Japan’s Top Ten Manga Publishers Quit Tokyo Anime Fair in Protest

In response to Tokyo's new amendment to the “Youth Healthy Development Ordinance”, which would restrict the sale in Tokyo of manga and animation that “unduly glorifies or exaggerates” sexual acts that are “excessively disruptive of the social order” as well as any sexual or psuedo-sexual acts that would be considered illegal or incestuous in real life, ten of Japan's biggest manga publishers have pulled out of the Tokyo Anime Fair, which is run by Tokyo's city government. If the amendment passes tomorrow, which it is expected to do, ten of the biggest manga publishers; Kadokawa Shoten, Shueisha, Kodansha, Akita Shoten, Hakusensha, Shogakukan, Shonen Gahousha, Shinchosa, Futubasha and LEED all will pull out of the multimillion dollar event. The largest of its kind, the Tokyo Anime Fair hosted over 130,000 visitors last year. Free speech concerns about the ordinance have been amplified by its broad and vague wording.

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara spoke in favor of the bill earlier this month, and – in what one hopes was an unrelated thought – at the same time expressed disgust that there were “homosexuals appearing casually even on television”. The bill started life this spring as an unsuccessful ban on the sexual depiction in manga or anime of characters who appeared to be underage, regardless of their stated age, which was considered particularly problematic given the highly stylized nature of most anime and manga. More details can be found here and here .

Mark Waid Leaves Boom! to Return to Writing

Mark Waid, Chief Creative Officer of successful indie comics publisher Boom! Studios, has announced that he is amicably leaving his position at Boom! to return to work as a freelance comics writer. As a comics creator, Waid has written for The Flash, JLA, Captain America among others and co-created Impulse, Ruse, Irredeemable, Incorruptible and Alex Ross’s famous magnum opus Kingdom Come. More details are available on the Boom! blog, here.

New Venom Ongoing Comic from the Creators of FrankenCastle

The popular Marvel anti-hero Venom will return in a new incarnation in its own ongoing comic from artist Tony Moore and writer Rick Remender, creators of the horror-inspired Punisher series FrankenCastle. The new book will feature a new, as yet unnamed, host of the Venom symbiote, working on the behalf of the Federal Government instead of previous hosts Eddie Brock and Mac Gargan. The character will first appear in Spider-Man #654.1 this February, with the new title following this March. More details are available on the Marvel site here.

Paul Levitz, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee Speak at UCLA's Hammer Gallery

DC Comics top brass past and present will appear together tonight, December 14, at UCLA’s Hammer Gallery. Paul Levitz, veteran comics creator and former President and Publisher of DC Comics will be joined by Jim Lee and Geoff Johns, DC’s current Co-Publisher and Chief Creative Officer respectively, in a panel discussion moderated by comedian Patton Oswalt. After the panel, Levitz will be signing his new book, 75 Years of DC Comics. Admission requires a ticket, but all tickets are available free to the general public at the box office an hour prior to the event. The Hammer Gallery is located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA.

Jim Lee at Midtown Comics

Comics creator and DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee will appear at the new downtown location of Midtown Comics in New York on December 19 to sign and promote his new book, Icons: The DC and Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee. Entry to the event is limited to customers who have purchased a copy of Icons, and Lee will sign two items per attendee. The event takes place from 2-4 p.m., and the new store is located at 64 Fulton Street, New York, NY.

This Week @ Good Comics For Kids

This week School Library Journal’s blog Good Comics for Kids had a review of Amelia Rules: True Things (Adults Don’t Want Kids to Know), Top Ten Deadliest Sharks, what the GC4K bloggers are reading this week, Libraries and Graphic Novel Lists and Interviews and Reviews themed links roundup and the 12/08 roundup of good comics for kids.

This Week @ The Beat

This week PWCW editor Heidi MacDonald’s blog The Beat covered the Marvel and Indie month to month comics sales numbers, last weekend’s Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention, Ward Sutton’s Dr. Seuss / Wikileaks comics mashup and a mini-Christmas special cartoon that is in no way based upon real celebrities.