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Comics A.M. | ‘Cash mob’ rallies to help struggling store

Cape & Cowl owner Jay Roy, during the Feb. 13 "cash mob"

Cape & Cowl owner Jay Roy, during the Feb. 13 “cash mob”

Retailing | When the customers of Cape & Cowl Comics in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, heard the store was falling on tough times, they organized a “cash mob” to rescue it: They gathered in a nearby park and walked together to the store, where they each spent at least $10. “We created a lot of ruckus along the way,” said Jennifer Welcher, one of the organizers. “The whole idea was to draw some attention to the place, and make a lot of noise on the way up.” Beyond selling comics, Cape & Cowl has promoted local crafts and created a safe space for LGBTQ youth, and it’s a popular community spot, but like many comic shops, it saw a dip in sales in the last two months. Owner Jay Roy says he was concerned he would have to close up in March, but the cash mob, which spent more than $5,000, brought in enough to get him through the winter. [Truro Daily News]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Roller Girl,’ ‘Nimona’ win Cybils awards

roller-girl-social

Awards | The winners of the Cybils book blogger awards, which honor children’s and young-adult books, were announced on Saturday. Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl won the graphic novel prize in the elementary/middle school category, while Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona was the winner of the young adult award. [Cybils]

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Comics A.M. | Near-mint ‘Amazing Fantasy’ #15 could sell for $400K

amazing fantasy15

Auctions | A near-mint copy of Marvel Amazing Fantasy #15, featuring the 1962 first appearance of Spider-Man, is expected to sell for more than $400,000 at auction later this month. “We think this comic has the potential to realize the highest price ever paid at public auction for a Spider-Man comic book,” said Lon Allen, managing director of the comics department at Heritage Auctions. “It could soar well past our estimate.” [Fine Books & Collections]

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Comics A.M. | Oregon paper pulls ‘Non Sequitur’ cartoon; Daniel Clowes honored by fellow artists

Non Sequitur

Non Sequitur

Comic Strips | The Portland Oregonian pulled three Non Sequitur strips that made fun of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge after one of the occupiers was killed. “The strip, which had been making fun of such groups, seemed jarring and in poor taste given that someone now was dead,” said Oregonian editor Mark Katches. “That decision has yielded a grand total of two reader complaints.” Cartoonist Whitey Miller said he did not know the strips were being pulled and replaced with older ones. “This is the first I’ve heard about it,” he said. “Not controversial to my knowledge.” [Willamette Week]

Creators | Set aside some time this weekend to read Robert Ito’s in-depth profile of Daniel Clowes, which covers his life and career from his childhood through his most recent work, Patience. The piece is illustrated with drawings by prominent cartoonists such as Seth, Rutu Modan, and Richard Sala, as well as photos by Ian Allen. [California Sunday]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Valerian’ creator on (possibly) influencing ‘Star Wars’

valerian2

Creators | Pierre Christin, the creator of Valerian and Laureline, discusses the possibility that his space opera was a source for the Star Wars movies — and how he and his collaborator Jean-Claude Mézières changed the story to move it away from the Star Wars universe: “I instantly felt connected with Star Wars because of the number of intersections and parallels with our comic strips. George Lucas had created complex worlds, just as we had. Like us, he had staged the functioning of societies from within, although Star Wars focused perhaps a bit more on the struggle between good and evil. In this respect, Valerian was more European, more intellectual.” [EuropeComics]

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Comics A.M. | Complete set of Marvel comics sells for $200,000

marvel collection

Retailing | The complete set of Marvel comic books offered for sale by B-Bop Comics of Kansas City has been sold to an anonymous buyer for for the asking price of $200,000. “The first guys who came to look at it bought it,” said B-Bop owner Frank Mangiaracina. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Black Keys’ Daniel Auerbach to create comic soundtrack

"Murder Ballads" art by Paul Reinwand

“Murder Ballads” art by Paul Reinwand

Music | Daniel Auerbach, half of the blues/rock duo The Black Keys, is creating a soundtrack album to go with the new comic book miniseries Murder Ballads, which publisher Z2 Comics describes as a “rock ’n’ roll noir story about the music industry and redemption.” The comic, by Gabe Soria and Paul Reinwand, will debut later this year. [Vulture]

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Comics A.M. | Viz Media expands Walmart deal, makes Best Buy debut

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1

Publishing | Viz Media has struck separate agreements that will expand the number of manga titles it sells at Walmart and bring its books to Best Buy for the first time. Under the Walmart deal, bestsellers Tokyo Ghoul, Pokeman, One Punch Man and the new Naruto one-shots will be available in more than 2,000 of the retailer’s locations across the United States. Under the Best Buy agreement, two Naruto titles and Assassination Classroom will be packaged with their respective anime and featured in floor displays at 687 locations. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | The changing industry and its changing audience

The Mighty Thor #2

The Mighty Thor #2

Comics | The comics industry has undergone seismic changes in the past few years, and Heidi MacDonald rounds up some recent comments from retailers and pundits about what they’re seeing. It’s a good read that leads to many other good reads, but here’s the takeaway: “
The real issue — one that many people in the industry may have trouble dealing with — is that the comics audience has changed. They didn’t get into comics during the first run of the Ultimate universe. They didn’t come in with the original 52 mini series or Final Crisis. They probably didn’t even start with the New 52. The methods and product mixes that were formulated to deal with a readership that grew up when comics were a niche product for nerds have to be reevaluated when new readers are coming in from the top properties in every form of entertainment, from graphic novels that they were taught in school, from webcomics, from creators with strong social media, from every which way. There is no well marked four lane highway to comics any more, just a delightful variety of roads, interstates and worn down dirt paths.” [The Beat]

