Comics A.M. | Comic sales up in August; CDC looks to motion comics to fight HIV

Sales charts | Dollar sales of comics sold through Diamond Comic Distributors were up more than 15 percent in August, while graphic novel dollar sales rose by more than 31 percent when compared to the year-ago period. ICv2 puts the gains in perspective, noting that comic sales were down 17 percent in August 2010 and graphic novel sales were down 21 percent. August 2010 also had four ship weeks compared to August 2011's five. DC Comics topped the August charts with Justice League #1, followed by Flashpoint #5, Fear Itself #5, Flashpoint #4 and Ultimate Comics Fallout #4. Serenity Better Days and Other Stories from Dark Horse was the no. 1 graphic novel for August. John Jackson Miller offers commentary as well as a look at the best-selling comics of this century, a list that will include Justice League #1. [ICv2, Comichron]

Comics | The Centers for Disease Control has awarded a roughly $145,000 contract to Terminus Media to create motion comics to educate young people about HIV. The comics will be offered on "internet-capable platforms" including desktop computers, laptop computers, video gaming systems, wireless phones and tablet computers. [Politico, Via]

Comic strips | The Chicago Tribune has pulled this week's Doonesbury comic strips from its pages because "they do not meet our standards of fairness," according to Editor Gerould W. Kern. The strips in question reference allegations in The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin by Joe McGinniss, which comes out Sept. 20. Geoff Brown, associate managing editor of the entertainment section, says on the paper's blog that he book is not yet available for verification or review by the Chicago Tribune. "To be sure, Doonesbury is a satirical cartoon, but the remarks are serious enough that we cannot publish the strip without more information, context and a response from Palin," Brown wrote. [Trib Nation]

Publishers | Patrick Gavin profiles Bluewater Productions, which has found a niche publishing comic-book biographies of political figures ranging from Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton to Ronald Reagan and Al Franken. The biography of First Lady Michelle Obama reportedly has sold more than 130,000 copies. “She competes with Justin Bieber just a little bit,” says Bluewater President Darren Davis. “They’re neck and neck.” [Politico]

Comics | Johanna Draper Carlson takes a look at some recent changes in the Life With Archie magazine, which has dual storylines in which Archie marries Veronica and Betty, respectively. With the 12th issue, she sees cheaper paper stock and the disappearance of both ads and celebrity features. [Comics Worth Reading]

Creators | The industry continues to remember Sparkplug publisher Dylan Williams, who passed away this weekend. Drawn and Quarterly's Tom Devlin, AdHouse Books publisher Chris Pitzer, Godland artist Tom Scioli, King-Cat creator John Porcellino, The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater and our own Matt Seneca and Sean T. Collins remember Williams, while Tom Spurgeon has a collection of more posts and memories from around the internet. [The Comics Reporter]

Creators | Former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter recounts the creation of X-Men: Heroes for Hope, a "jam" benefit comic that featured the work of Chris Claremont, Stephen King, Jim Starlin, Bernie Wrightson, George Martin, Alan Moore and many other creators. He also notes how the original proposed benefactors of the project, Oxfam America, wanted nothing to do with the comic after seeing it. [Jim Shooter]

Creators | Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff Jensen discusses his Dark Horse graphic novel The Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, which chronicles the search by his father, King County Sheriff's Det. Tom Jensen, for serial killer Gary Ridgway. [Seattle Weekly]

Creators | Michael Auger discusses Magic Bullet, the Washington, D.C. area all-comics newspaper created by the artist group DC Conspiracy that debuted at the Small Press Expo this past weekend. [The Gazette]

Conventions | Johanna Draper Carlson reports on this past weekend's Small Press Expo. [Comics Worth Reading]

Commentary | David Brothers looks at the various "tics" of comic writers in general and Scott Snyder in particular. [4thletter]

Commentary | Tucker Stone continues his look at Darko Macan's Cable stories, this time focusing on the Soldier X comics. [Factual Opinion]

Retailers | The prize for the oddest and most painful customer loyalty program goes to AlleyCat Comics in Chicago -- make 50 purchases, punch a store employee in the gut. [Chicago Tribune]

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