Comics A.M. Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Comics A.M. | Retailer criticizes Marvel’s prostate cancer awareness variants

iron man-prostate awareness

Retailing | Retailer Robert Scott of Comickaze Comics in San Diego, California, criticizes Marvel’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month variant covers as a poorly conceived gimmick, noting that they’re not a fund-raiser — no money goes to any cancer charity — and don’t even do a good job of raising awareness. Not only that, but he says the minimum-order requirement means that some retailers won’t be able to order them, and many of those who do won’t be able to donate their cut of the proceeds to prostate cancer causes. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | How to enjoy Comic-Con without a badge

comic-con logo

Conventions | There’s still plenty to do in San Diego this week, even if you don’t have a Comic-Con badge. A local news station runs down the options, from events that anyone can enjoy with minimal effort to the hard-core nerd stuff. [KPBS]

Political cartoons | The cartoonist Faro, who’s from Nice, pens an anguished explanation of why he will not do cartoon memes about tragedies any more: “At a certain point, one must know when to stop, and I am not convinced that my fellow citizens — yes I am both a press cartoonist and from Nice — have the heart to appreciate these digital or paper mournings one more time. And I am not speaking of those who take a risk in trying to find humor in a similar situation. I have a hard time understanding the practice of producing the official logo of carnage and then seeking to pass it on in posterity while these innocents pass over to the other side.” [The Huffington Post]

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Comics A.M. | San Diego police prepare for ‘safe and successful’ Comic-Con

san diego convention center

Conventions | In the wake of mass shootings in San Bernardino, Orlando and Dallas, and the attack last week in Nice, France, one newspaper looks at the security surrounding Comic-Con International, which kicks off Wednesday in San Diego. Although few details are revealed, a San Diego Police Department official says there will be “numerous” uniformed officers on foot, on bike, in patrol cars and in helicopters, as well as a “large” contingent of undercover cops “to make it was a safe and successful event.” The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System got more specific, noting that nearly 200 armed transit officers and TSA-trained K9 units will be deployed along transit route and platforms. [The Press-Enterprise]

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Comics A.M. | Sonny Liew wins Singapore Literature Prize

charlie-chan-hock-chye-social

Awards | Sonny Liew’s “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” is the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction. Ironically, the awards are supported by Singapore’s National Arts Council, which had originally provided financial support for the book but withdrew it last summer when controversy arose over its contents. “The award is given by the Book Council rather than NAC, so I don’t think it represents change in NAC’s stance towards the book, but it is a real honour winning this prize and gives me more encouragement for future projects,” Liew said. [Malay Mail]

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Comics A.M. | It’s official: ‘Bleach’ manga will end within 10 weeks

bleach

Manga | It’s official: Tite Kubo’s “Bleach” will come to an end within the next 10 weeks. Japanese “Shonen Jump” editor Hisashi Sasaki revealed the news on Viz Media’s weekly Shonen Jump podcast. The 74th volume will be the final collection. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | Comic sales surpass $1 billion, ‘Smurfs’ colorist passes away at 86

smurfette

Passings | Nine Culliford, the woman who made the Smurfs blue, died on July 5 at the age of 86. Nine met Pierre Culliford, the artist who would later take the pen name Peyo, in 1946, the same year his first cartoon was published. Nine was the colorist for the Smurfs from their first appearance in “Johan et Pirlouit” (English title: “Johan and Peewit”) in 1958 until her husband’s death in 1992, and she continued to be active on Smurf projects after her son Thierry and her daughter Véronique took over. It was Nine who came up with the idea of coloring the Smurfs blue, as she felt the color would stand out agains the green, wooded backgrounds of the comic. [The Blue Print]

