• The big news coming out of yesterday’s ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference in New York City is that graphic-novel sales rose by $20 million in 2008 to $395 million, driven largely by interest in the movies The Dark Knight and Watchmen.
Sales of manga, however, dropped from $210 million in 2007 to $175 million last year — roughly 2005 numbers. ICv2’s white paper attributes the decline to less exposure to manga-related anime on Cartoon Network, the worsening economy and, curiously enough, increased interest among female teens in Stephenie Meyers’ popular Twilight series.
Periodical comics also saw a slight decline, from $330 million in 2007 to $320 million in 2008.
• Heidi MacDonald notes a tweet from the conference in which Paul Levitz mentions DC Comics has printed another 200,000 copies of Watchmen. Tom Spurgeon isn’t amused: “… I want to say for the record it annoys the shit out of me to hear DC executives bragging about their Watchmen print runs when they’ve been hiding their print runs on almost everything for years and years and years, for no discernible reason but to be able to press the advantage of not having their crappier sales runs exposed when they get asses kicked by their competition, which is a lot.”
• Amid all the recent reports of comic shop and bookstore closings comes some good news: A new store opened in Salisbury, N.C., and another will debut next month in Springfield, Ohio. And Seattle’s Comic Stop chain appears to be thriving.