenon of “grindhouse comics” in the latest Leaving Proof column.