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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes



Retailing | reportedly has threatened to stop directly selling titles from four major publishers if they don’t strike a digital-sales agreement with the online retailer before the launch of Apple’s iPad in just two weeks.

The publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin and Simon & Schuster — already have agreements with Apple to sell their books through its iBookstore. Under those deals the publishers will be able to set prices for their e-books, with Apple receiving a 30-percent commission. Amazon grudgingly agreed that major publishers could decide prices on titles in its Kindle store after a weeklong standoff with Macmillan last month. During the dispute, Amazon removed the “buy” buttons from thousands of the publisher’s books listed on the website. [The New York Times, GalleyCat]

San Diego Convention Center

San Diego Convention Center

Conventions | Heidi MacDonald and Tom Spurgeon report on the results, and frustrations, of Thursday’s lottery for Comic-Con hotel reservations. Many hopefuls apparently found themselves with rooms a good distance from the San Diego Convention Center. [The Beat, The Comics Reporter]

Passings | Mike Gold reports that pioneering fan, retailer and convention organizer Joe Sarno died Thursday in his Chicago home after a long illness. A longtime science-fiction fan, Sarno in 1969 started The Fantasy Collectors of Chicago, a comics-oriented culture club that met in the basement of his Albany Park home. In 1971, he opened the basement to the public, establishing one of the first dedicated comic-book stores in the United States. Sarno later opened The Nostalgia Shop, which grew into Comic Kingdom. He also was a co-founder of the original Chicago Comicon. A tribute to Sarno will be held April 17 during the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. [ComicMix]

Creators | Sean Kleefeld passes along word that legendary artist and editor Dick Giordano, who has suffered from leukemia, is in a Florida hospital and “has taken a turn for the worse.” [Kleefeld on Comics]

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 2

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 2

Awards | The first two volumes of Fumi Yoshinaga’s historical-science fiction manga Ōoku: The Inner Chambers has won the James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award, which honors a work of “science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender.” [Anime News Network]

Legal | Gia Mannry asks some manga publishers and a retailer how the sentencing of Christopher Handley last month on obscenity charges will affect the way the conduct business. [Anime Vice]

Publishing | Jonathan Clements notes that the steep decline of manga sales in Japan doesn’t necessarily mean the Japanese are reading less manga, as the country has a sizable secondhand market. [The Official Schoolgirl Milky Crisis Blog, via MangaBlog]

Business | Semple Davis has been promoted to executive vice president and general manager of Warner Premiere, which releases the DC Universe Original Animated Movies line and the motion comics like Watchmen and Superman: Red Son. She reports to Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment. [Home Media Magazine]

Creators | Here’s an audio interview with Mark Waid, writer and editor-in-chief of BOOM! Studios, conducted at last weekend’s Emerald City ComiCon. [Stumptown Trade Review]

Guerillas #4

Guerillas #4

Creators | Cartoonist Brahm Revel discusses Guerillas and his decision to move the comic from Image to Oni Press: “Unfortunately as you may know, it’s been hard for me to get my book out in a timely manner, and it’s primarily because I’m not making money from Guerillas. As a result I have to spend the majority of my time doing freelance work to pay the bills. Because Image doesn’t share ownership in any of their titles, they don’t have the same obligation to promote every one of their books like other companies do, and some of the smaller titles are left to fend for themselves. As a result, it can be hard on longer series or ongoing titles. If you already have a name in the industry it can be a little easier because fans already know what to expect and are more likely to pick up books from a creator they’ve enjoyed in the past. For newer creators, it’s probably safer to do one-shots, shorter mini series, or completed graphic novels. I just happened to start with a nine-issue, 450-page magnum opus as my first creator-owned work.” [Multiversity Comics]

Creators | Stephanie Kohl spotlights a visit by writer and editor Andy Schmidt to a suburban Chicago high school. [Libertyville Review]



Revel shot himself in the foot. Guerillas was $3.99 for B & W from an artist not many knew. It had no chance in today’s market. This seems like another case of an artist blaming someone else for poor sales during an economic turn down. I wish him all the luck & if priced right I’ll buy the TPB.

Not only that, but the first issue wasn’t a particularly good introduction to the series. I read it, but I couldn’t tell you if the rest of the series was going to be surreal but serious (sort of on the level of Umbrella Academy) or more along the lines of very dry absurdism (sort of like if Hit Monkey were, y’know, funny). I’m open to the TPB if I read some good reviews of the series, though (and assuming the series gets finished).

This talk of “steep decline” in manga sales is interesting, but needs some more context; for example:

In January, sales at Supermarkets and Convenience Stores in Japan fell 4.9% and 5.3% respectively on the year, the 14th and 8th consecutive month of decline.
Sales at Department Stores were hardest hit: by a 5.7% drop, the 23rd straight month of decline.
(You can Google this quote line to find my source)

So it isn’t really a case of manga is not popular/important/successful anymore as a case of the Japanese domestic economy being in a major recession. None of this necessarily spells the “end of manga”.

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