Comics A.M. | South Korea court rules 'One Piece' show can go on

Legal | A South Korea court has ruled an exhibition devoted to One Piece can be held as planned after it was abruptly canceled earlier this month following allegations that Eiichiro Oda's popular pirate manga contains images that resemble the Rising Sun flag, considered a symbol of Japanese imperialism in South Korea. The company staging the One Piece show, which includes life-sized statues, rare figures and Oda's sketches, asked the court to step in after the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul pulled the plug on the event just days before its scheduled July 12 opening. The court found that One Piece can't be considered to "[hail] Japanese imperialism" simply because it depicts a flag reminiscent of the Rising Sun; and even if those images are of the Rising Sun flag, it's mainly shown in a negative light. [The Asahi Shimbun]

Comics | Noah Berlatsky looks at the question of whether women read superhero comics: "[Blogger Brett] Schenker says that the number of female fans seems to vary between 41 and 47 percent. Even more interesting, querying Marvel, DC, and superhero comics on Facebook gave him a figure of around 36.5 percent women. He also checked on “likes” for female comics characters, and found that about 62 percent of them were from women. Of course, Schenker could be picking up on women who are fans of superhero movies rather than the comics (the Avengers'  audience was 40 percent women). Even so, his figures suggest that there are more female superhero comics fans out there than many other surveys have indicated." [The Atlantic]

Comics | Mark Peters compiles a list of comics characters that have changed race or gender over the years. [Salon]

Legal | The prosecution in the trial of Hirofumi Watanabe, who is accused of sending hundreds of threatening letters to venues associated with the manga Kuroko's Basketball, has asked for a sentence of four and a half years. Watanabe, who was arrested in March in Tokyo, admitted to all charges in his first court appearance. While the prosecution argues that Watanabe showed no remorse, made no restitution and is likely to offend again, Watanabe told the court, "I read a book about masochistic depression, and understood my life. Also, since being arrested, I have received words of support from the police, but I want to end my life and take these words with me to the next life." [Anime News Network]

Legal | Editors and an attorney for Fairfax Media and two of its newspapers, The Press and Marlborough Express, defended two cartoons by Al Nisbet before a Human Rights Review Tribunal in New Zealand. Labor MP Louisa Wall brought the cartoons to the tribunal, saying they constituted "unlawful discrimination" as they depicted Maori people and Pacific Islanders as lazy and dishonest. One of the cartoons showed a group of adults dressed as children taking advantage of a free school breakfast program and saying "Psst ... If we can get away with this, the more cash left for booze, smokes and pokies." The other showed what Wall said was "very clearly a Maori family" sitting around a table with alcohol, cigarettes, and lottery tickets and singing the praises of free school food. Editor Sinead Boucher said the cartoons were not targeting any particular ethnic group but rather "bludgers," the sort of people who would take advantage of a free breakfast program. Nisbet said he originally drew the characters as white but later darkened some when he learned the free-breakfast program was being rolled out in more areas, to "balance the ledger." [Stuff]

Publishing | As Dynamite Entertainment celebrates its 10th anniversary, CEO Nick Barrucci takes stock of the company, which started as an offshoot of his collectibles business and grew into the sixth-largest comics publisher, with what Barrucci calls a "very balanced" line that includes both licensed and original work as well as "the third-largest library of characters" in comics. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Creators | In a podcast interview, Mike Dawson (Troop 142) talks to Julia Wertz (The Fart Party, Drinking at the Movies) about two autobiographical comics by other people, Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and Joe Matt's Spent. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Paul Gravett interviews Emmanuel Guibert, who has collaborated with Joann Sfar on the Sardine books and The Professor's Daughter and with Marc Boutivant on the Ariol books. His new solo graphic novel, How the World Was, is due out from First Second this month. [Paul Gravett]

Creators | Joe Casey talks Sex and Comic-Con International. [Hero Complex]

Digital comics | Madefire has opened up its tool for creating motion comics to the public, and CEO Ben Wolstenhome talks about how it works and the different approaches creators take to it: "We’ve found people taking two approaches: those who develop for print first and use the tool to lead the eye and create a jigsaw puzzle of their flat book. Others, who are either breaking down their art in layers or simply writing and drawing for the platform. In crude terms, it’s the difference between shooting a film on 3D or converting to 3D later." [The Guardian]

Collectors | William Foster III, a professor at Naugatuck Valley Community College, talks about his comics collection, which focuses on comics with African-American protagonists, and about growing up as a comics fan in 1950s Philadelphia. Foster started doing scholarly research on comics in the 1980s and has written several books and curated several exhibits on the topic. [Middletown Press]

Conventions | Bloomberg interviews John Macaluso, president and CEO of Wizard World, which produces all those other comic cons that aren't happening this week. [Bloomberg TV]

EXCLUSIVE: The DC Universe Falls in Blackest Night One-Shot

More in Comics