For years, I’ve seen pundits bemoan the lack of good comics journalism on the web. There have always been exceptions to the rule, of course: Heidi MacDonald, Brigid Alverson, and Deb Aoki are three examples of serious journalists doing long-form pieces on artists, conventions, publishing trends, mergers, and so forth. Women Write About Comics has been another important outlet for thoughtful writing about the industry, as evidenced by their outstanding investigative work on the sudden collapse of Universal Fan Con.
Jazmine Joyner and Rosie Knight did a meticulous job of researching their story, sifting through social media posts, email correspondence, and the corporate registration papers for the show’s parent company. They also interviewed dozens of stakeholders including vendors and volunteers. What Joyner and Knight’s research suggests is that Fan Con’s founders were naive about the costs of mounting a show, offering such generous giveaways during the crowdfunding stage that it would have been impossible to honor the backer rewards. Perhaps Joyner and Knight’s most shocking discovery is that Tom Leonard, the Vice President of Marketing & Sales, “might be a bot account that brands can hire, and not actually a real person,” a revelation that casts new light on the organizers’ struggle to pull off such an ambitious convention.
For anyone who’s considered starting a convention, Joyner and Knight’s essay is a cautionary tale about what can go wrong; for the rest of us, it’s a sad reminder that the best intentions are meaningless if they hurt the very people they were intended to help.
MANGA NEWS AND LINKS
Dark Horse just announced that it will be publishing Mob Psycho 100, a supernatural comedy from the creator of One-Punch Man. Look for volume one on October 24th. [Dark Horse Comics]
In other publishing news, VIZ is reissuing Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist in hardcover. The “Fullmetal Edition” promises an array of fan-friendly extras, including “brand-new cover art, new color inserts and color versions of select pages previously printed in black and white.” Volume one ships on May 8th. [VIZ Media]
Wondering what April showers will bring? The Yatta Tachi gang has you covered with an exhaustive list of May’s new manga and light novel releases. Among May’s highlights are Captain Harlock: Classic Edition, Leiji Matsumoto’s original space opera; Chi’s Sweet Adventures, a spin-off Chi’s Sweet Home; Devilman: The Classic Collection, Go Nagai’s first Devilman comic; and The Troublemakers, a collection of short stories by gekiga pioneer Baron Yoshimoto. [Yatta Tachi]
Brigid Alverson shares a list of eight essential manga for cat lovers. [B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog]
Uniqlo’s Rose of Versailles t-shirt collection just went on sale. [Uniqlo]
Paging NBM Publishing! The newest edition to the Louvre Collection is Taiyo Matsumoto’s Louvre no Neko, a “surreal, wandering tale of a herd of anthropomorphized stray cats,” one of whom “can hear the voice of the paintings.” Jocelyn Allen has all the trippy details, plus a few images from the series. [Brain vs. Book]
The Kyoto Manga Museum will be celebrating the 50-year legacy of Big Comic Spirits with an exhibit on the magazine’s most famous series and contributors, from Osamu Tezuka’s Swallowing the Earth to Takao Sato’s Golgo 13. [Anime News Network]