Finished reading Twin Spica - the 12th volume was just released today. It was beautiful. Some parts of it surprised me, others made me tear up but almost all of it made me smile.

My thanks to Kou Yaginuma for his hard work and love creating it and the Vertical Inc. team for doing such a great job making it available to us in English!

AWA 2012: Dark Horse Expands Franchises With New Trigun and EVA

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Dark Horse was the second publisher to share some good news at this year's Anime Weekend Atlanta, announcing that they had licensed two new spin-offs of their popular franchises.

NGE: Shinji Ikari Detective Diary - Takumi Yoshimura
Trigun: Multiple Bullets - Multi-Author Anthology

Shinji Ikari Detective Diary is a Neon Genesis Evangelion spin-off that takes place in an alternate universe where Kaworu and Kaiji are detectives who the lead, Shinji, seeks out for help. Like the other NGE spin-offs, several of which Dark Horse has published already, this series likely won’t have a plot at all similar to its source material but instead utilize the same characters to offer fans the cast in a new setting. I’m not a big Evangelion fan to begin with, but I’ll admit the detective story does pique my interest somewhat.

Trigun: Multiple Bullets is an anthology of short stories all done by different artists, including the series’ creator, Yasuhiro Nightow. You can read more information about the creators involved at AnimeNewsNetwork’s post about the acquisition. Dark Horse announced a similar bookEvangelion: Comic Tribute, back in the Spring.

Dark Horse also stated that they’ll be releasing the original Trigun series in omnibus editions, and will be doing the same for  Lone Wolf and Cub. Lone Wolf and Cub has been published by Dark Horse for over a decade (while first being published in English back in the eighties by a now defunct company) in small mini volumes. These new omnibus editions will be more the standard manga volume size, which is a great development to see. I always thought the artwork in the series would be better served with a larger trim cut.

No information was given as to when and for how much these new books will be released.

Seven Seas Deals Out More Wonderland Romance with Four New Alice in the Country of… Series

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Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, and her heart’s desire while doing so, resume in English as Seven Seas‘ newest batch of licenses – which they announced via Twitter –  are more series set in the Alice in the Country of… franchise.

Alice in the Country of Clover: Knight’s Knowledge - QuinRose / Asai Sai
Alice in the Country of Clover: March’s Hare - QuinRose / Iwaki Soyogo
Alice in the Country of Clover: Nightmare - QuinRose / Job
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Love Labyrinth of Thorns - QuinRose / Kurihara Aoi

Every story is an alternate telling, or a continuation, of the same general story – Alice is a young girl spirited away to the world of Wonderland where she traverses its strange countries, meets an assortment of people, learns the weird ways of their culture, and inevitably falls in love with one of the many individuals already immediately in love with her. The different series or one-shots each tend to follow one of these individuals and focus on a budding romantic relationship between them and Alice.

Read more…

Don’t Pet the Bunny – Yen Press Licenses Yoshiki Tonogai’s Doubt

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It’s new manga license time! AnimeNewsNetwork reported last week that Yen Press has licensed Yoshiki Tonogai’s manga series, Doubt.

Getting past my initial ‘holy-cripes-that’s-a-scary-cover’ reaction, it sounds like an interesting series. Very suspense-heavy potential and I like that it isn’t too long a series. With only two volumes to commit to, it’s more than safe enough to satisfy my curousity with!

“A Japanese cell phone game called Rabbit Doubt has gone viral in Tokyo. In it, players are rabbits who must do everything in their power to uncover the wolf in rabbit’s clothing before it kills them off. The wolf, a randomly selected player, must use his wiles to create mistrust among the rabbits and knock his adversaries off one by one. When five fans of this game decide to meet offline for fun, the last thing they expect is to lose consciousness and wake up trapped in an abandoned building with a corpse strung up in front of them, a mysterious barcode tattooed on each of their bodies. Will the virtual friends be able to pull it together in the real world and figure out what’s going on in time to avoid ending up the wolf’s dinner?”

The series, which was originally four volumes long, will be released in two 2-in-1 omnibus editions for $20.99/CAN ($18.99/US) each. The first book is due out April 2013. A listing for volume one appeared on Amazon.com earlier this month.

This is Yoshiki Tonoga’s second time published in English, with the first being Yen Press’s editions of Higurashi When They Cry: Time Killing Arc for which Yoshiki Tonoga was the artist.

