Comics A.M. | Kadokawa buys 51% stake in Yen Press

Publishing | Japanese publisher Kadokawa is buying a 51 percent stake in the American manga publisher Yen Press, which will become a joint venture between Kadokawa and Hachette Book Group. Founded in 2006 as a manga and graphic novel imprint of Hachette, Yen Press publishes Black Butler, Alice in the Country of Hearts, and the Twilight graphic novels, and it will release a new edition of Fruits Basket beginning this summer. In recent years it has expanded its line to include light novels (prose novels aimed at young adults), and that seems to be what Kadokawa, a major publisher of light novels, is interested in. With this deal, the top three manga publishers in the United States are wholly or partially in Japanese hands: Viz Media is co-owned by Shueisha and Shogakukan, and Kodansha Comics is a subsidiary of Kodansha. Vertical Inc., a smaller publisher, is partially owned by Kodansha and Dai Nippon Printing. [Yen Press]

Passings | William Hamilton, whose cartoons of socialites and businessmen are instantly recognizable to readers of The New Yorker, died in a car accident on April 8 near his Kentucky horse farm. He was 76. Hamilton first submitted a cartoon to a magazine when he was 12 years old; the magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, rejected it. He sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker in 1965, and was a regular contributor from then on. Hamilton grew up on a ranch in Napa County, California. "We lived on one of those dwindling trust funds," he said in a 1988 interview, "with a hint of money in the past, but not much in the present." He attributed his interest in the lives of the wealthy to "being near money, but far enough away that I couldn’t quite get my fingers around it." Hamilton attended Philips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and graduated from Yale. He served in the Army from 1963 to 1965. In addition to cartooning, he wrote several plays and novels. [The New York Times]

Comics sales | Sales in comic shops were up a little bit in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the first quarter of 2015, but this year, that first quarter had an extra week. If the time periods had been equal, ICv2.com reckons, sales would have dropped. Either way, monthly comics were down, so the growth was in the graphic novel sector. ICv2 also gives the top-selling comics and graphic novels for March, as well as market share — BOOM! Studios moved up into fifth place on that chart, surpassing Dark Horse. In fact, from January to March, BOOM! went from seventh to sixth to fifth place in market share. [ICv2]

Awards | Slate has announced the winners of its Cartoonist Studio Prize: The print comic award went to Carol Tyler for Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father and the online comic prize went to Boulet for I Want to Believe. [Slate]

Awards | Eisner judge Carol Tilley, who is also an associate professor of library and information science at the University of Illinois, explains the significance of the awards, what comics are eligible, and what she looks for in a comic. [University of Illinois]

Creators | Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell discuss their newly announced graphic novel Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me. [Hero Complex]

Creators | Richard Sala talks about his work, including his latest, the webcomic The Bloody Cardinal. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Dan White couldn't find any good wheelchair-using characters in pop culture to entertain his daughter, who uses a wheelchair, so he made his own comic. His agent for his comic, The Department of Ability, will be promoting it at the London Book Fair. [Today]

Conventions | Pokemon Adventures writer Hidenori Kusaka and artist Satoshi Yamamoto will be guests at Comic-Con International in San Diego. [Anime News Network]

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