BEST BETS: "Jessica Jones," "Big Trouble/Escape from New York" & More October 2016 Highlights
Retailing | The Books-A-Million retail chain reported significant growth in the last quarter, due in part to strong sales of manga and strategy games. “Sales in the graphic novel category … grew nicely on the strength of a significant resurgence in the interest in several manga series, particularly Attack on Titan,” CEO Terry Finley said in an earnings call. The chain’s sales increased 1.2 percent, and same-store sales were up 1.8 percent last quarter compared to the same quarter last year; by contrast, fiscal year 2013 sales were down by 9.4 percent from the previous year. [ICv2]
Creators | Jeff Lemire talks about his new graphic novel Teen Titans: Earth One, which reflects his love of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s The New Teen Titans: “I wanted a fresh and clean take on a teen super-team without having to rely on other heroes or continuity. So I gravitated to these unique teen characters Marv and George had created, and re-envisioned them through my own sensibilities along with artist Terry Dodson, who really helped them come to life.” [The Kindle Post]
Creators | Robot 6 contributor J. Caleb Mozzocco interviews Danica Novgorodoff about The Undertaking of Lily Chen, her graphic novel about a young man who sets out to find a female corpse to be buried with his dead brother—and winds up with a woman who is very much alive. [Good Comics for Kids]
Creators | Audrey Niffenegger, author of the prose novel The Time Traveler’s Wife and the graphic novel The Night Bookmobile, describes how she collaborated with Eddie Campbell to make a comic for special comics issue of The Guardian’s Weekend magazine. [The Guardian]
Creators | Stan Lee will cut his visit to this weekend’s Dallas Comic-Con short and has canceled his appearance at Monday’s Hero Complex Film Festival. A spokesman for POW! Entertainment said Lee, 89, is distraught and depressed after the death of Arthur Lieberman, one of his business associates at POW!, and is also fatigued after multiple appearances promoting The Avengers. Lee will appear Saturday at the Dallas Comic-Con, but not on Sunday. [Hero Complex]
Publishing | Todd Allen notes that DC Comics has dropped some titles from its subscription service, including Aquaman, Batwoman and Swamp Thing. The move seems to be motivated by low sales in that channel, and Allen takes that as evidence DC is being cost-conscious. They are offering substitute series to subscribers, but it’s not clear what the logic is behind the substitutions. DC has also just launched a web store that sells lots of merch and a handful of graphic novels. [The Beat]
Nominations have been announced for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s 22nd annual Media Awards, which honor outstanding portrayals of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.
The nominees for outstanding comic book are:
• Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, by Allan Heinberg, Jimmy Cheung and others (Marvel)
• Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by Joss Whedon, Brad Meltzer, Georges Jeanty, Scott Allie and others (Dark Horse)
• Fogtown, by Andersen Gabrych and Brad Rader (DC Comics/Vertigo)
• Veronica, by Dan Parent (Archie Comics)
• X-Factor, by Peter David, David Yardin and others (Marvel)
This is the third nomination in a row for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the second for X-Factor. Buffy won in 2008.
In addition, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, director Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Oni Press series, was nominated for outstanding film-wide release. Winners in all categories will be presented during ceremonies in New York City (March 10), Los Angeles (April 16) and San Francisco (May 14). It’s unclear at which event the comics category will be presented.
Christopher Butcher offers commentary: “Every year I agonize over these awards because they specifically reward the ‘straightest’ material that happens to be nice to gays, rather than doing anything to recognize the work of actual gay cartoonists. I’m trying hard not to do this, this year, because hey, at least they’ve nominated gay writers Allan Heinberg and Andersen Gabrych. And I don’t want to minimize the support or work of vocally queer-friendly creators like David, Meltzer, or Whedon.”
At the Prism Comics website, Charles “Zan” Christensen takes a look at the maybe-we-will-maybe-we-won’t world of the Apple app store.
The iPad has been getting plenty of raves as a comics reader, and yet, as Jason Snell points out in his recent exhaustive look at the device’s comics capabilities, the technology may be great but the content is spotty, with some comics available for in-app purchases, others available only as single apps, and quite a few unavailable altogether.
Christensen’s story explores why that is, and it’s an important question. Remember, print comic distribution is already a near-monopoly, at least when it comes to comics stores, and with Diamond refusing to carry books that don’t reach a minimum number of orders, the market has become bleak indeed for new and niche publishers. Webcomics seemed like the logical alternative, but no one wants to pay for webcomics. But iPod/iPhone/iPad users have been trained from the beginning to pay for their content, so these are logical outlets, and Apple’s terms are actually quite good for publishers.
Except that Apple is being very selective about which comics it will carry, and that selectiveness seems to go not only to content but also to how large and established the publisher is. As Christensen points out, Apple shut down a swimsuit catalog app because it had pictures of women clad only in bathing suits but left Sports Illustrated alone.