Comics Lowdown | Manga gets Naomi Osaka right

Plus: How comics ease quarantine, who buys variant covers and more.

Manga drawing Naomi Osaka

Tennis champ Naomi Osaka is the star of a new story in the Japanese shoujo manga magazine Nakayoshi (which first published Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, among others), and the creators are taking pains to get her skin tone right. Osaka’s mother is Japanese and her father is Haitian-American, describes herself as “tan,” but an instant-noodle brand that depicted her with light skin caused an uproar last year. This time, the Nakayoshi designers consulted Osaka’s sister Mari Osaka, who is a tennis player and illustrator, for help in getting the skin tones right. The story features Naomi using her tennis skills to battle extraterrestrials in outer space, supported by Mari and her parents. Osaka has drawn some criticism in Japan, where she was born, for her outspokenness on racial matters, but the magazine focuses on her skill and dedication rather than her political statements.

Coping Strategies: In The Guardian, Alyssa Abbot writes about how working her way through Lynda Barry’s Making Comics, together with several friends, is helping her cope with quarantine and the rest of the craziness that 2020 has brought.


Jim Ottaviani talks about his latest graphic novel, Naturalist, an adaptation of E.O. Wilson’s memoir, in a video interview with Bill Fink, professor emeritus of biology at the University of Michigan.

Jimmy Palmiotti talks about his Kickstarter for issues 3 and 4 of Pop Kill in a video interview at Spoilerverse.

The Biz

Job Board: DC is hiring! Top execs only.

The Numbers: At ICv2, I counted down the top 20 graphic novels of November 2020 (in the book retail channel).

Retailing: At Newsarama, Jim McLauchlin talks to retailers about who buys variant covers (and for how much), comics with printing errors that have become collectibles, and how the overall number of comics in the world is declining in a scary way.

Retailing: Certified Cards and Comics of Endicott, New York, is closing its doors after 20 years in the business.

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