Kakao Entertainment buys Tapas Media for $510 million

Founder Chang Kim will continue the day-t0-day management of Tapas.

South Korea-based entertainment company Kakao Entertainment has announced that they’ve acquired the webcomics site Tapas Media for an estimated $510 million.

Chang Kim, who founded Tapas in 2012, will continue to oversee the day-to-day management of Tapas and also become Global Strategy Officers within Kakao Entertainment.

Kakao Entertainment was already a stakeholder of Tapas as of last November, and several of Kakoa’s webcomics are available via Tapas, including A Business Proposal, Space Sweepers, The Uncanny Counter, and Navillera.

“We’re thrilled to join forces with Kakao Entertainment, an entertainment content juggernaut with a massive library of original webtoon IPs, which can be introduced to the US audience through the Tapas platform,” Kim said. “Our team, our unique company culture and our awesome creator community stay the same while we race ahead with the exact same mission but on a much bigger scale.”

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Re-reading ‘World’s Finest’ #258, the comic that got Jason Aaron into world-building

Tom Bondurant dives into a classic issue of DC’s ‘Dollar Comics’ line that helped inspire the architect of Marvel’s ‘Heroes Reborn’ event.

As part of our round-robin Heroes Reborn [2021] coverage, I learned that writer Jason Aaron’s first superhero comic book was August-September 1979’s World’s Finest Comics #258. Back then it was part of DC’s “Dollar Comics” line, boasting 68 pages’ and five features’ worth of colorful characters. In his newsletter, Aaron says

I fell in love with these books, in part because they didn’t just give me one story, but instead gave me a taste of an entire world of characters and adventures and history that was out there waiting for me. The sort of gargantuan super-world that would come to consume a large portion of the rest of my life. […] In other words, I think I’ve been primed from the beginning to want to build my own world of superheroes. And HEROES REBORN is maybe as close as I’ll ever come to doing exactly that.

It will surprise none of you to learn that I also read World’s Finest Comics regularly as a kid, especially during the Dollar Comics phase. (It lasted over five years and almost 40 issues, from April-May 1977’s #244 through August 1982’s #282; and a Green Arrow/Black Canary backup continued for a couple of issues past that.) Although the Dollar Comics line was largely an experiment in marketing and economics of scale, World’s Finest was pretty impressive among the company’s late-1970s output.

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Can’t Wait for Comics | Return to Future State Gotham; X-Corp opens for business; Lee Lei’s ‘Stone Fruit’ debuts

New comics and graphic novels arrive this week from Jason Aaron, Dale Keown, Lee Lai, Aminder Dhaliwal, Matt Lesniewski, Mike Mignola, Declan Shalvey and more.

Welcome to Can’t Wait for Comics, your guide to what comics are arriving in comic book stores, bookstores and on digital this week. This week brings new comics and graphic novels from Marvel, DC, Fantagraphics, Image, AfterShock, Drawn and Quarterly, and more.

Check out a few highlights below, or visit ComicList for this week’s full list of new comics arriving in stores, and the comiXology new releases page for what’s available digitally.

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Marvel will debut the new character Somnus in ‘Marvel’s Voices: Pride’

Steve Orlando, Claudia Aguirre and Luciano Vecchio bring the new character to life.

The Marvel’s Voice: Pride anthology arrives in June, and when it does, it will bring the debut of a new character — Somnus, who will appear in a story written by Steve Orlando and drawn by Claudia Aguirre.

“Somnus, Carl Valentino, is inspired not only by my own family history, but by my experiences with past generations of LGBTQ+ folks from across the country, people I wouldn’t have met without comics,” Orlando said. “While there is still plenty of work to do, we’ve also come a long way as a community. Somnus is a chance to explore how my own late queer relatives may have felt, living in more prejudiced times. He’s also a chance to celebrate past generations as a whole and acknowledge the strides we’ve made that they may not have lived to see.”

The character was designed by artist Luciano Vecchio, who also provides a variant cover featuring Somnus:

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Marvel announces ‘The Trial of Magneto’ for August

Leah Williams and Lucas Werneck are the creative team for the upcoming miniseries.

Marvel has revealed more details about that teaser they released last week concerning Magneto, and it has some potential SPOILERS for an upcoming X-Men-related storyline. So consider yourself warned before reading further.

Coming in August is X-Men: The Trial of Magneto, the first of a five-part miniseries featuring the Master of Magnetism. It’s by the team of Leah Williams and Lucas Werneck.

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Magpies and rats: The Heroes Reborn roundtable, week one

Carla, Tom, Shane and JK assemble to discuss Marvel’s latest comics event.

Marvel kicked off a new Heroes Reborn miniseries/event last Wednesday, the first of eight issues (and several tie-ins) that tell the story of a Marvel Universe where the Avengers never assembled. Instead, the Squadron Supreme, which takes its direction from a Phil Coulson who is much more menacing than Clark Gregg ever was, is now the MU’s primary super team.

With the first issue by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales and Matthew Wilson now out in the wild, Shane Bailey, Tom Bondurant, Carla Hoffman and I thought we’d discuss the event each week, roundtable style, like we did with Future State earlier this year.

So grab your copy of the first issue and let’s get to it …

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What Are You Reading? | ‘Fist of the North Star,’ ‘Atlantis Wasn’t Built for Tourists’ and more

See what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately.

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Smash Pages crew has been checking off their “to read” list lately — from older stuff like Usagi Yojimbo and Fist of the North Star to newer stuff like Atlantis Wasn’t Built for Tourists and even a balloonless book about Stan Lee you may have heard about.

Let us know what you read this week in the comments or on social media.

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Winners announced for the 2021 Doug Wright Awards

S. Bédard, Veronica Post and more took home awards as Fred Kelly was inducted into the ‘Giants of the North’ hall of fame.

The Doug Wright Awards, which honor “the best work and most promising talent in Canadian comics,” presented their 2021 awards last night during a livestream, which you can find embedded below.

Author Margaret Atwood, cartoonist David Collier, last year’s Nipper winner Sylvia Nickerson and author/teacher Emily Pohl-Weary were on hand to present the awards during a ceremony hosted by Don McKellar. R. Sikoryak was on hand once again to “live” draw the ceremony, and the evening also included tributes to Annie Koyama of Koyama Press and Bill Wright, the son of Doug Wright, who died in December.

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Dark Horse will wrap up ‘She Can Fly’ with a graphic novel

The third chapter of Christopher Cantwell and Martín Morazzo’s Berger Books title will arrive all at once, in October.

Christopher Cantwell, Martín Morazzo and Miroslav Mrva will soar once more with the final volume of She Can Fly in October. She Can Fly: Fight or Flight will be released as an original graphic novel through Dark Horse’s Berger Books imprint, wrapping up the story of Luna — who finally gets to fly.

“Luna finally gets to fly, and we fly with her in this storytelling tour-de-force from Christopher, Martin and Mirsolav,” said Karen Berger, who oversees the Berger Books imprint. “It’s an emotional and thrilling finale that totally captured my heart.”

She Could Fly debuted as a miniseries back in 2018, and was followed by a second miniseries, She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot, in 2019. While both were released as single issues and then later collected, the third volume will be released as a single collection, much like the finales of two other Berger Books titles, Invisible Kingdom and The Seeds.

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Mail Call | The Hellfire Gala guest list includes mutants, Avengers … and Eminem?

As Marvel’s mutant event gets closer, take a look at what’s in store at the big party — and afterwards.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

It seems like we’ve been talking about Marvel’s Hellfire Gala forever, and Marvel’s publicity team has been working on overdrive to hype up the big X-Men event. And they aren’t stopping now! I’ll do a broader round-up over the weekend, but for this one we’re strictly looking at Marvel’s mutants.

As for the gala, Marvel announced this week that you can expect to see some familiar faces at it — and not just from the world of comics. The potential guest list includes real-life celebrities like Eminem, Conan O’Brien, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Ira Glass, Pete Alonso and possibly more.

“The Hellfire Gala will be the culmination of months of anticipation, and as one of the biggest nights in X-Men history, it only made sense that the nation of Krakoa would invite some of the world’s biggest stars to witness it for themselves,” said Mike Pasciullo, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at Marvel. “We thank all of our special guests for joining us for this exclusive in-world event, along with the incredible artists who brought them to life on the page.” 

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comiXology Originals announces ‘Hailstone’

Rafael Scavone and Rafael de Latorre head to a winter-ravaged Montana for a new horror title.

comiXology Originals and Stout Club Entertainment are teaming up again for Hailstone, a “horror thriller set during the U.S. Civil War,” by Rafael Scavone, Rafael de Latorre, Wesllei Manoel, Bernardo Brice and Bis Stringer Horne.

This is the second comic in a five-title deal between comiXology and Stout Club, following last year’s Funny Creek.

Hailstone presents a story of mystery, mixed with historical, horror and supernatural elements, all seasoned with good old western action,” Scavone said. “If I had to pick only one genre to define it, I’d definitely go for weird-fiction. The characters range from a traumatized Sheriff, unable to help his people, to an arrogant army officer running a military factory in a remote town. Art-wise Rafael de Latorre gave it a beautiful but uneasy atmosphere, his work is a perfect match for the story. The moody ambience he created grows denser as the story goes on poking the characters’ fears with it. All of these elements allowed us to play with sequences and pacing. We hope the readers dig it as much as we did while creating this comic.”

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Comics Lowdown | Zunar is in trouble again

Plus: A new graphic novel looks at Japanese Americans who resisted internment.

Zunar’s cartoon critiquing the minster of the state of Kedah, who canceled the festival of Thaipusam. The cleaver says “No Thaipusam” and the caption on the right reads “Kedah’s inhabitants lived in peace until he came.”

The Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar is in trouble with the law again. Police in the state of Kedah have summoned him to appear before them on May 7 (the original date, given in the linked article, was May 2 but it was rescheduled) for violating the country’s sedition law, a much-criticized relic of its colonial past, with a cartoon criticizing the Kedah state minister’s decision to cancel the traditional Tamil Hindu festival of Thaipusam.

Zunar got into lots of trouble during the tenure of Prime Minister Najib Razak, whom he mocked endlessly for his corruption; Razak was not amused and his government repeatedly raided Zunar’s studio, confiscated his books, banned him from traveling, and brought charges against him that could have led to lengthy prison sentences. The pressure eased once Najib was voted out.

Ironically, Zunar’s latest skirmish coincides with World Press Freedom Day, which was Monday; several national and international groups have criticized the Malaysian government for its repressive stance.

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