"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Welcome to “Report Card,” our week-in-review feature. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is a look back at the top news stories of the previous week, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read.
So read on to find out what we thought about Lazarus and Earth 2, as well as to review the news of the week!
Six Archie Comics employees filed a 29-page, $32.5 million lawsuit against Archie Co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit, accusing her of “destructive, dangerous and at times deranged behavior” that not only has caused them mental anguish and emotional distress, but threatens to cause the collapse of the publisher. They seek a permanent injunction removing Silberkleit from Archie’s Mamaroneck offices and barring her from having any contact with the plaintiffs or their families. If successful, $7.5 million of the $32.5 million would be earmarked for an anti-bullying campaign.
The lawsuit is the third that’s been filed in a volley of back-and-forth legal moves. Archie filed a lawsuit against Silberkleit in 2011, accusing her of bullying and sexually harassing employees. Supposedly that was resolved, but earlier this year Silberkleit filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former friend Sam Levitin, who served as her liaison with Archie following the resolution of the first lawsuit. Levitin wanted to have her removed as a company trustee, saying she “lacks functional communication skills and has an unstable temperament.”
The controversy and missteps around DC’s Villains Month event didn’t seem to hurt their sales at all, as DC Comics dominated the direct sales comic market in September. According to Diamond, DC accounted for 40.39 percent of the direct market’s dollar share and 45.17 percent of its unit share to second place Marvel’s 28.49 percent and 29.83 percent. The top 10 comics of the month were split evenly between the two publishers, as the first issue of DC’s Forever Evil miniseries took the top spot, followed by three of Marvel’s big event books: Infinity #2 and #3, and X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1. The decimal numbers worked in Batman’s favor, as four of the Batman-related books — Joker, Riddler, Bane and Penguin — landed in the top 10 as well.
In other sales news this week, manga is back in force on the graphic novel chart, thanks to an attack from Attack on Titan, IDW touted the success of their My Little Pony line, which has topped 1 million physical copies sold to date, when you take into account all the various My Little Pony series and graphic novels.
Dark Horse will switch from Diamond Book Distributors to Random House for book-market distribution, effective June 1, 2014. The publisher is sticking with Diamond for comics, but a lot of its line has appeal outside the direct market — the Avatar graphic novels, the Zelda guide — and Dark Horse wants to expand its presence in bookstores.
Bone and RASL creator Jeff Smith has been elected to the Board of Directors for The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Smith joins Larry Marder, Jennifer L. Holm, Paul Levitz, Jeff Abraham, Dale Cendali, Joe Ferrara, Milton Griepp, Andrew McIntire and Chris Powell in serving on the organization’s board.
“The CBLDF has always been an important organization to me, and I’m looking forward to increasing my efforts to support its work as a member of the board,” Smith said. “I’m especially pleased to help them with their excellent work protecting the Kids’ Right to Read. CBLDF resources like Raising A Reader, and their constant schedule of education events make a huge difference in preserving the rights we all depend upon to make and read comics.”