Comics Lowdown: ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ creator arrested on child porn charges

Plus: The Cartoon Art Museum gets a new home, the Guinness Book of World Records recognizes the largest X-Men collection, and much more!

The manga world was rocked on Tuesday when Rurouni Kenshin creator Nobuhiro Watsuki was charged with possession of child pornography. Police didn’t target the 47-year-old manga-ka; they were investigating someone else when he turned up as a possible purchaser of child porn, and indeed he has been charged with possessions of “numerous” DVDs containing footage of nude girls in their early teens. In a deposition, Watsuki, stated that he “liked girls in late elementary school to around the second year of middle school.”

The penalty for possession of child pornography in Japan is up to a year in prison and a fine of up to 1 million yen, if convicted, but for Watsuki the consequences are already grave: His publisher, Shueisha, said it is taking the news very seriously and it has suspended his current series, Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc, which he is co-creating with his wife, Kaoru Kurosaki; it has not decided yet what to do about the volumes that are already in print. Rurouni Kenshin started in 1994 and has over 60 million volumes in print; Viz has the U.S. license and has been re-releasing the original series in omnibus format, and is publishing the Hokkaido Arc simultaneously with the Japanese release.

Locales: After two years of homelessness, The Cartoon Art Museum has a new permanent location on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, and the current show is an exhibit of work by San Francisco native Raina Telgemeier.

Collectors: It’s official: Eric Jaskolka’s collection of 15,400 pieces of X-Men memorabilia is the world’s largest, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Awards: The Corpse Exhibition won the graphic novel category in the Nommo Awards, which were selected by members of the African Speculative Fiction Society and announced at the Ake Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

Interviews and Profiles

Across and Down: Paolo Bacilieri creator of Fun, talks about the history of crosswords and the intersections between crosswords and graphic novels.

Retailing: Dan Gearino, author of Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us Geek Culture, talks about the history of the direct market on the NPR business show Marketplace.

Reviews, Roundups, and Commentary

Review: Caitlin Rosberg reviews Melanie Gillman’s As the Crow Flies, a beautifully drawn story of a teenager who feels out of place at a Christian summer camp.

Feels Good, Man: Amanda Hess explains Pepe the Frog.

Best of the Year: The Good Comics for Kids bloggers pick the Top Ten Kids’ Graphic Novels of 2017.

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