Retailing | Former retailer Atom! Freeman, now sales manager for the revived Valiant Entertainment, has set out to contact every comics retailer in the direct market to promote the publisher’s upcoming superhero line. What has he learned? Retailers are divided on the importance of variant covers, and they don’t place a high value on returnability, but they care a lot about timeliness: “I try to ask every retailer I speak with what his or her biggest concern is in dealing with a new publisher. The number one answer I get is timeliness. Retailers want to know that they will have a consistent product shipped on a consistent schedule.” [ICv2]
Retailing | Todd Allen’s survey of readers of The Beat, admittedly a specialized audience, reveals that more than two-thirds use pre-ordering as their primary method of buying comics, although many will pick up a few off the rack as well. [The Beat]
Awards | Paul Register, founder and organizer of the Stan Lee Excelsior Awards, writes about how the awards, which are selected by 11- to 16-year-olds in the U.K., came to be and why they are important: “In a system that rarely studies complete texts and doesn’t overtly place a huge importance on the clear benefits of children reading outside the classroom, comics have become marginalised in schools at a time when their potential for raising literacy standards amongst teenagers has arguably never been greater. The Excelsior Award is an attempt to give children the opportunity to take ownership of their own reading and to feel that reading books that they actually want to read – as opposed to being told to read – is not a waste of time.” [Comics Forum]
Publishing | Fantagraphics President Gary Groth comments on Matthias Wivel’s review of Carl Barks’ Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes, adding some insight with regard to re-coloring the comics, numbering the volumes, the order of the stories, and the shortcomings of earlier reprint editions. [The Comics Journal]
Digital comics | Webcomics creator R. Stevens used iBooks Author to compile a collected edition of the December Diesel Sweeties comics, and just a week later, he reckons that 10,000 people have downloaded the free e-book. He discusses the pros and cons of the system, as well as distribution (he chose to use Dropbox rather than the iBooks store) and sees it as a serious strategy for the future. [Diesel Sweeties]
Creators | Alex Berry talks to Zegas creator Michael Fiffe about making comics and writing about them: “Well, I’m a cartoonist first and foremost. All the other stuff is just a way of sorting through my own interests and learning curves. The first interview I conducted was based on a personal need to find something out. I had tracked down the cartoonist Trevor Von Eeden and wanted to know what he was up to and how his career developed. You know, basic interview stuff, except it didn’t exist for him, so I sought it out myself. From that, I learned to somewhat voice my own views and approaches to comics.” [Spandexless]
Creators | David Robertson talks briefly about his graphic novel Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story, which tells the true story of a Native American girl who was sent away to a boarding school and subjected to abuse and discrimination. There is a short preview at the site as well. [CBC Manitoba]
Comics | Ben Morse celebrates the exploits of The Ray, a superhero who didn’t quite make the big time. [The Cool Kids Table]
Comics | Tom Gill takes a long look at the work of Garo manga artist Yoshiharu Tsuge, with particular attention to his classic work The Incident at Nishibeta Village. [The Hooded Utilitarian]
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