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Comics A.M. | Creators, publishers speak out against SOPA, PIPA

Neil Gaiman

Internet | Sandman co-creator Neil Gaiman joined with Trent Reznor, Aziz Ansari, OK Go and 14 other members of the creative community in signing an open letter to Congress against the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. “We fear that the broad new enforcement powers provided under SOPA and PIPA could be easily abused against legitimate services like those upon which we depend. These bills would allow entire websites to be blocked without due process, causing collateral damage to the legitimate users of the same services – artists and creators like us who would be censored as a result,” the letter states.

Warren Ellis and Fantagraphics have also come out against the bill, while Peter David, who is against the bill in its current form, takes aim at those who “endorsed the piracy, supported the piracy, enabled the piracy, felt their own actions weren’t piracy, and now refuse to accept the consequences of their own actions.” ComicsAlliance has posted an editorial against the bill and rounded up webcomic reactions to the blackout. [NeilGaiman.com]

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Archie co-CEO accuses company of smear campaign

Nancy Silberkleit

Archie Comics Co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit claims the company’s lawsuit against her is merely “a thinly veneered attempt to smear my name and gain complete corporate control” for her counterpart Jon Goldwater.

The lawsuit, filed early last month, accuses Silberkleit of bullying and sexually harassing employees, and sought to bar her from the publisher’s Mamaroneck, N.Y., headquarters and from representing the company at Comic-Con International. A judge allowed her to return to work and attend the San Diego convention, but she’s not permitted to talk to vendors.

According to Archie, Silberklet’s “offensive” behavior dates back to 2009, when she stepped into the co-CEO role following the death of her husband Michael Silberkleit, son of co-founder Louis Silberkleit. In one incident, she allegedly interrupted a meeting and pointed to each of the four men in the room, shouting “PENIS, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS.” In another, she reportedly complained that her “balls hurt.” Another employee asserts he heard Silberkleit say, “All you penises think you can run me out.”

The company contends it hired an outside firm to investigate employee allegations of Silberkleit’s actions, and was advised to cut ties with her.

However, The Journal News reports that Silberkleit denies the allegations and claims that Goldwater, son of Archie Comics co-founder John L. Goldwater, is a chauvinist who’s attempting to drive her out of the company.

“He has called me ‘stupid,’ a ‘moron,’ and ‘despicable,’” the former art teacher said in an affidavit filed last week. “In the presence of others he has told me to ‘shut up’ and ‘why can’t you be sweet, nice and quiet like a lady?’ ”

She accuses Goldwater of making corporate decisions without her, canceling a children’s literacy tour without telling her, and turning employees against her. “Mr. Goldwater long ago and repeatedly has told some employees and also people within the industry that he would get rid of me one way or the other,” Silberkleit wrote.

Her attorney has filed a motion to dismiss the company’s lawsuit. A hearing is set for Aug. 16 in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Report: Archie Comics sues Co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit

Nancy Silberkleit

Archie Comics has filed a lawsuit against Co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit accusing her of bullying and sexually harassing employees, TMZ reports. The company is asking a judge for an injunction preventing Silberkleit from returning to its Mamaroneck, N.Y., headquarters and from representing the company at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Wife of the late Michael Silberkleit, son of Archie Comics co-founder Louis Silberkleit, Nancy Silberkleit was an art teacher who stepped into the co-CEO role in 2009 following the death of her husband. She shares the title with Jon Goldwater, son of company co-founder John L. Goldwater.

TMZ reports that the lawsuit, filed Thursday in New York, documents employee complaints of Silberkleit’s “offensive” behavior dating back to 2009. In one incident she allegedly interrupted a meeting and “pointed to each [attendee] and said, ‘PENIS, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS’ and then walked out.”

Archie Comics claims it hired an outside firm to investigate the allegations, and was advised to cut ties with Silberkleit.

Comics A.M. | The graphic novel market, and webcomic economics

Diamond Book Distributors

Publishing | Calvin Reid interviews Kuo-Yu Liang, vice president of sales and marketing at Diamond Book Distributors, about the state of graphic novel sales, the international market, manga and more: “I think we are entering the golden age of selling graphic novels. The demographics and the audience are both broadening. We are lucky that the core readers have stuck with us through the recession. We are finding new readers crossing over from literary, commercial, speculative and genre fiction. Non-fiction graphic novels are doing well. We’re getting more kids and parents (I’ll talk more about that later). I also think the growth of internet shopping has changed the game, because now it is easier than ever to find what you like to read, and get recommendation from fellow readers. The key is still good books. Without them, we don’t have an industry.” [Publishers Weekly]

Publishing | Heidi MacDonald spotlights BOOM! Studios, with a focus on the publisher’s marketing efforts. “The secret to our success to go to the thing that other people haven’t done; it isn’t to go head to head against people, or trying to take their market share away or trying to duplicate their editorial style,” says co-founder Ross Richie. “We’ve had to invent a space in the market place to exist. ” [Publishers Weekly]

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