Comics | Sales of comics and graphic novels have crashed through the $1 billion threshold, according to calculations by Milton Griepp of ICv2 and John Jackson Miller of Comichron. That includes $350 million in sales through retail book channels, $90 million in digital, and $20 million in newsstand sales, with the rest coming through the direct market. Griepp and Miller estimate that graphic novels account for $535 million in sales and serial comics for $405 million. Griepp attributed the growth in sales to increased attention to comics properties from the media and an expanding audience, as more women and children come to the medium. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Digital comics sales dropped in 2015 for the first time

digital-comics-am

Digital Comics | Digital comics sales dropped 10% in 2015, according to calculations by the geek-industry retail site ICv2. This is the first decline since the category started to take off in 2010. “Industry participants” offered a number of possible explanations for this, including the leveling-off of new tablet and e-reader purchases and competition from Humble Bundle and other bundle services. Conspicuously not mentioned is comiXology’s decision, in spring of 2014, to eliminate in-app purchases on iOS devices, removing the most convenient way to buy comics from the most popular platform. The article does mention that sales through the Google Play store and direct digital sales from publishers of DRM-free comics had increased, although they are still a small segment of the industry. Also, e-book sales in general are down. Despite all this, ICv2 calculates that digital sales totaled $90 million last year, which is still pretty good considering that the market was just $1 million in 2009. [ICv2]

Conventions | New York Comic Con will extend the party with a series of events tagged “NYCC Presents,” running from October 3-9 (the con itself is October 6-9). The events include a “We the Heroes” Ball, Doctor Who costume and trivia contest, a live episode of “Game Grumps,” and “Shipwreck Presents: A Literary Erotic Fanfic Competition based on William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.” All events require separate tickets—your NYCC badge won’t get you in. [New York Comic Con]

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Comics A.M. | Artist Geneviève Castrée passes away

Geneviève Castrée

Passings | Illustrator Geneviève Castrée, whose debut graphic novel “Susceptible” was published in 2013 by Drawn & Quarterly, passed away Saturday from pancreatic cancer. She was 35. “She was truly driven to work and stay living right up to the last minute, insisting on getting up and going to work in her studio way beyond when many would have surrendered to rest,” Castrée’s husband, musician/songwriter Phil Elverum, wrote on her GoFundMe page. “Last night and this morning she declined quickly and receded into her own eyes as her body vetoed her wishes, her lungs filling with fluid. She died at home with me and her parents holding her, hopefully having reached some last minute peace.” Castrée was diagnosed with cancer in May 2015, just four months after giving birth to their daughter. [GoFundMe]

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Comics A.M. | Sacramento store pushes to rebuild after fire

Courtesy of Big Brother Comics

Courtesy of Big Brother Comics

Retailing | The Sacramento, California, comic shop Big Brother Comics was severely damaged last weekend by a fire. Owner Kenny Russell, whose apartment adjoins the store, heard a loud noise on Sunday morning and opened his back door to see his store in flames. “It was all on fire, like movie-style fire,” he said. Although firefighters responded quickly, and his apartment was protected by fire doors, his store is “toast” and much of his merchandise suffered smoke damage. A GoFundMe campaign to help Russell rebuild has already brought in more than $12,000. [KCRA]

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Comics A.M. | 17,000-item Superman collection donated for Cleveland exhibit

action1-social

Comics | “Dick Tracy” writer Mike Curtis has donated his 17,000-piece collection of Superman memorabilia to the Cleveland Public Library, which will establish a permanent exhibit dedicated to the Man of Steel. Some of Curtis’ items date back to as early as 1939. The library is applying for grants to preserve and restore the collectibles, and hopes to have some of them on display by November. The Man of Steel was of course created by Cleveland by high school friends Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. [The Columbus Dispatch]

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Comics A.M. | New death threats at “Charlie Hebdo”

Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo

Crime | French police are investigating two new death threats to the staff of the French satirical weekly “Charlie Hebdo.” The first threat was posted on the magazine’s Facebook page and then removed; the second was sent to the editor a few days later. “The messages raise the idea of killing several members of the editorial, again,” an anonymous source told the French newspaper Le Parisien. Security is tight at the “Charlie Hebdo” editorial office, which was moved to a secret location after 12 people were killed in an attack in January 2015. [The Local]

