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From ‘Peepo Choo’ To ‘Ghost Rider’: The Unusually Cool Career Of Felipe Smith [Interview]

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Felipe Smith lived the dream of a thousand starry-eyed DeviantArtists when, in 2008, his nerd-skewering masterpiece Peepo Choo debuted at Kodansha-owned manga magazine Morning 2. When asked about what went into accomplishing this feat — becoming fluent in Japanese, keeping pace with the manga industry’s rigorous schedule, being an American noticed by the manga industry at all — Smith is all shrugs and smiles. His work spans the globe, he’s completely reinvigorated Marvel’s Ghost Rider, and, as friends pop by his booth, he slides smoothly in and out of the three languages he speaks, but you know, no biggie. Smith takes it all in his stride.

Peepo Choo, a gleefully lurid tale of cultural fetishization, yakuza, teenage boys, and gravure idols, lies far afield from Ghost Rider in terms of content. But Smith’s zingy, earnest voice unites the two works, and it is this voice that makes Smith such an exciting creator with such a tantalizingly unpredictable future. ComicsAlliance sat down with him at San Diego Comic-Con to discuss living and working in Japan, nerd culture around the world, and what Robbie Reyes brings to the superhero table.

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Vertical’s Ed Chavez On Finding Great Comics For Women And Surviving The Manga Bubble [Interview]

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Vertical Inc. publishes manga about eating disorders, adorable cat antics, 18th century prostitutes, and murderous high school cults. It brings avant-garde creators like Kyoko Okazaki and Moyoco Anno to Western eyes right alongside classic Tezuka work and more mainstream shonen fare like Knights of Sidonia and Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. I point to Vertical when friends ask me how to get into female manga creators, how to get into horror manga, how to get into josei (women’s) manga, or how to just take a break from the cycle of standard sci-fi and fantasy.

Vertcal is utterly singular and entirely necessary to the comics industry, and it was to the Vertical booth that I sped once the doors to the San Diego Comic-Con Exhibit Hall were open this year. After examining their new releases (I recommend In Clothes Called Fat, another glance into female anxiety courtesy of Moyoco Anno), I sat down with Ed Chavez, Vertical’s marketing director, to talk about past successes, present realities, and future plans.

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Austen Translation: UDON’s Manga Classics Line Already A Hit With American Educators [Interview]

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UDON Entertainment published the first two volumes of its new Manga Classics line last week, adapting great works of literature as full-length manga. Manga Classics: Les Miserables, based on the novel by Victor Hugo, features art by SunNeko Lee, with an adaptation by Crystal Silvermoon and a script by Stacy King, while Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice is illustrated by Po-Tse and adapted from Jane Austen's great novel by Stacy King.

UDON sent us a preview from Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice that showcases both Po-Tse's gorgeous art and the wit and romance that makes Pride & Prejudice one of the most celebrated works in the English language.

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Udon Announces Tezuka Artbooks, Kill La Kill Manga, And More Manga Classics Titles

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Udon Entertainment unveiled an impressive line-up of books for the coming year at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday night, including the English-language translaton of the manga of Ryo Akizuki Kill La Kill, and not one but two Osamu Tezuka artbooks. Osamu Tezuka Anime Character Artbook is a collection of sketchbook drawings and designs, while Osamu Tezuka Anime Character Illustrations collects his animation model sheets.

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Viz Media’s Comic-Con Plans Include Exclusive Books, Hello Kitty Photo Op – Nothing Else In San Diego Matters

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This week's fun at San Diego's Comic-Con International isn't just about stuff you can buy. I mean, yes, that's kind of the entire point of the convention, but in addition to new and exclusive products, plenty of publishers are offering unique experiences to lure you into their booths, and Viz Media is going the extra mile. In addition to new books like the Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary hardcover and The Art of Princess Mononoke, they're giving attendees the chance to take photos with characters like Doraemon and Hello Kitty.

That's right: a photo op with Hello Kitty. If you see me crying with joy on the con floor, that's why. Check out the rest of the exclusives belo

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‘Big Hero 6′ Gets Manga Adaptation; Marvel Isn’t Publishing It (Not In Japan, Anyway)

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The promotional machine for Disney's big, animated fall film Big Hero 6 has really started ramping up with the announcement of the various voice cast members and a brand new trailer.

An odd quirk of the promotion for the film has been that it doesn't seem to mention Marvel Comics even one time, though the concept, characters and title come from a Marvel team that spun out of Alpha Flight and had a few mini-series over the years. Now it looks like Marvel's not even going to publish one of the comics that tie into Big Hero 6, a manga by Haruki Ueno. It's going to be in Kodansha's Magazine Special instead.

