Continuing their global mission to create super IP across multimedia platforms, the leading digital publisher of webcomics and novels, Tapas Media, Inc., has been acquired by Kakao Entertainment in a cash transaction announced today. The acquisition will expand Kakao Entertainment’s original content business in North America and other English-speaking regions.
The terms of the agreement give Kakao Entertainment a 100% stake in Tapas, for a transaction valued at $510 million. CEO and Founder, Chang Kim, will remain in his role as CEO and become a Global Strategy Officer within Kakao Entertainment. Kim will provide insight into the US Market while continuing to focus on developing IP on the Tapas platform.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Tapas is a pioneer of mobile storytelling platforms in the US and have found success in the rapidly growing mobile stories market with more than 8 billion pageviews of 96,000 original series – both webcomics and digital novels. Tapas’ microtransaction-based digital currency (Ink) empowers readers to directly support their favorite creators and stories, generating revenue for creators. Tapas saw five times year-over-year revenue growth in 2020, averaging more than $2M per month for creators, making it one of the top 3 grossing comic apps in the US.
Tapas have spent almost a decade dedicated to developing a creator-first ecosystem with an open publishing platform and creator community. Tapas is not just a creator platform, it also produces original content with creators – content that expands into additional business opportunities including development deals in film and television, book publishing, audio, and other ancillary business. Recent Tapas announcements include Scholastic signing global publishing rights for the critically-acclaimed Studio Tapas original series Magical Boy – releasing as a graphic novel on November 2, 2021; a partnership with Zoic Studios for television and cross-platform adaptation of the AI thriller Tapas original, Mnemosyne; and Frolic Media and Madison Wells are producing a scripted podcast and developing the TV adaptation of the modern office-place romance series, Yes, My Boss!. The expanded partnership with Kakao Entertainment furthers this mission broadening creator opportunities on a global level as they are a leader in the Korean web novel and webcomic industries, with a successful track record of creating super IPs made into secondary formats such as films, TV series, games, and live performances.
It’s one of two new comic book days! What are you all excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments. While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.
While much of the entertainment industry continues to strive to diversify their community, Webcomics have long had a diverse creator community who are able to find their audience and tell their stories with a high percentage of female readers and creators. In fact, Tapas boasts a female readership of 78% and an amazing 65% of Tapas creators are female.
Here’s a chance to discover new comics and possibly voices you don’t often hear from. Take advantage with this easy guide that Tapas has put together.
The digital publisher of webcomics and novels, Tapas Media, has a new Studio Tapas original series, Rest Area 51, with a galactic arrival set for Wednesday, February 24. Rest Area 51 is the first collaboration of two of the comics communities’ most respected creators, Coleman Engle – one of the lead artists for the acclaimed Kaboom! series, Steven Universe, and Caleb Goellner – contributor for IDW Publishing’s hit series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sonic The Hedgehog, among many more titles across the industry.
Rest Area 51 follows the delightful adventures of Grayce Green, a pre-teen who moves to her late grandma’s Area 51-themed rest stop. Thinking she was about to have the most bummer summer ever, Grayce soon discovers this is anything but your typical gas station: it’s an intergalactic alien rest stop! Together with her super-smart space engineer best friend Starla and the half-cactus turtle in an alien half-shell Torctus, the crew go on out-of-this-world adventures. Stopping plant zombie apocalypses, defeating evil alien empires, Grayce and pals do their best to help extraterrestrial travelers on their way to a rumored paradise planet so long as the alien obsessed, super weird, government goon Agent Schwarz doesn’t catch them first…
Rest Area 51 will launch on Wednesday, February 24 with the first three episodes. The 24-episode first season will be available for free on Tapas and will update twice weekly, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
It was new comic book day yesterday. What’d you all get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.
2020 definitely felt like a year where I embraced comics in all their different formats and genres from the convenient, satisfying graphic novella to the series of loosely connected and curated one shots and even the door stopper of an omnibus/hardcover or that charming webcomic that comes out one or twice a week on Instagram. This was partially due to the Covid-19 pandemic that shut down comics’ traditional direct market for a bit so I started reviewing webcomics, trade paperbacks, graphic novels and nonfiction even after this supply chain re-opened. I also co-hosted and edited two seasons of a podcast about indie comics where we basically read either a trade every week for discussion, and that definitely meant spending more time with that format. However, floppy fans should still be happy because I do have a traditional ongoing series on my list as well as some minis.
