This Week in Manga 2/20-2/26/10

Coded Licenses

After the debut of their new website for manga, Bandai Entertainment puts up some license news.  They’ve announced two new titles to add to their Code Geass line.  Code Geass: Knights and Code Geass: Queens are both anthologies each with a slant toward a demographic.  Knights is written to appeal to the girls, and Queens is for the boys.  There are several short stories that are written by different mangaka.  This is good news to me, since I love the Code Geass franchise, both anime and the manga.  I really like that these are anthologies, giving us not just a lot of different stories with our favorite characters, but a lot of different looks as well.  I’ve grown quite fond of anthologies, and getting more narrow ones like this would be great.

The Story of Viz

Found via Twitter.  Advanced solicitations of titles has made the hunt for new licenses a new hobby for some people, much to the delight of fans and the shagrin of publishers.  Viz has a new title coming out, Story of Saiunkoku.  While the listing seems to have disappeared from Simon and Schuster’s website, an editor at Viz, Nancy Thistlethwaite has confirmed the license.  This is more great news to me!  I loved the Saiunkoku anime and have been dying for someone to license the manga!  It’s got a good combination of humor, drama, and romance, all in a psuedo-ancient China setting.  The art’s great too.

Plagiarism, Piracy and Fanart Oh My!

The big brouhaha this week came from a Bleach fan community and Live Journal blog.  Fans on the boards found more than a few panels and plot points from the American comic Incarnate by Nick Simmons, the son of Kiss band member Gene Simmons, and published by Radical Comics far too similar to those from in Bleach.  The fans accused Nick of stealing not just poses from Tite Kubo’s manga, but of tracing the panels.  The news hit Twitter, and for both Thursday and Friday, fans and creators discussed the pros and cons of what Nick Simmons was accused of doing.  On Twitter, the conversation turned from bashing Nick to debating plagiarism and piracy.  Deb Aoki, who runs the Manga blog and is a comic creator herself, led the discussion and posts a summary of it here.  After reading on Twitter and some blog posts that have gone up on it, here’s my take.  It does appear that Nick and/or his creative team plagiarized from Bleach.  There are far too many similarities for it to be a co-incidence.  With regards to the debate of whether or not the “swiping” they did was wrong, yes, it was.  Justifications of “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t fly.  That invokes responses like “if everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” from me.  Lots of people doing something doesn’t make it right.  It might make it more accepted, but that’s no excuse.

What I find so wrong in this, isn’t the copying per se.  Artists know that copying other artists work can help improve their skills.  I copied from Akira Toriyama, Leji Matsumoto, and Haruhiko Mikimoto when I started drawing back in the 80’s.  But I didn’t stop there.  I took what I learned from the copying to create my own style.  The influence might have been visible, but they were obviously not straight out copies.  Tite Kubo isn’t the real victim here.  People haven’t stopped by the Bleach manga because of this.  The people hurt as I see it are the artists doing the copying and the audience reading the books.  The artists will never learn and grow from just tracing and they are betraying a trust with their audience that the work is their own.  I think the betrayal of that trust is worse part of this whole thing.

As for fan art being sold at cons, I don’t get it.  Yeah, I get that people have favorite characters from manga and anime and want to have pictures of them on their walls and such.  But, shouldn’t it be about the artist, and not the character?  Why are you paying money to get a piece of work from someone of someone else’s character?  I don’t buy a lot of art, but what art I do buy is always original pieces, and because I like the artists’ work.  Really, what is the point of buying fan art?  Am I just too old to get this?

Will Another One Bite the Dust?

There’s been a lot of speculation lately about the silence from some publishers.  Go! Comi has had some people worried, and a recent blog post didn’t help to raise spirits, but at least they said something.  DR Masters, has been far too quiet for my liking, and hasn’t solicited anything since September 2009.  But the publisher that seems to be in real trouble is Aurora.  Simon Jones of Icarus Publishing (NSFW) speculates on what could be going one after a post by Deb Aoki about a 90% off sale in LA Aurora held on Friday.  Maybe they just need to get rid of old inventory.  I’d buy that if this was an occasional occurrence.  But the fact that Aurora has been selling ALL of their titles at fire sale prices for over a year now leads me to believe the worse about the publisher.  I won’t speculate on what they might have done wrong or could have done better, but I will say, that as a non-yaoi reader, they just didn’t have a lot that appealed to me.  And of their non-yaoi titles they were more borderline quality than you would expect from a Japanese publisher.  Did they not want to publish their A-list titles?  Or did they just not have any?

Vote For the April Movable Manga Feast!

The next Movable Manga Feast will be Emma, hosted by Matt Blind of Rocket Bomber.  This setting up for this round, Matt has also started looking for suggestions for the next round.  After taking nominations, he has put up a poll and is asking for people to voice their opinion.  The poll will be open until March 6, 2010, so get over there and vote now!  As of this writing there were only 15 posts, with Mushishi in the lead.  For the sake of disclosure, I will say I voted for Mushishi.

NYT Best Sellers List

Wow.  There was practically no change on this week’s list.  The top 5 titles remain the same from last week, with just a little jostling.  Naruto vol 47 and Vampire Knight vol 9 keep the top two spots, #1 and #2 respectively.  Black Butler vol 1 slides it’s way up on to #3, pushing Black Bird vol 3 down to #4.  Alice in the Country of Hearts vol 1 holds on to #5.  Fullmetal Alchemist vol 22 moves up one again this week to #6 as does Naruto vol 46 to #7.  D.Gray-man vol 16 moves up to #8 as does Yu-Gi-Oh! GX vol 4 to #9, while Yu-Gi-Oh! R vol 3 takes the longest plunge to #10.  It seems the list has hit critical mass, the titles move around, but nothing new can prenetrate.  It’s good to see Tokyopop and Yen Press holding their own against the Viz onslaught of an 8/10 ratio.  Their titles have been able to not only hold out for 3-4 weeks respectively, but have also cracked the top five!

Manga For Your Ears

Fictional Frontiers


Otaku In Review

This Week at Manga Village

What I’m Reading

  • One Piece Vol 31
  • Stolen Hearts vol 1

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