Koyama Press announces new titles from DeForge, Degen and more

Koyama’s spring 2018 line-up includes new graphic novels from Jessica Campbell, Michael Comeau, A. Degen, Michael DeForge, Ben Sears and Fiona Smyth.

Koyama Press announced their Spring 2018 releases over the weekend in conjunction with the Small Press Expo, including new books from Jessica Campbell, Michael DeForge and Ben Sears, among others.

According to the publisher, it’s “our biggest season, in terms of page count, ever! We are immensely excited to bring such a spectacular selection of comics to you this Spring!”

Here’s a rundown of what to expect …

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Smash Pages Q&A: Chris Grine on ‘Time Shifters’

The creator of ‘Chickenhare’ discusses his latest all-ages graphic novel from Graphix, dealing with grief, not talking down to kids and more.

Chris Grine’s first graphic novel was Chickenhare, which was published first by Dark Horse Comics and then was reprinted in a new full-color edition by Scholastic’s Graphix imprint, along with its sequel. This year Scholastic published Time Shifters, which, like his earlier books, is written, drawn, colored and lettered by Grine.

But this one is a leap forward in terms of his art and storytelling. On one level, the book is a wild adventure story about a boy who gets caught up with a misfit band that is jumping from one universe to another. On another level, it is a story about grief and loss told in a very real and raw way. The book manages to be both very silly and wild, and a great adventure story, but never shies away from the sadness at the core. Grine and I talked about the book’s tonal shifts, grief and never playing down to kids.

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Comics Lowdown: New charity helps retailers

Also: Manga dominates the BookScan chart, Crumb originals bring in big bucks, Cecil Casetellucci talks ‘Soupy.’

Retailers Help Their Own: A group of comic shop owners has started an organization, Helping Comics Retailers with Issues (a.k.a. HCR Issues) to, well, do just what the name says: They will help pay down the debt to Diamond of comic shops that have run into rough waters. Secretary and co-founder Dr. Christina Blanch, owner of Aw Yeah! Comics in Muncie, Indiana, says that plans were in the works for a while, but Hurricane Harvey sped things up.

Back to School Again: ICv2 has the BookScan top 20 graphic novels chart for August, and vol. 9 of the superhero-school manga My Hero Academia takes the top spot. In fact, Viz has ten of the top 20 titles, with four volumes of My Hero Academia (1, 2, 8, 9), two volumes of Tokyo Ghoul (the first and the last), and assorted other titles. Add in vol. 22 of Attack on Titan and Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up, and you’ve got a chart dominated by manga. On the other hand, there are no Marvel titles at all and the only DC books on the chart are Watchmen and The Killing Joke. BookScan covers bookstores and other retail channels such as Amazon, so their charts are often very different from Diamond’s, which only cover comic shops.

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Comics Lowdown: The impact of ComiXology Unlimited

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.

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Comics Lowdown: Analyzing gender representation of 34,476 comic characters

Plus: Calexit sells out, climate change comics, Adam West as the Dark Knight, Becky Cloonan, Gerald Way, Jay Baruchel’s thoughts on Canadian superheroes and more!

A fascinating study takes a look at the gender representation of 34,476 comic book characters. Journalist Amanda Shendruk asks, “Female characters appear in superhero comics less often than males — but when they are included, how are they depicted?”

Wonder Woman gif by Nicole Dirksen

She examined 34,476 different characters. The study results were published with a plentiful helping of graphs, graphs, and more graphs looking at everything from the types of powers a character has, to the gender make-up of their superhero team, to the naming scheme and frequency of character’s aliases. Some of the findings include:

  • The data suggest that less-physical powers — such as empathy, intellect, and telepathy — tend to be more represented among female characters. Men however, often have highly physical powers, as well as those that involve gadgets.
  • 30% of all teams have no women, and only 12% have more female team members than male. The majority of those 12%, however, are exclusively female teams.
  • A full 30% of male characters with gendered names get ‘man’ in their name. That number is only 6% for ‘woman’. However, ‘girl’ is the third-most common gendered name for a female character (13%). ‘Boy’ only shows up sixth for males (5%).

The study was then topped with very cute pixel art by Vancouver’s Nicole Derksen.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Rosanna Bruno on ‘The Slanted Life of Emily Dickinson’

The cartoonist and painter discusses her book, which is about an Emily Dickinson in the present day, complete with Facebook and OkCupid accounts.

In The Slanted Life of Emily Dickinson, Rosanna Bruno imagines a present-day Dickinson, or considers the ways in which the habits of the legendary poet would brush up against how contemporary life works, giving her a Facebook page and an OkCupid account and karaoke lists. It’s not simply poking fun at Dickinson, who despite being one of the great modern poets is often considered a recluse. Bruno clearly has read and knows Dickinson’s work and finds interesting ways to play with those ideas and how we think about poetry. Bruno is a painter by training and she spoke about Dickinson, the book, how comics required a different approach from her paintings and more.

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D+Q bring Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Julie Doucet comics back to print

‘Love That Bunch’ and ‘Dirty Plotte: The Complete Julie Doucet’ both due out next year.

Drawn & Quarterly announced at Comic-Con this week plans to publish new editions of comics by Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Julie Doucet.

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Heavy Metal to turn Nikki Sixx’s ‘The Heroin Diaries’ into a graphic novel

Rantz Hoseley, Danijel Zezelj, Andy Kuhn and Kieron Dwyer will adapt the Motley Crue bassist’s memoir into comic form.

Nikki Sixx and Ian Gittins’s The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star is set to become a graphic novel, courtesy of Heavy Metal.

Blabbermouth reports that The Heroin Diaries graphic novel “will be the first release under Heavy Metal’s new 12 X 12 imprint, a new line of music-themed art books and graphic novels that will explore the songs and experiences of the most exciting musical artists.”

“I’ve been the biggest fan of MÖTLEY CRÜE since the release of ‘Too Fast for Love’, and have nothing but the greatest respect for Nikki and his songwriting, so for us to be able to collaborate with him on bringing this tragedy-to-triumph to a new audience in a powerful way is a dream come true,” said Jeff Krelitz, CEO of Heavy Metal.

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D + Q to publish Lisa Hanawalt’s ‘Coyote Doggirl’

Hanawalt’s homage to and lampoon of Westerns to arrive in fall 2018.

Cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt heads west — to the Wild West, actually — for her next graphic novel. Drawn & Quarterly has announced they will publish Coyote Doggirl, the new graphic novel from the creator of My Dumb Dirty Eyes and Hot Dog Taste Test, in the fall of 2018.

“Lisa is enormously talented at creating fantastical worlds that are gorgeously technicolored and rendered, and she has a very funny gift for the anthropomorphically absurd,” said D + Q publisher Peggy Burns. “Once you look a bit closer however, you can see Coyote Doggirl is not just a send-up of the Western genre, but a deeply personal story for Lisa. Watching it unfold across the desert landscape is thrilling.”

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