Without further ado, here are my favorite comics of 2020.
10. Marvels Snapshots (Marvel)
Curated by original Marvels writer Kurt Busiek and with cover art by original Marvels artist Alex Ross, Marvels Snapshots collects seven perspectives on on the “major” events of the Marvel Universe from the perspectives of ordinary people from The Golden Age of the 1940s to 2006’s Civil War. It’s cool to get a more character-driven and human POV on the ol’ corporate IP toy box from Alan Brennert and Jerry Ordway exploring Namor the Submariner’s PTSD to Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, and Benjamin Dewey showing the real reason behind Johnny Storm’s airhead celebrity act. There’s also Mark Russell and Ramon Perez’s take on the classic Captain America “Madbomb” storyline, Barbara Kesel’s and Staz Johnson’s sweet, Bronze Age-era romance between two first responders as the Avengers battle a threat against the city, and Saladin Ahmed and Ryan Kelly add nuance to the superhuman Civil War by showing how the Registration Act affects a Cape-Killer agent as well as a young elemental protector of Toledo, Ohio, who just wants to help his community and do things like purify water. However, the main reason Marvels Snapshots made my “favorite” list was Jay Edidin and Tom Reilly‘s character-defining work showing the pre-X-Men life of Cyclops as he struggles with orphan life, is inspired by heroes like Reed Richards, and lays the groundwork for the strategist, leader, and even revolutionary that appears in later comics.
Fangs is cartoonist Sarah Andersen’s entry into the Gothic romance genre and was a light, funny, and occasionally sexy series that got me through a difficult year. Simply put, it follows the relationship of a vampire named Elsie and a werewolf named Jimmy, both how they met and their life together. Andersen plays with vampire and werewolf fiction tropes and sets up humorous situations like a date night featuring a bloody rare steak and a glass of blood instead of wine, Jimmy having an unspoken animosity against mail carriers, and just generally working around things like lycanthropy every 28 days and an aversion to sunlight. As well as being hilarious and cute, Fangs shows Sarah Andersen leveling up as an artist as she works with deep blacks, different eye shapes and textures, and more detailed backgrounds to match the tone of her story while not skimping on the relatable content that made Sarah’s Scribbles an online phenomenon.
I really got into Vault Comics this year. (I retroactively make These Savage Shores my favorite comic of 2019.) As far as prose, I mainly read SF, and Vault nicely fills that niche in the comics landscape and features talented, idiosyncratic creative teams. Heavy is no exception as Max Bemis, Eryk Donovan, and Cris Peter tell the story of Bill, who was gunned down by some mobsters, and now is separated from his wife in a place called “The Wait” where he has to set right enough multiversal wrongs via violence to be reunited with her in Heaven. This series is a glorious grab bag of hyperviolence, psychological examinations of toxic masculinity, and moral philosophy. Heavy also has a filthy and non-heteronormative sense of humor. Donovan and Peter bring a high level of chaotic energy to the book’s visuals and are game for both tenderhearted flashbacks as well as brawls with literal cum monsters. In addition to all this, Bemis and Donovan aren’t afraid to play with and deconstruct their series’ premise, which is what makes Heavy my ongoing monthly comic.
Writer/artist Katie Skelly puts her own spin on the true crime genre inMaids, a highly stylized account of Christine and Lea Papin murdering their employers in France during the 1930s. Skelly’s linework and eye popping colors expertly convey the trauma and isolation that the Papins go through as they are at the beck and call of the family they work almost 24/7. Flashbacks add depth and context to Christine and Lea’s characters and provide fuel to the fire of the class warfare that they end up engaging in. Skelly’s simple, yet iconic approach character design really allowed me to connect with the Papins and empathize with them during the build-up from a new job to murder and mayhem. Maids is truly a showcase for a gifted cartoonist and not just a summary of historical events.
In her webcomic Grind Like A Girl, cartoonist Veronica Casson tells the story of growing up trans in 1990s New Jersey. The memoir recently came to a beautiful conclusion with Casson showing her first forays into New York, meeting other trans women, and finding a sense of community with them that was almost the polar opposite of her experiences in high school. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the evolution of Veronica Casson’s art style during different periods of her life from an almost Peanuts vibe for her childhood to using more flowing lines, bright colors, and ambitious panel layouts as an older teen and finally an adult. She also does a good job using the Instagram platform to give readers a true “guided view” experience and point out certain details before putting it all together in a single page so one can appreciate the comic at both a macro/micro levels. All in all, Grind Like A Girl is a personal and stylish coming of age memoir from Veronica Casson, and I look forward to seeing more of her work.
