Robot 6

Comics A.M. | August sales dip attributed to four-week month

Infinity #1

Infinity #1

Publishing | Sales of comic books and graphic novels to the direct market dropped sharply in August, compared to the same month in 2012 (10.39 percent and 24.55 percent, respectively), but ICv2 attributes the decline — at least as far as periodicals is concerned — to August 2012 having five Wednesdays while last month had just four. Year-to-date sales are still up over 2012, although things seem to be slowing down a bit. DC Comics shipped more comic books, but Marvel won in market share, and the top-selling graphic novel was the first volume of The Walking Dead, which points to a dearth of new graphic novel releases. [ICv2]

Conventions | Attendance exceeded 50,000 at the first Salt Lake Comic Con, held over the weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah. This article focuses on families with children who attended, and includes some interesting conversations with parents who are obviously fans themselves and take an active interest in their children’s comics reading. [Deseret News]

Viz Media

Viz Media

Digital comics | I talked to Gagan Singh, Viz Media vice president and chief technology officer, about his company’s decision to raise prices of digital manga sharply on Oct. 1. [Good E-Reader]

Creators | In town for Baltimore Comic Con, Dean Haspiel talks about his collaboration with Mark Waid on The Fox, what comics he has been reading lately, and who is the best (fictional) journalist in comics. [Comic Riffs]

Creators | Paul Gravett looks back at the long career of Katsuhiro Otomo, whose Akira (first published as a color comic by Marvel) helped open the door to manga for American readers. [Paul Gravett]

Boxers and Saints

Boxers and Saints

Creators | Gene Luen Yang is making the rounds of the blogs, talking about his new project, the two-volume set Boxers and Saints; this time he is chatting with Ashley McCollum about his writing process, the challenge of writing historical fiction, and why he decided to write about the Boxer Rebellion in the first place. [MTV Geek]

Creators | Tulsa, Oklahoma, native Sterling Gates talks to the local paper about the three stories he wrote about for DC’s Villains Month, featuring Killer Frost, Black Adam and the Secret Society. [Tulsa World]

Comics | Is St. Louis, Missouri, the second city of comics (after New York, of course)? That’s the argument Mike Phoenix makes in his book, pointing out that it’s the home of Joseph Pulitzer, whose papers pioneered comic strips, as well as World Printing, which printed many of the early color comics. And comics conventions are huge there, including the upcoming Project Comic Con. [Webster-Kirkwood Times]

Collecting | Indian comics collector Arun Prasad will be at the Hyderabad Comic Con with samples from his collection, which includes over 15,000 Indian and American comics. [Deccan Chronicle]



Wow, VIZ are raising their digital cover price to TWO WHOLE DOLLARS? Not one but two. Wow.

Raising prices on digital manga, even if only by $2, seems kind of risky. It’s not much money for one volume, but with the number of books most manga series have, that amount really adds up (10 volumes for $50 vs. 10 volumes for $70, for example). If I were much of a digital comics reader, I’d be pickier about the number of manga volumes I buy, which could give VIZ less money in the long run if most fans were like me. For example, if I strictly follow a rule of spending no more than $25 per month on manga, I could buy five digital volumes each month for $5 each, for a total of $25. At $7 each, though, I will buy only three volumes, totaling $21, because four will put me over budget. I realize this is a small amount of money, but for people who spend much more on manga, the difference could be much less trivial.

VIZ has a good point, though. If people prefer digital volumes over print or value the cost difference between digital and print editions, they will likely be willing to pay the extra $2 without much complaining.

Well, duh, of course digital prices should be raised. The market has shown marks are ready to pay $10-12 for a manga story, so there’s no reason whatsoever to leave all that money on the table and let them get away with $5 or even $7. Now that the format has been loss-lead, digital prices have to get at least up to $9.99 in order to restore fair market value. “Never give a sucker an even break.”

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