Retailing | Tacoma, Washington, store Comic Book Ink, a seven-time nominee for the Will Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award, could close as early as August because of mounting debt. In a plea to customers, owner John Munn attributes the store's dire financial situation to a combination of the economy, relocation costs, an unresolved dispute with the previous landlord, the move by Diamond Comic Distributors to "call in short-term notes" in the wake of the Borders bankruptcy, and "personal trials." In the extremely frank letter, he lays out what steps he's taken (payment plans, using his salary from an outside job to cover payroll), and what he hesitates to do (fire staff, close the nearly nine-year-old store and declare bankruptcy): "I have juggled as far as I can juggle. I have kept a constant vigil on our shop, but currently it is resting on a house of cards and not a strong foundation (yet) that could go at any minute. [...] I need your help. This week is bad ... Very bad."
Munn asks that customers pick up any special orders or pull-list titles, purchase gift certificates, make a short-term loan or buy shares in the store. "I think we can make it," he writes. "I wouldn't have sent this message if I didn't. I did not want to write this letter. I did not want to ask for help. All I ever wanted to do was to create a place where people could come and escape for awhile. A place that would invest in the community, and its organizations, that surrounded it." [Comic Book Ink]
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald reports that DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee sent a memo to creators working on titles for the "New DCU" relaunch requiring them to have three issues completed by Aug. 31, "no exceptions." "If that criterion cannot be met," the memo states, "we’ve instructed Editorial to begin work at that time on material that will be able to meet the deadlines for the series." [The Beat]
Education | Japan's Kyoto Seika University will begin offering the country's first doctoral program in manga studies next year, while Dundee University in Scotland will launch the United Kingdom's first master's degree in comics studies this fall. [The Associated Press, BBC News]
Awards | Larry Cruz takes a look at the Eisner Award nominees for best digital comic. [The Webcomic Overlook]
Creators | Legendary artist Joe Kubert appeared over the weekend at Dewey’s Comic City in Madison, New Jersey. [Daily Record]
Creators | Artist Peter Krause talks at HeroesCon about leaving Irredeemable: "It’s just a good time to do it. I do have another non-comics project coming up this summer that I really have to devote some time to, and it’s a really once-in-a-lifetime type project. I’ve loved working with BOOM! and Mark Waid, it’s been a joy working with them. It’s kind of bittersweet." [MTV Geek]