Thai/Italian cartoonist Elisa Macellari tells an unconventional World War II story in Papaya Salad, a recently translated history comic about her great uncle Sompong, who just wanted to see the world. However, he ended up serving with the Thai diplomatic corps in Italy, Germany, and Austria during World War II. Macellari uses a recipe for her great uncle’s favorite dish, papaya salad, to structure the comic, and her work has a warm, dreamlike quality to go with the reality of the places that Sampong visits and works at. Also, it’s very refreshing to get a non-American or British perspective on this time in history as Sampong grapples with the shifting status of Thailand during the war as well as the racism of American soldiers, who celebrate the atomic bomb and lump him and his colleagues with the Japanese officers, and are not shown in a very positive light. However, deep down, Papaya Salad is a love story filled with small human moments that make life worth living, like appetizing meals, jokes during dark times, and faith in something beyond ourselves. It’s a real showcase of the comics medium’s ability to tell stories from a unique point of view.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (with colorist Jacob Phillips) are two creators whose work has graced my “favorite comics” list many times. And this time they really outdid themselves with the graphic novella Pulpabout the final days of Max Winters, a gunslinger-turned-Western dime novelist. It’s a character study peppered with flashbacks as Phillips and Phillips use changes in body posture and color palette to show Max getting older while his passion for resisting those who would exploit others is still intact. Basically, he can shoot and rob fascists just like he shot and robbed cattle barons back in the day. Brubaker and Phillips understand that genre fiction doesn’t exist in a vacuum and is informed by the historical context around it, which is what makes Pulp such a compelling read. If you like your explorations of the banality of evil and creeping specter of fascism with heists, gun battles, and plenty of introspection, then this is the comic for you.
Music is my next favorite interest after comics so My Riot was an easy pick for my favorite comics list. The book is a coming of age story filtered through 1990s riot girl music from writer Rick Spears and artist Emmett Helen. It follows the life of Valerie, who goes from doing ballet and living a fairly conservative suburban life to being the frontwoman and songwriter for a cult riot girl band. Much of this transformation happens through Helen’s art and colors as his palette comes to life just as Valerie does when she successfully calls out some audience members/her boyfriend for being sexist and patronizing. The comic itself also takes on a much more DIY quality with its layouts and storytelling design as well as how the characters look and act. My Riot is about the power of music to find one’s identify and true self and build a community like The Proper Ladies do throughout the book. Valerie’s arc is definitely empowering and relatable for any queer kid, who was forced to conform to way of life and thinking that wasn’t their own.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: slice of life is my all-time favorite comic book genre. So, I was overjoyed when writers Sina Grace and Omar Spahi, artist Jenny D. Fine, and colorist Mx. Struble announced that they were doing a monthly slice of life comic about a brother, sister, and their best friend/ex-boyfriend (respectively) set in San Francisco that also touched on the gay and indie music scene. And Getting It Together definitely has lifted up to my pre-release hype as Grace and Spahi have fleshed out a complex web of relationships and drama with gorgeous and occasionally hilarious art by Fine and Struble. There are gay and bisexual characters all over the book with different personalities and approaches to life, dating, and relationships, which is refreshing too. Grace, Spahi, and Fine also take some time away from the drama to let us know about the ensemble cast’s passions and struggles like indie musician Lauren’s lifelong love for songwriting even if her band has a joke name (Nipslip), or her ex-boyfriend Sam’s issues with mental health. I would definitely love to spend more than four issues with these folks.
My favorite comic of 2020 was The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott , a debut graphic novel by cartoonist Zoe Thorogood.The premise of the comic is that Billie is an artist who is going blind in two weeks, and she must come up with some paintings for her debut gallery show during that time period. The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott boasts an adorably idiosyncratic cast of characters that Thorogood lovingly brings to life with warm visuals and naturalistic dialogue as Billie goes from making art alone in her room to making connections with the people around her, especially Rachel, a passionate folk punk musician. The book also acts as a powerful advocate for the inspirational quality of art and the act of creation. Zoe Thorogood even creates “art within the art” and concludes the story with the different portraits that Billie painted throughout her travels. The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott was the hopeful comic that I needed in a dark year and one I will cherish for quite some time as I ooh and aah over Thorogood’s skill with everything from drawing different hair styles to crafting horrific dream sequences featuring eyeballs.
