Retailing | Dennis Barger, co-owner of Wonderworld Comics in Taylor, Michigan, and the driving force behind the new retailer association CBRA (Comic Book Retailers Alliance), says direct-market stores want publishers to pull back on same-day digital release, and debut the print comics first. He says ComicsPRO, the established, much larger, trade organization, is taking the wrong approach in trying to adapt to digital. Barger also feels that hand-selling by employees, not social media, is what propels sales of comics, especially non-Big Two titles: “The employees at local comic shops pushing these books is the difference in being in the top 200 and the bottom 300 in sales for those books.” A shift to digital, which removes the local comics shop from the equation, would thus harm second-tier publishers such as Dark Horse, BOOM! Studios and IDW. The association was able to purchase an exclusive variant cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #1, drawn by John Romita Sr., for its members. [The News-Herald]
Manga | Residents around Japan’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are up in arms about a story in the long-running foodie manga Oishinbo. In the story, which appeared in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits magazine, the characters visit the plant and are briefly exposed to radiation. Later, they suffer from headaches, fatigue and nosebleeds, and the mayor tells them the locals also have these symptoms but don’t talk about it openly. A tweet protesting the story has received more than 13,000 retweets, and the managing editor of the magazine says the office has received a deluge of telephone and email complaints. The safety of food from the area, including fish and mushrooms, has been a matter of widespread public concern since the plant was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. [Japan Times]
Comics | Brian Truitt puts together an if-you-like-this-try-that guide to the Free Comic Book Day releases; it’s a handy tool for picking just the right book for your friends who don’t regularly read comics. [USA Today]
Comics | India doesn’t just have a Free Comic Book Day, it has a Free Comic Book Weekend, with a number of Indian publishers offering free digital downloads on Saturday and Sunday. [Daijiworld.com]
Creators | Alex Dueben interviews Mimi Pond about her new graphic novel Over Easy, a lightly fictionalized account of her time as a waitress in a California diner in the late 1970s. [Suicide Girls]
Creators | J. Michael Straczynski talks about his new Image Comics series Dream Police: “I grew up without friends for most of that, and no stability. My subconscious, needing some kind of continuity, began to stitch tighter some of the places I’d lived into a dream city, a familiar neighborhood cobbled together from bits and pieces that I still sometimes dream about. I know where all the stores and theaters and restaurants are, and I used to wonder who kept the peace in a stable dreamscape like that. Hence, Dream Police.” [New York Daily News]
Creators | ROBOT 6 contributor Chris Arrant talks to Tom Pinchuk, writer of the new Max Steel graphic novel Max Steel: Haywire. [Newsarama]
Retailing | Kelly Tey looks at the Malaysian comics retailing scene, which peaked in the 1990s but looks pretty bleak today. [The Star]
Exhibits | Comics scholar Paul Gravett talks about the new exhibit at the British Library, “Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the U.K.,” which he helped curate: “It could easily have been a serious, reverential exhibition called ‘Graphic Literature’, and it could have been really dull. But we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose sight of comics’ subversive side. Comics have a long history of upsetting people, so it would be wrong to try to make them seem respectable.” [The Independent]
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