Comics Lowdown: RIP Monkey Punch, Kazuo Koike

Plus: Bill Mantlo in need, halfway through ‘Saga,’ awards and more.

The manga community has lost two legends in April, as both Lupin III creator Monkey Punch and Lone Wolf & Cub co-creator Kazuo Koike have passed away. Both men died from pneumonia six days apart, and were once considered rivals when their respective manga ran in Weekly Manga Action magazine. They also worked together on the Secretary Bird manga mini-series that ran in the magazine in 1970.

Monkey Punch, whose real name was Kazuhito Kato, was 81 when he passed away. His most famous creation, Lupin III, started as a manga and was later adapted into six animated television series, eight animated feature films, two live-action feature films, two musicals and several video games. He passed away April 11.

In addition to Lone Wolf & Cub, Koike is also known for such titles as Lady Snowblood, Crying Freeman, Samurai Executioner and many other popular series. His work influenced many American creators, including Frank Miller, who drew covers for First Comics’ publication of the series. Koike also worked on a few western series, including a Hulk manga and an issue of X-Men Unlimited. He passed away April 17 at the age of 82.

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‘Monstress,’ ‘Barrier’ and more win at the 2018 Harvey Awards

Streamlined awards featuring six categories presented during the New York Comic Con Friday night; Dave Gibbons and Roz Chast inducted into Hall of Fame.

The Harvey Awards returned last night in a new venue in conjunction with the New York Comic Con. The streamlined awards presented winners in six categories, as well as four other related awards and Hall of Fame inductions.

Joining the Hall of Fame this year were Roz Chast and Dave Gibbons. Harold Sakuishi received the 2018 International Spotlight Award, while Jackie Estrada (who runs the Eisner Awards) received the Comics Industry Pioneer award.

You can find the complete list of winners below.

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‘Barrier’ jumps to print on Free Comic Book Day 2018

Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente’s pay-what-you-want digital comic lands at Image as a five-issue, weekly miniseries coming next May.

Diamond Comics Distributors has announced the 12 Gold Sponsor comic book titles for 2018’s Free Comic Book Day, which includes titles from DC, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW and more. While many publishers use the opportunity to kick off events or new series, Image is doing something interesting this year — their FCBD title is Barrier #1, bringing to print Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente’s pay-what-you-want digital comic.

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Final issue of ‘Barrier’ arrives at Panel Syndicate

Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente’s digital comic about immigration and aliens wraps up.

Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente wrap up their second “pay what you want” digital comic today, as the fifth issue of Barrier arrives on the Panel Syndicate site.

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Nominees announced for the British Fantasy Awards

‘2000AD,’ ‘Saga’ and the webcomic ‘Skal’ included on the shortlist of nominees in the comics category.

The British Fantasy Society has announced the nominees for the British Fantasy Awards, including the “Best Comic/Graphic Novel” category.

The nominees were decided by members of the society, with additional nominees added by the award’s jury to ensure “egregious omissions” made the list. Winners will be decided by jury and announced at FantasyCon 2017, which runs Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

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Comics Lowdown: Original Crumb art sells for $717,000

Plus news and updates on NBM, ‘Saga,” Dan Parent and more.

Robert Crumb’s original art for the cover of the 1969 Fritz the Cat collection has set a new record price for a piece of original American comics art: The drawing sold for $717,000 at an auction run by Heritage Auctions; the next highest price for a piece of American comics art is the $657,250 that someone paid for the last page of Incredible Hulk #180, which features the first appearance of Wolverine. Internationally, Tintin art is still top of the heap; one set of drawings brought in $3.5 million, and two other original Tintin drawings have sold for over $1 million apiece.

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‘Saga’ celebrates Image’s 25th anniversary with 25-cent issue

Issue #43 kicks off a new storyline for Hazel and company “at the westernmost edge of the universe.”

To celebrate their 25th anniversary — and no doubt to encourage new or lapsed readers to pick up the title — Image Comics has announced that Saga #43 will cost 25 cents.

The award-winning series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples kicks off a new storyline in that issue, which is due out in May. Image is also offering retailers a 25th anniversary print featuring new Saga artwork by Staples.

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Cliff Chiang launches ‘Paper Girls’ T-shirt shop

Rita Pearl, Petey Boy and more jump from the comics page to the front of your chest.

Many comic creators, especially those on the creator-owned side, have taken merchandising into their own hands and launched their own T-shirt sites through places like Threadless. Joining them this week is Cliff Chiang, who announced a site dedicated to his hit Image comic with writer Brian K. Vaughan, Paper Girls.

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Extra, extra: Get your own ‘Paper Girls’ pins to support the CBLDF

Wear Rita Pearl and Petey Boy proudly by donating to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

At the New York Comic Con, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund delivered a set of pins based on Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang’s Paper Girls — and now they’re offering them on their website.

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