LOOK: Frank Miller's "Dark Knight III" Wraparound Variant Revealed
Piracy | The Japanese government is joining with 15 anime production companies and manga publishers to launch a major initiative that will target foreign pirate sites. The push will start Aug. 1 and will have two components: The government will send takedown requests to 580 pirate sites and also launch a website that directs people to legitimate sources of online manga. The Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency estimates that Chinese pirate sites cost the industry 560 billion yen (about $5.5 million) last year. [Crunchyroll]
Comics | Lidia Jean Kott talks with writer Jason Aaron about his female Thor and pays a visit to Fantom Comics in Washington, D.C., where a quarter of the customers are women and the bestselling title is Saga (the bestselling superhero comic is Ms. Marvel). [NPR]
Manga | While Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has been burning up the bookstore sales charts in the United States, the dystopian manga is also giving the smash-hit One Piece a run for its money in Japan. According to market research firm Oricon, Attack on Titan sold more than 15.9 million copies in the past year, just behind One Piece‘s 18.1 million (Kuroko’s Basketball is a distance third with about 8.8 million). Of course, Eiichiro Oda insanely popular pirate manga has little to fear: The 72-volume (and counting) series has 300 million copies in print in Japan, and 345 million worldwide. Kodansha’s Attack on Titan, meanwhile, is on its 11th volume. [ICv2]
Auctions | Select titles from Don and Maggie Thompson’s collection of rare comics — among them, The Avengers #1, Journey Into Mystery #83 and The Incredible Hulk #1 — sold at auction last week for a combined $835,384. A 9.6 copy of Tales of Suspense #39 alone fetched $262,900. [Heritage Auctions]
Auctions | Comics industry legend Maggie Thompson plans to put up for auction 524 comics from her personal collection. Thompson, who with her late husband Don was a longtime editor of the Comics Buyer’s Guide, estimates that she has 10,000 comics, all stored in a special vault-like addition to her home, which she built using the money from a previous sale, of Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man) and the first 100 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. Bidding on the first batch of comics, which includes The Avengers #1, Journey into Mystery #83 (first appearance of Thor), The Incredible Hulk #1, and original cover art from Conan #4, begins today. [The Associated Press]
Comics | ICv2 releases the results of its White Paper (previously reported at Comic Book Resources), which tracks comics and graphic novel sales in all channels. Briefly, the report shows that sales of comics and graphic novels are up, manga is up dramatically, and digital comics sales continue to increase — although growth is slowing a bit, which is to be expected as the base increases. [ICv2]
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald reports that shareholders of Platinum Studios held a conference call Wednesday, with President Chris Beall sending a letter to founder Scott Rosenberg suspending him indefinitely as the company’s chief executive officer. Rich Johnston posted the press release announcing the call, and some of the topics on the agenda were fairly jaw-dropping. [The Beat]
Publishing | Andrews McMeel Publishing and Universal UClick (which are different divisions of the same company) are collaborating on a new line of digital comics, Udig, which collects themed newspaper strips into short e-books (the one I checked had 55 comics) for $2.99 each. [Good E-Reader]
Krause Publications announced this morning that, after 42 years, it will shutter Comics Buyer’s Guide, the longest-running publication reporting on the U.S. comic-book industry. The March issue, the magazine’s 1,699th, will be its last.
In a press release, the company cited poor market conditions, a downturn in print advertising, and the increasing availability of free online content.
Founded in 1971 by Alan Light as a monthly tabloid newspaper, Comics Buyer’s Guide quickly moved to twice-monthly publication and then, by 1975, weekly. It was purchased in 1983 by Krause, which hired veteran columnists Don and Maggie Thompson as editors. Don passed away in 1994, but Maggie remained as editor until 2007, when she became senior editor and longtime associate editor Brent Frankenhoff was promoted to his current position. She was announced just last week as a monthly columnist for Comic-Con International’s new blog Toucan.
“The magazine business is in worse shape than the comics business by far, and while there is still a market for the right magazine model (Alter Ego, etc.), there evidently wasn’t another evolution left in CBG,” former employee and columnist John Jackson Miller writes in a lengthy overview of the publication’s history. “The staff received news of the cancellation just after the new year. Issue #1699 had already gone to press, so there will be no anniversary issue, nor acknowledgment in the magazine. The last thing in the magazine is, as always, a column by Peter David, who suffered a stroke at the end of 2012. I expected such an announcement sooner, as FW/Krause had already folded Comics & Games Retailer and the much more lucrative Scrye several years ago; still, I am deeply saddened to see it come to pass, both for the history of comics and for the friends and neighbors who worked there.”