NYCC 2015, Day 3

Saturday at NYCC was well-balanced between the manga industry panels I am actually here for and the diverse comic panels I’ve found fascinating all week. It began with Yen Press, who were in the smallest panel room of the con, so naturally it filled up 15 minutes before the start. They opened right off with new licenses. Saiteihen no Otoko is a Gangan Joker title about a loser guy who sees a new transfer student who is more than she seems. Yen is calling it Scumbag Loser, which given the cover seems entirely appropriate, and it’s in one big omnibus. The author may be best known for Gun x Clover.

Corpse Party: Blood Covered is a 10-volume series based on a visual novel that features a cast of kids getting brutally murdered, so I can see why Kurt at the panel said it was for Higurashi fans. I’d argue that it’s survival game fans who’d get the most out of it. It ran in Gangan Powered, then Gangan Joker. Space Dandy is based off of the anime, and runs in Young Gangan – it looks pretty servicey. Also in Young Gangan is Dimension W, an 8+ volume series that’s a cyberpunk alternate history where Tesla won. The author did King of Thorn and Cat Paradise. Lastly, Unhappy Go Lucky (just ‘Unhappy’ in Japan) is a Houbunsha title from Manga Time Kirara Forward, a sweet comedy about schoolkids trying to change their bad luck. It’s for the K-On! Crowd.

Yen On also had some new licenses. Psycome is better known as Psycho Love Comedy, and as a man falsely accused of murder get sent to a prison where all the girls are also murderers… and falling for him. This is from Enterbrain, and looks very, very silly. Overlord is also from Enterbrain, and is another in a line of ‘trapped in a game’ series. It’ 9+ volumes. They also picked up the manga, which is a Kadokawa title from Comp Ace. Lastly, The Boy and the Beast is a novelization of a movie by the creator of Summer Wars and Wolf Children. And they have a manga tie-in for that as well, from Kadokawa’s Shonen Ace.

Q&A discussed finding the right balance between properties when licensing, Kurt again promoting Yen On to the hilt, a discussion of digital rights and why some obvious series (SAO and Index novels) don ‘t have them – often it’s the author’s own choice. Emma was praised, and Kurt mentioned how difficult license rescues are. He also chided Index fans who want to be caught up all at once, which is simply impossible in today’s market. Translation was talked about, and how to make it readable while keeping the author’s style – I’ve discussed this with Index.

After is I went to see Kodansha, and was so excited to meet several of the editors and licensors that I left my notebook outside (later I was able to retrieve it. Yes, I write longhand at cons – it helps me remember better). So the Kodansha panel was on the tablet. The actual licenses were just two, but they were quite exciting. Spoof on Titan is a 4-koma parody that ran on Mangabox last year, and Kodansha has secured the print rights. I Am Space Dandy seems to be the Mangabox version as well, which Kodansha released last year in Japan.

After a rundown of previously announced titles that will be coming out next year, and the big news that the next Vinland Saga will have a 4-koma done by Faith Erin Hicks, they discussed their digital line, available on various platforms. They had partnered with Crunchyroll for a few big series that did not really justify print – we’re n ow going to see these in volume format, still digital only. This includes Fort of Apocalypse, As the Gods Will, Fuuka by my nemesis Seo Kouji, My Wife is Wagatsuma-san, and the cult favorite Space Brothers.

After this was the main event, as we had Noragami’s editor, Yohei Takami. (No, not the artist, he’s busy making the manga.) He discussed the origins of the title, and the concept art of a failed god in a tracksuit, which was actually created for something else. We saw the rough sketches of several pages, something very rarely shown off to casual readers – they were indeed very rough. The pencils were more of a finished product. I asked about how one breaks into editing and got a very fun answer about being first in the office and picking up the phone when an artist calls – allegedly how Attack on Titan’s editor got his gig!

