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• The Los Angeles Daily News looks at how the recession is affecting Earth-2 Comics and Collectibles in Sherman Oaks, and how the owners are coping with a 20-percent drop in revenue. “We open earlier now, and close later, because every hour counts,” says co-owner Jud Meyers. “It’s not that we’re in a downturn, but we’re in a holding pattern. But in a time of fear, people want entertainment. They’re going to the movies. And people still want to read comic books.”
It’s obviously a tough time for retailers: In the past week alone we’ve seen news of the closings of Third Planet Comics & Games in Torrance, Calif., and writer/director Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash in Los Angeles.
• Sales-charts guru John Jackson Miller points out something I overlooked yesterday in Diamond Comic Distributors’ list of the top-selling comics of 2008: Every one of the Top 10 single issues sported a $3.99 price tag. Granted, they were all “special” issues — all eight issues of Marvel’s Secret Invasion, the first issue of DC’s Final Crisis, and the 500th issue of Uncanny X-Men – but that would seem to put an end to any doubts about whether we’re heading into the Age of the Four-Dollar Monthly. (via Heidi MacDonald)
• At ComicBook.com, Tony Dillard throws a wet blanket on the upbeat USA Today article that accompanied the release of Diamond’s year-end figures — the one that trumpeted a 5-percent growth in graphic-novel sales: “One factor that shows that 2008 may not have been such a great year for many in the comic book industry is the struggles faced by many popular comic book shops. … The recession is hurting everyone. Life-long fans are having to sell their beloved collections to make ends meet. Even comic readers, who normally would spend $30 a week on comics, are checking out free comic books from their local library.”
• Related to that quote, blogger Sean Kleefeld rededicates himself to remaining “engaged in and part of the comics scene without dropping $30 a week at my Local Comic Shop.”
• It’s not all grim news, though. The Folsom (Calif.) Telegraph reports that last weekend’s Sac-Anime Convention in Sacramento actually saw an increase in attendance. “Friday was bigger than we expected,” said convention program director Robert Bisjup. “Usually our Fridays are just average, but not this year. It’s good news, especially with the economy and all.” Friday’s attendance was estimated at more than 2,500.