Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Borders nears Chapter 11; Diamond’s secret shopper results


Retailing | The financially troubled Borders Group reportedly could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as soon as today or Tuesday, setting the stage to close about 200 of its 674 Borders and Waldenbooks stores and eliminate thousands of jobs. [The Wall Street Journal]

Retailing | Diamond Comic Distributors revealed that 98 percent of the more than 500 direct market stores visited by secret shoppers during the first month of day-early delivery were found to be in compliance with the program’s street-date requirements. According to Diamond, of the 10 stores discovered to be in violation of the agreement, one was reported by another retailer while the others were discovered by secret shoppers. []

Jack Kirby

Legal | Marvel Entertainment is asking that a judge, rather than a jury, decide whether the heirs of Jack Kirby successfully terminated copyright grants to such characters as the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Thor. [The Trademark Blog, via THR, Esq.]

Awards | Although Jeff Lemire’s Essex County was eliminated in the first day of debate for Canada Reads, it topped the Canada Reads 2011 People’s Choice Poll with a staggering 53.15 percent of the votes. [Top Shelf Productions]

Retailing | Matt Price rounds up news from ComicsPRO’s annual meeting in Dallas, where the trade group honored Stan Lee and Jack Kirby with the ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award and set Oct. 1 as the date for this year’s 24 Hour Comics Day. Brian Hibbs offers some thoughts on comments about digital comics made by DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. [Nerdage]

Grant Morrison

Creators | Grant Morrison talks about his Batman books, Joe the Barbarian, and his desire to tackle The Flash and Wonder Woman: “I think one of the things that was lost on the Wonder Woman strip early on was a kind of slightly strange sexuality that the creator, William Marston, brought to the book. So, I think over the years a lot of people have had trouble dealing with the character–you know, she’s an icon, she’s a representation of women, but at the same time there has been a sexuality there that most people don’t want to go near, which is quite understandable. But because the character was so rooted in it, I think she kind of lost a little bit of her ‘sauce,’ you know? [Laughs] There have been great versions — I’m not saying there haven’t been good Wonder Womans over the years, but I think there’s always that little bit of something that Marston took with him, and it wasn’t the same with Superman and Batman. They didn’t rely on that aspect of the character to be successful in the early days. So, that’s my feeling on Wonder Woman: it’d be nice to restore a little bit of that without being purient or sensationalistic.” [Omnivoracious]

Creators | Ben Morse interviews Robot 6 contributor Sean T. Collins about his webcomic (with collaborator Matt Wiegle) Destructor. [The Cool Kids Table]

Zita the Spacegirl

Creators | Cartoonist Ben Hatke is profiled by his local newspaper about his First Second graphic novel Zita the Spacegirl. [Journal and Courier]

Comic strips | The newspaper editor who last week asked readers whether it’s time to drop Peanuts received an emphatic “No.” [Yuma Sun]

Editorial cartoons | Andrew Wheeler has launched Editorial Explanations, a blog devoted to humorously explaining editorial cartoons. [Editorial Explanations]



If Morrison started writing Wonder Woman, I would pick it up in a second. Unfortunately, he would be off of it in just about a year and it would go back to the comic it is now.

I second that—Morrison on Wonder Woman would be so unbelievably interesting how could any comic reader not give it a go? I am sure many would cry foul–but it would sure sell books. I have read WW intermittently over the years..recently hopping back on JMS and promptly hopping off again. Dreck!

Canada Reads missed a chance to redefine what “novels” can be. What surprised me is how Essex County was eliminated simply because it doesn’t have enough words to be called a novel. How very snobbish of the CBC–oh wait–it is the CBC. Reminds me of how the brilliant writer Alice Munro is given short shrift simply because she writes short-stories. Munro should be the first Canadian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, but never will because she writes short stories. Genre snobbery is unbelievable in the literary world–seemingly they forget the history of the novel and how at one time novels were considered “feminine pursuits” instead of the more masculine genre of poetry. Did I say ridiculous? Essex County is the best Canadian (English) novel written in the last ten years. Period.

Does anyone really think Border’s will ever recover, especially in this depressed economy?

Bookstores, bricks and mortar shops are dead. The irony is that these big box bookstores pushed much of the niche stores out of business and now the big box stores are finished too. It will take another 5-10 years (I think this may be generous) to see the last of them go–but go they will with the Boomers who shop there. As the Boomers die many stores are going to die with them. I do however see a return of smaller niche market stores.

Clearly, even Marvel knows that when it comes to Jack Kirby, a jury of his peers is nearly impossible. He was quite peerless.

is anyone alive out there

February 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm

@Marc C – I’d love to hear your comments 10 years from now when book stores are still everywhere

given what he has done with batman would love to see what Grant would do if let lose on wonder woman worse thing he could have her winding up giving supes and bats a run for their money sales wise. Boarders might as well just stop stalling file the papers then beg Barnes and Nobles to buy its carcass.