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Comics A.M. | Ta-Nehisi Coates among Book Critics award finalists

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Awards | Adding to a list of recent honors that includes a National Book Award and a MacArthur “genius grant,” author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates has been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism for his acclaimed memoir Between the World and Me. Coates is collaborating with artist Brian Stelfreeze on Marvel’s new Black Panther series, which debuts in April. [The New York Times]

Creators | Comics-industry pundit Rob Salkowitz looks at the resurgence of interest in Jack Kirby, who has posthumously received credit (and pay) for the work he created over the years for Marvel Comics: “For decades, the story of how everyone made a fortune off the work of this visionary creator except for Kirby himself – who until his final days toiled to eke out financial security for his family – stood as one of the most egregious injustices in an industry distinguished by its ill-treatment of creative talent. Now, as we approach his centenary in 2017, the man that Stan Lee nicknamed ‘King of the Comics’ is finally starting to get his due in the wider world of art, culture and commerce.” [Forbes]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan: No Regrets’ DVDs to be bundled with manga

Art by Cameron Stewart

Art by Cameron Stewart

Manga | Kodansha Comics will bundle DVDs of the first and second episodes of the anime Attack on Titan: No Regrets with the U.S. release of special editions of the 18th and 19th volumes of the Attack on Titan manga, respectively. The company also revealed a variant cover for the special edition of Vol. 18 drawn by Cameron Stewart (Batgirl, Catwoman). Attack on Titan: No Regrets is adapted from the spinoff manga of the same name, a prequel to the main series that tells the story of Captain Levi and Commander Erwin. In Japan, the two DVDs were bundled with volumes 15 and 16 of Attack on Titan. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Charlie Hebdo’ cartoon sparks outrage

charlie hebdo-cartoon

Political cartoons | The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is in the headlines again, this time because of a cartoon that asks “What would little Aylan have become if he grew up? A groper of buttocks in Germany.” The cartoon shows two lecherous men running after women; in an inset is a drawing of the famous photograph of the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, who drowned off the coast of Turkey while fleeing Syria. The cartoon refers to reports that large numbers of men who appeared to be Arab robbed and sexually assaulted women in several German cities during the New Year’s celebrations. While many critics accused the magazine of racism, others countered that the cartoon is a commentary on how quickly European public opinion has swung from sympathy to xenophobia. The cartoon was drawn by Charlie Hebdo staffer Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, who survived the deadly January 2015 attack on the magazine’s Paris offices.[CNN]

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Comics A.M. | Comics, diversity and the ‘Asian superhero’

Silk #1

Silk #1

Comics | Keith Chow, editor of The Nerds of Color, responds to the New York Times opinion column that questioned the very concept of an Asian superhero, pointing out that there have actually been a number of successful Asian superheroes, several of whom debuted this year; that contrary to what the writer Umapagan Ampikaipakan says, there are a lot of superheroes in manga; and that the story of Superman, the original superhero, was essentially an immigrant story. “Coincidentally, Ampikaipakan derisively refers to Kamala Khan’s storyline in ‘Ms. Marvel’ as ‘merely another retelling of the classic American immigrant experience,’ and therefore not worthy of the universality of the superhero archetype,” Chow writes. “I guess immigrant experiences only matter so long as the immigrant isn’t brown.” [NBC News]

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Comics A.M. | The state of the newspaper comics page

Evil Inc.

Evil Inc.

Comic strips | The end of Edge City has generated a conversation about newspaper comics in general. As co-creator Ray LaBan says, creating a comic strip was his childhood fantasy, and he got to do it, “But I got to do it when everybody stopped paying attention.” This article takes a broad view, looking at the fact that newspapers’ budgets for comics, like everything else, are shrinking, online portals are providing alternatives, and readers’ strong preferences for legacy strips like Beetle Bailey and Blondie, as well as safe topics, are limiting the opportunities for new strips. Universal UClick launches one new strip a year, according to president John Glynn. On the other hand, creator Brad Guigar is taking his comic Evil Inc. out of the Inquirer because he can do better with a more mature version, published online and supported through Patreon. With interviews with the syndicates, a newspaper features editor, and creators, this piece is a well rounded look at the current state of syndicated comics. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

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Comics A.M. | Store employee foils theft of $114 in comics

JHU Comic Books employee Dani Ward (via JHU Comic Books)

JHU Comic Books employee Dani Ward (via JHU Comic Books)

Crime | An alert employee of JHU Comic Books in Staten Island helped foil a would-be shoplifter who was trying to make off with $114 worth of comics in his pants. According to police, Dani Ward noticed that Nicholas Perciballi, 22, was acting nervous, and she suspected he might be up to something, so she kept her eye on him as he shopped. Sure enough, as he was leaving the store, he allegedly dropped some comics from underneath his shirt. Ward reportedly called out and ran after Perciballi, then called the cops, who picked him up about 20 minutes later. When he was searched, police say they found four packets of heroin and a number of comics hidden in his clothes. Perciballi has been arrested three times in recent months on drug charges, and he allegedly told police, “I’m selling to support my habit and to cover my court fees from my last case.” [New York Daily News]

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