Tapascelebrates the holiday season with an invitation to readers to spend “FREE Reading Day” Thursday, December 10, reading the #1 Action Fantasy series, The Beginning After the End. The FREE Reading Day is an opportunity to binge the beloved series before its return with season four on January 1, 2021.
Hit webcomic The Beginning After the End is based on the same-titled Tapas original novel by TurtleMe and is a top series on the platform with more than 4.8M views of the comic and 7M+ views of the novel. The Beginning After the End is a magical tale of reincarnation in a different time and place. Imagine waking up to your birth with the knowledge you are King Grey – with unrivaled strength, wealth, and prestige in a world governed by martial ability. But beneath the glamorous exterior of a powerful king lurks the shell of man, devoid of purpose and will. Reincarnated into a new world filled with magic and monsters, the king has a second chance to relive his life. Correcting the mistakes of his past will not be his only challenge, however. Underneath the peace and prosperity of the new world is an undercurrent threatening to destroy everything he has worked for, questioning his role and reason for being born again.
Comic creative professionals, publishers, retailers, and fans will gather on Saturday night, October 24, 2020, to experience the comic book industry celebrating the recognition of their peers, co-workers, and competitors at the 2020 Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards. This year’s Ringo Awards is sponsored by Cards, Comics & Collectibles, and the Baltimore Comic-Con; BOOM! Studios, Geppi Family Enterprises, Mainframe Comic Con, Rocketship Entertainment, Source Point Press, Tapas, and WEBTOON. The awards ceremony honoring nominees and winners in professional and fan categories will be live-streamed as a part of Baltimore Comic-Con Live in 2020 — please click the link for details!
The Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards is an annual celebration of the creativity, skill and fun of comics. The nomination ballot is determined by fans and pros alike.
The awards has a new approach with respect to announcement of the Fan Favorite Ringo Award categories. Fan Favorites will now be announced in advance of the event, enabling winners to plan to attend the festivities and to let fans know to tune in to see their acceptance speeches, celebrating fans’ support of their favorite creators and publishers, titles, and characters!
The 2020 Ringo Award Fan Favorite categories are sponsored by Rocketship Entertainment. And the winners are…
One of my favorite shows of all time is The Secret Diary Of A Call Girl. It starred a star from Doctor Who, Billie Piper. It was her star turn in this series that not only made me beguiled by her but entranced. Her portrayal of the two personas made for some very interesting television. The series is about a woman whose parents believe she works as a legal secretary but she actually entertains clients at an escort service.
Piper’s performance as Hannah was both tender and relevant. Her portrayal as Bella was pure fantasy and comedy in many instances which makes the fact that the show was a true story even more enchanting. It also makes even more perplexing how one can lead such a double life without this task taking a toll. In the second issue of Animalheads our protagonists become steeped in their new vocations.
We find Vicki, Oli, Lucy, and Wyatt, shortly after the murder of Axel Winder. As they start digging Winder’s grave, they start to ponder their decisions up to this point, and if they could have changed anything. We soon find out that Vicki is one who brought it to the group of friends a business idea that was supposed to be easy money. By issue’s end, we find out how the guys confronted Axel Winder
Overall, an excellent detour to understanding these character’s motivations. The story by Son M. is thrilling. The art by Sam Curtis is eye-catching. Altogether, a pulse pounder.
Story: Son M. Art: Sam Curtis Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
AWA Studios/UPSHOT has launched The Resistance: Reborns, a new digital mini-series exploring the origins of the newly superpowered humans after a global pandemic.You can read the full comic below.
The Resistance: Reborns spins out of the critically acclaimed series, The Resistance by title creator J. Michael Straczynski where “The end is the beginning” after a global disaster leaves hundreds of millions dead in its wake, causing a few thousand to suddenly manifest superhuman powers. The first “episode” also features colors by Snakebite Cortez and converted for the web by Iliana Jimenez.
In The Resistance: Reborns, Straczynski explores the origins of the newly superpowered humans after a global pandemic and features artist C. P. Smith. AWA Studios is giving newcomers and longtime fans alike a FREE exclusive look at how the characters introduced in The Resistance #1 received their powers.
The Resistance: Reborns, like all of their other UPSHOTcomic series, is also available on popular webcomic platforms such as Webtoons and Tapas. You can read the first episode below: