Nature Always Wears the Colors of the Spirit

by Justin Sevakis,

I finally took the plunge this week and bought a long-desired upgrade to my home theater system... a projector.

Projectors have gotten surprisingly cheap. The model I got, the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2030, which is full 1080p, 3D-capable, 3-LCD and 2000 lumens, was only $1,000, and the screen I got was less than $200. After cables and a mount, I was only out around $1,300, less than the cost of a decent-sized LCD screen. And the size? 120 inches.

Late last night I did the math and tried to figure out exactly how big that will be once mounted to my wall. It's 8 feet, 9 inches wide, and 4 feet, 10 inches tall. It will take up nearly the entire wall I'm mounting it on, and I'm worried I won't even have room for my speakers or bookshelf.

I may have overdone it this time. But WHO CARES! Muahahahaha... Anyway, it will all be here next week, and I couldn't be more excited to nerd out over it.

Ivan asks:

Something i've noticed over the years is how manga (more than modern American comics) tend to yellow over time. It is so rapid that I notice brand new issues from major publishers begin to change from white to yellow within a year of purchase. My friends laugh at me for bagging every tankoban like I do my American and European comics but i just can't stand reading yellow pages. (The bags don't seem to help much anyway.) Ive noticed a recent improvement in paper quality with brands like Vertical, Viz and Dark Horse but why is bad paper quality the norm?

You're definitely not alone in noticing that their collection of manga has been turning yellow over time, and in some cases, having binding that cracks and lets the pages fall out. This was a big problem with Tokyopop titles, and I'm noticing that some of my older CPM and Viz manga is doing this too. It seems to be a problem across the entire industry.

The yellowing and brittling of book paper has long been a problem, something librarians have struggled with since the beginning. It's caused by naturally occurring acids in wood pulp that don't get filtered out of the cheaper, pulpier paper stocks, which over time, oxidize the paper -- almost like it's burning very slowly. Similar things happen to the glue. Beyond that, I don't know much about this stuff, so I asked Ed Chavez and Vertical to chime in, as he cares about this stuff more than anyone else I know. Here's what he had to say:

"While I personally cannot say which paper stocks other publishers use, Vertical tends to use heavier stocks (when available) for almost all our books. There are exceptions (Chi's Sweet Home), but for the most part we tend to use non-recycled papers. We often try to use cream colored papers as that is what is generally used in Asia. Whiter paper is increasingly recycled and heavily bleached, yellows fast, and are often thinner, which leads to issues with transparency and slimmer, less visually appealing spines. For books like our Tezuka releases or our alt seinen/josei line, we use even thicker cream-colored paper for reduced glare, softer feel and increased durability. These papers are generally not used for manga. They are novel stocks. And we try to use similar stocks for most of our books, but in different weights (when available... these paper stocks are in heavy use by traditional book publishing so sometimes poor old manga, the black sheep of publishing, gets the short end of the stick).

"I hope most publishers have wised up to the fact that older publications were not only susceptible to yellowing but spines would also fall apart with time. These days with lower print runs and more printing being done with experienced printers, some of which have people with comic/graphic novel printing experience, these issues are becoming less common. Peeps are becoming a bit more picky and some are taking more pride in their productions. I know Seven Seas is very particular about printing, and I think some of Dark Horses releases have shown attention to detail. Viz's Signature line have generally been very sturdy and handsome also. But you'll still see a gross looking release here and there. (I'm looking at you "POD releases". Digital printing...YUCK!)

"Low weight, mid-transparency whites as seen in our release of Keiko Suenobu's LIMIT are often the worst, as they are generally some of the cheapest types of paper you can find. The stuff is almost like newspaper stock. It is white and you see a lot of fiber and pulp. Blacks look great on it. And Suenobu inks very heavily in this shojo horror title, so the replication isn't too bad. But on my personal office copy the top edge is already yellowing and this series is only around 18 months old.

"For disclosure, Vertical is owned by a printer. That said, we use around 8 different printers for our specific needs.

"As for preventing book damage.. Keep you books stacked in shelves made for your books' trim size. Keep your books stored in places where they are not exposed to sunlight or humidity (I've got big windows in my office and am in New York...). And one more thing... Dust your shelves."

Our huge thanks to Ed for getting in that detailed answer for us on a very busy week.

Chris asks:

Given that home video rights are usually licensed for a limited time rather than in perpetuity, should we assume the same would be true of Crunchyroll's streaming content? Is it likely that, at some point, older titles will start disappearing from the service?

When legal streaming was first starting out, streaming agreements were often based on TV licensing agreements. It was common practice for those to last two years, give or take, and so streaming agreements ended up the same way, but with one major change: the agreements auto-renew. That means that unless the licensor specifically tells the streaming company to stop streaming the title, it just goes on forever.

That was a few years ago, and contracts have since been tweaked to each company's preferred way of doing things. The end result is that there really is no "uniform" agreement across the board. One title might last for five to seven years, but need to be renegotiated every time it ends. Another might last for six months, but then auto-renew. There's simply no way of knowing from the outside.

There are several titles that have already expired off of Crunchyroll for various reasons, and still others that have been there for years and will probably stay up for the foreseeable future. Unless Crunchyroll posts a "sunset" date (that's what we call the date where a title goes offline), it's hard to know how long it'll be there for. If it's an auto-renewing contract, Crunchyroll themselves won't know until they get a request to take it down.

Max asks:

I have a modest anime and video game autograph collection, and want certificates of authenticity for them. so i searched, searched, and searched, and all i found is sports, sports and more sports. So i ask as a ardent autograph seeker and as a fan of anime and video games. Is there any way to get these autographs authenticated and certified?

Not really. Autograph authentication exists because there is a large market for a certain type or autograph or artwork, and forgeries are everywhere. This is a huge problem with sports autographs, and so a cottage industry has sprouted up of companies that will "authenticate" autographs at a cost of several hundred dollars. Once "authenticated," they will provide a "certificate of authenticity."

Nobody really knows what that authentication process is. The Universal Autograph Collector's Club (UACC) is the best-known non-profit autograph collector's club, and they consider Certificates of Authenticity to be a total waste of time. They mean absolutely nothing, anybody can make one, and they're effectively just a piece of paper that does absolutely nothing. Rather than a certificate, they suggest that people buying autographs instead ask for a signed receipt, and of course, suggest that you buy from a UACC-registered dealer.

If you still want a certificate of authenticity, you might as well just make one yourself. Anime and video game people aren't well known enough, and their autographs aren't in big enough demand, for there to be hired "specialists" out there that can tell exactly (or pretend to tell you exactly) you what Vic Mignogna's or even what Hideo Kojima's autographs look like. This fandom isn't big enough into autographs for there to be an organized trade infrastructure for them.

Certain states do require that fine art come with a certificate of authenticity, but those are issued by the artist or their authorized gallery, and are much fewer in number and harder to reproduce, unlike a squiggle on a piece of paper from a celebrity. If you deal in nerd autographs, it's the wild west out there. So caveat emptor!

And that's all for this week! Got questions for me? Send them in! The e-mail address, as always, is answerman (at!)

Justin Sevakis is the founder of Anime News Network, and owner of the video production company MediaOCD. You can follow him on Twitter at @worldofcrap, and check out his bi-weekly column on obscure old stuff, Pile of Shame.

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