As the drama in Japan continues, we are reminded that comics are everywhere. Tokyopop CEO Stu Levy has been ferrying food and supplies to the victims, charting his progress on Twitter as he goes.
On this side of the ocean, the response is less dramatic but no less heartfelt: Creative types are coming up with all sorts of benefits for Japan. Comics Alliance has a nice roundup of events and art sales, and Daniella Orihuela-Gruber and Michael Huang have set up Anime and Manga Bloggers For Japan, a site where blogger can direct their readers, with links to Doctors Without Borders and Shelterbox. The fan-run One PIece Podcast is planning a 24-hour podcast marathon this weekend that will feature many bloggers and voice actors and hopefully raise $25,000 for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. At the Otaku USA site, editor Patrick Macias explains why he is endorsing the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund. Dane Ault, of Monkey Minion Press, is auctioning off an original Swamp Thing cover on eBay. And Pinguino Kolb updated me on the We Heart Japan art auction, which happens tomorrow at Meltdown Comics in LA, saying that they are flooded with art and expect lots of celebrities to stop by, so if you're in LA right now, that's the place to be—and if you're not, stay tuned, because they expect to do several more fund-raisers later this month.
So far, there has been no news of any anime or manga creators being injured or killed in the disaster, but the industry has been disrupted by the physical damage. As noted below, the Tokyo Anime Fair has been cancelled. Anime News Network has two lists of delayed anime and manga releases, which they updated again today. The
American publisher Manga University, which is located in Japan, escaped serious damage and is donating 10% of sales from their store to the Japanese Red Cross.
Finally, it seems as inevitable as Rule 34 that where there's a disaster, someone will try to blame the victims. This time the culprit is Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, the guy behind the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance, which placed tight restrictions on racy manga. During a press conference yesterday, Isihara said
Japanese politics is tainted with egoism and populism. We need to use tsunami to wipe out egoism, which has rusted onto the mentality of Japanese over a long period of time.
I think (the disaster) is tembatsu (divine punishment), although I feel sorry for disaster victims.
Isihara later retracted his comments, but they inspired the normally staid retailer news site ICv2 to abandon its usual neutral voice and deliver a stinging reply:
To anyone watching the events in Japan from anywhere else in the world, who has seen the amazing cooperation of the Japanese people, who initiated rolling blackouts before they were even asked to do so, who have totally refrained from looting, and who have cooperated with and executed relief efforts in a truly heroic manner, the comments of Ishihara’s are simply dumbfounding.