Dark Horse Licenses Legal Drop and Oreimo Spin-Offs at SakuraCon 2014

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Even when you’re pretty sure something is going to happen, that doesn’t make it any less sweet when it occurs. At the recent-ish Sakura Con, Dark Horse announced five new manga licenses, including a new CLAMP license rescue:

Drug & Drop – CLAMP
Legal Drug – CLAMP
OPUS – Satoshi Kon
Oreimo: Kuroneko – Sakura Ikeda
Seraphim: 266613336 Wings – Satoshi Kon & Mamoru Oshii

Read more…

Back in Off*Beat Business: An Interview With Jen Lee Quick

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Back in January I was able to share the news that Jen Lee Quick's Off*beat series would be going back to print, and with the long-awaited third volume finally being released after some long legal struggles. Today I’m pleased to say that not only do we now have more details about these upcoming books but also an interview with the creator herself!

Jen Lee Quick, comic artist and creator off Off*beat, and the staff of the newly announced, Chromatic Press - the publishing company behind the series’ new editions - were kind enough to organize an interview for me so I could ask some questions about the past, present and future of one of my favourite graphic novel series.

You can read the full interview on Kuriousity, as well as see a bonus Off*beat image by Jen drawn just for this interview!

Jen Lee Quick Confirms Reprints of Off*Beat, Upcoming Release of Vol.03

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Fans of the comic creator Jen Lee Quick got a pleasant surprise yesterday afternoon! After years of trying to regain the rights to her original series, off*beat, from Tokyopop, she's now confirmed that another company will be doing reprints of the first two volumes and eventually publishing the never-before-published volume three.

Jen is also looking to add some bonus content for the reprints and is seeking her readers’ input on what they’d like to see. You can share your comments over on her tumblr post or Deviantart account. Because some loose legal threads are still being tied up, the name of the publisher can’t be shared at this time but I can assure you that news of who it is will be coming soon (sorry readers, it’s a secret for now!).

As someone who really enjoyed the first two volumes of off*beat, this news is exciting enough in itself, but also has the added bonus of showing that at least one creator has been able to regain the rights to their series after Tokyopop’s publishing shutdown in 2011. With the company’s recent revamp and subsequent ‘relaunch’, I wonder if we’ll see more creators announcing publication plans of their own for their previously Tokyopopped books. Yes, that was intentionally made into a verb.

Other creators whose works remain in Tokyopop lingo include Becky Cloonan, whose series East Coast Rising was cancelled after only one book. Tokyopop is still offering print editions of the book via RightStuf. Though sadly there are still no plans (that we know of) for volume two to see the light of day, Becky Cloonan has posted some pages from it on her website. Christy Lijewski, creator of the three volume series Re:Play, has also expressed her difficulties in trying to get the rights to her books back and recently polled her readers on their interest in Tokyopop’s plans to re-release the books digitally.

Viz Media Announces New Vampire Knight and Multiple Princes

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I started a new job! I moved! And the manga world kept on spinning! Bear with me, reader,s as I play catch-up on the past month of manga mayhem and shiny madness over the next few days.

At July’s Anime Expo, Viz Media announced three new manga titles for their Shojo Beat imprint:

The Demon Prince of Momochi House – Aya Shouoto
Meteor Prince – Meca Tanaka
Vampire Knight: Life – Matsuri Hino

Read more…

Viz Media Adds Master Keaton and Resident Evil to Signature Line

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Viz Media is on a roll with exciting PR. The publisher released another set of press releases yesterday with new licenses  to announce, including these two titles for their Viz Signature imprint:

Master Keaton - Hokusei Katsushika/Takashi Nagasaki & Naoki Urasawa
Resident Evil - Naoki Serizawa

Read more…

NYCC 2012: Kodansha Comics Licenses No. 6, Sailor Moon Artbook...

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It was Kodansha Comics’ turn to impress today at NYCC with a handful of new licenses:

      No. 6 - Atsuko Asano & Hinoki Kino
      Sankarea: Undying Love - Mitsuru Hattori
      Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode - Mia Ikumi
      Vinland Saga - Makoto Yukimura

Kodansha Comics is bound to have made many readers really happy today with these titles. I have no experience with any of them myself but I’ve seen rallying cries for No. 6 and Vinland Saga, in particular, for quite a while. These are the two I’m most excited to read by reputation alone (and all the adorable No. 6 fanart that continues to litter art sites doesn’t hurt either). Sankarea sounds bizarre enough to potentially give a try and Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode I’ll likely pick up out of affection for its predecessor, Tokyo Mew Mew.

