Comics A.M. | Borders bonus plan OK'd; more on Dark Horse layoffs

Retailing | A judge on Friday approved a proposal to pay Borders Group executives up to $6.6 million in bonuses as the bookseller reorganizes under federal bankruptcy protection. The company had originally requested $8.3 million -- that figure met with objections from the U.S. bankruptcy trustee -- in a bid to retain key corporate personnel. Since Borders filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 16, 47 executives and director-level employees have left, leaving only 15 people in senior management positions.

The approved plan comes with conditions, tying some bonuses to the company's ability to pay creditors and save $10 million over the next two years in leases on the remaining stores or in non-personnel cost reductions. [Businessweek, AnnArbor.com]

Publishing | Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson talks more about the publisher's recent layoffs, saying that some reports of the cutbacks were overblown: “We have 150 employees. We let seven people go across three different divisions. What is that 4%, 5%? Our staff was just getting too large. The real reason for the layoffs is that we get worried about the cost of doing business. We’re sitting there looking at the rising health insurance costs, the changes in the cost of doing business. We thought we were going to get some relief in the form of cover prices moving to $3.99, but I guess the market’s made a really strong statement on that price. Meanwhile we’re getting squeezed on paper and printing costs at the same time -- and creators certainly don’t want to take any less money.” [ICv2.com]

Creators | Clifford Meth reports that legendary artist Gene Colan is hospitalized again, awaiting surgery. "Despite his legendary optimism, Gene’s situation is tenuous," he writes. "His family hopes he can undergo a procedure early this week that may alleviate his pain. Regardless, it’s unlikely that my pal will be drawing for anyone anytime soon." To help generate "what might become much-needed funds," Meth is coordinating an auction of the last of Colan's artwork. Details are available at the link. [The Invincible Gene Colan Blog]

Creators | Shaun Tan is the subject of an extensive profile in The New York Times Magazine. [The New York Times]

Creators | Noelene Clark spotlights cartoonist Karl Stevens, whose graphic novel The Lodger is nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. [Hero Complex]

Creators | Adrian Tomine discusses Scenes from an Impending Marriage, living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and why he doesn't use Facebook or Twitter: "I know I'm in the minority here, but in my mind, it would make more sense to be asking other 36-year-olds, 'Why ARE you on Facebook and Twitter?' Especially now that I'm married and I have a kid, it just never occurs to me to spend my precious spare time trying to interact with complete strangers over the Internet. Besides, I'd have the most boring 'tweets' of all time: 'I just gave Nora lunch. I'm sitting at my drawing table.  I just changed Nora's diaper. I'm sitting at my drawing table.'" [Park Slope Patch]

Creators | Brett Johnson profiles Pearls Before Swine creator Stephan Pastis. [Ventura County Star]

Creators | John Layman chats about his hit Image Comics series Chew. [Fangoria]

Retailing | Rich Johnston reports on rumblings that Barnes & Noble plans to expand its comic book offerings. [Bleeding Cool]

Retailing | Brad Wilson, owner of Allstar Comics & Games in El Paso, Texas, marks 25 years in business. [El Paso Times]

Retailing | Reed Tucker asks a selection of New York City comic stores for reading recommendations to accompany the summer's superhero movies. [New York Post]

Conventions | Kara Patterson reports on Harmony Con 2011, a mini comic-book fair held Saturday at Harmony Cafe in Appleton, Wisc. [Appleton Post-Crescent]

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