Manga | More than 2.5 million copies of the English-language editions of Attack on Titan in print, Kodansha USA announced earlier this month at Anime Expo. Although that may seem like a lot, there are more than 44 million copies of the same 15 volumes of Hajime Isayama’s post-apocalyptic manga in print in Japan. The Asahi Shimbun estimates the U.S. comics market as one-fifth the size of the Japanese market. [The Asahi Shimbun]
Passings | Bill Garner, the editorial cartoonist for The Washington Times from 1983 to 2009, has died at age 79. Garner was born in Texas and attended the Texas School of Fine Arts, then went to the University of Texas at Austin for one year. He served in the Army from 1956 to 1962, then went to work as an illustrator for The Washington Star. His editor there suggested he try his hand at cartooning, and it took. He moved on to become the editorial cartoonist for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, where in 1981 he won a National Headliner Award. His best-known cartoon is one he drew for the Times shortly after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, showing a tank with the bumper sticker “Saddam Happens” driving over a sand dune. [The Washington Times]
Awards | Gina Gagliano, the publicist for First Second Books, points out one of the big stories from this year’s Eisner Awards: Graphic novels, and creators who made their name in graphic novels, dominated over serial comics. For instance, Gene Luen Yang is the first writer not primarily known for superhero work to win the Best Writer award. The other takeaway was the prominence of comics and graphic novels created for children and by and for women, with Raina Telgemeier winning the Best Writer/Artist Award, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer winning the prize for Best Graphic Album—New, and Lumberjanes taking the honors in the Best New Series and YA comic categories. [Tor]
Creators | The documentary Straddling Two Worlds tells the story of Cambodian cartoonist Ung Bun Heang, who chronicled his own torture by the Pol Pot regime in a series of 90 pen and ink drawings. When that regime ended, he moved to Australia and worked in animation for Disney and other studios. Heang died in 2014. [Khmer Times]
Creators | The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar has gone from zero to hero in just a few years, from an unknown taking public transit to a superstar who gets upgraded to first class whenever he flies Malaysian Airlines. He sometimes resorts to wearing a false mustache to avoid recognition. And who does he have to thank for his new-found fame? Khalid Abu Bakar, the chief of Malyasia’s police, whom Zunar nicknamed the Ketua Twitter Negara (National Twitter Chief), a play on his Malay title Ketua Polis Negara, and who charged the cartoonist with nine counts of sedition stemming from a tweet about the Anwar Ibrahim case. While the article has a satirical tone (a Zunar musical? Really?), there’s more than a grain of truth to the notion that the Malaysian government’s attempts to stifle Zunar have instead brought him international renown. [The Ant]
Creators | Ninth-grader Heather Starks has made it to the finals of the Kayak Kids Illustrated History Challenge, a competition for Canadian children, with The Song Tekahionwake Sang, her graphic novel biography of the 19th-century poet E. Pauline Johnson, who was of mixed English and Mohawk descent. Johnson used the Mohawk name Takahionwake (“double life”) when performing onstage. [Flamborough Review]
Comics | Bob Levin reviews Fogel’s Underground Price & Grading Guide, which offers notes and suggested retail values for 2,200 comics, plus a miscellany of other information and features. He has his doubts: “More importantly, isn’t the collecting of [underground comics] a blasphemous affront to the spirit of their creation? Cheap, trashy, mass-produced, they were meant for ‘the people’ to paw through and drool over, between trips to the barricade, or while spaced out, stoned, on the water bed. To proclaim these books’ worth diminished each time a page is turned seems a surrender to the capitalist lackey running dogs they warred against.” And indeed, he concludes that underground comics are a poor choice for investors, but the review is a fun read anyway, and the book looks like it is as well. [The Comics Journal]
Comics | Rebellion will publish a collection of Dan Dare stories by Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons. [ICv2]
Graphic novels | Medha Gupta surveys the Indian graphic novel scene and finds it more robust than ever, with publishers expanding beyond the traditional genres and small presses producing some very interesting work. [The Economic Times]
Conventions | Wizard World Comic Con Richmond is coming this weekend, and this article does a nice job of covering last year’s show and explaining what to expect at this one, including a quick primer for newbies. [WTVR]
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