Publishing | February brought a noteworthy, if unwanted, record for the direct market: The lowest-ever top title on record. Green Lantern #62 led Diamond Comic Distributors’ Top 300 with an estimated 71,500 copies, 18,400 less than the previous record holder. Chart watcher John Jackson Miller writes, “For the first time, we probably cannot say that when all reorders and newsstand sales are added, the total will be above 100,000 — although we certainly would expect its eventual readership to go above that mark given reprint editions (to say nothing of digital).”
DC’s $29.99 Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne deluxe hardcover helped to push year-over-year dollars sales up 6.92 percent, offsetting a slight decline in periodicals to and nudging combined sales up .94 percent. “Sales of those ‘long tail’ titles below the Top 300 masked a weakness at the top of the list,” ICv2 notes. “Unit numbers at the top of both the periodical and graphic novel lists were some of the lowest since ICv2 has been tracking comic sales.” [ICv2.com]
Comics | A copy of Detective Comics #27 bought for 10 cents by Robert Irwin in 1939 sold at auction Thursday for $492,937. It’s not a record price for the first appearance of Batman — a CGC-graded 8.0 copy fetched more than $1 million in February — but the $400,000 that the 84-year-old Irwin will make after the commission fee is subtracted will more than pay off the mortgage on his home. [Sacramento Bee]
Digital piracy | The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved a bill that would grant the Justice Department the right to shut down a website with a court order “if copyright infringement is deemed ‘central to the activity’ of the site — regardless if the website has actually committed a crime.” In short, Wired’s Sam Gustin writes, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act “would allow the federal government to censor the internet without due process.” [Epicenter, AFP]
Legal | A federal judge has lifted the delay in the ferocious legal battle over the rights to Superman, allowing attorneys for Warner Bros. to proceed with deposition of the families of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright issued the stay last month while he considered an appeal on a procedural ruling, but on Tuesday he modified the order, permitting the studio to “proceed with full discovery of [heirs] Joanne Siegel, Laura Siegel Larson, Jean Peavy and Mark Peavy.” The depositions are expected to begin immediately. [THR, Esq.]
Retailing | Bookstores had their worst month of the year in September as sales slipped 7.7 percent, to $1.51 billion. [Publishers Weekly]
Piracy | Colleen Doran argues that it’s the middle-class artist, not the rich corporations, who are the real victims of digital piracy. [The Hill]
Crime | Houston police have arrested two people believed to be responsible for stealing thousands of dollars worth of comics from stores around the city. Bedrock City Comic Company was hit at least four times. [My Fox Houston]
Mouse Guard creator David Petersen shares two pieces of art he traded to artist Craig Rousseau, featuring Harry Potter‘s Dumbledore and Voldemort fighting. Click on over to his site to see his Voldemort.
The always-entertaining Lucy Knisley imagines what J.K. Rowling might’ve come up with had she been inspired to create Harry Potter some two decades earlier. The result? A Saved by the Bell-style TV series called Hogwarts High, starring John Cusack, Mark Paul Gosselaar and Brooke Shields, and featuring David Bowie as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Who needs Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk when you have Harry Potter?
Amid speculation as to what Disney’s announced $4-billion purchase of Marvel could mean to existing theme-park licenses, Universal Orlando today unveiled details for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a 20-acre addition to its Islands of Adventure.
The rights to the $265-million “theme park within a theme park” were secured from author J.K. Rowling in 2007, but NBC Universal has managed to keep information about the project a secret.
Bluewater Productions isn’t all about biographies of politicians, dead celebrities, dead politicians and presidential pets.
Just two months ago the publisher announced a comic detailing the life of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. And now comes news the Vancouver, Washington-based company is setting its sights on one of the biggest names in modern fiction: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
Like the Meyer comic, the Rowling one-shot will be released under the “Female Force” banner, which has been home to biographies of such public figures as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin and Princess Diana.
It’s unclear, though, whether, like Meyer’s title, Rowling’s will be narrated by a fictional character. (In Meyer’s case, it’s “the most famous vampire of them all.” For Rowling, I vote for a house-elf.)
“She is a remarkable and multi-dimensional woman,” writer Adam Gragg said in a press release. “Learning about who she is and how she struggled to become a success was a truly enlightening experience. Twelve publishers turned her down. If it weren’t for the daughter of a British publisher who liked Rowling’s first chapter of Philosopher’s Stone, we might never have met Harry Potter.”
The comic’s cover, as Rowling devotees are well aware, depicts a pivotal moment from the author’s life previously only seen air-brushed on the side of a van: When an aged unicorn-physician tended to Rowling’s dislocated shoulder.
Female Force: J.K. Rowling is set for release in December.