Finn Wields a Lightsaber in New "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Footage
Passings | Mark Evanier has word that comics and animation artist Dave Simons has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 55. Simons inked many Marvel titles in the 1980s, including Ghost Rider, Howard the Duck, The Savage Sword of Conan and Team America, and occasionally penciled for Marvel, DC Comics (Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms), Eclipse and Now.
He moved into animation in the 1990s, working on such TV series as Masters of the Universe and Courage the Cowardly Dog. Artist Gerry Alanguilan also posts a remembrance of Simons. [News from ME, Komikero Comics Journal]
Publishing | Global printing giant R.R. Donnelley has increased its offer for Montreal-based Quebecor World from about $1.3 billion to more than $1.5 billion. Quebecor, the largest printer of comic books in North America, filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2008. [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | This article by Danny Vincent provides an interesting picture of the comics industry in China: “Comic books are on the rise in China. But while the comic book fans are happy, the artists are not. Artists such as [Lu Ming] focus on selling work to international markets. But despite the injection of government funds, he said, they would struggle to compete with Japanese comics, which are saturating the market through the internet.” [The National]
Publishing | Matt Maxwell eyes the direct-market sales estimates for Vertigo’s Scalped, and notes: “Given those numbers on their face, Scalped sells half its monthly numbers in trades, in the first month of release. That’s the first bite of the apple. It doesn’t count traffic after that month, which there is, though probably not nearly as dramatic as that. If this leaves any question as to the value of the trade collection market, then I’m not sure what to tell you.” [Highway 62]
Publishing | John Jackson Miller revisits the last months of the direct market’s “two-distributor era.” [The Comichron]
Conventions | Tom Spurgeon hones in on the two major and recurring criticisms of last weekend’s MoCCA Festival: the lack of air conditioning, and a level of disorganization that led to a late opening on Saturday, poor promotion and the omission of several creators’ names from the official website.
More MoCCA coverage comes from Tom Devlin, Zane Austin Grant (Part 1, Part 2), Jog (Part 1, Part 2), Ed Sizemore and Tucker Stone. Sean T. Collins also shows off additions to his David Bowie Sketchbook. [MoCCA]
Conventions | The first Asian American Comic Con will be held July 11 in New York City at the Museum of Chinese in America. Guests will include Bernard Chang, Fred Chao, Cliff Chiang, Sean Chen, Derek Kirk Kim, Greg Pak and Christine Norrie. [Asian American Comic Con, via Comics Worth Reading]
Retailing | Amid all of the recent store closings, it’s nice to report an opening: Hometown Comics opens today on West Main Street in Greenfield, Indiana. [Greenfield Reporter]
Sales charts | Comics are still absent from USA Today’s Top 150, but I did count at least 25 vampire books. And not all of them are by Stephenie Meyer and Charlaine Harris. Most of them are, but not all of them. [USA Today]
Creators | Seth chats about George Sprott, 1894-1975. [Time Out Chicago]
Creators | Brian Heater begins a two-part interview with Bizarro creator Dan Piraro: “… You have to draw every single day, 365 days a year, year after year, after year. So once you hit your stride, editors tend to leave you alone. At this point, after 25 years, they figure I know my audience, I know what I’m doing. Sometimes if I push the envelope too much, my editor may call and say, ‘this may cause some trouble in middle America. Is this abortion joke really funny enough to risk losing Kansas City?’ That sort of thing. But at this point, it doesn’t happen to me much. If I’m not good at it now, I never will be.” [The Daily Cross Hatch]
Webcomics | Is there something, I don’t know, backward about a website posting a preview of the print collection of a webcomic — as opposed to simply writing about, and linking to, the original? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad New York magazine and Complex.com are giving space to Jeremy Love’s Bayou; I like the series. But the way it’s being previewed seems like an example of not knowing quite what to do with webcomics. [Bayou]