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• Chicago Reader reports that Washington, D.C.’s alternative weekly, City Paper, has dropped its syndicated comics so it can save $8,000 amid budget cuts by parent company Creative Loafing, which filed for bankruptcy in September.
The news comes less than three weeks after alternative-weekly chain Village Voice Media announced its 15 papers would suspend comics.
Dirtfarm is the only strip to survive the City Paper cuts because cartoonist Ben Claassen, who got his start at the weekly, has agreed not to charge. “City Paper feels like family to me,” Claassen explained to the Reader. “I called the publisher and told her that I would rather have it run for free than to not have it run at all.” (Via Daryl Cagle)
• Under the headline “Why we starve,” artist Mark Brooks relates an encounter he had at New York Comic Con with a fan who had made his own prints for Brooks to sign; he declined: “So now you’re probably asking, ‘what’s the big deal? sign the damn prints!’. Well, for many years I did and about 70% of the time the prints would end up on ebay. A lot of the work you see on my page is done just for myself so I can have original lithographs to sell at shows and appearances so I was never paid to produce the work. My pay comes when I take the artwork to shows and people buy the lithographs. If someone prints something from the web, has me sign it, and then sells it on ebay he has now profited off my hard work as well as taken away a small percentage of me making a living. Contrary to popular belief, most comic artists are far from rich and most of us are just trying to scrape a living a get by so protecting our artwork becomes extremely important for us to continue making a living.”
• Vaneta Rogers talks cover prices with a selection of direct-market retailers. “We see more and more comics now with a cover price of $3.99 as opposed to $2.99,” says Mike Wellman, co-owner of The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, Calif. “At first, they were ‘event’ books with cardstock covers or extra pages, but I think that was just a way of acclimating readers to the price hike. It seems like at least half of Marvel’s line is now at $3.99, and many indy books carry a higher price tag as well.”
• Blogger Deb Aoki wraps up her two-part report on the “Selling Good Graphic Novels in a Bad Economy” panel at New York Comic-Con.
• Retailer James Nurss, who just three months ago opened First Aid Comics in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, got a boost from the publicity surrounding President Obama’s appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #583. “It was like my own stimulus package,” he told The Chicago Tribune.