Publishing | John Jackson Miller delves into September’s grim direct-market sales figures and discovers a (relative) bright spot: Sales of lower-tier titles — those that don’t crack Diamond’s Top 300 — appear to be increasing, to record levels. “How do we know?” Miller writes. “Believe it or not, a record for high sales was actually set in September. The 300th place comic book, Boom’s Farscape #11, sold more copies to retailers in September than in any month since November 1996: 4,702 copies. That’s a record for the period following Marvel’s return to Diamond. This bellwether tells us about the shape of the market, and how prolific the major and middle-tier publishers are; when many of their titles are being released and reordered, higher-volume titles tend to push farther into the list.”
However, the higher you go on the list, the worse things look: “The average comic book in the Top 25 is selling more poorly in 2010 than in 2003. At the very top of the chart, 2010′s average top-sellers are about 25% off what the best-sellers of 2003 were doing.” [The Comichron]
Comic-Con | A reminder: Four-day and single-day passes for Comic-Con International go on sale Monday at 9 a.m. PT. Note, though, that four-day memberships with Preview Night sold out on the last day of this year’s convention (more could be released later, depending on returns and cancellations). Prices have increased oh so slightly, from $100 to $105 for four-day memberships and from $35 to $37 for single-day passes.
Convention organizers also announced the first 20 special guests for the 2011 event, including Jordi Bernet, Jo Chen, Alan Davis, David Finch, Dave Gibbons, Jonathan Hickman, Jamal Igle, Mark Tatulli and Roy Thomas. [Comic-Con International]
Legal | A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a new Massachusetts Internet law designed to protect children from sexually explicit material, say the legislation was so broad that it would criminalize legitimate websites and electronic communication. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit opposing the statute. [The Boston Globe]
Early this morning AdHouse Books gave subscribers to its e-newsletter the exclusive first look at one of its upcoming projects: a collection of rare newspaper strips by Joshua Cotter (Skyscrapers of the Midwest).
The book, titled Barbra in the Sky with Neil Diamonds, is a collection of the newspaper strips Cotter created from 2002 to 2007 for the Kansas City Star. AdHouse is taking a unique approach to this, with a print run of just 99 copies, each one being numbered and accompanied with a matching S&N print. It’s going to retail for $39.99 and will debut in December at the Brooklyn Graphic Art Festival.
Via the AdHouse blog comes word that comics creator Joshua Cotter has a spiffy new website. The creator of Skyscrapers of the Midwest and Driven by Lemons, who our own Tim O’Shea interviewed recently, has tons of art, strips and other cool stuff up on the site. Go check it out.
Every once and awhile an email interview evolves far beyond my basic questions. But never has an email interview grown into something as constructive, candid and insightful as this email interview with Joshua Cotter. Longtime readers of Talking Comics with Tim may remember my email interview with Cotter last year. Back then we discussed Skyscrapers of the Midwest as well as the (then upcoming) Driven by Lemons (a 13-page preview of which AdHouse offers here). Cotter was such a fun interview then I wanted to catch up with him again this year. I wanted to discuss Driven by Lemons some more (now having had a chance to take it all in). I sent Cotter my questions and waited. Soon he replied with the following. I was amazed that after pouring all of this effort into his initial reply he was also still willing to reply to my (compared to what he had to say) inadequate questions. I can’t agree with everything Cotter writes (nor do I think he expects or wants anyone to agree with him). Where I most disagree is his assessment of himself. He’s an acutely astute and informed observer of the human condition who does not give himself enough credit for his emotional and intellectual efforts to get to a better place, literally and figuratively.
Hey, Tim. I bet you weren’t expecting this. Below is something that came out of my brain this afternoon. I started answering the questions, but I’ve been writing for hours and wanted to send it to you, since it may take the interview in an entirely different direction than you intended. And if you’d rather just ignore the pre-question rambles, I’d completely understand. I can find an outlet for it somewhere… but like I said, I’m tired. Here goes…