You can read a synopsis for all Kodansha Comics’ newest titles on their website. Huzzah for new license announcements that include titles, creator credits, release dates and synopsis’s! Volume one of No. 6 and Sankarea are scheduled for a June 2013 release, while Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode and Vinland Saga will be released that following winter.

Along with their new titles, Kodansha Comics also announced they’d be speeding up the print copies of Fairy Tail to one a month in order to catch up with Japan. This will begin in March 2013 with volume twenty-four. The series itself is currently over thirty volumes in Japan.

Air Gear - which Kodansha Comics has released up to volume twenty-six so far - is due to be released in omnibus format from the beginning. The first volume of this new edition will be released in May 2013.

A bonus treat announced today was that Kodansha Comics would be handling the English publication of an upcoming Sailor Moon art book that’s due to be published worldwide in 2013.  All editions released globally will have the same paperback trim size, plus dust jacket, and art content including some of the most popular Sailor Moon drawings along with new artwork by the series creator, Naoki Takeuchi. Kodansha Comics also confirmed that after they finish publishing the original manga series, they will be releasing the series of Sailor Moon short stories  as well. (Src: A Case Suitable For Treatment)

And last, but not least - though I don’t believe this was announced during their Saturday panel - Kodansha Comics has relaunched their website with a new layout. It doesn’t offer any new content but does load a lot more nicely than their previous site. There is a blog section currently marked as Coming Soon that could offer some interesting new info and insight in the future, much like Vertical Inc’s newly relaunched on-site blog. (Note: Lack of link to Vertical’s blog is due to numerous virus warnings on Vertical’s site in recent weeks; better safe than sorry!)

Criminal Charges Dropped in Canada Customs Manga Case

“The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund are pleased to announce that the Crown has withdrawn all criminal charges in R. v Matheson, the case previously described as the “Brandon X case,” which involved a comic book reader who faced criminal charges in Canada relating to comic books on his computer. The defendant, Ryan Matheson, a 27-year-old comic book reader, amateur artist, and computer programmer has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.” Read more…

It’s so good to see this finally dropped! It’s been one of very few things that’s made me embarrassed for our country. It’s a scary thought, that something as simple as comic art could get you arrested and risk ruining your entire life. That I worry more about crossing the border to come home than I do to go to the US is something awful.

You can also read a personal statement by the accused, Ryan Matheson.

Seven Seas Needs No Con For Three New Manga Licenses

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It’s a big weekend around North America for anime conventions – Anime North, Fanime, A-Kon – just to name a few. But while some companies are picking and choosing their con(s) of choice, Seven Seas skipped that in between step by announcing several new manga licenses directly on Twitter earlier today:

Devils and Realist - Madoka Takadono & Utako Yukihiro
Dragonar Academy
 – Shiki Mizuchi & Ran
Strike Witches: Maidens in the Sky – Yuuki Tanaka

Read more…

TCAF 2013 Report – Comics, Comics, Everywhere!

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Last weekend was  the Toronto Comics Art Festival – a “celebration of comics and graphic novels and their creators, which culminates in a two-day exhibition and vendor fair featuring hundreds of comics creators from around the world.”. Summed up, TCAF is an event where comic creators and lovers from around the world come together to celebrate and adore all things comic-related. And it’s wonderful!

This was my third year attending and the show continues to impress, getting bigger and better every time. Thankfully it’s yet to ever waver in the consistency of it’s spirit – this is an event free from the Hollywood and mainstream influence that shadow over comic conventions such as NYCC. Thousands and thousands of people, all crowding (quite calmly and politely) into a library. It’s all about the comics and the creators, and there was no shortage of art to buy and people to talk to.

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Kansai Club Publishing Launches Kickstarter for Tezuka’s The Crater

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Kansai Club Publishing launched their Kickstarter for Osamu Tezuka’s The Crater today. News of the launch initially went out via their Twitter account, while we first heard about this upcoming project when they sent out PR in April.

The new publisher is seeking $3500 for the printing of this collection of Tezuka short stories which it plans to release as 2000 limited edition hardcovers. Each book will also come with special art prints, and other goodies depending on the level of support backing given through the duration of the Kickstarter. The goal is to have the books published by July.

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