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The Shadow illustration, by Edward Cartier

The Shadow illustration, by Edward Cartier

Passings | Golden Age pulp artist Edward D. “Edd” Cartier, whose illustrations appeared in The Shadow and countless other mystery and science-fiction publications, passed away Dec. 25 at his home in Ramsey, N.J. Cartier, 94, had Parkinson’s disease.

He drew more than 800 illustrations for Walter B. Gibson’s The Shadow novels from 1936 through the 1940s, and contributed art to stories by Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, Theodore Sturgeon and others. A more detailed obituary, and a gallery of Cartier’s art, can be found at The Shadow’s Sanctum and at Golden Age Comic Book Stories. [The Washington Post]

Sales charts |  Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece was the top-selling manga in Japan last year, moving more than 5.9 million copies. Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto was No. 2 with nearly 4.3 million sold. Although no new volumes of Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys were released in 2008, the manga still came in third with 3.7 million copies, largely on the strength of reissues and the live-action movie. [Anime News Network]

Retailing |  The worsening economy claims another victim as Third Planet Comics & Games in Torrance, Calif., closes today after 13 years. [Contra Costa Times]

Creators |  Tom Spurgeon winds down his stellar holiday-interview series with a chat with writer Matt Fraction, who speaks candidly about The Invincible Iron Man, Grant Morrison’s run on Batman, Casanova, and the viability of the “slimline” format. [The Comics Reporter]

Awards |  Finalists have been announced for The Cybils, the children’s and young-adult bloggers’ literary awards. The graphic novels shortlist can be found here. [via Good Comics For Kids]

Creators |  Writer B. Clay Moore lays out a tentative plan for getting his Image Comics series Hawaiian Dick back on schedule: combining Issues 6 and 7 into a 48-page summer special. [B. Clay Moore's blog]

Superhero comics |  As DC Comics’ “Battle for the Cowl” event looms, Rajan Khanna considers the history of “replacement heroes,” from “The Reign of the Supermen” to John Walker as Captain America to Artemis as Wonder Woman. [Tor.com]

Reviewers |  You know that segment on The Soup, “What’s Pissing Off Steve Edwards This Week?” I sometimes think of that when I read Steve Duin’s comic reviews at The Oregonian. This week, Steve Duin reviews the first issue of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ much-anticipated Incognito, and, well … [The Oregonian]

Economy |  Another telltale sign of the recession: Corporate raider Ron Perelman, who sailed Marvel into bankruptcy in the ’90s, is trying to sell his 190-foot luxury yacht. The boat, with its eight staterooms and Jacuzzi, could be yours for a little over $69 million. [The Observer]

Weirdness |  Real-life superheroes, or “Reals” — people who don costumes and fight crime — are all the rage now. In newspapers and magazines, in any case. Enter Torvald Alexander of Edinburgh, who didn’t get the memo but still managed to keep pace with trends.

The 38-year-old Alexander, fresh from a New Year’s Eve party, was dressed as the Mighty Thor when he discovered a burglar in his home. So, he did what any god of thunder would do: He threw the guy out of a first-floor window. There’s a photo of Alexander in the costume; it seems to be mostly constructed of tinfoil. [The Telegraph]

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These will be trying times in the next few weeks as economic woes will hit hard many comic book publishers. There will be a ripple effect from other companies that will also fall on these companies. Now holidays are aside. The true games will begin as dominoes falling one after one as many publishers will start to fall. It’s a sad state of affairs. For every GM, there is no bail out for the little publishers who are part of the main artery of the business engine. Small business is the heart and soul of the land. Keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. These are real interesting times for all to witness.

[...] mention that a customer has bought Third Planet Comics & Games in Torrance, Calif., which closed on Jan. 5. The store will reopen with a smaller staff and “stricter standards for ordering.” [The [...]

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