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Comics A.M. | O’Malley’s ‘Seconds’ has strong bookstore debut

Seconds

Seconds

Publishing | Seconds, by Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, had an impressive debut, landing at No. 2 and No. 5 on the BookScan chart of graphic novels sold in the book channel in July. The book had a standard edition and a Barnes & Nobles exclusive. ICv2 reckons if there had been a single edition, Seconds would have topped the list; instead, the No. 1 spot went to the latest volume of Naruto. It was also a good month for DC Comics, which charted seven titles, six of which involve Batman.[ICv2]

Publishing | In an overview of the comics and graphic novel market, ICv2 reports direct market retailers are optimistic despite flat sales in the first half of the year. [ICv2]

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Kirby’s granddaughter launches 2014 Kirby4Heroes campaign

jack kirby-1982

Jack Kirby’s granddaughter Jillian has kicked off the third annual Kirby4Heroes campaign to help creators in need.

On Aug. 28, what would’ve been the legendary artist’s 97th birthday, comics stores across the country will donate a portion of that day’s sales to The Hero Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a financial assistance to creators. (An in-progress list of participating stores can be found on the Kirby4Heroes Facebook page.)

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Comics A.M. | Viz Media executives talk state of manga market

Viz Media

Viz Media

Publishing | Leyla Aker, Viz Media’s vice present of publishing, and Kevin Hamric, its director of publishing sales and marketing, discuss the state of the manga market and how the company’s books are selling through the print and digital channels (including comiXology, where Viz just signed on last month). One interesting tidbit: Viz products are carried by 64 percent of Diamond Comic Distributors’ accounts (i.e., comic shops). “Some of the store owners just don’t understand manga yet,” Hamric said. “They’re like librarians were years ago. They’re afraid of it, but if it’s children’s and Pokemon, or has a tie-in, especially to anime or television, then they’re not afraid to take it.” [ICv2]

Publishing | Tom Spurgeon talks to Drawn and Quarterly’s Tracy Hurren about the company’s new website, which launched this week, as well as life in the D+Q offices. [The Comics Reporter]

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Looking back at Comic-Con International, by the numbers

comic-con-625x439

With Comic-Con International 2014 a few day behind us, everyone has a chance to unpack, rest up and get ready for the next big convention (New York Comic Con is Oct. 9-12, by the way). But before we’re completely finished with San Diego, let’s take a look at some interesting numbers from the big event:

Comic-Con International is by far the largest event on the San Diego Convention Center’s 2014 calendar, with its 130,000 attendees, in the words of The New York Times, “far outstripping the combined total of its next four largest conventions, expected to be about 62,500 people.” According to a convention center report (PDF), this year’s installment was estimated to have a $177.8 million economic impact.

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Comics A.M. | In San Diego, ‘comics had a great convention’

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Image Comics content manager David Brothers explains why this year’s Comic-Con International was a great convention, pointing out that there’s a lot more to the event than movies and television, and there’s a lot more to comics than the Big Two: “Marvel and DC are comics, just like the other publishers, and they make some great ones when they let the creators do their own thing. But at this point? You can’t treat them like the entirety of the comics industry, or even two companies that can dictate the future of comics. They run the movies, and that’s cool, but running comics? It’s just not true any more. Image in particular outsells Marvel in the book market as far as trade paperbacks go, and that holds true in the comics market lately, too. That’s no coincidence. People enjoy Marvel and DC, but they want more than Marvel and DC.” [io9.com]

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Merchandise and GN sales up, comics down, Diamond reports

Diamond Comic DistributorsTotal sales to the direct market increased 3.8 percent in the first half of the year, Diamond Comic Distributors announced during its annual retailer luncheon at Comic-Con International.

Merchandise — toys, apparel, posters, etc. — was the strongest category, climbing 10.4 percent over the same period in 2013, while graphic novels inch upward 2.9 percent. Sales of comics slipped 1.4 percent. In a statement, Chris Powell, Diamond’s vice president of retailer services, framed the performances of the comics and graphic novel categories as “level compared to last year, but [they] are still 12 percent above 2012 sales figures.”

