Retailing | The Sacramento, California, comic shop Big Brother Comics was severely damaged last weekend by a fire. Owner Kenny Russell, whose apartment adjoins the store, heard a loud noise on Sunday morning and opened his back door to see his store in flames. “It was all on fire, like movie-style fire,” he said. Although firefighters responded quickly, and his apartment was protected by fire doors, his store is “toast” and much of his merchandise suffered smoke damage. A GoFundMe campaign to help Russell rebuild has already brought in more than $12,000. [KCRA]
Graphic novels | The deluxe edition of “Batman: The Killing Joke” topped the June BookScan graphic novel list, which ranks graphic novels by their sales in bookstores and mass-market channels. The seventh volume of “Tokyo Ghoul” was in the No. 2 slot, followed by Book One of “Preacher.” Three other volumes of “Tokyo Ghoul” made the list, as did Book Two of “Preacher.” There were several new additions, including Chuck Palahniuk’s “Fight Club 2,” Maximilian Uriarte’s “The White Donkey” and Ethan Hawke’s “Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars,” as well as the perennial “Watchmen.” And shoujo manga made a rare appearance, with the second volume of Ichigo Takano’s “Orange: The Complete Collection” at No. 20 [ICv2]
Creators | Cartoonist Lynda Barry paid a visit to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to do a Story Lab, a seminar on storytelling, for staff in the agency’s Office of Communications. She immediately threw everyone off balance by insisting they turn off their electronic devices.”The phone gives us a lot but it takes away three key elements of discovery: loneliness, uncertainty and boredom. Those have always been where creative ideas come from,” she said. And it worked: “With Lynda, each little piece of the activities we did helped me think about how I tell stories and how I can do that differently,” said web editor Rob Garner. “I’ve been at Goddard for nine years, and this has certainly been my favorite [Story Lab].” [Wisconsin Institute for Discovery]
Comics | Despite their country’s economic woes, a group of artists in Zimbabwe are determined to establish a robust comics industry there. “America’s comic book industry was built during the Great Depression,” said writer Tafadzwa Banda, “So no one should see Zimbabwe’s depression as a hindrance. It’s an opportunity.” [UN Dispatch]
Festivals | This fall, Small Press Expo will celebrate Fantagraphics’ 40th anniversary with a slate of featured guests that will include Trina Robbins, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Joe Sacco, Daniel Clowes, Carol Tyler and Ed Piskor. [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | This year’s Anime Expo set a new attendance record, with more than 100,000 unique attendees — a 10 percent increase over last year, according to organizers. [Anime News Network]
Retailing | Kaboom Chat is a text-based comic store that uses the Samus Chat app to allow customers to specify their preferences. They then can purchase comics from an SMS-based store. The app also delivers breaking news and allows users to chat with human staffers. [Chain Store Age]
Retailing | Curt Schoob and David Gloyd are starting their comics retail business with online sales, and they are hoping to open a store in their town of West Bend, Wisconsin, within the year. In the meantime, they will be building the business and keeping contact with the community via a weekly comics club. [GM Today]
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