Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Borders bonus plan OK’d; more on Dark Horse layoffs


Retailing | A judge on Friday approved a proposal to pay Borders Group executives up to $6.6 million in bonuses as the bookseller reorganizes under federal bankruptcy protection. The company had originally requested $8.3 million — that figure met with objections from the U.S. bankruptcy trustee — in a bid to retain key corporate personnel. Since Borders filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 16, 47 executives and director-level employees have left, leaving only 15 people in senior management positions.

The approved plan comes with conditions, tying some bonuses to the company’s ability to pay creditors and save $10 million over the next two years in leases on the remaining stores or in non-personnel cost reductions. [Businessweek,]

Publishing | Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson talks more about the publisher’s recent layoffs, saying that some reports of the cutbacks were overblown: “We have 150 employees. We let seven people go across three different divisions. What is that 4%, 5%? Our staff was just getting too large. The real reason for the layoffs is that we get worried about the cost of doing business. We’re sitting there looking at the rising health insurance costs, the changes in the cost of doing business. We thought we were going to get some relief in the form of cover prices moving to $3.99, but I guess the market’s made a really strong statement on that price. Meanwhile we’re getting squeezed on paper and printing costs at the same time — and creators certainly don’t want to take any less money.” []

Gene Colan

Creators | Clifford Meth reports that legendary artist Gene Colan is hospitalized again, awaiting surgery. “Despite his legendary optimism, Gene’s situation is tenuous,” he writes. “His family hopes he can undergo a procedure early this week that may alleviate his pain. Regardless, it’s unlikely that my pal will be drawing for anyone anytime soon.” To help generate “what might become much-needed funds,” Meth is coordinating an auction of the last of Colan’s artwork. Details are available at the link. [The Invincible Gene Colan Blog]

Creators | Shaun Tan is the subject of an extensive profile in The New York Times Magazine. [The New York Times]

Creators | Noelene Clark spotlights cartoonist Karl Stevens, whose graphic novel The Lodger is nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. [Hero Complex]

Creators | Adrian Tomine discusses Scenes from an Impending Marriage, living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and why he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter: “I know I’m in the minority here, but in my mind, it would make more sense to be asking other 36-year-olds, ‘Why ARE you on Facebook and Twitter?’ Especially now that I’m married and I have a kid, it just never occurs to me to spend my precious spare time trying to interact with complete strangers over the Internet. Besides, I’d have the most boring ‘tweets’ of all time: ‘I just gave Nora lunch. I’m sitting at my drawing table.  I just changed Nora’s diaper. I’m sitting at my drawing table.'” [Park Slope Patch]

Pearls Before Swine

Creators | Brett Johnson profiles Pearls Before Swine creator Stephan Pastis. [Ventura County Star]

Creators | John Layman chats about his hit Image Comics series Chew. [Fangoria]

Retailing | Rich Johnston reports on rumblings that Barnes & Noble plans to expand its comic book offerings. [Bleeding Cool]

Retailing | Brad Wilson, owner of Allstar Comics & Games in El Paso, Texas, marks 25 years in business. [El Paso Times]

Retailing | Reed Tucker asks a selection of New York City comic stores for reading recommendations to accompany the summer’s superhero movies. [New York Post]

Conventions | Kara Patterson reports on Harmony Con 2011, a mini comic-book fair held Saturday at Harmony Cafe in Appleton, Wisc. [Appleton Post-Crescent]



Re Borders: Typical…take care of the fat cats but not the rank and file…if they were going to pay that money out to employees instead of creditors, it should have gone to the 1000s of people that just lost their jobs in a lousy economy, not the upper tier who will probably be back (mis)managing some other company soon.

Re Gene Colan: my thoughts and prayers are with the gentleman.

Re Dark Horse: Interesting…wonder how long before there’s a sell out to Warner/DC or Marvel/Disney?

I honestly don’t get it. You’re closing stories, slashing staffing and cutting back, yet this is bonus-worthy performance? What makes that such a great performance that bonuses are deserved? “We went and steered toward these rocks but it takes a great captain of industry to get us through this without crashing that we really earned this bonus.”

My mind is boggled.

The Return Of John Constantine! That’s the news! 8-)

Re: Borders – You guys have taken the words right out of my mouth (keyboard?). “Gee, let’s save $10 million so we can keep more than half.” Basically this is looting of assets and the judge should not have permitted it. IMO.

“Basically this is looting of assets and the judge should not have permitted it. ”

Sad to say I’m really not surprised that this happened. :-(

Doe ANYONE really think Borders is going to survive after all this “restructuring”?!? Will customers suddenly decide to show mercy to them and pay full retail price for books/dvds/etc that they can get significantly cheaper online? WTF…

DC or Marvel buying out Dark Horse ?

No way it’ll happen.

and you’re postulating this based on the 4-5% of his staff that’s been laid off ? Really ?

Hey Dark Horse…how about trying reasonably priced digital comics? I recently left the new comics market due to the insanity of $4 comic books…I had hoped digital comics priced around $ 1.59 would save comics for me, but not so. Nothing but ebay and discounted trades for me from now on.

It’s insane to think that Dark Horse’s comics have essentially stayed the same price for 20 years (Dark Empire #1 was $2.95 in 1991 although some books were $2.50) while DC and Marvel have tripled and quadrupled the standard price of their books over the same time period. Think about how costs have increased over the last 20 years. It really boggles the mind that Dark Horse can stay afloat charging the same as they did 20 years ago.

I agree completely that Dark Horse comics have always been overpriced.

I hate Borders. When they opened up in my home town, I’ll admit it was nice. But after a couple of months I went to buy a book on Utamaro but their Art section was completely out of order. I asked the manager how come things aren’t easier to find and she said, “We don’t have the time to organize. Corporate cut back our hours.” I never went back. Buy local!

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