Comics Lowdown: Manga pirates can’t go legit

Plus: ‘Check Please’ goes to First Second, ‘Infini-T’ Force goes to Udon, Jill Thompson, Red Planet and more.

A Pirate’s Life… Ain’t what it used to be. Cecilia D’Anastasio talks to several former scanlators (including NJT, who set up MangaHelpers back in the day) about their struggles to go legit, and she also talks to some legitimate translators about what they do. While scanlators defend what they do as providing a service by fans, for fans—no ugly profit involved—it’s also true that publishers may not want to license a series that is already being widely read on bootleg sites. Also, they are finding that publishers don’t want to hire them, and the pay isn’t enough to let them quit their day jobs. Because, as Kodansha Comics’ Ben Applegate observed, “Whenever there’s a large group of people giving away their labor for free, it’s going to depress pay for those who are trying to do things legitimately.”

Contract, Please! Ngozi Ukazu’s webcomic Check Please has been a runaway success, winning a Reuben Award this year and setting a new record for Kickstarter pledges, and now it’s going to be published in graphic novel format by First Second.

Helmets, Hairbows and Heroics: Udon Entertainment announced a new manga license this week: Infini-T Force, a four-way crossover in which superhero teams from four different anime franchises share the limelight.

Interviews and Profiles

Wonder Woman Woman: Artist Jill Thompson talks about her two stints working on Wonder Woman, the first during George Perez’s run in the 1980s and the second, the Eisner-nominated Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, and she also touches on her work on Sandman and her creator-owned comic, Scary Godmother.

Link’s In: The creators of the Legend of Zelda manga, a two-woman team known as Akira Himekawa, talk about their life and work at Forbes. They are guests at this year’s Anime Expo and will also be appearing at New York Comic Con in the fall.

Indiginerds? Retailer Lee Francis talks about his Native American-focused comic shop Red Planet, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Albuquerque is a place where we are 10 to 15 percent of the population,” Francis says. “We should have a bookstore where that 10 or 15 percent can be like, ‘Oh I’d like to find this or I’d like to look at this.’”

Recommended Reading

Scary Go Round

In the Mood for a (Comics) Binge? At Monkeys Fighting Robots, Elliot Dunstan lists seven completed webcomics that you can enjoy without worrying about being left hanging.

Prefer To Read on Paper? Abraham Reisman rounds up the best graphic novels of the first half of 2017.

Even More Comics: Blerdgirl Tweets a list of comics by diverse creators, and then her friends add their own suggestions.

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