topFrom the Chinese Anime and Comics portal Southcn comes an article analyzing France's comics market, the article goes on to look at China's own market for comics, and compares it to its European counterparts.

A Summary of France's Comic Book Market

Abstract: France's comic book market is one of the most important comic book markets in the world, with 4,313 different comic book titles (including reprints) and around 77 magazines dealing specifically with comic books published in 2007. Last year also saw comic book sales of over 40 million there, totalling around 400 million Euros. Of 2007's 3,313 new works published in France, 253 were Chinese comic books. If China were to try to expand their portion of France's comic book market they would meet with a few cultural barriers; crucially because the work of Chinese artists differs greatly from the three mainstream comic books styles of Europe, Japan, and the US, and it is hard for many vendors to categorise them. Although all readers approve of the high-quality artwork and originality of Chinese comics, many feel that the storylines are inferior to their Japanese or European counterparts.

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topFew manga have broken the coveted "100 Million" sales mark, an honor reserved only for the most popular and influential works. Below is a translation of an article from ACGTalk comes an article looking at various "100 Million" manga and their influence in the world:

Articles like this can be found all over the Internet; this is what I thought at first, and was excited with the idea that this year any comic could sell over a hundred million copies, but it turned out after getting a translator to have a look around on Japanese websites, I felt I had blown things out of proportion a bit, so here I have opted to write a more accurate account of these awards.

Japan, as everyone knows, is the world's biggest producer and exporter of comics. If you add together the overall annual tax and the sales volume of each big-name comic book magazine and all the separate volumes, the figures could only be described as "astronomical". As a result, comics in Japan have become more than a mere cultural phenomenon, constituting now a whole industry with financial goals. Some of the comics in this industry have become highly successful best-selling works that have sold over 100 million copies. In view of this, we pulled together some information from the Japanese Wikipedia about Japan's twelve best-selling manga.

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topFluid Friction Comics is a Hong Kong-based comic company that releases titles in English and Chinese internationally across the world.

Fluid Friction is perhaps one of the first companies in the world to have formed "a true East meets West team with local Chinese and Western artists and writers working seamlessly side by side to produce truly unique products." Below is an interview with Spencer Douglass, Fluid Friction's business development manager, who talks about Fluid Friction, its view of the comics market, as well as plans for the future:

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Spencer Douglass and I am the business development manager at Fluid Friction Comics. My job entails overseeing the production and timelines for the comics, setting up distribution across the world, organizing all the marketing, working with retailers to promote directly to their customers, handling PR, setting up and running our exhibits at various comic-cons and bringing in partners to work with us on things like possible films, games, TV series, merchandise, mobile content, etc.

So I suppose you could say I am essentially a "comic salesman." :-)

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Launching this summer in India, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, USA & UK, Fluid Friction Comics have announced that the first issue of their debut series DevaShard: At First Light will feature the artwork of world famous artist Simon Bisley on the cover.

Simon Bisley made his name in the comic book world with his work on 2000AD in the 1980???s and especially on the characters Slaine, the Horned God and Judge Dredd. From there he went on to work on a wide selection of the world's best known comic books, including Batman during the 1990's at which time he was specially selected to portray the Dark Knight when he was being reinvented as the darker hero we know today. Other important titles he has worked on include the Heavy Metal fantasy art magazines, X-Men and later Wolverine.

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Launching the first issue of their debut title DevaShard across America in September 2008, Hong Kong based company Fluid Friction looks set to revolutionise the comic book and graphic novel industry.

In the long history of comics and graphic novels in Hong Kong, no one has previously attempted to launch a truly international product. However, with 6 markets initially (HK, Singapore, Macau, India, USA & UK) and many more to follow, Fluid Friction looks to be the first to release its graphic novel worldwide and simultaneously in English & Chinese.

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2008.4.8 ??? It's that time of the year again when school kids in Japan return to school beneath the showers of cherry blossom petals, and draw hearts on envelopes containing love confessions to their future sweethearts (a few heartbreakers too...but we're optimists here at Wacom). To celebrate this time of year, we'd like to invite anime and manga artists to illustrate your own anime/manga scene of your first love for the 2nd Wacom Anime/Manga Contest on the Wacom Community. Good luck!!

More info and online entry here:

Theme: "My First Love"
Awards: Grand Prize, Most Romantic Moment Award, Kawaii (Cute) Award

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Mainichi Daily News has an article on how a 66-year-old doctor who served as the inspiration for the manga Dr. Koto Shinryojo will "carry on working after spring this year, despite reaching retirement age, thanks to support from local residents."

The Guardian has an article on how manga is influencing a wave of new Chinese designers.

The Star Online reports that eateries in Japan where customers and waiters role play themes from manga, particularly BL manga, are becoming increasingly popular.

From TH.Yu diary, online diary of artist TH (Tim) Yu, comes a gallery of photos taken at Manhua! China Comics Now, one of the UK's largest festival of Chinese culture launched by CHINA NOW, in order to "explore Manhua - the powerful narrative art form of comics and graphic novels in China."

CHINA NOW, the UK's largest ever festival of Chinese culture, launches the first ever exhibition in Britain to explore Manhua - the powerful narrative art form of comics and graphic novels in China.

Manhua are poised to become the next global cross-media phenomenon, spinning off into films, television, animation, games, toys and more. The exhibition will take place between 7 March - 11 April at the London College of Communication. The exhibition explores 19th Century Picture Story Traditions, the Modern Manhua Masters, Hong Kong's New Wave movement and China's Next Generation of artists.

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From Channel NewsAsia comes an article titled "China eyes French comic book festival as springboard to Europe" that looks at how China is trying to break into the European graphic novel market through the Angoul??me International Comics Festival and compete with established Japanese manga:

With their own national pavilion set up in city hall, a large Chinese delegation boasted of 11 million euros (US$16 million) worth of deals in the fields of comics and animated cartoons.