Business | Japanese e-book publisher Bitway has invested $750,000 in Crunchyroll, the San Francisco-based website that streams anime and live-action Asian movies. A major distributor of electronic books, including manga, in Japan, Bitway hopes to work with Crunchyroll to develop a comics-distribution platform overseas, with an emphasis on the United States and Canada.
Crunchyroll launched in 2006 as a for-profit site, and featured among its content illegally hosted user-uploaded fansubs and bootleg anime. But in 2009, following a $4 million investment from venture-capital firm Venrock, Crunchyroll began offering only licensed content. The website reportedly attracts 6 million unique visitors a month. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | A preview in USA Today of Troublemaker, the Dark Horse graphic novel written by bestselling author Janet Evanovich and daughter Alex, kicks off "a groundbreaking multi-platform" promotional initiative involving the publisher, the newspaper and electronics giant Toshiba.
Despite reading two press releases about "DH: HD" ("Dark Horse: High-Def"), I'm a still a little unclear about what the marketing effort involves. Toshiba's announcement states the program "includes extensive Toshiba presence" in Dark Horse comics, which presumably means product placements. The publisher's press release underscores a showcase in USA Today, in print and online, for its comics -- similar to what the newspaper and DC Comics did with Wednesday Comics -- and teases that in October it "will roll out a series of all-new stories created exclusively for the program." [USA Today]
Awards | Raina Telgemeier's graphic memoir Smile has been named as an honor book in the prestigious Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, which recognize excellence in children's and young-adult literature. "This is the first time a graphic novel has made it onto the list," Telgemeier wrote, "and I'm extremely humbled to share the short list with such an amazing group of talented authors." [press release]
Publishing | The New York Times and Wired.com spotlight Vertigo's release this week of Neil Young's Greendale, Joshua Dysart and Cliff Chiang's adaptation of the singer-songwriter's 2003 concept album. [Vertigo]
Creators | Jeffery Klaehn surveys a handful of Fantastic Four writers: John Byrne, Steve Englehart, Mark Millar, Mark Waid and Marv Wolfman. "Before the FF, comic-book super-heroes were stiff and wooden and had problems like 'How do I enlarge the bottle city of Kandor?', which no reader on Earth can relate to," Waid said. "The FF made the adventure-comics world safe for emotion." [Pop]
Creators | Snow Wildsmith interviews Chris Schweizer, touching upon his background, his influences and his Crogan Adventures series. [Good Comics for Kids]
Creators | Nicolla Scott is briefly profiled by her local newspaper. [Sydney Central]
Creators | Eric M. Esquivel chats with Brandon Graham. [Bleeding Cool]
Comic strips | A souvenir edition of Roy of the Rovers is being released this week in honor of the World Cup. [Daily Mail]