Monday, March 07, 2005

PW's spring fling: manga, GNs, Miller and Crumb

In its "Spring Comics" section, Publishers Weekly (subscription required) acknowledges that manga's "stratospheric growth rate" finally may be cresting as the American becomes more selective when it comes to mid-size publishers. But while some companies, like ComicsOne and CPM, are going on hiatus or canceling titles, the bigger publishers seem to be doing fine.

On the subject of manga, PW briefly looks at Tokyopop's Manga After Hours line, a new campaign designed to appeal to women -- specifically, the chick-lit crowd. "We'll be promoting the books as summer reading," Tokyopop publicity director Susan Hale told the magazine. "The manga format is a benefit — most can be read in an hour, making them perfect for an evening bubble bath, the beach or a lazy moment on the couch."

The line's first titles will be books by Erica Sakurazawa. The Tramps Like Us and Happy Mania series also will join Manga After Hours.

The magazine also chats with Pantheon editor-in-chief Dan Frank, who's published several literary graphic novels, such as Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis 2, David B.'s Epileptic and Posy Simmonds' Gemma Bovery.

Heidi MacDonald looks at Dark Horse and DC Comics' plans surrounding Sin City and Batman Begins, and talks briefly with Frank Miller about All-Star Batman and Robin, which debuts in June. "This is like Batman: Year One and a half," Miller told PW. "He's still quite young. But Robin is a kid. I'm treating this like the first Batman book you ever read."

And finally, Calvin Reid gets the lowdown on The R. Crumb Handbook, a 430-page memoir due in May from MQ Publications. "We've gone into his archive," said publisher Zaro Weil, "to include published and unpublished material and used it to investigate just where his characters came from."