After this I went to Prism Comics’ panel on queer autobiographies, which had, as you might expect, quite a diverse group – Ariel Schrag, L Nichols, Sina Grace, Morgan Boecher, Carlo Quispe, and A.K. Summers. They all had a wide variety of ways they fell into telling their stories as a comic – there’s no one clichéd way. L Nichols is a “Southern Baptist” raised queer, whose title Flocks describes budding realization of sexuality at church camp and Bible School into transitioning. Morgan also discussed coming out as trans to friends, and how the reaction was not as expected – his female friends felt devalued at first. It was mentioned that with the comics art it’s easy to show off bodies in transition.

Carlo Quispe’s comics are far more political, deliberately so – he thinks comics can help push a political message without making it obvious and can use the medium to avoid showing a specific gender or race. He wants to change the minds of those who disagree with him the most – an impressive goal. Summers has a comic called Pregnant Butch, whose plot matches its title – it’s her experiences as a butch lesbian who is now pregnant, and the question of whether that’s even possible for a butch. She had to decide what to put in – it’s all very well to write an autobiographical comic, but there are other people in your life who might not want to be in it. And she discussed that fact that, well, she looks like a pregnant Tintin, something which seems to amuse her greatly, particularly given the historical Tintin’s unfilled-in sexuality as a boy living a man’s life.

Ariel talked about some of the pitfalls of the genre – you can use pain to help you write comics, but it can detach you from real emotion and make you too obsessive. It may also not want to be something you do WHILE it happens – perspective is a wonderful thing. Sina Grace agreed, and said it wasn’t healthy to imagine your life as a story while it’s actually happening. The goal is to capture the moment, not relive it.

Q&A was broad. The nature of autobiography and comics was developed, and some noted the internal state of the characters being easier in comic form – indeed, sometimes it’s easier when the “you” you create is a caricature. This is also a hard type of book to sell – Pregnant Butch didn’t sell till it was put up as a webcomic, despite much trying beforehand. And Uranus, Carlos’ book, as from an artbook publisher who didn’t want to mention it was a comic! They were also asked about the recent success of Fun Home, and whether that might help others to break through. Lastly, Prism discussed their new anthology debuting at Wondercon, with over 40 contributors.

I had not seen last year’s Women in Geek Media, so was happy to get into the sequel panel. Alicia Grauso was the moderator, and said the panel was specific to women but also useful for anyone who wanted to break into geek media. Also there were Jodie Hauser, Katrina Hill, Jamie Broadnax, Sam Maggs, and Deb Aoki. The panel was filled wish advice for the aspiring geek. Promote yourself. Network. Use social media properly. Try to get in as a contributor to a site, then write articles and find your own voice.

Of course, this can be difficult, particularly in a Gamergate world. You need to recognize what’s an honest dissenting opinion and who’s just being a troll. And learn to listen to the honest disagreements with equanimity as well. You should be professional – never air your dirty laundry in public. On the other hand, you absolutely can be angry about the ongoing lack of diversity. Think about what the best use of your time is. I haven’t mentioned who said much in this recap, but that’s mostly as the whole group were all on the same page. Diversity does not have to equal mediocrity – it should strive for the best. Also, everyone hated Season 5 of Game of Thrones. Even the GoT wiki owner.

My last panel of the day was far more relaxed, and also offered free coffee. Coffee, Food and Comics turned out to be equally balanced between titles with food and artists discussing their own need for food/coffee during creation. They discussed favorite food titles, both Western (Starve, Lucy Kinsley, The Comic Book History of Beer) and manga (Oishinbo, Drops of God, Toriko). It can be hard to market a cookbook comic, though – cookbook publishers don’t want comics and vice versa. That said, there’s never been a better time to self-publish. Interest is at an all-time high. The panel continued in a relaxed state, which extended to the Q&A, discussing things like the recent retirement of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch mascot, which I only mention as it had the word cerealpomorphic.

The theme of today, and indeed the entire con, is this: if you want more than just white male superheroes, support people creating them with your money. That’s something everyone agreed on no matter what the panel. I suspect Sunday will tell me that as well.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind