Digital comics | Mobile-phone distribution has given a financial boost to Japan’s flagging comics industry, with some analysts going so far as to call the cellphone “the savior” of manga. Who’s driving the boom? Women, primarily. According to an executive at publisher Shueisha Inc., women account for about 70 percent of cellphone manga readers.
However, there’s one major (and familiar) obstacle to the further growth of mobile manga: the publishers, who “are afraid of destroying the old business model.” In most cases, Miki Tanikawa reports, they release mobile content only after it has appeared in magazines and collected volumes. [The New York Times]
Publishing | Marc Graser looks at the increasing use of comic books to help promote movies, television shows and video games before they debut. “Studios have come to the realization that having a presence out there and the ability to build interest is valuable to a film,” say Mike Richardson, president of Dark Horse. “We reach the same demographic the studios are trying to reach,” namely 16- to 30-year-old males. [Variety]
Retailing | Frank Santoro declares the official end to the era of the direct market as a bridge between the newsstand and the book market: “… There are two sandboxes now. What that means is that if you grew up reading comics from, say, 1999 to now you didn’t necessarily have to read superhero comics to get your comics fix or even go to a store that sold both. This is a good thing. It’s a new audience, and a broader one than maybe any of us old school dinosaurs could have anticipated. I’ve spent far too much time ranting about ‘the kids not knowing their comics history.’ Well, I’m over it. I don’t really feel the need to explain who Marshall Rogers is anymore, or convince anyone that late ’70s Kirby is actually really good. Figure it out for yourself.” [Comics Comics, via Journalista]
Publishing | Bob Minzesheimer spotlights legendary author Ray Bradbury, and Hill and Wang’s graphic-novel adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. [USA Today]
Publishing | Johanna Draper Carlson eyes Marvel’s lackluster showing on Amazon.com’s list of Top 50 graphic novels. [Comics Worth Reading]
Publishing | Alasdair Wilkins sees DC’s Blackest Night and Marvel’s Necrosha and ponders the appeal of undead superheroes: “There have been attempts in recent years to take death seriously again, but most of these have been of the one step forward, two steps backward variety. Marvel promised the death of Captain America would indeed be permanent, and less than three years later Captain America: Reborn has begun. DC attempted to remove Bruce Wayne in Final Crisis without exactly killing him off, but the fact that his survival is a confirmed fact does somewhat cheapen the eulogies and tributes other characters have offered for him in recent months. Dramatic irony and pathos are both great things to have in a story, but they don’t necessarily mix together terribly well.” [io9.com]
Creators | Gary C.W. Chun profiles Michael Kupperman. [Star-Bulletin]
Comic strips | Zits teen Jeremy Duncan, who has been 15 years old since the strip debuted in 1997, finally is permitted to turn 16 today. [Comic Riffs]
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