Conventions | Rob Salkowitz interviews Comic-Con International chief communication and strategy officer David Glanzer, who has been going to Comic-Con since 1978 and working for them since 1994. Glanzer discusses attendance, the possible saturation of the pop-culture convention market, and what might cause the con to leave San Diego, however reluctantly. And he emphasizes the importance of comics to Comic-Con: “We have a great and unique demographic and are pinged constantly by organizations who want to target that demographic for marketing purposes. But while it may be true that they are a key demo for marketing, we don’t want a participating company to exhibit or present a panel for that reason alone. They should have an organic relationship to comics and popular art. It’s a difficult area to maintain, but it’s one we pride ourselves on at least trying to remain true to our mission.” [Forbes]

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Comics A.M. | WizKids loses ‘HeroClix’ shipment in train crash

heroclix2

Business | WizKids has canceled pre-release events for Marvel HeroClix: The Superior Foes of Spider-Man after losing its shipment in an explosive train collision Tuesday in Texas that killed two crew members. A third is missing and presumed dead. “While a sizable amount of the product release will be in an unknown state for an unforeseeable time,” the company said in a statement, “our current plan is to proceed with the launch of the product as scheduled as we have sufficient quantities for all stores who have preordered to date and the majority of the product is unaffected. Our thoughts go out to the families who lost their loved ones in this horrific accident.” [WizKids, via ICv2.com]

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Comics A.M. | Tite Kubo’s ‘Bleach’ manga nears its end

Bleach, Vol. 66

Bleach, Vol. 66

Manga | Next week’s issue of the Japanese “Shonen Jump” will announce the impending conclusion of Tite Kubo’s fantasy-adventure manga “Bleach.” This comes as no surprise to readers, as the nearly 15-year-old series entered its final story arc in 2012. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | Conan O’Brien, “Agents of SHIELD” & More wrap SDCC trolleys

Conventions | The San Diego trolleys will get a new look for Comic-Con International: They will be fully wrapped in ads for comics-themed TV shows. The ads bring in about $300,000 to the Metropolitan Transit System, and advertisers see them as a good way to get the message out to their natural audience: “The trolley train wraps are very effective because they allow you to have fun with your marketing and also are constantly in motion, giving your campaign strong circulation to reach a wide range of fans,” said Angela Courtin, chief marketing officer for Fox. Fun fact: It takes eight hours to wrap a single trolley car. No statistics were available on how long it takes to unwrap it after the con. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Creators | Mark Russell, who scripted DC’s satirical series Prez, talks about his work on their reboot of The Flinstones. When they first approached him, his response was “I kind of hate ‘The Flintstones,'” and when they were OK with that, he said, “I knew from the beginning that it would be a satiric, edgy response to ‘The Flintstones.'” The new series debuts next month. “It’s a critique of the suburban values that the original ‘Flintstones’ and [precursor] ‘The Honeymooners’ were about,” Russell said. “[The comedy] absorbed the values of the time and used them as a backdrop for broad humor.” Artist Steve Pugh, on the other hand, enjoyed the show; as a child growing up in the gritty British industrial town of Birmingham, he saw it as a “ray of light” in an otherwise grim world. [Comic Riffs]

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Comics A.M. | Del Rey manga titles return – on iTunes

Nodame Cantabile

Nodame Cantabile

Manga | Four older manga series are making a comeback in digital format: School Rumble, Alive, Nodame Cantabile, and Princess Resurrection, all originally published in English by Del Rey, will be available in the iTunes Store beginning on July 26. The Del Rey manga imprint became defunct in 2010, when the Japanese publisher Kodansha stopped licensing its manga to them and started publishing the books directly as Kodansha Comics. [Anime News Network]

Passings | Chester “Chet” Krause, who was the owner of the Comics Buyers Guide from 1983 to 1991, has died at the age of 92. Krause, who also owned a number of other papers catering to special interests (Numismatic News, Sports Collectors Digest), hired Don and Maggie Thompson as the editors of CBG, and under their leadership it became an important gathering point and communications channel for comics fans in the days before the internet. [ICv2]

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