Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

by  in Comic News Comment
Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Publishing | Bolstered by Batman and Robin #1, Captain America #600 and the Dark Reign titles, direct-market sales rose 6 percent in June over the previous year. However, sales of the Top 100 graphic novels plummeted 35 percent.

According to the retailer-oriented website, comic sales were down 3 percent from the second quarter of 2008, and 4 percent for the first half. The reason? Higher cover prices, possibly: “It’s worth noting that the declines in comic sales come in the face of significant price hikes on the bestselling titles. Eleven titles out of the top 25 comics in June 2009 were over $2.99; only three were over $2.99 in June 2008.”

Still, the debut of Batman and Robin sold an estimated 168,604 copies, making it the best-selling comic since January’s Amazing Spider-Man #583, which featured President Obama. The Final Crisis hardcover was the top-selling graphic novel, with an estimated 8,219 copies. []

Legal | Following last week’s ruling in the prolonged legal battle over Superman, Michael Moran speaks with Siegel family attorney Marc Toberoff, who says it’s “absolutely” possible his clients and the Joe Shuster estate could take Superman to another company in 2013.  That’s when, under U.S. law, Shuster’s executors will recover his share of the copyright.

“I was looking for an analogy to World War II: We won the war but they still want to fight the battle,” Toberoff says. “The more we fight, the closer we get to 2013. Plus all the fighting just antagonises my clients. So it’s almost like they are driving my clients into the arms of a competing studio.”

Graeme McMillan, meanwhile, zeroes in on recent claims made by Warner Bros. that Superman is “damaged goods” and “uncool.”

And Tom McLean expresses his frustration with many fans over their reaction to the feud between the Siegels and Warner Bros.: “What amazes me is that so many people buy the line that Warner Bros. and DC are entitled to make as much as they can off of Superman without any kind of legal or moral obligation to the Siegels of the world. It’s some strange kind of American corporatist thinking that gives all the power and rewards to the corporate executives who exploit a work and cuts out completely the creative people elements that give a character and a story life in the first place.” [CBR’s analysis]

Conventions | Christina Jeng chats briefly with Jeff Yang, co-chair of last weekend’s first Asian American Comicon in New York City. [The Wall Street Journal]

Publishing | Deb Aoki summarizes the industry-only panel at Anime Expo that focused on the problems of “OEL manga” in the United States. []

Webcomics | Johanna Draper Carlson checks in on this month’s Zuda Comics competitors, and questions a lack of genre diversity. Discussion continues in the comments section. [Comics Worth Reading]

Creators | Douglas Belkin looks at the $70,000 renovation of the Cleveland home where teen-agers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman. [The Wall Street Journal]

Creators | Terry Gilliam recalls the genius of his mentor, cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman. [Telegraph]

Creators | Tom Spurgeon talks at length with cartoonist Peter Bagge. [The Comics Reporter]

Creators | Seth discusses George Sprott: 1894-1975, book design and lettering: “Certainly hand-done display lettering is a dying art in the modern world–however cartoonists still continue to produce a lot of it. It’s one of the basic skills in a cartoonist’s bag. Personally I cannot imagine doing comics and not being concerned with the lettering–a computer will never replace the hand there. Nothing looks so good with a cartoonist’s drawing as a nice piece of hand-done display lettering.” [Omnivoracious]

Creators | Lynn Johnston chats briefly about her children’s book Farley Follows His Nose, and For Better or For Worse. [Canoe]

Creators | The Framingham, Mass., newspaper profiles Nathan Schreiber, whose webcomic Power Out is set in a fictionalized version of his hometown, Ashland, Mass. [MetroWest Daily News]

Creators | Mark Sable talks about his new BOOM! Studios series Unthinkable. [Lehigh Valley Live]

Creators | Mark Waid’s long-lost “An Ode to Bat-Hound.” [The Captain’s JLA Blog, via The Cool Kids Table]

Process | Todd Klein walks through his design process with Kevin O’Neill on some interior pages of The Black Dossier. [Todd’s Blog]