Hosted every year in France, the Angoulême International Comics Festival is the biggest comic con in the world, surpassing even San Diego’s mighty Comic-Con International by tens of thousands of attendees. But like the San Diego show and its Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, Angoulême comes with its own venerable awards celebrating sequential art from around the world, the most auspicious of which is the Angoulême Grand Prix, given every year to a living comics creator as a kind of lifetime achievement award. This year’s went to a most deserving artist indeed: Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of one of the medium's undisputed masterworks, Akira.
I've mentioned before that I got burned out on manga in my early 20s, but one of the things I don't talk about nearly as much as I should is what brought me back. Books like Detroit Metal City and Yotsuba&! were what hooked me, but there was nothing that I looked forward to as much as Eiji Otsuka and Hosui Yamazaki's The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Violent, gory, frequently terrifying and incredibly well-constructed, it's one of the best spooky comics on the stands.
Today, with 11 volumes on the stands, Dark Horse announced that it's getting the prestige treatment with the release of the first Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus Edition, an oversized collection of over 640 pages.
Like a lot of kids who grew up in the '90s, I loved Nintendo's monthly magazine Nintendo Power with a passion, and one of my favorite things about it was reading the comic version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I loved that series largely because it made the weird adventure of the video game even weirder. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized the story was written and drawn by legendary manga creator Shotaro Ishinomori -- you know, the guy who created Kamen Rider and the Super Sentai franchise, among other things -- and realized just why it was so good.
Sadly, the story has been out of print for several years, but now it's coming back: Viz Media announced over Twitter today that they will publish a new collection of Ishinomori's Zelda comic, set for release on May 5.
I only watch anime involving moon princesses and the "Legendary Silver Crystal," but I've been to enough conventions over the past couple of years to be vaguely aware of Attack On Titan, Hajime Isayama's wildly popular story about teens in half jackets fighting weird skinless giants that eat people pretty much all the time. The manga and anime have been hugely successful, to the point where there is now a theme park attraction in Osaka's Universal Studios Japan, where visitors can experience the thrill of being eaten by monsters themselves.
As revealed in a video from the debut of the attraction, you can check out a 49-foot statue of two Titans engaged in battle, as well as have your own picture taken as you're cheerfully devoured by a drooling giant. You know, fun for the whole family!
Hey, have you heard about these "Internet Webbed-Comics"? They're like comic books, but on the Information Super-Highway, and they seem to be all the rage with the kids these days. So much so, in fact, that Crunchyroll is hoping that holds true for their new line of original manga, which is set to kick off with Hiroyuki Takahashi and Patrick Macias' Hypersonic Music Club.
Set to launch this Friday, January 30, Hypersonic Music Club will tell the story of "a group of young cyborgs [who] must battle the extra-dimensional monster girls for final control of the enigmatic force known only as…The Mystery Frequency," and that's exactly the combination of manga weirdness and Jack Kirby bombast that gets me interested in checking it out. I mean, really: You had me at extra-dimensional monster girls.
Q: Can Batman defeat a pro wrestler in his natural element? --@ykarps
A: At first glance, this seems like one of the easiest questions I've ever tackled in this column. I mean, of course he could, right? He's Batman. While the rest of us were learning algebra in 8th grade, this dude was traveling across the world learning how to be the best possible expert at everything, just in case he needed it for his never-ending war on crime. Surely that would have to include professional wrestling, the King of Sports, if only because there's no other discipline that combines theatricality and combat in the way that would serve him so well back in Gotham City.
And yet, the more I think about it, the more I realize that, as shocking as it might be for me to say this as the World's Foremost Batmanologist... I doubt even Batman could beat a pro wrestler in his natural element.
I've never really been into Dragon Ball. I mean, look, yes, there was that brief period in high school where I was getting my one and only P.E. credit by taking a table-tennis class, and a friend of mine and I would kick off our shoes in the gym and claim that we had been using them to train in ten times Earth's gravity, but that was more down to being a couple of teenage goofballs than any particular love of the source material. I've seen the show, but I never bought a club shirt with Goku on it or anything, you know?
Even so, I was pretty curious about Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, a new manga from Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama. The only thing that was really holding me back was finding out that even though it was a self-contained story in one volume, it's tied into Dragon Ball, set in the same universe and serving as something of a prequel. I wasn't sure if I'd jump on, but then former CA contributor David Brothers offered to send me five bucks to cover the cost of the first volume if I didn't like it. It turns out that was a pretty safe bet, but I'm guessing he knew going in that it had a scene where a tiny spaceman punches out a monster shark.
The last twelve months offered comic book readers a wide variety of work ranging from the most crowd-pleasing superhero epics to the most idiosyncratic of indies, and the return of old favorites to the emergence of exciting new talent. It was a busy and productive year for the industry, and one we’re pleased to celebrate with what we’re certain will be an uncontroversial, unenumerated list of awards that will prompt only resounding agreement and unbroken fellowship amongst our readers in the comments below.
Takeshi Obata is an icon. His work on the horror manga phenomenon Death Note, with writer Tsugumi Ohba, defined horror for a generation of comic fans. The manga Hikaru no Go, with Yumi Hotta, spurred the ancient board game Go to sudden contemporary popularity in 1998. Another Ohba collaboration, Bakuman -- a manga about the creation of manga -- has over 15 million copies in circulation. Obata also illustrated the manga adaptation of All You Need is Kill, a military science fiction light novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka that was recently adapted for the screen as Edge of Tomorrow.
And Obata's art is gorgeous. He handles Gothic triptychs and domestic scenes alike with incredible skill, bringing sociopaths, pop singers and teen artists to vibrant life. I keep copies of Death Note and Bakuman on my shelf of manga for "people who think they don’t like manga," because his work transcends the boundaries of fandom. He is a master, and he isn't even close to being done.
ComicsAlliance was thrilled to have the chance to speak with him at New York Comic Con 2014 about his work, his influences, and international success.
Friends, this is the sort of comic book movie news I enjoy writing about: Naoki Urasawa (Monster, 20th Century Boys, Pluto) can now add the honor of becoming the first manga author to have his work adapted into film in Spain. Spanish director Javier Yañez obtained the rights to one of Urasawa's early short stories, Mighty Boy, from publishers Shogakukan, gaining approval from the master himself in the process. Although the film was largely privately financed, Yañez took the initiative to crowd-funding platform IndieGogo in order to raise the final $10,000 it required, and now it's finished and available to watch in full, for free (subtitled in both English and Japanese).
I spent a bit of time trying to track down Urasawa's original story online, with no luck (it's not been translated in English, and was published as part of an anthology volume), so I'm unable to comment on how the adaptation translates, or how faithful it is, but I can tell you what the film is about and if it's any good.