Thursday, March 31, 2011

Laurell K. Hamilton on novel-to-comics adaptations

Any real-life person would complain about wearing pants that snug. Yet another advantage of the comics medium!

It's a bit of a trend these days for the creators of popular novels to lend their creations to the comics medium. Laurell K. Hamilton is one of the biggest authors doing so, with her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. Graphic Novel Reporter has a neat little interview with her about the prose-to-comics process:

The most interesting thing is you get a black-and-white version with the wording put in with the images. That is really where the difference between a graphic novel and an actual novel with words really begins to change for me. Because words that work really, really well in the novel…the same dialogue might not work in a graphic novel.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Superhero comics in Starbucks!

Marvel superheroes and Adele? Good lord, it's like Starbucks is trying to appeal to me specifically.

Coolest bit of news of the week so far! Marvel Comics - the folks behind superhero legends like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four - are teaming up with Starbucks to offer a digital archive of their comics on the Starbucks Digital Network. (Which is, to my understanding, a special site customers can access while in the cafe. Neat!)

Best of all, these comics will be available for free, so even if you find the cost of your drink outrageous, your reading material is a bargain.

This partnership launches in the United States on April 23, so mark your calendar for some coffee and comics!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I recommend: Demo

Find this graphic novel at: [Amazon] [Borders] [Barnes & Noble]

In Demo, Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan have crafted a dozen excellent short stories. They range from real world drama to supernatural horror - though even the fantasy concepts are grounded in a modern-day setting - and most come packaged in a gritty, gloomy wrapper.

Cloonan is a master of style variance - in fact, I had to double-check just to make sure she was really working alone! (She was.) Each story has a unique visual signature, from simplified figures in the (relatively) humorous stories to shadow-laden realism in the most somber tales.

If you're looking for a light, poppy-fun read, Demo is definitely not your book. But if you like your short stories dramatic, eerie, and bittersweet, it's well worth your time.

(There's also a second volume coming out this month - if you like the first run, give that one a look as well.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Sailor Moon manga gets a re-release!

The Japanese cover of the enhanced edition. I wonder how Kodansha will re-design it for the North American release?

Readers of a certain age may remember loving the Sailor Moon TV series as a kid. (Readers of another certain age may even remember being the mom of a kid who loved Sailor Moon!)

Tokyopop published the original manga the show was based on some years ago, and they've been out of print for over half a decade. But now Kodansha Comics - remember them? - has announced a special re-release based on the enhanced Japanese editions.

Sailor Moon is a modern classic, and it's great to hear it's coming back for both old and new fans to read.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The "Women and Comics" Survey(s) call to action!

You may remember that H,W!C! launched waaaaay back in June of 2010 with the results of a survey of comics non-reading women. The results were enlightening, but I've always thought the survey itself could be a little better. So I re-wrote it, this time as two surveys: One for women who read comics, and one for women who don't.

If you have ten-or-so minutes to spare, please fill out the survey that applies to you.

If you are a woman or teen girl who reads comic books, graphic novels, manga, long-form webcomics, or other long-form comics at least once a month, please fill out this survey!

If you are a woman or teen girl who does NOT read comic books, graphic novels, manga, long-form webcomics, or other long-form comics at least once a month, please fill out this survey!

When you're done, please share a link to this post with the women in your life. The more responses, the more insightful the results will be!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

iPad owners, take note!

Just look at that gorgeous app!

Viz Media, one of America's leading manga translation companies, recently launched an iPad app, so those of you with said tablet device can read and buy oodles of manga. And for the month of March, they've seriously ramped up, adding tons more volumes and offering all Volume 1s for just 99 cents all month! There's also a sizable selection of freebies, so you can dip your toes in the manga pool without having to go anywhere near your pocket.

Take a gander at this page Viz has set up, which goes over many more of the app's features in detail.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Read this: Judging a Book by Its Cover

The way a comic looks doesn't stop at the insides - there's a cover to consider, too! This interview with Colleen AF Vernable (the art and design editor at graphic novel publisher First Second Books) talks about the cover design process, including tons of step-by-step images like the one above.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Recommend: Bakuman

Find the first volume of this series at: [Amazon] [Borders] [Barnes & Noble]

It's probably worth mentioning to the moms out there that no, this series is not related to Bakugan, the funky collectible game your kid was into a few years ago. No plastic dragon marbles here!

Every once in a while, a comic creator gets the urge to share their experience with fans. Some do this by writing how-to guides, filming themselves at work, or answering fan mail. And a few, like Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata (the writer/artist team behind Death Note,) go the extra mile by creating an all-new story about the business itself.

This brings us to Bakuman, the story of a young artistic prodigy and the eccentirc writer classmate who convinces him to embark on a career in manga-making. Their journey gives readers a rare glimpse into the competitive and high-stress world of the Japanese comics biz (albeit with some contrived events to add narrative drama and supply our heroes with the equipment they need to dive right in with the pros.)

There's also a romantic subplot, as our hero and his love interest enter a pact that ties the fate of their relationship to the success they achieve in their respective careers. Readers who dislike sappy romance will likely find their eyes a-rollin' at those scenes, but for others, it's bound to elicit a heartmelting "d'awwwww."

Some reviewers have noted that Bakuman isn't exactly the most feminist of works. And not without reason: the male heroes sometimes get swept up in enthusiastic "manga is a man's world!" declarations. Still, it's hardly the worst treatment women have gotten in entertainment, comics or otherwise, and Ohba and Obata have been in the biz long enough to recognize the impact women have on the manga industry - even in the boy-centric shonen demographic the story focuses on.