Hello readers! What a week in comics we’ve had. Not only did the DC Expanded Universe finally release a movie that’s both a commercial and critical hit, Wonder Woman has set some serious milestones. Maybe we’ll finally get more superheroine movies directed by women and written by women. Can you imagine? But enough about live action adaptations. Let’s talk about comics.
Despite ending its 12-episode run last year, the figure skating anime Yuri on Ice continues to leave an impression. The most recent sighting of the popular series? In the latest issue of the Steven Universe comic. I know, right?
IM SCREAMING OH MY GOD pic.twitter.com/i0XEr7Oc7e
— Gabi (@loumochi) May 31, 2017
The comic’s illustrator, Katy Farina, is a big fan of the series and included cameos of Yūri Katsuki, Victor Nikiforov, Yuri Plisetsky, and Otabek Altin. What a great shout out to fans of both series. But, sad to say, if you’re the rare breed who doesn’t ship Victor/Yūri or Otabek/Yuri, these background appearances at a renaissance festival may do nothing for you.
In more somber news, former Detroit News cartoonist Larry Wright passed away at the end of May. Best known for his cat-themed comic strips, “Wright Angles” and “Kit ‘N’ Carlyle,” Wright also drew editorial cartoons that neatly dissected human flaws and frailties. But perhaps most inspiring was his ability to expand his skill set; Wright learned how to code for websites late in his career. May we learn from his example. Wright is survived by his wife, two children, four grandchildren, and brother.
Speaking of career shifts, voice actor Hikaru Midorikawa—perhaps best known for his roles as Fushigi Yugi’s Tamahome and Gundam Wing‘s Heero Yuy—is taking up the pen to launch a manga at the end of June. Partnered with illustrator Ichi Sayo, the manga marks his debut. Titled Ragnarok of the Uniform, the manga follows a girl who loves playing cell phone games. One day, a game rewards her with a naked man climbing out of her smartphone. Well, that’s a prize!
The National Cartoonist’s Society Reuben Awards were held at the end of May. Lynda Barry, creator of “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” received the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year went to Ann Telnaes, who is an editorial cartoonist for The Washington Post. If you relied on The Washington Post for your 2016 election coverage, you might be familiar with some of her sketches and animations.
Tohru Fujisawa’s Great Teacher Onizuka, or GTO as it’s more commonly known, is a beloved series among many manga fans. But in a shocking reveal on a Japanese variety television show, another manga creator claims it was plagiarized off his own debut work. The mangaka in question, Tatsuka Egawa, is best known for his title, Golden Boy. He says that Fujisawa once worked as his disciple and that the other creator even admitted to plagiarizing Egawa’s debut, Be Free. Both manga titles do feature unconventional teachers who push their students to excel, but having not read Be Free, it’s difficult to say how deeply the similarities run. It’s not inaccurate to say that many manga series have similar premises. And it can be relatively easy to track influences between creators if you know what to look for. For example, Hiro Mashima once worked as Eiichiro Oda’s assistant and at times, you can spot similarities in art styles and character designs between Fairy Tail and One Piece. While I have no reason to doubt Egawa’s claims, I do find it a little unusual that he revealed this bit of information so many years after both series ended. I guess the cynical part of me wants to find the angle and motivation here.
That’s all for this week. See you next time!