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Comics A.M. | Police accused of pre-SDCC homeless crackdown

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | An advocate for the homeless claims San Diego police are harassing homeless people to keep them away from downtown during Comic-Con International. The mayor and police chief deny the accusation and say officers are simply doing outreach, but at least one homeless man has been given a “stay away” order. Comic-Con begins Wednesday with Preview Night. [ABC 10 News]

Digital comics | Following the news that the comics market was estimated at $850 million in 2013, of which $90 million was digital, George Gene Gustines looks at a couple of different digital models, including Thrillbent’s new subscription service and Panel Syndicate, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s name-your-own-price approach. [The New York Times]

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After #FireRickRemender, can we have a real conversation?

Falcon and Jet Black, later in the controversial scene

Falcon and Jet Black, later in the controversial scene

Superhero comics deal in extremes: Characters overreact, the world is in constant jeopardy, and the solution almost always involves physical combat. So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when the #FireRickRemender fiasco erupted. There was no conversation. Instead, people hurled accusations and argued over whether a writer should keep his job, while others mocked the whole thing. The rest of us silently watched from the sidelines, and that was pretty much it: That was how comics professionals, fans and industry observers handled a three-page scene from Captain America #22.

I guess I should be happy that people are so passionate about these stories and the creators behind them. If we were all so blasé and detached, sales would probably not just be flat so far this year, they’d be in the gutters. Yet I can’t help but feel disappointed, because I know we can do better than this.

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‘Quantum and Woody,’ ‘Hawkeye’ and ‘Saga’ lead Harvey ballot

quantum-woody1Quantum and Woody leads the final ballot for the 2014 Harvey Awards with nominations in six categories, including best new series, edging out Hawkeye with five and Saga with four. Quantum and Woody‘s James Asmus also received nods for best writer, most promising new talent and the special award for humor.

Named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, the cartoonist and founding editor of MAD magazine, the awards are selected entirely by creators. Online voting is open now through Aug. 18. The winners will be presented Sept. 6 in a ceremony held in conjunction with Baltimore Comic-Con.

The full list of nominees can be found below:

Best Writer
James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
Matt Fraction, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
Matt Kindt, MIND MGMT, Dark Horse Comics
Brian K. Vaughan, SAGA, Image Comics
Mark Waid, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics

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True Believers Comic Awards announce 2014 winners

true believers logoHawkeye and its writer Matt Fraction and Saga and its artist Fiona Staples led the inaugural True Believers Comic Awards, winning in a combined 10 categories. Hawkeye colorist Matt Hollingsworth also won in his division.

Presented Saturday in conjunction with London Film and Comic Con, the True Believers Comic Awards are a successor to the long-running Eagle Awards. Established by Eagle co-founder Mike Conroy and his daughter Cassandra, the awards were selected through online nominations and voting.

IDW Publishing was voted Best Publisher, while Gail Simone was named to the Roll of Honor. Comic Book Resources was selected as Favorite Comics-Related Website. The full list of winners can be found below in bold.

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Gail Simone launches Comics Survival Kit on Tumblr

Gail Simone

Gail Simone

Writer Gail Simone launched a new blog, Comics Survival Kit, that promises to be a source of useful, practical information for creators.

“Like all comics pros, I am asked all the time for advice on how to become a pro, and how to maintain that position once you have attained it,” she writes in the introductory post. “It is a huge question, even if we knew the answers, it would be a lot to process!” So she is presenting information in small, tightly focused posts and drawing on her many friends in the industry, including Kelly Sue DeConnick, Greg Pak, and Jim Zubkavich, for their advice as well.

Simone is a pretty good resource herself; she has written more than 400 comics, and her credits include Birds of Prey, Secret Six and Red Sonja. What sets this Tumblr apart from other creators’ is its exclusive focus on information and advice; what sets it apart from other creator-information sites is the high profile of the owner and the contributors.

The Tumblr already has a collection of interesting posts, including Red Sonja editor Molly Mahan on what editors want to see in an artist’s portfolio, Third Eye Comics owner Steve Anderson on communicating with retailers and Paul Allor (Orc Girl) on the perils of self-publishing.

SDCC | Highlights of the Sunday programming schedule

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For its final day, Comic-Con International is keeping the focus on the kids. Today, the biggest con on the calendar revealed its Sunday programming slate, and the traditional kids day of the show lived up to its name.

Publishers will roll out their best all-ages offerings in panels like Oni Press’ Monsterpalooza and IDW’s Kids Comics spotlight. But so much of the action of the day centers around the creators who will be appearing on a multitude of kid-centric programming including Raina Telgemeier, Jenni Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Dave Roman, Sonny Liew and Gene Luen Yang. Even the media portion of the con is getting in on the action with a special presentation on the documentary about San Francisco’s famed Batkid.