I will always support my independent local bookseller and I believe that many others will too.

It will be a niche market, catering for the cultured elite that would like to make a bookbuying experience a shared experience, and confluence of new ideas, and generally a \ communal affair – as opposed to the digital moronocracy that sit on their asses and point-and-click their purchasing, lonely hearts out.

Personally, I don’t mind if all the big book stores go away. To me, it’s just too hard to pick a good book out of a place like that. If I go to the library and pick a random book and I don’t like it, I just take it back and I lose nothing. But paying cover price on a book that may or may not be good is too expensive. Hopefully once all the big book stores are gone, more smaller ones will open. At a smaller store, I can actually expect to get some good reading suggestions. At the big stores I’m always overwhelmed with no real help from employees. So I guess my big complaint about big book stores is just the lack of interaction. I need a book salesperson I can see over and over again so they can get to know what I like and I can know what they like.


February 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Although Jeff Lemire’s Essex County was eliminated in the first day of debate for Canada Reads, it topped the Canada Reads 2011 People’s Choice Poll with a staggering 53.15 percent of the votes.

So a committee of celebrities – none of whom have a literary background – appointed by a committee, not only doesn’t fully understand what they are reading, but is out of touch with what people who read actually think?


Of course, the funny thing is that, without bookstores, Blarg isn’t going to find anything at his library.
Because bookstore sales keep books coming out in print, and books going into libraries.
Where do people think books come from? The Friggin Book Fairy?

One of two things is going to happen in ten years –
1) The collapse of prepaid authorship (publishing houses being unable to issue advances to
authors, or market books, leaving everything coming out of self-publishing). This is really going
to hurt the educational field, as there’ll be an inability to obtain backlist titles as well.

2) Complete shift to point-of-distribution printing, wherein publishing houses shift the entirety
of printing to local retail houses, which print-to-order, or distribute electronically based on
immediate, prepaid customer demand. This will selectively hurt the educational field, based
on territorially exclusive PTO/POD contracts issued by the remaining consolidated publishers, which
will require selecting the proper vendor for the printed work.

Before anyone jumps on the “Print is dead” bandwagon, consider the following:
Antiques Roadshow recently evaluated a printed book from the 1600s at around $3000, due to
scarcity and age. A Gutenberg Bible goes for considerably more at auction.
What’s the value of your copy of Tick Tock on your Kindle, when the hardware fails and Amazon
goes out of business in twenty years (due to nobody producing books to sell) ?

try this.. get the same lousy book from a big bookstore,a little bookstore and a library( that is,if your library carries books printed after 1974,if it does, kudos to you for living in a upscale district), keep all 3 for 90 days without any contact to each said business, return them (remember to tell them you didn’t like it cause it was lousy) and then tell us how the 84 year old librarian(who REALLY doesn’t care about what you read) tells you you need to pay $8.60 in late fees,the little bookstore has a 14 day return policy (if any at all) and the big bad bookstore gives you your money back….

Peter Morningstar

February 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

“Grant Morrison talks about his…desire to tackle The Flash…”

And should DC ever let this happen, then i drop the book immediately, simple as that…i’ll take John’s ability to actually tell a story over Morrison’s over hyped garbage anyday!

casual comics reader

February 15, 2011 at 10:32 am

Stinks to be Borders.

I know a place that’s been getting comics on Tuesdays for years. It’s wonderful.

Morrison needs to stay away from established characters. Let him try his incoherence on another Animal Man character.

Morrison on Wonder Woman would be a mixed blessing. On one hand, I’m sure he could find the take that would get the world to finally notice the character again; on the other, I dread what his idea reintroducing “Wonder Woman’s early sexuality” (read: bondage) would be.

I’m not saying that her background shouldn’t include sexual issues -she comes from an all-female society after all- but there are ways to explore them without crossing the limits of good taste.

1> You have to consider the context from which WMM was writing the comics…and his inexperience, as well as he was the only one writing it at the time…altho sometimes he’d have the help of his family to come up with story plots.
2> The “strange sexuuality” only seemed strange in the male conctext of them used to seeing comix in a masculine way, with masculine antics, and expecting violence & behavior that is described as dominant. WMM was injecting some submission & other such themes, to balance out the over-dominance & violence.

Its not that he JUST believed that women were better than men, but that the NATURAL state of women was built to be the most Loving…and its this Love that the world should change to.

Essentially, Marston was thinking in line with a woman…which explains a lot of his productions as a result of his mentality.

Getting back to her roots means the psychology…something that I have not seen at all post-Marston.

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