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Comics A.M. | B&N has $74M loss; Lew Sayre Schwartz passes away

by  in Comic News Comment

Retailing | As the bankrupt Borders Group weighs competing bids, Barnes & Noble — the largest book chain in the United States — reports a loss of $74 million for the fiscal year, in part because of heavy investment in its digital initiatives. However, the company saw a 50-percent sales increase at BN.com, fueled by Nook devices and digital content sold through the Nook Bookstore. [Publishers Weekly]

Passings | Lew Sayre Schwartz, one of Bob Kane’s ghost artists on Batman and Detective Comics, passed away June 7 as the result of an injury suffered in a fall. He was 84. Schwartz drew as many as 120 Batman stories between 1948 and 1953, all signed “Bob Kane,” before leaving comics after a junket entertaining troops in Korea. Eddie Campbell quotes Schwartz as saying, “’When I got back, I couldn’t stand drawing another page’ of Batman.” He went on to work in television advertising, co-founding the commercial production company Ferro, Mogubgub and Schwartz. [Mark Evanier, ComicMix]

Conventions | Scott Lewis looks at the plan by Mayor Jerry Sanders to pay for the $500-million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center: the Convention Center Assessment District, an entity that will add an additional 3 percent tax on room bills for hotels downtown, 2 percent on those out to Mission Valley, and 1 percent on those farther away. [Voice of San Diego]


Conventions | Deborah Vankin spotlights Tr!ckster, a pop-up event being spearheaded by Scott Morse and Ted Mathot as an alternative to Comic-Con International. The combination retail space/art gallery/convention emphasizing creator-owned and -driven work will be set up in the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, across the street from the San Diego Convention Center, from July 19 to July 24. [Hero Complex]

Conventions | Dave Carter reports on the third annual Kids Read Comics! convention held last weekend in Chelsea, Michigan. [Yet Another Comics Blog]

Digital comics | Corrina Lawson pens an open letter to DC Comics concerning the publisher’s recently announced digital pricing model: “I’m not saying DC should put up their new books for free — I can see all kinds of piracy problems plus the issues with cutting into comic retailers profits — but DC should seriously think about putting up a large amount of its backlist for digital distribution. Want to get fans hooked on the new Batman and Robin, now Bruce Wayne and his son, Damian Wayne? Offer for free the digital version of the trade paperback that introduces Damian or the storyline that brought back Bruce from the dead, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. Want people to get hooked on Scott Snyder’s Batman? Offer an issue or two of his current run on Detective for free. Want people to read the new Green Lantern comics? Give those who buy the digital issues at $2.99 a free digital trade paperback of Blackest Night, the last big Green Lantern event. Or even offer subscriptions in bundles. Pay $10 a month and get all the various Batman titles. Or something similar for all the Green Lantern books.” [GeekDad]

Legal | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund comes out in opposition of a new Tennessee law that makes it illegal to post images online that cause “emotional distress.” [CBLDF]


Creators | Grant Morrison discusses his upcoming book Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero: “A lot of the superheroes, like Flash, don’t even need a great backstory. If you look back to the early Zorro film, which influenced Batman, Zorro just turns up and starts kicking ass. There’s no indication why he became Zorro or why he chose to dress like that. The modern approach to comic superheroes only came in later, when adults started to ask dumb questions like, ‘Why would he do that? How could he afford to do that?’ These are really stupid questions to ask of fantasy, but people did ask them, and then try to answer them. A superhero doesn’t really need a major motivation, though the best ones tend to have something big going on: Batman’s parents or Superman losing an entire planet so he has to protect this one. And a superhero needs to have a good silhouette; they need to be distinguishable.” [The List]

Creators | Writers Ed Brubaker and Duane Swierczynski talk about Swierczynski’s new novel Fun & Games, Criminal, the importance of setting, and more. [Mulholland Books]

Creators | Eva Volin interviews Barry Deutsch, creator of Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword. [Good Comics for Kids]

Comics | Jeff Trexler begins a multi-part look back at the Comics Code. [The Comics Journal]

The company says results were hurt by Borders’ liquidation sales at 200 of its stores as part of its rival’s bankruptcy reorganization.