On the traditional convention front, fans can pop in for the annual Jack Kirby Tribute panel or check the latest offerings form publishers like Dynamite Entertainment, Image Comics, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment and more

Creator-wise there are spotlights on the likes of Chuck Dixon, Jim Rugg, Jim Lee, Graham Nolan, Marc Guggenheim, Kelley Jones and more.

Check out the comics-related highlights below, and pop over to Comic-Con’s website for the full schedule.

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SDCC | Highlights of the Saturday programming schedule

LeeDio
Though the show has stretched far beyond the traditional weekend confines, Comic-Con International’s biggest day remains Saturday. And that was proven true today with the release of Saturday programming for the impending pop culture monolith.

The day comes crammed with every conceivable kind of panel. On the traditional comics publishing front, DC and Marvel both continue their weekend rollouts with a Batman: 75th Anniversary assembly, the traditional Cup O’ Joe Q&A and more. Meanwhile, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get their own anniversary panel to celebrate 30 years while current Turtles publisher IDW keep in step with three panels including a spotlight on Locke & Key creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. BOOM! Studios, Oni Press and Lion Forge round out the more pop culture oriented indies with their own panels while the alt comics world is well covered with spotlights on Drawn And Quarterly, Fantagraphics and Abrams ComicArts.

On the media side, Marvel Studios captures its traditional Saturday night spot in Hall H (where we’d wager and Avengers reunion is on tap) while earlier in the day, Warner Bros. brings a look at Mad Max, The Hobbit and the latest Wachowskis film (though curiously absent from the official list is any presentation on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). The media offerings also have a particular “Saturday Morning Cartoons” feel with spotlights on kids fare like Phineas & Ferb,Regular Show and Steven Universe.

Creator-wise, there’s a broad selection of comics talents on hand including Don Rosa, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Drew Friedman, Berkeley Breathed, Jim Steranko, Lucy Knisley, Mimi Pond, J. Micahel Straczynski and Saga creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

Check out the comics-related highlights below, and pop over to Comic-Con’s website for the full schedule.

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SDCC | Highlights of the Friday programming schedule

Comic-Con InternationalComic-Con International organizers have rolled out the programming schedule for Friday, July 25, the second full day of the show.

And what a full day it is, with comics adaptations like AMC’s The Walking Dead, The CW’s Arrow and iZombie, and ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter all taking the stage. However, that’s not to say actual comic books are being slighted: There are panels devoted to Image Comics, DC Comics’ Batman, The Multiversity and more, Marvel’s Spider-Verse and The Avengers, Top Shelf Productions, IDW Publishing’s 15th anniversary and its Hasbro titles, Milestone at 21, gender in comics, LGBT comics for young readers and the (gulp) 30th anniversary of Power Pack.

Plenty of creators step into the spotlight, too, with panels dedicated to the likes of Neal Adams, Mark Brooks, Francesco Francavilla, Jae Lee, Mike Mignola, Terry Moore, Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan. To top it all off, there’s the Eisner Awards ceremony.

Check out some of the comics-related highlights below, and visit the Comic-Con website for the full schedule.

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Comics A.M. | Digital sales grew to $90 million in 2013

Digital comics on comiXology

Digital comics on comiXology

Digital comics | ICv2 estimates the size of the digital comics market at $90 million in 2013, not counting subscription services such as Marvel Unlimited or Crunchyroll — so presumably the tally is limited to single-issue sales. It’s also not clear whether the number includes comics sold on eBook platforms such as Kindle or just those sold through specialty channels such as comiXology or as direct downloads. The $90 million number represents a 29 percent increase over 2012 numbers. [ICv2]

Creators | As the first issue of his new series The Life After is released, writer Joshua Hale Fialkov talks about why he prefers creator-owned work: “I want to treat every book I do as though it’s 100% owned by me, because, at the end of the day, nobody is blaming an editor if that book sucks. They’re blaming me. Even if the art is sub-par, I take the blame for that. So, for my money, being thorny and vocal to get work I’m proud of is worth it, no matter what doors it shuts, because, as the saying goes, nothing shuts doors and costs you audience faster than producing junk.” And, he says, he is making as much money doing creator-owned comics as the corporate ones. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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