Comiket, Fudanjuku, and Naoki Urasawa: A Roundup of Recent Manga News

Arina Tanemura is doing a new one-shot manga—in color; Naoki Urasawa talks about Pineapple Army and digital comics; and JManga celebrates its birthday with a variety of promotions and a new website. Here's a roundup of the latest manga news from the U.S. and Japan.

Urasawa Speaks: You don't see too many interviews with Naoki Urasawa, the creator of Monster, Pluto, and 20th Century Boys, but Rebecca Silverman managed to sit down with him for a few minutes. Urasawa seemed genuinely perplexed by the commonly held notion that he wouldn't let Viz publish 20th Century Boys until Monster was complete, and he talked about why he brought back Master Keaton in Japan—because after last year's earthquake and tsunami, so many people told him how much they loved the character. The biggest bit of news to come out of the interview, though, is Urasawa's distaste for digital comics—"None of my works are [legally] available digitally. I prefer physical books," he said, causing legions of iPad owners to roll their eyes and sigh.

Big doings at JManga: The digital-manga site JManga, which marked its first anniversary last week, has a lot going on right now. If you haven't signed up with the site yet, now would be a good time, as they are offering a 600-point bonus for new users. And then there's the JManga Translation Battle, a translation contest that is open to the public, in which contestants translate chapters from three different manga and a panel of experts selects the best translations.

Say Hello to Say Hello to Black Jack: Convinced that he's not going to make any money by following the traditional model of manga publishing in Japan, creator Shuho Sato is going to try something completely different: He will allow anyone to copy and reuse his manga Say Hello to Black Jack. Sato took the manga away from the publisher a few years ago and made it available on his own website, but it's only in Japanese; one of the implications of his latest move is that after September 15, when he stops enforcing his copyright, you can read scanlations of his work guilt-free.

New manga from Arina Tanemura: Last year, the creator of Full Moon O Sagashite drew a seven-part manga about the real-life idol group Fudanjuku, and she will follow that up in September with a 12-page, full-color story, Jitsuroku! Fudanjuku Monogatari,

Another Summer Comiket Comes and Goes: Comiket is the biggest comics event in the world, with 550,000 fans packing into Tokyo's Big Sight Convention Center in search, ironically, the smallest of small-press comics—doujinshi, fan-made comics, that are produced in small batches. Jeff Blagdon went to this summer's Comiket, and he reports back on the experience.

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