Plus: News on Ron Zimmerman, Paul Coker Jr., Frederik L. Schodt, Ed Brubaker and more.
Publishers | Although it might be hard to believe that there’s anyone left at the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Company to speak anonymously at this point, Popverse has an interview up with one such staffer, who gives more details on what’s been going on behind the scenes — and offers some context about that not-at-all-thought-out statement that was released on social media. The statement, the anonymous source says, came from parent company Polarity. “They thought it was so good. They did not listen to anyone who told them it was not, and then we reaped the whirlwind of their failure, like pretty much every week this month.”
This unsurprising account by the anonymous staffer follows several rounds of layoffs and departures from the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Company. Associate publisher Michelle Nguyen left the company voluntarily, following the layoffs of James Lucas Jones, Charlie Chu, Alex Segura, Amanda Meadows, Jasmini Amiri and Henry Barajas in July.
Publishers | Both The Beat and Popverse have reported that webcomics platform Tapas Media has laid off several staff in what’s being described as both a consolidation with sister companies Radish and Wuxiaworld, as well as a shift toward more user-generated content. Bleeding Cool reports that Tapas Media Chief Creative Officer Michele Wells is one of the people impacted by the layoffs. All three companies are owned by Kakao Entertainment, which acquired them in 2021.
Featuring news on Dan DiDio, Christian Cooper, two new comics retailers and more.
Over the weekend, IGN posted a story featuring artwork and quotes from Dan DiDio about Frank Miller Presents, the new initiative he’s been named publisher for. They also revealed the date of publication for Ronin: Book Two, the first project coming out of FMP — Nov. 23. Miller is working with Phillip Tan and Daniel Henriques on the sequel to his 1980s miniseries.
“Frank’s intimately involved in everything going on. The reason why we’re doing Ronin is because it’s never been exploited before,” DiDio told IGN. “We feel that there’s a lot of areas that Frank has story for. And actually, he’s had this story in mind for Ronin: Book Two since the end of the original series 40 years ago. So this is exciting for him to be able to tell that story because he still carries it with him and he’s finally getting it out.”
The writer of ‘After Houdini’ discusses their two recent projects, ‘Made in Korea’ and ‘House of Slay.’
For 12 days, we’re looking back at the 2021 that was in the world of comics, with interviews, commentary and more.
Jeremy Holt is the writer behind a number of comics including the books After Houdini and Before Houdini, and the Comixology Original series Virtual Yours, but 2021 has been a big year for them. The six issue miniseries Made in Korea that Holt made with George Schall came out from Image Comics, with the collection coming out in January. It’s a stunning story, but perhaps even more than being a good story about artificial intelligence and a world where “synthetics” live amongst us, it’s notable for how Holt managed to find a new angle on the idea. Holt is open about being an adoptee and framing the story of AI as a story of adoption is incredibly obvious, but that metaphor adds insight and clarity and reframes a lot of the issues in important ways.
Last month Tapas began serializing House of Slay, which Holt made with cover artist and designer Kevin Wada, artist Too Lee, colorist Kimi Lee, and editor Alex Lu. The story features fashion designers Prabal Gurung, Phillip Lim, Laura Kim of Oscar De La Renta, and Tina Leung and Ezra J William and turns them into superheroes. After a year with two very different high profile projects, I reached out to Holt to talk about artificial intelligence, how projects cross-pollinate, and finding their voice.
The artist of George Takei’s award-winning graphic memoir ‘They Called Us Enemy’ discusses her new graphic novel from First Second.
Harmony Becker is a recognizable name to many comics readers as the artist behind George Takei’s award-winning graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy. Becker’s new book is Himawari House, which she wrote and drew.
The story began as a webcomic on Tapas called Himawari Share and tells the story of a group of language students in Japan. The book explores what led the characters there and details their adjustment to the country. The book is also striking for how Becker depicts language and language learning in a striking way that echoes trying to learn a new language and being surrounded by conversation one struggles to understand.
It’s a beautiful and thoughtful book that manages to be as funny as it is profound, and Becker was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book.
Plus: Tanzanian cartoonist arrested, NYCC manga news, and more!
Gender Queer Challenged and Defended: The Brevard, Florida, Public Schools have removed a book from the Melbourne High School public library because it contained “adult images that have no place in education.” While they did not name the book, Florida Today speculates that it was Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer, which was the subject of a recent discussion on a local Facebook page. Superintendent Mike Mullins said that “BPS staff immediately agreed that this book violates our guidelines and that it has no place in our school district,” and he added that he has instructed the staff to check that there are no other such books in the school libraries. Gender Queer was also removed from the Fairfax, Virginia, public school libraries, but local station WTOP reports that students have pushed back: Over 400 students from across the district have signed a letter protesting the removal of the book. And in Williamstown, Michigan, parents are objecting to their children getting library cards because the book is in the local public library, according to the Lansing CityPulse.
The illustrator and teacher discusses the story “Not Alone,” which was part of Decoded’s Pride Month anthology.
NireLeet is a teacher and illustrator, and this year for Decoded, the annual story-a-day anthology for Pride Month, she made the short comic “Not Alone.” A quiet and perfectly told story, it’s a story about a witch that’s about loneliness in a way that will resonate with people more than the story would have previously.
This year’s collection of Decoded has been released as a full color PDF, and NireLeet just launched Malic’s Deep, a new webcomic on Tapas. We spoke recently about art, fantasy and the joys of teaching art in elementary school.
The former DC editor joins the webcomics company next week.
Former DC and Vertigo editor Jamie S. Rich has joined the webcomics juggernaut Tapas as its new editor-in-chief.
“Growing up reading indie and self-published comics in the 1980s, I saw whole new worlds, and I started telling my stories, too,” Rich told The Hollywood Reporter. “These days the realm may be digital, but it’s still comics. It’s still words and pictures, the basic components of modern storytelling. So, the great thing about Tapas is that it provides a platform for new voices, a place for the storytellers coming up now to share their voices. Anything is possible in a comic book.”
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.”
Check out new comic strips by Nicholas Gurewitch, Thom Zahler, Steve Lieber and more.
Here’s a round up of some of the best comics we’ve seen online recently. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below.
The popular webcomic The Perry Bible Fellowship turned 20 this year, and to celebrate, creator Nicholas Gurewitch teamed up with 20 other creators for a series of collaborative strips. He’s been tweeting them out since Jan. 23, the official anniversary date for the strip.
The award-winning webcomic created by The Kao will be compiled into print for the first time next fall.
Scholastic has announced plans to publish Magical Boy, the award-winning webcomic created by The Kao. The comic appears on the webcomics site Tapas.
“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to have Magical Boy be part of the Scholastic library and so thankful to Tapas for continuing to find ways to share my story,” said The Kao, aka Vincent Kao, who also creates Mondo Mango on the Tapas site. “As someone who spent my childhood reading Scholastic books, this is truly a dream come true. I can’t wait for readers everywhere to meet Max and join him on his journey of self-acceptance and magical misadventures. I hope Magical Boy will capture the hearts and imaginations of readers the same way that I was inspired by Scholastic stories when I was a younger reader.”
Annual awards ceremony recognizes ‘the creativity, skill and fun of comics.’
The winners for the 2020 Ringo Awards were announced today, marking the fourth year for the awards program named for artist Mike Wieringo, who passed away in 2007.
The awards were presented virtually as part of the Baltimore Comic Con‘s online programming, and started with an introduction and keynote from Kevin Smith and Geoff Johns. It was also live, which led to some logistical/technical issues as they tried to “cut over” to winners for their acceptance speeches.
Here are the winners, in the order they were presented during the ceremony. They include the “fan favorite” awards, which have a different process than the rest of the awards. You can find more details on the process here.