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Ken Niimura of Henshin and I Kill Giants fame is the latest creator to join the Panel Syndicate crew, the digital comics imprint started by Marcos Martin and Brian K. Vaughan.
Umami, a black-and-white comic written and drawn by Niimura, debuts today on the site. It’s the story of a chef, a cook, giant birds and a quest for salt. The first issue is available via Panel Syndicate’s “name your price” model, like every other book they offer.
Also: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Gabe Soria, comics for Costa Rican kids, Shigeru Mizuki, ComiXology, Rocket and Groot prints
Passings: Spanish artist Alfonso Azpiri, a frequent contributor to Heavy Metal magazine, died on August 18 at the age of 70. (The headline of the linked article gives an incorrect birth year.) From the obit:
Azpiri’s most famous creation was Lorna, a sexually insatiable space adventurer (often compared to Barbarella), accompanied on her travels around the galaxy by a pair of artoo-threepio-ish robots named ADL and Arnold. Azpiri will also be remembered for Mot, a more family-friendly series about a boy who has adventures with his huge monster companion.
His work was first published in Heavy Metal in 1984, and three issues of the magazine were devoted almost entirely to Lorna stories.
David Steinberger talks digital comics, Akira Himekawa discuss Legend of Zelda and a Pakistani creator makes the world’s longest comic strip
The Digital Picture: ICv2 posts an interview with comiXology CEO David Steinberger, who talks about the platform’s gradual shift from something resembling a comic shop selling single issues to a more comprehensive service; how the company’s acquisition by Amazon three years ago has changed things; and the impact of ComiXology Unlimited, their all-you-can-read service, in terms of bringing in new readers:
One of the figures we’ve been sharing is that publishers that have been with [ComiXology Unlimited] for the year have seen overall double-digit growth this year. That’s totally opposite to what’s going on in the Direct Market.
One of the keys to their success is “personalization,” letting users tailor the experience and focus on what they are interested in—and, a la Amazon, recommend more items based on what they are reading already.
One more conspirator in the Lars Vilks case heads to court. Also: Comics about the news, Bruce Tinsley mollifies a fan, and the July BookScan numbers.
Ali Charaf Damache will be arraigned in Philadelphia on August 28 on conspiracy charges related to the attempt to kill a cartoonist who drew the Prophet Mohammed as a dog. Prosecutors allege that Damache conspired with two women (one of whom styled herself “Jihad Jane”) and a high school student to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Although the group never carried out their plans, the co-conspirators have already been sentenced to prison terms. Damache, who is 52, was indicted in 2011 but only recently extradited from Algeria to the U.S.
Hot Books: ICv2 has the BookScan graphic novels chart for July, and it’s definitely eclectic. The number one book is Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book, and no, those aren’t typos; check out the @jomnysun Twitter account for more. The next four books are like a modern graphic novels bingo card: Monstress, vol. 2; March, Book One; The Ancient Magus’s Bride, vol. 7; and Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up. Viz has eight titles on the top 20; Marvel has one (a Star Wars title) and DC has the perennial best-sellers Watchmen and The Killing Joke.
Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly will write the series, with a rotating cast of artists.
DC Collectibles’ Gotham City Garage line, which features the company’s heroines as bikers, is getting its own digital comic series. The comic will feature leathered up, helmet-wearing (safety first!) verisons of Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Lex Luthor and more.
Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly will team up to write the series, which will have rotating artists. Supergirl artist Brian Ching and DC Talent Development Workshop student Lynne Yoshii are up first.
“Gotham City Garage is an anti-fascist anthem for the open road, starring reimagined takes on DC’s great female characters through an outlaw lens,” Kelly said in the press release. “We’re bringing Big Barda, Steel, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Silver Banshee, Hawkgirl and the first Kryptonian this world has ever seen—the mysterious girl named Kara Gordon—into a world of bikes, outlaws and elaborate tattoos.”
Worlds collide again as a third DC/KFC comic arrives in July.
The comic book/fast food crossover event of the decade is set to continue, as DC Comics teases a third comic featuring KFC mascot Colonel Sanders teaming with anyone and everyone in the DC Universe. The last two comics were pretty insane, so who knows what they have in store this time — we only have the promise that he’ll go where “no colonel has gone before.”
If you missed the first two issues, never fear — you can download both of them for free, courtesy of the DC Entertainment app and, of course, KFC. So don’t miss out on The Colonel of Two Worlds or The Colonel Corps. Be warned: they may make you hungry for chicken.
What if Pinocchio’s wish was never granted, and he never became a real boy?
Sho Uehara was at work when he turned to a fellow employee and said, “Hey! I have this great idea! What if Pinocchio never got his wish and he was just an empty immortal wooden puppet forever?” Nick Johnson thought it was brilliant, and the two of them started spit firing ideas back and forth until they realized they had an anthology on their hands. Wishless: A Graphic Anthology was born.
“When we realized how intense and how many possibilities there were, I was like, ‘You know, this might be the perfect thing to unify in an anthology,’” Johnson explained. “I wasn’t really into doing anthologies anymore because I had done a bunch already, but by doing one where everyone was tapping that same idea and seeing where they would go with it got us both really excited!”
Ability to read comics panel-to-panel will arrive via updates to the Kindle apps.
Amazon has added comiXology’s “Guided View” experience, which allows you to zoom in and read comics from panel-to-panel, to its Kindle app for iOS, Fire tablets and Android.
“Our customers are passionate about comic books and we continuously look for ways to make their experience even better,” said David Naggar, Vice President, Kindle, in a press release. “We are excited to debut comiXology’s best-in-class Guided View reading experience on Kindle.”