Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Comic sales slide slows; Thor press kit triggers bomb scare

Fear Itself #1

Publishing | The drop in year-over-year sales in the direct market slowed in April, with periodicals slipping 1.75 percent and graphic novels just .84 percent. Overall sales were down 1.46 percent for April and 6.5 percent for the first four months of the year. Marvel topped Diamond’s comics chart with Fear Itself #1, while DC led the graphic novel category with the 15th volume of Fables. []

Crime | Police evacuated the bus terminal in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, Friday afternoon after a suspicious package was discovered across the street. The Michigan State Police bomb squad was called in, and it was determined the mysterious package was merely a briefcase-shaped media kit promoting Acura’s involvement with Marvel’s Thor. A writer for Automobile, whose offices are next to the terminal, had discarded the “S.H.I.E.L.D. Assessment Test” kit in the recycling bin, but it wasn’t picked up — apparently because it isn’t recyclable. [WXYZ, Jalopnik]

San Diego Convention Center

Comic-Con | Mark Evanier discusses a new hotel tax proposed by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to pay for the planned expansion of the city’s convention center. There would be a 3 percent tax on rooms closest to the convention center, the location of Comic-Con International, with others being taxed between 1 and 2 percent, depending on their proximity. [News from ME]

Awards | Nominations are being accepted through May 31 for the 28th annual Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, which will be presented July 22 during the Eisner Awards ceremony at Comic-Con International. [Comic-Con International]

Retailing | In its first-quarter filings, U.S. retail chain Hastings reports a 3 percent increase in its “trends” merchandise category, driven in part by the sales of new and used comics. The retailer recently expanded its comics space in 126 stores. [press release]

Conventions | Tim Janson wraps up this weekend’s Motor City Comic Con in Nov, Michigan. []

Creators | David Lloyd chats about his career, V for Vendetta and a possible shift to online comics: “I’m interested in online storytelling, not just putting a comic online though. I think that’s kid of crazy. There should be something more than just putting a comic page on a computer screen, and there are different ways of doing that. I’m looking for the best way to do that, to tell a story, produce a graphic novel week by week, month by month. Now obviously you can do that just as a showcase and then sell the book afterwards. There have been some examples of that working well. But if I do something like that, I would like to earn money. I kinda regret that a lot of ideas I get, I can’t do. I have some nice ideas but if I did all of them, every one of them taking two years, I’d be fixed for the next ten, so I’m not sure if I want to do that. If I invest time in something, I’ve got to get results and it has to be seen.” [Philippine Daily Inquirer]

Creators | Chester Brown talks about his new graphic novel Paying for it: A Comic-Strip Memoir About Being a John. [The Gazette]



Sales were only down 1.46% in April! Yaaaay, let’s all celebrate! Things are really looking up for the comics industry now!

It’d be interesting to see year-over-year comparisons minus certain outliers — specifically, movie tie-in outliers. For instance, is the sole source of the discrepancy the fact that Watchmen isn’t in its pre-movie sales boom, or because the Scott Pilgrim pre-movie sales bubble doesn’t exist this year? Is the rest of the industry actually doing just as well or possibly even better once you take those statistic-skewing projects out of the equation?

I know there’s a wealth of comic book movies this year, but from what I’ve seen, sales of Thor collections aren’t receiving as big a boost as Watchmen or Pilgrim did.

Although, Mario… the Simonson Thor Omnibus has been the #1 selling graphic novel on Amazon for 2-3 weeks now and is #4 on the NYT graphic novels best-seller list.

Hard to say whether that would be the case without the movie, but I’m amazed that such an expensive item sells so well.

Interesting point, Rich. I had a feeling that Watchmen and Pilgrim were attracting people who had maybe never purchased graphic novels before, which I would guess the Simonson book is not doing.

The true answer is wrapped up in a whole bunch of statistical analysis that I would have no idea how to do. Whether there’s someone out there with the know-how, the time, and the inclination is a different story.

My issue is that I see a lot of people quoting these industry-wide numbers as if they’re irrefutable proof of the health of the industry. I’m a skeptic by nature, so my reaction was that maybe we’re looking at an explainable, standard deviation.

If there was a (hypothetical) big-budget Transmetropolitan movie this summer, would we possibly be talking about how great the WHOLE industry was doing, even if the Transmet collections were the ONLY books receiving those extra dollars?

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