Digital comics | Japanese publisher Kodansha has launched a free Magazine Pocket manga app for iOS and Android devices, which in addition to titles already serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine features two exclusive spinoffs: Fairy Tail Spinoff: Twin Dragons of Sabertooth, springing out of Fairy Tail, and Brass of Diamond! Seidō High School Wind Instrument Club, based on Ace of Diamond. The app boasts more than 30 titles, with some chapters offered for free and others requiring a fee. [Anime News Network]
Retailing | “In Hungary there is little or nil culture for comics,” says Arpád Barabás, owner of the Budapest comic shop Trillian. “The main reason is that between 1946 and 1989 there was nothing except for the Boy Scout propaganda publications in this genre, all other things having been prohibited.” Barabás, who goes by the nickname Grif, is working hard to fill that vacuum, mostly with imported comics, but because of the cost, very few have been translated into Hungarian. [The Budapest Times]
Retailing | The Korean webcomics service LINE Webtoon has teamed up with the U.S. chain Cold Stone Creamery to create a pop-up comics and ice cream shop in Taipei, Taiwan. Creators of Webtoon comics will meet with customers at the shop over the next few weeks. [Want China Times]
Creators | Belgian writer Jean Van Hamme has left his series Largo Winch, citing difficulties with the artist, Philippe Francq. “It [is] hard for me to continue to get along with people who are a bit too full of themselves,” he is quoted as saying in an article in Le Monde. “This collaboration didn’t amuse me anymore.” Although Largo Winch is based on Van Hamme’s novels, Francq will continue the series, adapting ideas from other writers. The 20th book in the series will be Van Hamme’s last. [Forbidden Planet]
Creators | Daniel Burdon profiles Australian creator Stuart McMillen, who quit his day job five years ago and makes his living drawing nonfiction graphic novels on topics such as peak oil and the science of drug addiction. His work is published online (he’s a darling of Reddit) and crowdfunded, and he also benefited from an Australian government program that provides budding entrepreneurs with a year’s worth of living expenses. [The Northern Star]
Creators | South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) talks about growing up as a white boy under apartheid and also about African politics and the events surrounding some of his most famous cartoons. [Biz News]
Digital comics | Manga creator Ken Akamastu (Negima, UQ Holder) has teamed up with Yahoo Japan to start a new digital comics site, J Comic Terrace. This looks like it is a relaunch of Akamatsu’s J-Comi digital comics service, founded in 2010. “I started J-Comi with the goal of eliminating piracy, but because I’m serializing a weekly series, there are parts of it I’ve been unable to manage,” Akamatsu said at a press conference yesterday. “GYAO came to me proposing an injection of capital and to help me manage the project.” The site is in Japanese but offers automated translations in different languages. [Anime News Network]
Manga | Veteran manga readers know how to read right to left, but what about newbies? Vernieda Vergara takes a quick survey of which manga publishers still include reading guides in the back (which native English readers think of as the front) of the books. [Women Write About Comics]
Minicomics | Sean Kleefeld comments on Cartozia Tales’ distribution plan—you can buy the comics at shows from the creators or through their site, which offers an unusual partial subscription plan. (The digital version of the first issue is free, and the next two are sharply discounted, through the end of this week.) [Kleefeld on Comics]
Conventions | Barry Thompson explains why he’s so over Boston Comic Con, even though he concedes it was a pretty good show. [Paste]
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