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Nostalgia As A Weapon: The Sailor Moon Renaissance Is A Feminist Mission Behind The Lines Of Pop Culture

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Sailor Moon is inescapable. There’s the new anime of course, and the new musicals, the merchandise, and the retranslation of the manga. But it’s the emblem of a wider renaissance as well, a resurgence of love for mahou shoujo, or magical girl anime and manga — a movement led by women well out of their childhood years. A quick stroll through Tumblr reveals Sailor Moon cupcakes, punky Sailor Moon jackets, heartfelt essays about what the portrayal of lesbianism in Sailor Moon meant to the reader, dozens of artists working together to reanimate an episode of the anime, Sailor Moon nail art tutorials, cats named Luna, Beryl, Haruka and everything in between, hand-sculpted figurines, ornate embroidery projects, and an endless avalanche of fanart. Sailor Moon as an Adventure Time character. Sailor Moon cheekily clutching a Hitachi Magic Wand. Sailor Moon as a vicious biker chick. Sailor Moon protesting the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling.

Sailor Moon fans have not so much rediscovered their love for Naoko Takeuchi’s sword-and-sparkle epic as they have elected her queen mother of their imaginations and ultimate aspirational self. She is, simultaneously, symbol, cause, and leader.

This resurgence is animated by more than typical fannish passion. This is a need to return to a world where young women are in charge. This is an anger at the pabulum of Good Role Models for Girls, at boob windows and “fridging" and “tits or gtfo.” This is 15-year-olds covering their notebooks in “MERMAIDS AGAINST MISOGYNY” stickers, yet also gravely serious grad students applying bell hooks to Takeuchi’s use of Greco-Roman myth. This is a collective invoking of spirits, made more potent in their absence — Usagi Tsukino and all her friends as saints and saviors, carrying the light of childhood optimism to an adulthood in sore need of it. This is nostalgia as a weapon. “Pretty soldiers” indeed.

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‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ Is 75% Eyes, 100% Awesome [Review]

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I'm not even close to kidding when I say that one of the most exciting things about life in 2014 is that we're experiencing an amazing renaissance of Sailor Moon. Not only has the manga been reissued in its entirety from Kodansha, and not only is the classic series being released uncut with two episodes every Monday on Hulu, but Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, a new series based on Naoko Takeuchi's original series, made its worldwide premiere last weekend.

This is, for someone who loves Sailor Moon as much as I do, a pretty big deal, and Crystal's first episode lived up to the hype by being an absolutely gorgeous new version of Usagi's first outing as Sailor Moon. The thing is, Crystal was designed to be a far more strict adaptation of the source material, and while it definitely succeeds on that front, that's also its biggest problem.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Sailor Venus Kicks Misogyny Into A Coma At Her Local Arcade (1992)

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We're only a few weeks away from the debut of a brand-new Sailor Moon Crystal animated series, and folks, I could not be more excited. I love Sailor Moon, ever since I saw the original anime during its run on Cartoon Network when I was a kid, and I've been looking forward to the debut of Crystal from the moment it was announced. In fact, in order to prepare for the debut, I've even gone back and started reading through the manga.

The thing is, while I've read a lot of Sailor Moon, there's one piece of the franchise that I've never been all that familair with: Naoko Takeuchi's Codename: Sailor V, which I only picked up recently. And it is fantastic, if only for the story where Sailor Venus beats the living crap out of some MRA gamer dork at the local arcade.

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‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Inspiration ‘All You Need Is Kill’ Gets Manga Remake by ‘Death Note’ Creator, Simultaneous Digital Release [Preview]

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If you weren't aware that Edge of Tomorrow -- the new Tom Cruise movie that opened in American cinemas last weekend -- was based on a Japanese illustrated novel (or "light novel"), it'd be pretty understandable. For one thing, the title is different. The 2004 book by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and illustrator Yoshitoshi ABe was called All You Need Is Kill. For another, the book -- as Japanese science fiction often does -- featured Japanese teenagers in the midst of a gruesome war for Earth's fate, rather than a caucasian actor in his early 50s.

Publishers of the original work, Viz Media is making a big effort to make sure you know the truth. The publisher is releasing a new manga adaptation of the novel for digital download June 17. The new version comes courtesy of Takeshi Obata, who you may know as the creator of the super-popular Death Note and Bakuman series.

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